Requiem

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Here's my situation and all informative comments welcomed:

I'm in Canada, currently going into year 3 of 5 for a B.Sc. Pharm. As of late my interests have shifted towards medicine - for reasons unbeknownst to me (the stars aligned perhaps); however, I feel it's what I want to do. I plan on writing the MCAT next summer - and dedicating that summer to it more or less ( I have to do a hospital rotation so i'll be busy). I finish work this summer in early august, so I may study during August in prep for next summer to get a head start more or less as during the semester there is no time to study outside of school.

In pharmacy school we take 7 courses a semester, which is roughly 19-23 credit hours per semester, depending on the courseload. The sheer volume makes it difficult to excel overall, so my gpa has slipped to ~3.42 /4.00 . I'm contemplating the impact my GPA would have on admissions as understandably (I hope) it would be lower and that most schools would take into account my course-load? I mean I'll even be completing some med school courses(pharmacology, etc) so hopefully it won't be a negative part of my application.

I may do some more volunteer work as EC's are much more instrumental to a med application than pharmacy - but I also feel most volunteer to get a feel for the clinical side of things; something I really don't need to do. Hell I go to school in a hospital ;). So i'd probably keep them to a minimum and focus more on physician shadowing to ensure i'm aware of their field / day to day tasks.

Just wondering what your take is on my profile, which areas can be improved and which are solid. Input is appreciated, i'm game.
 
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Requiem

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Come on, someone must have some general guidelines for what I should do to make myself more competitive- help a dealer out :p
 

Church

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Well, the general guidelines for everyone apply. Assuming that you have all of the prerequisites met...

Study yer butt off for the MCAT. It'll help you because someone on an admissions committee might wonder what the standards of instruction are like in the great white north (as in, "sure he got good grades, but how tough was the school").

I had roughly 250 volunteer hours. Some people have more, some have less.

Shadow a doc if you like, I didn't, but then the docs in the ER where I volunteered hooked me up with the recommendations.

When writing your essays, you could subtly emphasize how you would bring a new element to the mix of students blah, blah, blah. (I spent 9 years in the Navy, and hummed a similar tune on my essays. Must've worked, or at least not hurt)

I'm sure some of the other people around here have some ideas :thumbup:
 

Church

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Forgot to add...

With the 3.4 GPA, you REALLY want to get a [email protected]$$ MCAT score. Don't worry so much about the writing part of the MCAT, get the numbers up. Hate to say it, but you (and we all) just get reduced to numbers, at least as a filter for admissions.

From a friend on the admissions comittee (not at the school I got into), they used a filter formula like this:

(GPA x 10) + MCAT score

If an applicant was under whatever number the board wanted, they didn't get secondary. Didn't even get looked at. Tragic, but if I had to review a zillion apps, I'd probably kick out the 2.5 GPAs and 18J MCATs (sorry to anyone who fits those categories)
 

notdeadyet

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Church is right on target. Canadian schools tend to be competitive, but I'm not sure how well known your particular B.Pharm. would be to the average US adcom. Getting a great score on the MCAT will be critical.

Also, and this is true for any nontrad, be sure to have a good story. This is important when you are doing a career switch ("Why medicine? Why now?") but it is going to be particularly important. In addition to the two questions above that they'll ask you one more: "Why should we think you won't have a change of heart halfway through med school?". I'm sure your reasons are excellent, just be able to articulate them well.

Best of luck on the MCAT.
 
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Requiem

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Really appreciate the replies above, and i'll clarify the degree a bit more:

The year I entered I think we had ~370 applicants for 40 seats. It was roughly a 9:1 applicant to seat ratio, many of whom had degrees etc. As well i'd be contemplating med schools in Canada mostly as I sincerly doubt my chances as an "international" applicant to a US school.

What are your opinions on the volunteer hours? It is absolutely essential I get ~200 hours at local organizations? Let me tell you, it's a real pain in the ass while you're in a professional program to gear up for another.
 

notdeadyet

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Requiem said:
What are your opinions on the volunteer hours? It is absolutely essential I get ~200 hours at local organizations? Let me tell you, it's a real pain in the ass while you're in a professional program to gear up for another.
I have no idea about Canadian admissions requirements, but for American medical schools, the more volunteering the better. I would consider 100 hours of volunteering to be a bare minimum.