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2 minutes ago, JohnGrisham said:

Work experience counts just as equally as volunteer experience.  Put all of it down.

Take the MCAT first and see what happens, then apply and re-evaluate based on feedback if you dont get to interviews.

Getting a strong MCAT first priority. 

I would agree - I have a similar background and my work experience also contributed as a major EC for me. ECs can be added to if needed and having the fundamentals in hand allow you to operate from a position of strength. Not all schools even care about ECs.

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Your GPA is very impressive. Although you are worried about your ECs, I would actually say that they are spectacular and would probably be somewhat unique to your application. If you do well on the MCAT, you have a relatively strong chance of submitting a winning application. Best of luck. 

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On 4/2/2018 at 9:49 AM, JohnGrisham said:

Work experience counts just as equally as volunteer experience. 
 

Honestly I don't believe it is (at least for some schools). Volunteer hours seem to be weighted more heavily than work hours at the U of A based on score breakdowns for ECs I have received in the past.

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 Work experience carries weight....but it's only one of MANY application sections, among volunteer work, EC's, awards etc. If you haven't volunteered at all, start doing something this summer...although it's cookie-cutter, try a hospital to see if you even like the clinical setting (i.e. what it looks, sounds and smells like, LOL).

Research the stats and admissions policies of all schools you're interested in. First, read the school admission sites, and then skim PM101 for insights on the Accepted/Rejected threads. Actually calculate your OMSAS GPA. 

The MCAT is the big deciding factor at this point. Aim for C/P>127, CARS>=129. BIO>=128, P/S>127 and you can be competitive for Western and Mac, which don't directly evaluate ABS. If you're Albertan, try those schools as well. You need to write the MCAT first and see your score. If it's low and you don't have many EC's (barring some co-op work experience + part-time jobs), I would plan my applications very strategically (i.e. I wouldn't bother applying to Queen's or to UBC if you are OOP). 

This isn't a sprint....it's a marathon. You may need to spend at least 2 years preparing a competitive application, so make sure to have a back-up plan (work, grad school, etc.). 

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On 2018-04-02 at 11:35 AM, petitmonstre111 said:

Hello everyone,

I am set to graduate in June 2018 with a Bachelor of Engineering from a university in Ontario. I've recently decided to look into the possibility of applying to medical schools in Alberta, Ontario and BC. I've always had an interest in medicine but somehow didn't think I would be able to get in. Now that I am pretty much done with my undergrad, I am considering the option again. I did very well in university (GPA around 3.9 if considering Alberta and probably lower in Ontario, OMSAS scale is a bit less advantageous, have not looked at BC GPA conversion yet) and I am now planning on taking the MCAT this summer. 

My question has more to do with ECs than grades or MCAT score. Because of my degree and personal circumstances, I've had to work part-time all throughout university as well as complete co-op placements (for experience and to help pay for school). That left very little time for any other type of extra-curricular involvement. I am considering applying for this cycle (for Fall 2019) but I am a bit discouraged by my lack of ECs. I did research as co-ops twice for 4 months each time (nothing to do with medicine) and worked oil and gas for another 8 months. As far as other work experience, I've had many part-time jobs, some more relevant than others (mentor vs McDonalds). I would appreciate any advice on applying for this cycle. My plan is to work after graduation and work on my ECs but I am debating putting money and time into the current cycle.

Google CanMEDS competencies. You can develop these from ECs, volunteering & work! You shall have d3veloped CanMEDS competencies at work. So, you are just fine. Perhaps you are missing demonstration of altruism, commitment to your community by making s positive contribution in some form. This is important - more important, in my view, than ECs. Find an olunteering position you will enjoy that contributes to the community and stick to it. Good luck.

