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Worried Canadian undergrad...

Discussion in 'Canada' started by WonkaVision, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. WonkaVision

    WonkaVision New Member
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    Hi everyone.
    I suppose I would fit under the "non trad" category to some extent.
    I've wanted to be a doctor since I was a teenager and am now 24 years old. I am entering Concordia University's 3 year BSc in Biochemistry program this coming Fall and have some concerns pertaining to medical school.
    Firstly, I did terribly in CEGEP. By terribly I mean TERRIBLY. I'll spare everyone the sickening details, but I have been concerned about the grades I obtained there and how they might impact a possible med school application. I lazed about in CEGEP for about 5 years (hence my late university entry).
    Some of my pre reqs were done 3 times (General Chemistry 2 for example) while at CEGEP, while others I scored in the 60s in.
    In my defence, I have had several serious/semi serious medical bouts to deal with throughout much of my life, and am only now getting better. I took some classes last semester (a physical chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry) course and did well in them. I know I am capable of getting good grades, and was hoping that my entry into university would enable me to "start over anew".
    So firstly,
    If I take higher level courses in the same categories as the pre-requisites, will my older grades in those respective areas be waived?
    Will my generally sour CEGEP record hinder my chances of acceptance?
    Would it be beneficial to do a 4-year honours degree instead? (aside from one particular school requiring one).

    Thanks a lot, and best of luck to you all!
     
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  3. MadHopsMD

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    grades are only 1/2 the application. MCAT mean a lot. I will tell you how you can get a free pass: EXTREMELY High MCAT SCORE (36+).

    Yes, your low gpa will hurt you in the future, no doubt about it. But explain to them how you improved it in the Ps statement.

    Again, you cant afford to get a low MCAT score (<30) and get in an allopathy school.

    Have you taken a look at DO schools? I believe they replace your grades for courses....
     
  4. Jamesmtl

    Jamesmtl Pleonastically Redundant
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    hey wonkavision..DON'T WORRY!!

    I just graduated from Concordia in Biochem (honours) and start McGill med in days. I also failed 5/6 courses one semester in CEGEP and had minimal volunteering. Furthermore, my physics prereqs where in the low 60s. McGill uses an algorithm to decide who to offer admissions to. It is 20% MCAT, 20 GPA, 20 interview 1, 20 interview 2, and 20 autobiography. The prereqs aren't that important providing you're doing a BSc in biochem and ace the MCAT. Doing the honours option is smart, even if only to distinguish yourself from those who have a 'simple' B.Sc. However, it does not take 4 years to complete....it is still 3 years. Another note, you MUST take 5 classes each semester and stay away from summer courses. I applied with a 3.85/4.0 and a 36P, spent an eternity on my auto and made sure to get good LOR. The auto is especially important as it is the guide for both interviews. So take a deep breath and focus on nothing but the week at hand. In the end, the summary of all those successful weeks will translate into a competitive application. Feel free to PM me with more questions.
     
  5. Jamesmtl

    Jamesmtl Pleonastically Redundant
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    sonyvaio...dude....CANADA. MCAT is not God, Osteopathy schools don't exist, and wonkavision's GPA is, at present, undefined.

    Good MDapp....$econdaries must be painful!! I'm sure you'll get in somewhere....best of luck! :)
     
  6. MadHopsMD

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    I thought wonkavision ment as a canadian applying to US.

    My insights on canadian schools:

    -I am not sure about out-of-ontario schools, other than the fact that most require high gpa (sask, manitoba, dal) or high mcat (Bc).

    -As for ontario schools. You probably out at Toronto, Ottawa, Mac and Queens (gpa 3.85+). Only at Western can you manage to get an interview but you need 2 years above 3.7 (with 5 courses any years, so even out of 7 or 8 haha) and 10 min each section on MCAT (32+ total).

    Remember all these are CUTOFFS, an amazing PS means nothing at most canadian schools (mcgill might be an exception). Its a computer that does the chopping haha....

    That being said, american schools are more forgiving gpa wise if you ROCK the mcat. High mcat scores (39+) are basically "get out of jail" cards. Get them and gpa means even little. Plus if you have an amazing PS (explaining your grades) then you are in my friend...


    yes very very painful. and financially draining...i like mcgills algorithm i should apply there...
     
  7. WonkaVision

    WonkaVision New Member
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    Thanks a lot for the responses, guys!

    Jamesmtl:One of the problems I'm facing is that I never completed a DEC in anything. McGill's website says that they offer admission to holders of a DEC who hold (at minimum) a 3 year undergraduate degree. All other applicants require 4 years.
    Congrats on your acceptance, man. Good luck with med school!
     
  8. WonkaVision

    WonkaVision New Member
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    sonyvaio2700:
    CEGEP does not affect one's GPA and as such, my GPA is undefined.

    Thanks again, guys!
     
  9. MadHopsMD

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    ok what does CEGEP stand for. I thought it was an acorynm for gpa...i am so ignorant :)
     
  10. Jamesmtl

    Jamesmtl Pleonastically Redundant
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    Collège d'enseignement général et professionnel... it's our grade 12 and 13. THen university is only 3 years. DEC = Diplôme d'études collégiales
     
  11. akinf

    akinf Senior Member
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    MCAT does not carry as much weight in Canada as it does in the US. For most schools, having a good GPA is a very good idea. The average at Mac and Toronto last year was 3.88 and 3.87, respectively. Also, for Ottawa, you need a minimum 3.83, and 3.87 is you are OOP. Toronto and Mac do have lower cut-offs, but your other stuff should be pretty stellar if you have a low GPA. At Manitoba, if you have a high MCAT (36+) that can help you get in; someone mentioned UBC likes high MCAT, not true, check their stats, I think they have some of the lowest MCAT scores in the country.

