Sep 11, 2015
5
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi guys,

I'm a little lost right now and I'm hoping someone can give me some guidance. I just finished my bachelors of science from the university of Toronto. I did terrible in my first year which included most of my Med school prerequisites. Most of my marks were in the 60-70 range with some 75's. I did well in 2nd year and first semester of 3rd year (mostly A's), but I had some medical issues in the second semester and did bad in most of my courses. I was much better in 4th year and got all A's. So my GPA was an up and down trend which I know will not look good on medical school applications. Right now my GPA is a 3.1. I wrote my MCAT last summer and got a 37 which probably won't compensate for my poor GPA + lack of research experience. I do have 400+ hours of hospital volunteering but was unable to get any research experience due to my GPA.
I am considering retaking my first year courses the next year and retaking the new MCAT to apply for fall 2017. Is it worth retaking the courses or is it better to go back as a 5th year student and take higher level courses or is there another option that I should consider?
Just to clarify I am a Canadian student looking to apply to US medical schools.

Thanks in advance!
 

NotASerialKiller

2+ Year Member
Jul 7, 2015
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Do you not want to apply in Canada? It's tough in Ontario, but a lot of schools will only look at X years or X credits which is something you might need because of your record. You did really well on the MCAT which is great, so don't retake it unless schools say that you can't use your old score (I think just Alberta schools have done this already).

Unfortunately US MD schools won't just replace course marks with retakes so you likely won't be able to fix this, and it will be especially hard because of being an international applicant. Your best bet is probably to take another year or two in a province that will grant you residence status and look at your most recent years. If you're fine with doing residency and working in the US then you could do some GPA repair and apply to US DO schools as well. If you want to come back to Canada for residency then DO is more of a question mark, currently listing students as IMGs in Ontario.
 

GrapesofRath

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May 5, 2015
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Re-taking the MCAT is a complete waste of time and actually would be a detriment to your app(re-taking a 37 will not come across well)

Your GPA is too low. In the US, a 3.1/37 candidate would be a good person for an SMP but a) I have no idea how receptive SMP programs are to internationals b) Even if you finish an SMP and ace it you still will face the obstacle of being an international applying for MD admission. Realize this, 43% of US applicants were accepted to an MD school. 11% of international applicants were accepted to a US MD school. It is just insanely competitive for you and I can guarantee there will be a hoard of Canadians with your MCAT score who also have 3.8+ GPAs applying to US schools.

So there are two possible options here I can think of
a) Stay a fifth year. Ace it and I think you can be a competitive candidate for the 15 American DO programs that take internationals.
b) Do alot of homework on SMP programs. Dig around and see which take internationals. But that's only the first part. Try and see if these SMP programs have a track record of taking international students like you and if they do how did those students fair. Did the ones who do well find an MD program in the US to take them? Did they still struggle to find a school? Also check out programs with strong linkage. Temple is the first that comes to mind. I think Rosalind takes a fairly large number of their SMP graduates. This is a rather risky strategy and I wouldn't recommend it unless you can get into a program that takes a fairly significant amount of their SMP students(and IDK if it is possible to find one outside of Temple and maybe a few others) but if you can find it and get in and do well ,then that is a good route to get into a US MD program. Again, this is a big if and admittedly I know very little about SMP programs and how strong many of their linkages they have are. But it's at least worth doing homework on.

So there you have it. While retaking classes helps for DO programs, if you stay a fifth year I would definitely try to take a number of upper level science courses and retake only a few key prereqs( ie maybe re-take physics if you did poorly in it since you are unlikely to take upper level courses in that subject). All in all your ability to be a physician in the US will likely come down to how open you are to the DO route. If it is something you are open to I think there is a reasonable chance with another strong year in school you could find interested suitors.
 
