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Deeply-depressed-need tips/advice tonic, here are my stats

Discussion in 'What Are My Chances?' started by Timetight, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. Timetight

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    My first post,

    So, I'm get to the point. I'm a canadaian U1 student & a Quebec Resident. Just finished my first semester and have received so far grades for 3 of my 5 classes-which aren't spectacular:

    Micro: B-
    Lab: B+
    Elective: B+ (and I was told to get less than an A would be "sad" well, I guess I fall into the "tragic" category)

    The other 2 classes aren't up yet but no reason to hope they're that much better.

    I am willing to work my but off for the rest of my degree-but be frank do I have a chance of getting into a medical school? i.e. pull my GPA up to something close to 3.7 on a 4.0 scale? (I am even prepared to venture into US territory)

    Volunteering/shadowing-got some volunteering a year ago but no shadowing so far-planning to start this summer. Is it too late? I know we should do as many hours as possible but do you have a ballpark figure of hours to aim for as a minimum?

    So please be frank: what are my chances & what should I focus on in the future to be competitive (if I can be at all) for med school?

    P.S sorry if the post is a bit long.:(
     
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  3. ChemEngMD

    ChemEngMD No need to hide behind private profiles
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    I'm assuming U1 means first year, right?

    If that is true then you dont' have ANYTHING to worry about. People have come back from much much much worse then a few B's. You are usually forgiven for your first semester or two if you beging to do really well because med schools understand their is a transition period that may take you some time. If you are interested in volunteering, do so long term...maybe 3-5 hours a week for an entire school year then maybe switch to a different clinic or hospital. As far as shadowing goes...you should do it but you don't need tons of it...I personally would do more volunteer work if you can get good quality volunteer work where you are actually getting patient/clinical experience.

    I hope this helps, but seriously...take a deep breath. It's not over...not by a long shot.
     
  4. Mobius1985

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    Let's say you got a B average, or 3.0 GPA. Considering that is for only one semester, if you can do the necessary work (you said you're willing to work your butt off) to get straight As next semester, your GPA will go up to 3.5. As long as you continue to do A work, after two more semesters (end of sophomore year) you'd have a 3.75. That's competitive for US schools, but if you need it higher for Canadian schools, an additional year (6 semesters total) gets you to 3.83. If you want it badly enough, you can still be very competitive for allopathic medical schools. If you are still depressed after reading this, then please see a mental health professional, as SDN members are not allowed to give medical advice.
     
  5. Timetight

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    [Smirk] Your post did cheer me up a bit. But mainly, just went to see an advisor-she said I could move one of my 4 hard classes to the summer to alleviate my load & allow boosting of GPA.

    But then she said not to take too many classes in the summer as med schools don't like to see that.

    To what extend is this true? For Canadian schools? US?
     
  6. stixx

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    You'll be fine, you have tons of time to work on that GPA.

    Just curious why didn't you apply from CEGEP?
     
  7. Mobius1985

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    For US schools, summer classes for prerequisites might be perceived as "easier", but you will have no problem taking some that way, as the proof of whether you learned enough is in the great equalizer, MCAT. For non-prerequisites, there's zero problem.

    The Canuckistani above (makes me laugh to sound that out) is an expert on the prevailing Canadian opinion.
     
  8. Confection

    Confection oh so sweet!
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    Sweety, you have a few B's. That is nothing to worry about. Work your butt off and I recommend reading Cal Newport's books on college studying and getting A's if you need tips on getting those A's. It helps :)
     
  9. Timetight

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    Well, I realise most people on this forum are from the states so to make myself perfectly clear. My bac consists of 90 credits taken (usually) over 3 years and I am currently in my first year, 2nd semester.

    Since people apply at the beginning of their last year, I guess I have ~1 school year & 2 summers for EC's and 3 semesters to improve my GPA.

    I just found out that my final GPA for the 1st semester is 3.05/4.0

    As for EC's, I'm wondering what the typical ballpark range is in order to be a competitive applicant. Could you all fill in the "?" in my list please?

    1-Clinical experience: ? hours, ? type activity (is cumulative hours more important or that fact that the experience be stretched over a long period of time)
    2-Doctor Shadowing: ? hours, ? ? type activity
    3-Leadership: ? type activity
    4-Reasearch: ? hours, ? length of time (a summer/ school semester)

    And finally, how important is it to have these activities taking place during the school semester? Would doing EC's only in summer affect my application negatively?

    [Woried] Because am currently not doing any EC's during school semester as am devoting 100% time to improve GPA. Would this be seen as "cheating" by the admissions b/c we're supposed to show that we are well-rounded individuals who lead perfectly humanitarian lives naturally-everyday.

    Thanks for reading through all that and please respond!! :)
     
  10. Mobius1985

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    For the US perspective:

    Typical extracurriculars would include 1.5 years of clinical experience. Gaining this at a rate of 3-4 hours/week is fine. It is best acquired at a slow, steady, consistent rate, rather than in larger blocks of time over the summer. If you have the time, a broader experience gained in more than one venue would be desirable. During your clinical experience you will hopefully meet doctors. These are the folks you hit on for a shadowing experience. Typically, one shadows 2-3 types of specialties, for 8-40 hours each, depending on your interest. This can be done over school breaks.

    Altruistic service is also desirable. If you gain your clinical experience through volunteerism, you have this covered. If your clinical exposure is via another type of experience, you'd need something additional to show your service-minded mentality; consider Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, soup kitchen, homeless shelter. This is also best done consistently over a long period of time.

    Additionally, you'll need a leadership experience. This might be teaching or mentoring (provided you are guiding, directing, inspiring and not just regurgitating information), officership in an organization (if you lead meetings, organize the accomplishment of tasks, provide direction), starting a business, military, directing a show, leading a successful charitable fund drive, among many others.

    Research: Is desirable, but not required. If you have it, more schools will seriously consider your application. The minimum is 3 months over a summer, the average seems to be about a year. Some have 3+ years and several publications. Research includes any scholarly investigation that adds to human knowledge, so it need not be bench (basic science) or clinical in nature.
     
  11. Timetight

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    Reading your post made me feel so small & far from my goal. But at least i know what more should lie on the path ahead.

    Thanks for your detailed post, it definately helped!
     
  12. Mobius1985

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    PM the Canuckistani and see if he'll return to discuss Canadian perspectives.
     
  13. WannaBePreMed

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    Grade trend matters too, so you better start working harder. With that said I think you have a legitimate shot :thumbup:
     
  14. stixx

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    :) Yep, for sure.

    I started university as a U0, but didn't really start my clinical ECs until winter U1. I don't think you're that far behind, but I can give you some ideas of what to get involved with.
     
  15. Mobius1985

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    We'd all love to know what standard suggestions would apply to Canadian students early in their premed years.
     

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