    McGills admission process is, in my opinion, one of the best in the country. Even though as an OOP I will have nearly no chance of getting in, for the Quebecs who do apply out of university, the fact that all the groups get equal weighting is very good - it probably ensures better than other schools that you get well-rounded students.

    To the OP, keep doing what you are doing, study really hard for the MCAT (I'm writing it next week), and just be yourself. You seem like you have had some experiences thus far, so I'm sure that you'd be able to describe that in your apps.
     
  12. xylem29

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    That's not accurate. High MCAT scores cannot be "get out of jail cards" in the states - I mean, first off, you'd be applying as an OOS and 2ndly, an OOS that's an international student. Rocking the MCAT with 35+ I don't think would help the individual who has a 3.5 - you see, people who get into med school with 3.3 - 3.5 gpa's who rock the MCAT are IN STATE American citizen's who apply to their state schools that give preference to them.

    On the otherhand, b/c Canadian schools make things too damn difficult (argh!!!!), the applicant who has a 3.6+ but who still misses the cutoffs here, can be helped with a high MCAT. Of course, DO schools are def an option that would seem easier - if u only look at numbers - if you had a gpa below 3.5.

    Don't be fooled by the illusion that US schools are so easy to get into, because it's not like goin Aus or Ireland or Carribean. It might be slightly easier to get into a US school but not to the point where you can do so with 3.3 gpa's. Just look at the different schools sites and check their entering class stats - check out the mdapplicant's site and pick off individual schools and see what the average MCAT and gpa's are for those who get interviews.
     
  13. akinf

    akinf Senior Member
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  14. MadHopsMD

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    I agree with these statements. But when i meant HIGH MCAT I should have said 40+. haha, that will defiently get you in some school in the states even if you have a 3.0 cGPA. BEWARE: i think like 10 out of 40,000 who write it each year get that score. Even though SDN might lead you to think different :D

    I agree with these statements. I will like to add that applying early helps alot especially for the average applicant like me. So for the ppl applying next year 2007-2008. Remember take your mcat in jan-may and apply starting June, July.

    P.S I am sorry if I lead you to believe anything different.
     
  15. MadHopsMD

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    This profile doesnt apply to us...because its IN-State and NOT texas. (Texas LOVES its own students, check the MSAR for this). We as Canadian applicants are looked at differently. Entirely Differently!!!!!


    Just like to add, that UOFT consideres only 3 best years out of 4....this makes a HUGE difference. My gpa jumps from 3.76 to 3.84.
     
  16. SMRT

    SMRT Member
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    That's not how the UofT weighting works. They drop one full-course (or two half-course) grade per year of study completed, if you have taken a full course load in every year.
    http://www.facmed.utoronto.ca/English/page-13-15501-1.html

    The average GPA for admitted students last year was 3.87 (I assume this is the weighted GPA). http://www.facmed.utoronto.ca/English/Admissions-Statistics.html
    Note the wide range of MCAT scores. As long as you meet the minimums (9's and M), then it really has no bearing. And even if you miss the minimums you still have a shot.
     
  17. MadHopsMD

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    Yap you are right. You see, my lowest marks are all third year...so thats why i didnt think of it that way...
     
  18. trustwomen

    trustwomen Senior Member
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    You'll be fine, you do indeed have a fresh start. I'm jealous! :) Your youthful goofing off won't count against you because it was in CEGEP. (I was in university at 17, and goofed off, and it's stained me like a scarlet A ever since). :oops:

    Since you don't have a DEC (good job getting into Concordia without one, BTW, that's a feat), honours might be a good idea, to show that you are serious and competitive. If you don't want to spend four years doing it, take classes every summer and you can do it in three. I'll echo James and remind you to always take 5 classes a term in fall and winter. Or you could call McGill and ask whether that DEC is really necessary if you get a Quebec university degree.

    Also note that once you've taken only 50 credits at university, you can apply to UdeM and they won't count your CEGEP at all (I believe the other french schools do the same). So you could apply even sooner: the app deadline is January, but they don't include your newly-completed courses from the fall semester... so you'd have to apply in jan. of third year and not second. For McGill, you have to be in your graduating year, whatever that is.

    p.s. There are several Concordia grads, including Jamesmtl and myself, in Med 1 at McGill this year (it was great to finally meet you James!) so don't listen to anyone (*ahem*mcgillpremeds*ahem*) who disses your school.
     
  19. boulux

    boulux Member
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    Are you sure they don't include the fall semester? From what I understand, the GPA and CRU for this semester are calculated in the winter break between the fall and winter semester but they can't include the course from the winter semester because you apply during them.
     
  20. brain_implosion

    brain_implosion New Member

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    Since we're talking GPA's here

    1) Does GPA from courses taken at community colleges count
    2) Does GPA from courses taken after completion of your undergrad degree count (Mostly Science prerequisites)
    2.5) Does it matter if these courses are taken via Distance education/online from a reputed 4 year univ - UWaterloo for eg?
    3) When you guys talk about 3.88 - is that on a 4.0 scale? :oops: ?
    4) I have a few courses of REALLY bad grades. If I retake them, how would my GPA be calculated?
     
  21. SMRT

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    You really have to check with each school that you are interested in because they all have different methods. There's only 17 so it's not so hard.
     
  22. megaman1x

    megaman1x Member
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    SMRT is exactly right. Nobody can answer those questions for you accurately.
     
  23. brain_implosion

    brain_implosion New Member

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    Thank you ladies/gentlemen - I will contact the approprate folks and post what I find out. Thanks for all your help.
     

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