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Hi everyone,

 

Before I start, I would just like to say that I’m posting this question on behalf of my best friend. I told him to join this forum and ask it himself but he was too scared and embarrassed to do it so I’m doing it on his behalf and for his own sake.

BEWARE: THIS IS A LONG POST! Sorry in advance, I feel the need to be specific with the details.

 

So, my best friend recently told me that he would like to pursue medicine as a profession and I couldn’t be happier and proud of him. As a current premed myself, it’s nice to have someone to have along on this journey to medicine. He’s a very bright person, extremely hardworking and possibly the most optimistic person that I could have ever met. I really look up to him, respect him and I also consider him to be my friendly rival. We both went to the same high school and he was very active in school and in our community. He was also a straight A student in high school, I’m not sure how relevant that is but I thought that it’s something that I should share.

 

However, he recently dropped a big bomb of news to me. He told me that he had the worst two years of his life as soon as college started. You see, we both just finished our 2nd year this year so we are still fairly new to college. But, he told me that he had been assessed by the counsellor at our school and the assessment proved that he was suffering from mild depression and anxiety for the past two years. This mild depression and anxiety has affected his academic performances during the first two years of college. I felt like such a terrible friend for not noticing his signs and symptoms and that he was suffering from depression and anxiety. He hid it from me so well, too well if you ask me! As I’ve mentioned before, he is a very optimistic person and he showed no sign of change when we were hanging out. He always had a great big smile and we would always work hard and study together. But, it was all a façade, he secluded himself from everyone around him didn’t tell a single soul what he was going through, not even his parents. I felt very hurt that he didn’t tell me, me of all people, his best friend who would do everything to help him out! But I also do understand that he didn’t want me to worry for him and he didn’t want other people to worry for him.

 

Fast forward, I asked him for the truth on what he’s now doing about his depression and anxiety and he told me everything. According to him, he is now getting treatment and he regularly meets up with a counsellor to talk and further help improve his situation. He’s also a part of a group that helps deal with anxiety and he told me that it has been helping him greatly. I genuinely feel like he is now on the right tract of improvment. He’s still very persistent in wanting to go into medicine. Throughout the years that I’ve been friends with him, I’ve never seen him that dedicated on a single goal. Sure, he’s a hardworking student but this type of goal orientation feels very different.

 

 

Okay, so here are his stats for the first two years of college:

 

cGPA: 1.70

According to him, his academic performances has been very rough. He was only getting Cs, C+s, Bs and B+s from his classes. In addition, he failed 5 of his courses and he planned to retake all of them.

MCAT: Hasn’t taken it yet so N/A.

ECs: Volunteer in a hospital, holds a leadership position in a science club and volunteer in a lab

 

 

I know that his stats are extremely low and you [the reader] may think that my best friend is crazy for even thinking about pursuing medicine with these stats but he’s really determined to reach his goal. He’s currently taking summer classes to retake his failed courses and he has been doing amazing in all of them. He just took his midterm and he received an A+ after studying really hard for it. As his best friend, I really want to help him out to the best of my ability but at the same time, I need a realistic opinion from all of you.

Please try to avoid any hurtful comments about my friend since he would also be reading this thread. I really need everyone’s opinion and input on what his chances are!

 

Lastly, I’m not sure how relevant this is but he told me that he would like to mainly focus on applying at the University of Manitoba school. We’re both from Manitoba so technically he would be an In Province applicant and I know that they do Adjusted GPA but I’m not really sure how far that can help him. Should he stay for a 5th year? Just give up on medicine? I’m really lost on what I should tell him!

 

Thank you all in advance!

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In the upcoming school-year: your friend should take 30 credits and needs to perform well (3.9+ GPA). If he is able to do that, and then continue to do so in upcoming school years, then medicine is a realistic goal. If your friend's GPA is not improving to levels that are up-to-par with accepted applicants then your friend needs to come to terms with the reality of medicine not being an realistic goal - there are many health-care related roles that are just as valuable in providing patient care and you should encourage your friend to explore those options.

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In the upcoming school-year: your friend should take 30 credits and needs to perform well (3.9+ GPA). If he is able to do that, and then continue to do so in upcoming school years, then medicine is a realistic goal. If your friend's GPA is not improving to levels that are up-to-par with accepted applicants then your friend needs to come to terms with the reality of medicine not being an realistic goal - there are many health-care related roles that are just as valuable in providing patient care and you should encourage your friend to explore those options.

 

I agree with all this advice. Just wanted to add that it he should probably be realistically widening his goal to applying to as many Canadian schools as he can/is realistically competitive for when he actually gets around to applying. Even if he had a perfect record, putting all his hopes on one school is risky for anyone these days with how competitive things are. Also, just wanted to say that I hope your friend was aware of exactly what you posted and ok'd it before you put in on here.

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Okay, so here are his stats for the first two years of college:

 

cGPA: 1.70

According to him, his academic performances has been very rough. He was only getting Cs, C+s, Bs and B+s from his classes. In addition, he failed 5 of his courses and he planned to retake all of them.

MCAT: Hasn’t taken it yet so N/A.

ECs: Volunteer in a hospital, holds a leadership position in a science club and volunteer in a lab

 

 

I know that his stats are extremely low and you [the reader] may think that my best friend is crazy for even thinking about pursuing medicine with these stats but he’s really determined to reach his goal. He’s currently taking summer classes to retake his failed courses and he has been doing amazing in all of them. He just took his midterm and he received an A+ after studying really hard for it.

