Sep 21, 2015
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi all:

First of all, a thank you to this forum and everyone on it for all the resources I've been using in the last week.

For the 3rd time in my life, I'm contemplating my chances of one day becoming a doctor. Here is a summary of my stats:

- Ugrad degree GPA - Electrical Engineering: 3.37
- Grad degree GPA - Electrical Engineering: 3.40
- Science GPA - 3.89 ***
- MCAT - Just in the gathering materials stage
- Volunteer Work - Very little in the past, intend to increase significantly in the next year.
- Age 35 (would be 37 at earliest possible
- Work: As an electrical engineer on and off for 10 years. Hate it.

*** I'm not sure if I'm calculating the science GPA correctly. I have 9 courses in pure sciences and math (2xChemistry, 2xPhysics, 5xMath) and in those I have a 3.89GPA. Also, neither MUN nor UofC mention sGPA.

Questions:
1) What are my chances?
2) I suppose it's not a bad thing, but do I have any advantage in having a high sGPA, or do Canadian Universities even consider this?
3) How much is lack of volunteering going to hurt? I will have 1 year of volunteering prior to application, but will this be enough?
4) In which university should I claim in-province? I'm a NLer, but have lived 24 months in Alberta, therefore I meet both provinces' residency requirements.
- I've heard MUN really likes to take care of their own, and I am a Newfoundlander. I also have a genuine interest in working in Newfoundland as a doctor.
- I've heard UofC looks favourably upon Non-trads.
5) I'm currently unemployed, and trying to decide how to structure my life over the next year. I'm contemplating the previously unthinkable: Moving back in with my parents, trying to find part time employment (engineering or not), focusing on nailing the MCAT , and taking on a lot of volunteer work.
6) How many hours/week should I aim to volunteer?

Alternatively, I could try to find an engineering job. The concern here: They don't seem to make engineering jobs that are 40 hours per week. In my experience, they're 60 hours a week, especially considering new jobs almost always come with initial learning curves. This approach will probably affect my MCAT, and my ability to get in as much volunteer time; however, my uncle (a doctor) suggested that it would look really good if I could show the admissions team that I could balance work/MCAT/volunteer.

Thanks for anyone who can make any suggestions.
 

NotASerialKiller

2+ Year Member
Jul 7, 2015
1,457
6,866
Status
Medical Student
For Canada:
1) Not good
2) sGPA isn't a thing in Canada
3) You have time to get it
4) I think you can take your pick, but you're not allowed to claim residency for both in the same cycle.
5) That wasn't really a question ;)
6) You should try to find something that you care about, not just something to fill X hrs/week

Your GPA is too rough for Canada right now, even ( I believe, check this on premed101.com ) for in-province MUN. If you do well in science check what their policy is on GPA calculation. If it's your most recent degree or most recent 2 years, you could do another 2 years at MUN and apply after that, if you maintain that 3.9 you should breeze in. If they look at all years you could still repair.

I understand that you're probably eager to get started ASAP but your grades just aren't high enough. If UofA and UofC have kinder policies for GPA calculation you could also redo a couple years there and apply, they also treat in-province applicants well.

Also your experience working as an engineer will be a huge asset, they like people from diverse backgrounds. For Ontario schools a lot of the reason they want you to work and volunteer during the year is to show you can handle the workload. Doing a bit of volunteering now will look nice but probably isn't as crucial for someone in your position.

I can't really help you decide whether you would like medicine more or not. What draws you to it?

edit: You should also really check out premed101.com for other information, there are very few Canadian posters here who can help you, and I don't think any of them are beyond the pre-med stage
 
OP
M
Sep 21, 2015
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for your honesty. Is it just GPA that you believe would be hurting me?

I have actually been told by a few MUN Med School Grads, as well as someone who works at MUN Med School that my GPA wouldn't be a problem. I'm not sure if the person at MUN Med School was an admissions officer, I just called and asked to talk to someone about my chances based on GPA.

This university might be unique in this regard; they consider the difficulty of the undergraduate degree, and EE is usually regarded as one of the more difficult undergraduate degrees out there.

My reasons for getting into medicine are complex of course. But they are founded in the fact that I derive satisfaction and self worth from helping others. I have had numerous experiences throughout the course of my life where myself, my friends, and my family have been helped tremendously by medical professionals. I didn't get in to them because no one seems to use this thread to convince others that they really want it and for the right reasons, so I kept it cold and engineer-like. But it's not a case of "I hate being an engineer, now what else out there has status, power, and money?". Except the first part of that sentence.
 

