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Big time lurker here who would really appreciate some advice from experienced souls on how I should proceed moving forward. I am determined to make medicine happen, but I have been trying for a number of years now and am afraid I am doing the same thing over and over again. Some fresh insight might be helpful.....


 


Applied: 2009 (no interview), 2013 (waitlisted; above avg. interview), 2014 (refused; average interview), 2015 (waitlisted; above average interview), and 2016 (waitlisted). 


 


Academics: Bsc Hons. (2010), Graduate Diploma in Clinical Research (2011), then MSc. (2013). The first two years of my undergrad (and prereqs) was a complete disaster, personally and academically, so I was pulling a cGPA 2.6 by the of my second year.  Then got my act together, but still graduated with a cGPA of 3.4 and 144 credits. Then went on to do ~40 credits of grad course work (with marks) and finished with a 4.0GPA. My aGPA is 84%. Pre-req average is AWFUL, though who knows how this matters now. 


 


Highest MCAT score is 28 (9PS/9VR/10 BS). That, too, is obviously not my forte. But I have done it 4 times and try as I might, that's the bet I can pull. 


 


Some EC's:


 


-6 years of employment in food service among other part-time jobs during summers or school year 


-TA'ing undergrad classes


-Designed and taught three college courses


-5, 000 hours + of clinical health research (through employment or school)


-Volunteering with various organizations working with all kinds of populations including survivors of abuse, hepC/hiv+ youth, pediatric cancer patients, youth, people with mental health issues, and people living with obesity. Chaired a non-profit organization for a year and served on their exec for 2 years. Collectively, I have about 2,300+ hours of volunteering.


-Travel and outdoorsy things like skiing and cycling that I do just for myself


-Published 5 journal publications, 3 oral presentations, and 3 posters, working on another journal pub. right now


-CIHR Masters Award and some smaller research awards.


-NAQ ~32 from previous years


 


I spent 3 years following my partner around the country as they completed their career training, living in various cities. As such, I haven't always indicated continuity in my commitments, and it has impeded my growth in various organizations as a result. I am now settled but getting a stable job has been my priority and I am figuring out what organizations I can contribute to that align with my interests and passions. Does anyone know if it matters if your EC's look patchy?? I am not a commitment-phobe-- I was just moving around a lot.


 


I have changed up my references for this year to be more recent and possibly stronger. But my academic reference was from my undergrad because my Honours supervisor had also taught me in numerous upper level classes. My Masters supervisor and graduate professors had very little interaction with me, and most of our lectures was a compilation of guest lecturers, who would not be good to comment on my academic strengths. The issue is that my academic reference is quite dated. My other references come from more recent engagements that I have put quite some time into, so I think they had some fodder to work with. 


 


I don't know how I can further improve my application. Do I go back and do another undergrad?? Though I have so many credits already, I don't know how much more my aGPA would move. And there isn't much else I am interested in studying. Do I just sit and wait and bide my time? I am exploring ALL options here and would love to hear from anyone who has been in the same situation (waitlisted or refused multiple times). I know we are all just speculating but perhaps there are some paths that I haven't thought of taking. Thank you all for your time! And congratulations to those who have received an offer! 


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You need a bigger MCAT score, try to improve upon that. Find out why you were not able to break the 30 mark and fix those mistakes. I say this because you have what seems like very strong EC's, and GPA seems solid too. The red flag that is glaring to me is that MCAT score (and I say that not because it is a bad score, which it isnt, but the current state of medical school is  very competitive and a 28 just doesn't cut it in 2016).

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Before you take the MCAT again, make sure you are REALLY improving and hitting much higher on practice.

4 sittings with 28 being the highest might be doing you in. Compared to someone who took it once and got a 28, you are subjectively less desirable.

So before you go ahead and jump into the new 2015 MCAT, make sure you do everything possible to improve on it BEFORE sitting it. If that means prepping 8 months and taking it in the winter, so be it. But do NOT plan on taking it after minimal prep, or before exhausting all resources available to you. Do THOUSANDS of passages, not hundreds, and then do more.  The science sections are definitely things you should be able to NAIL if you simply just keep doing passages ad nauseum.  CARS is cars, but naturally you can get a bit better at it, maybe you will never reach a 130, but you can still get at least 125+ and be above average. 

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Before you take the MCAT again, make sure you are REALLY improving and hitting much higher on practice.

 

4 sittings with 28 being the highest might be doing you in. Compared to someone who took it once and got a 28, you are subjectively less desirable.