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36 minutes ago, petitmonstre111 said:

Thanks everyone for the advice! I'll start by writing the MCAT this summer and will work on my ECs/CanMEDS in the coming year. I already know that my biggest weakness will be advocacy on my application. I wasn't planning on doing volunteer work that is directly related to medicine as I actually quite enjoy engineering and I think I would be most useful in some sort of volunteer position that uses those skills. Seems like it would be very questionable to start doing some hospital volunteering at the same time as applying to med school. I have a hard time believing reviews wouldn't look at it somewhat negatively. Any thoughts? 

Hey OP - make sure to really use the skills that you have to develop your CV/EC. That is how you stand out from the typical cookie cutter pre-meds in lifesci/healthsci. You can increase advocacy while combining engineering skills by being involved in organizations like Engineering Without Borders.

It's actually better to demonstrate the CanMEDS competencies outside the scope of "healthcare" because it shows them that you demonstrate these skills in your community, current field of work, and etc... It makes you stand out in applications in a superb way.

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On 4/2/2018 at 11:49 AM, JohnGrisham said:

Work experience counts just as equally as volunteer experience.  Put all of it down.

Take the MCAT first and see what happens, then apply and re-evaluate based on feedback if you dont get to interviews.

Getting a strong MCAT first priority. 

 

On 4/2/2018 at 11:53 AM, rmorelan said:

I would agree - I have a similar background and my work experience also contributed as a major EC for me. ECs can be added to if needed and having the fundamentals in hand allow you to operate from a position of strength. Not all schools even care about ECs.

I would tend to disagree. Combined, I have about 4 years of full-time work experience in various bioengineering, automotive, research and solar energy industries. I was a university sports team member and volunteered a little bit in various non-health related fields. I had a competitive MCAT (99th percentile in CARS, 95th overall) and GPA, yet this did not land me an interview anywhere but at a single university that doesn't care about any of this, UdeM. True, the other unknowns are the reference letters, so it's impossible to properly pinpoint the culprit, although UBC rated my non-academic CV (ECs basically) as very slightly above the applicant pool average and way below the interviewed pool. Therefore, my ECs were seen as clearly inadequate by at least 1 school. I personally thought this work experience was worth way more than any "traditional" ECs commonly seen with med school applicants.

In any case, You can still get in, just like I did! You have even better grades than I did. Just don't think your coop terms will give you a free pass.

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8 hours ago, jul059 said:

 

I would tend to disagree. Combined, I have about 4 years of full-time work experience in various bioengineering, automotive, research and solar energy industries. I was a university sports team member and volunteered a little bit in various non-health related fields. I had a competitive MCAT (99th percentile in CARS, 95th overall) and GPA, yet this did not land me an interview anywhere but at a single university that doesn't care about any of this, UdeM. True, the other unknowns are the reference letters, so it's impossible to properly pinpoint the culprit, although UBC rated my non-academic CV (ECs basically) as very slightly above the applicant pool average and way below the interviewed pool. Therefore, my ECs were seen as clearly inadequate by at least 1 school. I personally thought this work experience was worth way more than any "traditional" ECs commonly seen with med school applicants.

In any case, You can still get in, just like I did! You have even better grades than I did. Just don't think your coop terms will give you a free pass.

How you write about them can also make or break you. I have more work experience than volunteering and was rated pretty high EC wise by McGill and queens. It also depends on what the school is looking for I think, so there may be some truth in what you say. Civic duty and such. Some people gotta work hard to pay for dat school ya know heh.

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In my experience, having gotten into medical school as a non-traditional applicant, the way that you write about and sell your experience counts for 10 times as much as what you've actually done. You can find things like advocacy, management skills, etc, a variety of roles, many of which have nothing to do with health care. Think long and hard about where you can demonstrate the canmeds roles and how you might communicate them on an autobiographical sketch where you have 140 characters per activity. Doing that alone might get you most of the way there. You may find you don't actually have to take on any new time-consuming activities, unless you want to!

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Of course, all of this is true. Just be very careful about the meaning of "extra-curricular". Sometimes they don't care if it was part of your curriculum, sometimes they do. Co-op terms may be part or your curriculum, especially if you received credits for them. Read the fine print carefully for every school!

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