OP
A
Sep 11, 2015
5
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for the input guys, I have been looking into SMP's but most of them require you to be a US citizen which is why I thought of just repeating my first year courses at a different university in Canada because it's basically the same as the Postbacc premedical program that some schools offer, only cheaper. I don't think my GPA is anywhere near competitive for the SMP programs in any case. The only reason I was considering retaking the MCAT is because I don't want it to be outdated by the time I apply for medical school. I know that University of Alberta already does not accept the old MCAT for the next year applicants so I think other schools would follow. I am considering repeating my courses in another province - Newfoundland and Labrador so that I would have a chance there but can't seem to find any information about how they look at repeated courses.
 

NotASerialKiller

2+ Year Member
Jul 7, 2015
1,457
6,866
Status
Medical Student
Thanks for the input guys, I have been looking into SMP's but most of them require you to be a US citizen which is why I thought of just repeating my first year courses at a different university in Canada because it's basically the same as the Postbacc premedical program that some schools offer, only cheaper. I don't think my GPA is anywhere near competitive for the SMP programs in any case. The only reason I was considering retaking the MCAT is because I don't want it to be outdated by the time I apply for medical school. I know that University of Alberta already does not accept the old MCAT for the next year applicants so I think other schools would follow. I am considering repeating my courses in another province - Newfoundland and Labrador so that I would have a chance there but can't seem to find any information about how they look at repeated courses.
MUN would be a good choice, they take care of their own. UofA and UofC aren't even accepting the old MCAT for this year's applicants, so they're definitely the exceptions. I wouldn't consider retaking it until you get official word of when other schools will follow, I wouldn't assume that it would be within a year or two.
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
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No chance at US MD schools, and OK for some but not all DO schools.

Hi guys,

I'm a little lost right now and I'm hoping someone can give me some guidance. I just finished my bachelors of science from the university of Toronto. I did terrible in my first year which included most of my Med school prerequisites. Most of my marks were in the 60-70 range with some 75's. I did well in 2nd year and first semester of 3rd year (mostly A's), but I had some medical issues in the second semester and did bad in most of my courses. I was much better in 4th year and got all A's. So my GPA was an up and down trend which I know will not look good on medical school applications. Right now my GPA is a 3.1. I wrote my MCAT last summer and got a 37 which probably won't compensate for my poor GPA + lack of research experience. I do have 400+ hours of hospital volunteering but was unable to get any research experience due to my GPA.
I am considering retaking my first year courses the next year and retaking the new MCAT to apply for fall 2017. Is it worth retaking the courses or is it better to go back as a 5th year student and take higher level courses or is there another option that I should consider?
Just to clarify I am a Canadian student looking to apply to US medical schools.

Thanks in advance!
 

summergirl

7+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2012
946
1,324
Status
Medical Student
I'm a Canadian who also graduated from U of T and I was in your exact situation when I graduated. I did my MCAT the summer I graduated from UT, and got a 37 as well. I started another degree immediately and just kept on accumulating more credits with As. My current cGPA is slightly lower than 3.5, but with an extreme upward trend. I currently have 2 IIs from US MD schools. I consider myself extremely lucky to get this far in the process with my GPA. So if we assume 3.45 is the lowest a Canadian applicant need to get an II when that applicant couples it with a 37 MCAT, then you'll need at least 3 more years of full-time course load with As in all of them. By then, your MCAT would have already expired so you'll need to take the new one and replicate your success on the old one. If you can do this, then I think USMD is a possible path for you. Good luck!!
 
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OP
A
Sep 11, 2015
5
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm a Canadian who also graduated from U of T and I was in your exact situation when I graduated. I did my MCAT the summer I graduated from UT, and got a 37 as well. I started another degree immediately and just kept on accumulating more credits with As. My current cGPA is slightly lower than 3.5, but with an extreme upward trend. I currently have 2 IIs from US MD schools. I consider myself extremely lucky to get this far in the process with my GPA. So if we assume 3.45 is the lowest a Canadian applicant need to get an II when that applicant couples it with a 37 MCAT, then you'll need at least 3 more years of full-time course load with As in all of them. By then, your MCAT would have already expired so you'll need to take the new one and replicate your success on the old one. If you can do this, then I think USMD is a possible path for you. Good luck!!
Thank you so much! This is so encouraging! I'm going to continue with a second degree and hopefully bring up my GPA and redo the new MCAT. Even if I'm not as lucky, I can't say I didn't try.
 

summergirl

7+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2012
946
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Status
Medical Student
Thank you so much! This is so encouraging! I'm going to continue with a second degree and hopefully bring up my GPA and redo the new MCAT. Even if I'm not as lucky, I can't say I didn't try.
No problem at all. I remember how discouraged I felt when I first graduated and I want my experiences to help others who may be in the same situation I was.

