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NAQ Drops and the Importance of Research


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NAQ Drops

I may be the only one with this opinion but it seems like this cycle has been especially harsh with the NAQ evaluation... Applicants with strong diversity (research pubs, 500+ hours of volunteering, and leadership) were experiencing strong NAQ drops over previous years. Does anyone have an explanation as to why this is the case considering that the average NAQ score remained more or less the same? Wording?

Importance of Research

On a side note, how important do you all think research is for the application? Just scrolling through the interview invites thread makes it seem evident that it is a critical component of the application. So, how badly would a lack of research impact an application for someone with basically everything else (~1400 hours volunteering spread over an average of 3 years at 3 different places, general leadership experiences, hobbies, and personal circumstances/family hardships)?

I've been putting in an average of about 20 hours/week into volunteering on top of a full courseload (92% average) but this year's NAQ drops coupled with the abundance of research experiences in both accepted and rejected applications have truly rattled my confidence. Not that I was necessarily entitled to anything in the first place.

Next year will be my first time applying so I don't have any previous indicators of my general NAQ standing in UBC's eyes either.

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I also suspect that drops for previous applicants has a lot to do with the scoring relative to other applications. All speculation, but it could be that they deliberately adjust the scoring process every year to some extent to achieve a similar average. I also suspect that UBC’s removal of the pre-requisite courses has opened up the application process for more people with diverse or non-traditional backgrounds — it’s possible that this group tends to have experiences that give them higher NAQs compared to the previous ‘typical’ applicant pool, which may be decreasing some peoples scores relative to the entire pool. Some re-applicants may also just be diversifying what they include in their NAQ (e.g. more hobbies, more different roles) etc. So those who don’t really change up their applications may see a decrease relative to those who do try to bulk up their NAQs between application cycles. 

I don’t think research necessarily has any more weight than other NAQ sections. It’s just one possible piece of the puzzle. There are plenty of people in my class with zero research experience. 

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2 hours ago, Coldery said:

NAQ Drops

I may be the only one with this opinion but it seems like this cycle has been especially harsh with the NAQ evaluation... Applicants with strong diversity (research pubs, 500+ hours of volunteering, and leadership) were experiencing strong NAQ drops over previous years. Does anyone have an explanation as to why this is the case considering that the average NAQ score remained more or less the same? Wording?

Importance of Research

On a side note, how important do you all think research is for the application? Just scrolling through the interview invites thread makes it seem evident that it is a critical component of the application. So, how badly would a lack of research impact an application for someone with basically everything else (~1400 hours volunteering spread over an average of 3 years at 3 different places, general leadership experiences, hobbies, and personal circumstances/family hardships)?

I've been putting in an average of about 20 hours/week into volunteering on top of a full courseload (92% average) but this year's NAQ drops coupled with the abundance of research experiences in both accepted and rejected applications have truly rattled my confidence. Not that I was necessarily entitled to anything in the first place.

Next year will be my first time applying so I don't have any previous indicators of my general NAQ standing in UBC's eyes either.

You can get away without research at UBC I think. If you like, list your ECs here with more detail (or PM me)  and we can take some guesses on where you stand. 

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27 minutes ago, this_process_is_death said:

Do you think ECs play an important role, if any, in the final selection?

Yes. No one knows exactly how the different parts of the file are weight post interview. But based on the diversity of students in my class, NAQ really does seem to play a continued role in final selection, and ECs are a key component of that. 

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11 hours ago, JohnGrisham said:

Just remember that if you make it to the interview, everything is still fair game. Don't think that because you have a poor GPA or poor ECs (all relative terms) that you are out of the game. Rock interview and its still possible. 

That's one of the issues with low GPAs. Unless you kill the interview you dont stand a chance.

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5 hours ago, Chaplin said:

That's one of the issues with low GPAs. Unless you kill the interview you dont stand a chance.

Yeah, that's pretty much a given. If you've heard of people getting in with a low GPA, chances are that they killed one of the other sections to make up for it. You can't be below average for everything and expect an acceptance. 

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Just now, Torntoiletpaper said:

Yeah, that's pretty much a given. If you've heard of people getting in with a low GPA, chances are that they killed one of the other sections to make up for it. You can't be below average for everything and expect an acceptance. 

What would you say is considered a low GPA? Obviously there are people who get in with averages in the low 80s, but I would assume that these people either killed the interview or had really good ECs, or both. What do you think a GPA would be that would still give you a chance of acceptance even if you didn't 'kill' the interview? 

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On 4/7/2018 at 3:36 PM, GITG said:

You can get away without research at UBC I think. If you like, list your ECs here with more detail (or PM me)  and we can take some guesses on where you stand. 

Thanks! I'll message you later this week. Currently have a few assignments that I've got to finish up.

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On 2018-04-08 at 1:22 PM, radoodoo said:

What would you say is considered a low GPA? Obviously there are people who get in with averages in the low 80s, but I would assume that these people either killed the interview or had really good ECs, or both. What do you think a GPA would be that would still give you a chance of acceptance even if you didn't 'kill' the interview? 

Your guess is as good as mine as they don't reveal that sort of info. Anecdotally, I'd say if you're in the low 80's (~82%), then you'd better prepare for your other sections to be pretty bomb. 

On the admission statistics, they even accepted a few students in the 75-80% range. I'm assuming those people killed ALL their other sections (interview/volunteering/research/work) and/or they're non-traditional and/or they have extenuating circumstances. 

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On 4/9/2018 at 2:46 PM, Torntoiletpaper said:

Your guess is as good as mine as they don't reveal that sort of info. Anecdotally, I'd say if you're in the low 80's (~82%), then you'd better prepare for your other sections to be pretty bomb. 

On the admission statistics, they even accepted a few students in the 75-80% range. I'm assuming those people killed ALL their other sections (interview/volunteering/research/work) and/or they're non-traditional and/or they have extenuating circumstances. 

Guess if you did poorly on a few stations, it would be unlikely to garner an acceptance then?

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6 minutes ago, Lesigh2 said:

Guess if you did poorly on a few stations, it would be unlikely to garner an acceptance then?

From what I've heard, it seems like you can do quite poorly on at least one station (some schools even are said to drop your highest and lowest stations). But, what makes your response 'poor' is really hard to assess as the interviewee. We don't know what the assessors are looking for in each station - maybe that rambling answer showed how empathetic you are and that was one of the main points of the station. Or maybe you didn't yell at the annoying actor who was testing your patience.  

It's impossible to objectively assess your own performance, especially when the whole thing is rushed and stressful. 

My advice - try not to focus on your performance yet. If you aren't accepted in a few weeks, then start to analyze where you may have gone wrong in the interview. But, also remember that a lot of excellent candidates get rejected each year, so never give up. :) 

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On 4/8/2018 at 4:22 PM, radoodoo said:

What would you say is considered a low GPA?

Anything below average - because that means you'll likely have to do above average in other sections to make up for it.

I think the average is usually 86 - 88%. So anything below that I would say is low.

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