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Weight Of Research Success In Graduate Applicant Stream

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Hi all,

I am currently a PhD student at the U of A, looking to apply for MD programs across the country if I don't gain admission to U of A prior to completion of my degree here. 

Just wondering if any graduate student applicants can offer any insight into how much their CV mattered compared to other extracurricular activities (if any of you have received feedback about previous applications). Does the CV requirement seem to reduce the importance of other activities in your autobiographical sketch like volunteerism and other non-academic activities? 

i.e. Does it appear admissions looks favorably upon someone who does modest volunteer work but spends large amounts of time in the lab as evidenced by a large number of publications and scholarships? 

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Hey there,


I was accepted last year via the graduate stream. I completed an MSc degree and had a cGPA of 3.73 (did not qualify for weighting). In terms of graduate productivity, I had two publications (1st and 2nd author) and four conference abstracts.


I will try my best to provide some insight, but I do not think anyone would know the exact weighting of the academic CV compared to other components of the application, unless they were part of the admissions committee (if they were, they most likely would not be sharing it here). Also, I have not received formal feedback from admissions from previous application cycles.


From what I understand, the academic CV (graduate productivity), graduate supervisor reference letter (including other letters), ABS sketch and essays all contribute to your composite score pre-interview (precise breakdown is not released and not known to myself). Therefore, their decision will be dependent on your entire application. The benefit of the graduate stream is that it allows applicants to include more detailed information about yourself (i.e. research experience) that contributes to your overall score. Also, a separate committee reviews the graduate portion of your application, which potentially increases the number of people advocating for your candidacy.


As a result, it is hard to say whether they look more favourably at someone who had modest volunteer and more research experience, as it depends on how much volunteering/extracurriculars is considered "modest" and how many publications you have. The admissions committee is looking for well-rounded individuals so having at least some experiences in each category would be ideal even with extensive research experience, but there there are people with stronger ABS sections than others. Therefore, if you feel like your volunteer/other stuff is a weak part of your application, you can try to improve some of these sections during your PhD (from your signature, it seems like you are midway). For example, my lab was in the hospital so I began volunteering in the ER department once a week. I also got involved with the graduate student council throughout my degree.


I've said a bunch of stuff here (some vague and some specific) so let me know if you have any questions or other comments.

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