 

I think there are too many variables left which preclude giving any substantial opinion. First, he needs to show that high achievement is even possible for him. Anyone can do well on one midterm, or one course, but right now, your friend is far away from the consistent success at the college/university level which defines most competitive med school applicants. Yes he got an A+ on his midterm, but keep in mind that it's in a course which he's repeating, and not in one which he hasn't seen before. It's encouraging that he's overcoming his depression and anxiety, and maybe that's all the adjustment he needs to perform at his true potential. In terms of his chances, how he does next year may be the most telling of all.

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In the upcoming school-year: your friend should take 30 credits and needs to perform well (3.9+ GPA). If he is able to do that, and then continue to do so in upcoming school years, then medicine is a realistic goal. If your friend's GPA is not improving to levels that are up-to-par with accepted applicants then your friend needs to come to terms with the reality of medicine not being an realistic goal - there are many health-care related roles that are just as valuable in providing patient care and you should encourage your friend to explore those options.

Thank you for your input and I'll make sure to tell him that. I'll also look after him to see if his GPA is improving or not.

 

I agree with all this advice. Just wanted to add that it he should probably be realistically widening his goal to applying to as many Canadian schools as he can/is realistically competitive for when he actually gets around to applying. Even if he had a perfect record, putting all his hopes on one school is risky for anyone these days with how competitive things are. Also, just wanted to say that I hope your friend was aware of exactly what you posted and ok'd it before you put in on here.

I think that widening the goal sounds like a good plan, however, I'm not sure if his GPA will be competitive enough to meet the cut-off for the out of province criteria. Also, Yes, my friend was aware that I posted his situation here. I made sure that he read my post before posting it publicly for everyone to see. Thank you for your input.

 

I think there are too many variables left which preclude giving any substantial opinion. First, he needs to show that high achievement is even possible for him. Anyone can do well on one midterm, or one course, but right now, your friend is far away from the consistent success at the college/university level which defines most competitive med school applicants. Yes he got an A+ on his midterm, but keep in mind that it's in a course which he's repeating, and not in one which he hasn't seen before. It's encouraging that he's overcoming his depression and anxiety, and maybe that's all the adjustment he needs to perform at his true potential. In terms of his chances, how he does next year may be the most telling of all.

 

Yes, from the other advice, it seems that everything will now depend on his 3rd and 4th years and possibly 5th if he choose to do a 5th year. Thank you for your input!

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Thank you for your input and I'll make sure to tell him that. I'll also look after him to see if his GPA is improving or not.

 

I think that widening the goal sounds like a good plan, however, I'm not sure if his GPA will be competitive enough to meet the cut-off for the out of province criteria. Also, Yes, my friend was aware that I posted his situation here. I made sure that he read my post before posting it publicly for everyone to see. Thank you for your input.

 

 

Yes, from the other advice, it seems that everything will now depend on his 3rd and 4th years and possibly 5th if he choose to do a 5th year. Thank you for your input!

 

I would encourage him to apply to Ontario schools, actually. Except for NOSM and McMaster, the Ontario schools don't discriminate between in-province and out-of-province students. Moreover, Western and Queen's has a calculation formula option to take your two best/last full course years, so if he does well in his last two years, the poor GPA in the first two years can be disregarded. Also, I'd recommend taking a summer to study for the MCAT and get as high a score as possible. For now at least, a high MCAT score and a 3.7+ GPA is all that Western requires to be invited to an interview, and if your friend struggles with getting a high competitive GPA while doing a full course load, then focusing on the MCAT would be a good way to make up for it.

 

Also, I would suggest focusing on the GPA for next year, and to not worry about ECs just yet. Keep up with activities he enjoys and that'll make him happy, that's important to maintain good mental health, but perhaps suspend ones that come with high time commitments and obligations until his GPA is solid. It's much easier to build on ECs later on if necessary than recovering a GPA, and next year will be quite important in this regard.

 

It's great to hear that he's getting treatment and getting better now, and that he has you as a friend to support him. Best of luck to both of you :)

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I would encourage him to apply to Ontario schools, actually. Except for NOSM and McMaster, the Ontario schools don't discriminate between in-province and out-of-province students. Moreover, Western and Queen's has a calculation formula option to take your two best/last full course years, so if he does well in his last two years, the poor GPA in the first two years can be disregarded. Also, I'd recommend taking a summer to study for the MCAT and get as high a score as possible. For now at least, a high MCAT score and a 3.7+ GPA is all that Western requires to be invited to an interview, and if your friend struggles with getting a high competitive GPA while doing a full course load, then focusing on the MCAT would be a good way to make up for it.

 

Also, I would suggest focusing on the GPA for next year, and to not worry about ECs just yet. Keep up with activities he enjoys and that'll make him happy, that's important to maintain good mental health, but perhaps suspend ones that come with high time commitments and obligations until his GPA is solid. It's much easier to build on ECs later on if necessary than recovering a GPA, and next year will be quite important in this regard.

 

It's great to hear that he's getting treatment and getting better now, and that he has you as a friend to support him. Best of luck to both of you :)

Thank you for your input! He's been reading everyone's comments and he told me how grateful he is that there is a chance of hope for him. Also, I think what you mentioned about not worrying about ECs is a really good and helpful advice since he should focus more on solidifying his GPA first.

Thank you for your kind words about me supporting him, its the least I could do with all of the kindness he has given me in the past. I know that we both have long ways to go and I think that he's also now planning and considering on doing a 5th year since I will be doing a 5th year for my degree.

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