 

So before you go ahead and jump into the new 2015 MCAT, make sure you do everything possible to improve on it BEFORE sitting it. If that means prepping 8 months and taking it in the winter, so be it. But do NOT plan on taking it after minimal prep, or before exhausting all resources available to you. Do THOUSANDS of passages, not hundreds, and then do more.  The science sections are definitely things you should be able to NAIL if you simply just keep doing passages ad nauseum.  CARS is cars, but naturally you can get a bit better at it, maybe you will never reach a 130, but you can still get at least 125+ and be above average. 

 Thank you all for your input! Sounds like working on the MCAT is my new goal. 

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I was wait listed this year too, and here's what I think about that (this is just my belief, may not be true!) - they rank according to two main things - TFR score ( AQ + NAQ) and the interview score - another thing to take into account is the references, but i feel like that's more used as a red flag thing. No one knows how they weight the TFR and interview scores, but I am sure the interview is at least 30% - so if you did well in that from previous years, it's probably the TFR or references that are your problem - so I'd say do your best to strengthen the TFR score through the NAQ (and make sure you have several people give their input on your descriptions) and AQ score (via the MCAT).

 

I was also waitlisted, and was lucky enough to get in, and I strongly believe it because of my high NAQ, as my AQ isn't great. So Id say strengthen that as much as possible, both in terms of experiences and application descriptions. Good luck!

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I was wait listed this year too, and here's what I think about that (this is just my belief, may not be true!) - they rank according to two main things - TFR score ( AQ + NAQ) and the interview score - another thing to take into account is the references, but i feel like that's more used as a red flag thing. No one knows how they weight the TFR and interview scores, but I am sure the interview is at least 30% - so if you did well in that from previous years, it's probably the TFR or references that are your problem - so I'd say do your best to strengthen the TFR score through the NAQ (and make sure you have several people give their input on your descriptions) and AQ score (via the MCAT).

 

I was also waitlisted, and was lucky enough to get in, and I strongly believe it because of my high NAQ, as my AQ isn't great. So Id say strengthen that as much as possible, both in terms of experiences and application descriptions. Good luck!

 

Thank you for your input. Congratulations on your offer! Do you happen to know your NAQ from previous years? 

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I agree the MCAT is on the lower end but Im not sure that is really the issue. I know people with 25-28 who were accepted this year and last year. At the end of the day it is a bit of a crap shoot post interview. Unless you rewrite and are 100 percent confident u can meet the minimums and get a much better score I would be hesitant to rewrite until your old score expires. Being waitlisted is a pretty big deal. It means you were very close. Do you have anything else new on your app for this year? I would just focus on your application for the summer personally. It is not a high 30 score but people with those scores also don't get in sometimes. 

 

Would it be worth it to try and make an appointment with the Dean? i know that they don't like to do that but I think sometimes you can get one if you try. I know at least one person who had done that. It seems like with this many applications and a waitlist, maybe they can give you a bit more feedback. It is a long shot, but you could try. 

 

Good luck! Persistence will pay off. 

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This is what I understand about the process having attended a few of those info sessions. After interviews are completed, the Committee reviews applicants whollistically and determines who is 'admissable' (= acceptance or waitlist) and who is "inadmissable" (=regrets). If a candidate is deemed admissable this is where all the numbers come into play - GPA, MCAT, ECs, Interview which all contribute to your TFR. At first the highest 288 TFR candidates'ish get a seat. The remainder of admissible candidates are on the waitlist.

 

That is what I piece together cause how else do they determine who gets which site - its all about your overall rank.

 

Since you have been waitlisted multiple times, you clearly have what UBC Med wants. Its just that there isn't a seat for you. So you have to ask yourself, what are the highest yield activities to increase your TFR. From your post, your NAQ seems solid. I don't think that is holding you back, because you technically would be offered a seat if there was a seat available - they want you :) DW about commitments of activities and such because they would offer you a seat regardless if there was one.

 

You need high yield activities that increase your stats, which for you is probably GPA and MCAT. Focus on those.

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OP, how many graded credits do you have, with lowest year dropped?  My guess is 90+40= 130 (assuming the diploma didnt count for grades).  If this is accurate, then taking some more classes part-time online and getting 4.0 in them, can make a dent and appreciably improve your GPA.  Maybe retake some pre-reqs if you feel more confident in them? Subjectively show them that you can "handle" the science coursework that you previously did poorly on. 

We're all just grasping at straws tbh.  

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My sense is that if you're scoring that well on interviews, the MCAT is not the reason you're not being accepted. From prior discussions, I have classmates who previously were rejected despite above average interviews, only to learn that perhaps their reference letter choices were not adequate.

 

Reference letters won't get you in, but they can certainly harm the process. Be confident and sure that your referees are indeed writing you strong letters.

 

Good luck.

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