Some things to be careful about:
This is literally you last chance at medical school in the US. Don't blow it. Any grade below an 80 is a huge liability and could sink your dream (I'm serious). If you get below 3.75 in your new degree, you can pretty much kiss your medical school dream goodbye. Ideally you should get all 85+, unless you're doing your 2nd degree at Western, which means 80+ is the same thing as 85+ to AMCAS.
Take serious note of UWO's GPA rules and MCAT cut-offs and make sure you meet both. This should guarantee you an interview in two years.
Get some research! Yes some people will tell you you don't need research to get into med school, but since your GPA is so low, you really need the rest of your application to be PERFECT. So get some research.
Be careful not to retake your MCAT too early. You'll probably want to apply after the 2nd years of your second degree, so you'll want your MCAT retake to start being valid that year, and for one or two years after that so there's chance for you to reapply without writing it again.
The 2nd degree route is very very very difficult. Keep your eyes on the prize. You'll get there if you show the medical schools how much you want this.
 
Last edited:
OP
A
Sep 11, 2015
5
0
Status
Pre-Medical
No problem at all. I remember how discouraged I felt when I first graduated and I want my experiences to help others who may be in the same situation I was.

Some things to be careful about:
This is literally you last chance at medical school in the US. Don't blow it. Any grade below an 80 is a huge liability and could sink your dream (I'm serious). If you get below 3.75 in your new degree, you can pretty much kiss your medical school dream goodbye. Ideally you should get all 85+, unless you're doing your 2nd degree at Western, which means 80+ is the same thing as 85+ to AMCAS.
Take serious note of UWO's GPA rules and MCAT cut-offs and make sure you meet both. This should guarantee you an interview in two years.
Get some research! Yes some people will tell you you don't need research to get into med school, but since your GPA is so low, you really need the rest of your application to be PERFECT. So get some research.
Be careful not to retake your MCAT too early. You'll probably want to apply after the 2nd years of your second degree, so you'll want your MCAT retake to start being valid that year, and for one or two years after that so there's chance for you to reapply without writing it again.
The 2nd degree route is very very very difficult. Keep your eyes on the price. You'll get there if you show the medical schools how much you want this.
Thanks again, I'm doing online courses part time at Memorial University right now but I will probably move there next semester for full time study. I just had a question about medical school prereqs? Would you recommend repeating the prerequisites I didn't do that well in during my second degree? Or should I just do other courses to boost my gpa?
 

summergirl

7+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2012
946
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Status
Medical Student
Thanks again, I'm doing online courses part time at Memorial University right now but I will probably move there next semester for full time study. I just had a question about medical school prereqs? Would you recommend repeating the prerequisites I didn't do that well in during my second degree? Or should I just do other courses to boost my gpa?
I personally never repeated any pre-reqs even though I did horrible in them in my first year at UT. Repeating the pre-reqs will give you a huge boost at DO schools due to grade replacement, but they will be very little help to MD schools. In fact, they may make you ineligible for some Canadian MD schools (i.e. Western). My reasoning was this: If I do grade replacement, my DO application would be around 3.7 and a 37 MCAT, which is unnecessarily high. And I have no chance of getting into Canadian MD and a smaller chance (than if I didn't do grade replacement) of getting into USMD. If I don't do grade replacement, my DO grade would be around the same as my MD grade, which should be at least 3.4 with strong upward trend(I made this estimation 2 years ago, so I was being conservative). Together with my 37 MCAT, I am still a top applicant for DO, and also has a chance for both USMD and Canadian MD.

So, I recommend no repeats.
 
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