NotASerialKiller

2+ Year Member
Jul 7, 2015
1,457
6,866
Status
Medical Student
Thanks for your honesty. Is it just GPA that you believe would be hurting me?

I have actually been told by a few MUN Med School Grads, as well as someone who works at MUN Med School that my GPA wouldn't be a problem. I'm not sure if the person at MUN Med School was an admissions officer, I just called and asked to talk to someone about my chances based on GPA.

This university might be unique in this regard; they consider the difficulty of the undergraduate degree, and EE is usually regarded as one of the more difficult undergraduate degrees out there.

My reasons for getting into medicine are complex of course. But they are founded in the fact that I derive satisfaction and self worth from helping others. I have had numerous experiences throughout the course of my life where myself, my friends, and my family have been helped tremendously by medical professionals. I didn't get in to them because no one seems to use this thread to convince others that they really want it and for the right reasons, so I kept it cold and engineer-like. But it's not a case of "I hate being an engineer, now what else out there has status, power, and money?". Except the first part of that sentence.
Wow that's great! I knew MUN was much easier for Newfoundlanders and alumni but I didn't know it went that far. I know with great certainty that no school in Ontario cares/will cut you slack for your degree.

I wasn't trying to doubt your interest in medicine, just wanted to know how serious you were, otherwise doing another couple years at 35 might deter you. But if you already have the GPA for MUN definitely go for it. If it's too late this cycle (no idea when their deadline is, Ontario is Oct. 1 and McGill is Nov. 1) you could even take another semester or to in science to really put you over the edge. I think it's pretty unlikely that they wouldn't be happy to take an experienced engineer, that's much more appealing than some 21 year old kid with a Bio degree who volunteered at their local hospital for a few months.
 
OP
M
Sep 21, 2015
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Well, I think I will call back tomorrow and try to confirm this. When I called, I asked to speak to someone about admission requirements and to hopefully get a feel for applying with a low GPA. The person I chatted with certainly spoke with authority and confidence when telling me that my GPA wouldn't be a concern, but I think I will call back tomorrow, just to check my source.

I'm not sure another 2 years would help me, at least at MUN. They don't drop any years, and because I have a Masters, at the same GPA, that's just solidifying my average so to speak.

It is too late for this cycle, so my earliest start date would be 2017 if I got accepted first try. I plan to try to get in to med school until I'm 40. I bet that sounds crazy to some people, but I figure I could work for 30 years as a doctor. That's probably longer than the current life-time of those who think it's crazy. :)
 

GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
3,803
Status
Non-Student
Hi all:

First of all, a thank you to this forum and everyone on it for all the resources I've been using in the last week.

For the 3rd time in my life, I'm contemplating my chances of one day becoming a doctor. Here is a summary of my stats:

- Ugrad degree GPA - Electrical Engineering: 3.37
- Grad degree GPA - Electrical Engineering: 3.40
- Science GPA - 3.89 ***
- MCAT - Just in the gathering materials stage
- Volunteer Work - Very little in the past, intend to increase significantly in the next year.
- Age 35 (would be 37 at earliest possible
- Work: As an electrical engineer on and off for 10 years. Hate it.

*** I'm not sure if I'm calculating the science GPA correctly. I have 9 courses in pure sciences and math (2xChemistry, 2xPhysics, 5xMath) and in those I have a 3.89GPA. Also, neither MUN nor UofC mention sGPA.

Questions:
1) What are my chances?
2) I suppose it's not a bad thing, but do I have any advantage in having a high sGPA, or do Canadian Universities even consider this?
3) How much is lack of volunteering going to hurt? I will have 1 year of volunteering prior to application, but will this be enough?
4) In which university should I claim in-province? I'm a NLer, but have lived 24 months in Alberta, therefore I meet both provinces' residency requirements.
- I've heard MUN really likes to take care of their own, and I am a Newfoundlander. I also have a genuine interest in working in Newfoundland as a doctor.
- I've heard UofC looks favourably upon Non-trads.
5) I'm currently unemployed, and trying to decide how to structure my life over the next year. I'm contemplating the previously unthinkable: Moving back in with my parents, trying to find part time employment (engineering or not), focusing on nailing the MCAT , and taking on a lot of volunteer work.
6) How many hours/week should I aim to volunteer?

