05-25-2005, 11:36 PM
Hello....ive just finished my 3rd year @ U of T in Cell Biology......and my GPA isn't looking that good...3.03.....i've improved in each of my years.....but my first year was horrible....so this is all i have to show for my GPA......i've been checking out all my options for grad school as i really want to enter a primary health care specialty.......meds seems way out of reach in the canada and the u.s......i've found a few potential schools of osteopathy.......and dentistry and pharmacy in the u.s....are really starting to look like my best options if i wanna stay in north america.......I was wondering if anyone has some advice for me......as what lies outside of the north america and the potentials to migrate back to the states to work.....as either a doctor on dentist are..........any info on schools in the U.K. and Australia will be much appreciated............
05-30-2005, 11:43 PM
Medicine is still possible, but you will likely have a tough road ahead with your GPA; however, if it's what you REALLY want and your willing to work extra hard - it's not impossible.
First of all, was there a good reason for stuffing your first year (eg. illness, etc.)? If yes, you can provide an explanation on your applications and an adcom may consider this. Your other years though would have to be competitive.
Also, why do you want to do med vs. the other professions you have mentioned in your post. What is it about being a doctor vs. a DO, dentist, nurse, etc. that you are willing to fight an uphill battle for? Have you considered nursing - especially the role of nurse practitioner who have increased and growing responsibilities? I'm not trying to discourage your interest in medicine - you just need to challenge yourself on why you really want this!!
At the end of the day, if you are convinced that it is medicine you want and you are committed to work extra hard to fulfill your dream, then some suggestions include:
(1) Prepare for and write the MCAT --- your goal should be a VERY good score to compensate for your GPA!!
(2) If your MCAT is competitive, it may be worth submitting some applications to Canadian and US schools --- you will need an amazing MCAT and a stellar essay to compensate for your GPA (it's a long shot, but if you won the lottery, it would save the extra effort involved in returning to Canada/US as an IMG)
(3) You could consider moving to and taking up residency in a province where the admission stats are a little less competitive (you wouldn't be able to apply for a year or two; however, this is an option).
(4) You can look at Australian/Irish/Carribean schools. If you want to return to Canada, then the Australian/Irish schools are likely a better bet. If you only want to focus on the U.S. then you can include the top Carribean schools. It's important to know though that your GPA is still below average for these schools. Your chances will be higher than in Canada/US and a great MCAT score will go a long way to making your application competitive; however, these schools are becoming popular alternatives especially for Canadians and as a result, they are increasingly competitive. A factor that could potentially work in your favour is that the GPA calculation for the Oz schools uses a weighting scheme that favours the later years (eg. [1*Year 1 + 2*Year 2 + 3*Year 3]/6) so this could dilute your bad first year and improve your GPA in the eyes of the Ozzie schools. Look here for more info:
(5) While doing all of the above, volunteer for some unique medical experiences. And I don't mean simply volunteering in ER or something like that - something truly spectacular (eg. getting involved in the delivery of health care to an impoverished area abroad, etc.) that will both get you excited about medicine and prove to you that this is what you want, and also impress an admissions committee that you know this is what you want!! Such an experience will also help to differentiate yourself from other applicants and may also help to make up for your GPA.
The last point I'll make is that (if I assume correctly) you are still young so you have a lot of years to work this out!! Some of us don't realize that we want medicine until years later when the road is a little tougher. So, although your GPA is not where you want it to be, if you are willing to work extra extra hard - you can still become a doctor.
Hope this helps!
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