Alternatively, I could try to find an engineering job. The concern here: They don't seem to make engineering jobs that are 40 hours per week. In my experience, they're 60 hours a week, especially considering new jobs almost always come with initial learning curves. This approach will probably affect my MCAT, and my ability to get in as much volunteer time; however, my uncle (a doctor) suggested that it would look really good if I could show the admissions team that I could balance work/MCAT/volunteer.

Thanks for anyone who can make any suggestions.

I can't answer your questions about Canadian admission.

What I can say is that your MCAT is far far more important for getting into medical school than trying to work full time and "showing you can balance work/volunteering and studying for the MCAT". Nobody will care how much you worked or volunteered while you study if your score isn't where you need it to be(and considering your GPA is on the low side even if you are banking on MUN then you'll need a very good score). Likewise, if you commit to nothing else but the MCAT the next few months and do well, nobody is going to look at it and say "well we need to dock points because he didn't work much for those few months he studied". Working 60 hours a week in an engineering job while studying for the MCAT does not sound like a recipe for maximizing your ability on the MCAT at all. And when it comes to medical school admission MCAT score>>>>>>>>>>>getting work experience, particularly in a non-medical field.
 
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NotASerialKiller

2+ Year Member
Jul 7, 2015
1,457
6,866
Status
Medical Student
I can't answer your questions about Canadian admission.

What I can say is that your MCAT is far far more important for getting into medical school than trying to work full time and "showing you can balance work/volunteering and studying for the MCAT". Nobody will care how much you worked or volunteered while you study if your score isn't where you need it to be(and considering your GPA is on the low side even if you are banking on MUN then you'll need a very good score). Likewise, if you commit to nothing else but the MCAT the next few months and do well, nobody is going to look at it and say "well we need to dock points because he didn't work much for those few months he studied". Working 60 hours a week in an engineering job while studying for the MCAT does not sound like a recipe for maximizing your ability on the MCAT at all. And when it comes to medical school admission MCAT score>>>>>>>>>>>getting work experience, particularly in a non-medical field.
This actually applies much more to US schools than Canadian ones (which is why I said premed101.com is a good resource for him). Not 100% sure about MUN, but most schools either use the MCAT as a cutoff (all sections 10 or above) or a small percentage of your total score. It's generally not nearly as influential as other aspects of your application.
 

GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
3,803
Status
Non-Student
This actually applies much more to US schools than Canadian ones (which is why I said premed101.com is a good resource for him). Not 100% sure about MUN, but most schools either use the MCAT as a cutoff (all sections 10 or above) or a small percentage of your total score. It's generally not nearly as influential as other aspects of your application.
You obviously are more well versed in the Canadian side of things but I'll say getting 1o+ on all sections is no joke. None of this work experience means jack squat without that MCAT score then. If anything, with the cut offs like that, you could argue the MCAT is even more of a limiting factor in Canada. Difference between a 34 and 38 might not be as significant in Canada as it is in the US, but getting that score with 10+ in each section isn't easy.

Even for those schools where the MCAT is a minor factor, considering OP has a 3.35 and sGPA's dont mean squat in Canada, a strong showing on the MCAT is very important, perhaps more so than your typical candidate who's GPA is higher.
 

NotASerialKiller

2+ Year Member
Jul 7, 2015
1,457
6,866
Status
Medical Student
You obviously are more well versed in the Canadian side of things but I'll say getting 1o+ on all sections is no joke. None of this work experience means jack squat without that MCAT score then. If anything, with the cut offs like that, you could argue the MCAT is even more of a limiting factor in Canada. Difference between a 34 and 38 might not be as significant in Canada as it is in the US, but getting that score with 10+ in each section isn't easy.

Even for those schools where the MCAT is a minor factor, considering OP has a 3.35 and sGPA's dont mean squat in Canada, a strong showing on the MCAT is very important, perhaps more so than your typical candidate who's GPA is higher.
That's true, some are easier like UofT (average GPA = 3.96) just requiring 9+ in each but you still have to do well for most schools. I just feel like your MCAT score is huge in every way in the US whereas a lot of Canadian schools use it as a tool to determine whose application they'll actually look at, and after that it's almost all GPA, ECs, etc. to determine interviews and acceptances. The main difference is that for most places a 40 would not be a significant advantage over a 32, but high 20s is an automatic rewrite.