Advice Please - Need a Sanity Check

Hi All

First off - I’m Canadian and am looking to apply to BOTH Canadian and US med schools. My GPA from undergrad (BSc in Pharmacology and Physiology) was not that stellar - it took me 2 years to get my feet in university and then things started to improve radically, but my overall GPA 2.5 (3.8 in my last year). I went on to do my MBA and then worked for 15 years in marketing for a telecommunications company. I managed to get packaged out in the spring. This summer, I re-took CHEM I and II and got a B+ on one (the prof was challenging so I am happy with a B+ as it was one of the higher marks in the class) and an A on the other.

Second thing to note is that there are a few med schools in Canada that look at your last 2 full time years of undergrad, so since I have a very good last year of undergrad, I can go back to school fulltime (upper level courses only) to make myself more attractive to those schools. Also need to point out that in Canada, no application is reviewed until after the application deadline which for most schools is in Oct so getting in an application early doesn’t help.

I’ve posted this before but wanted to set the stage. So here’s where I need some advice as I feel I am a tad to close to my situation. I am going to describe my original plan and then describe an alternative I am noodling with right now. Feedback based on the background specific to the Canadian system and your experiences would be appreciated.

Original Plan:

Finish the BIOL course I had been taking through distance eduction. Take CHEM I and II and PHYS I and II this summer at a local university. (I dropped PHYS because CHEM was more than enough - of course now I need to refresh my PHYS as it was taken a long time ago and I got mediocre marks). This Sept re-enroll fulltime in upper level courses to set myself up for those Canadian universities. Probably brush up on Physics on the side for the MCAT. Next summer, take Organic Chem, study for the MCAT and write the MCAT in Sept and apply to Canadian and US schools (get the US applications in early though).

Alternative Option:

Sign up to retake Organic Chemistry starting in Sept at the local university. Probably do Physics too. Study for the MCAT next summer and write it in July all the while preparing my applications. The following Sept go back and do the fulltime year of upper level courses to improve my standing for the Canadian schools.

I will also be continuing my volunteer work and will be looking for shadowing opportunities (hard to get docs in Canada willing to allow shadowing).

Also, I considered taking upper level CHEM and PHYS in my full time year to cover MCAT prep and upper level course requirements, but I really can’t face upper level CHEM and PHYS.

So, what do you guys think? I am leaning towards the alternative given I have read the advice of this being a marathon not a sprint many times. I just feel that I will be stretched way to thin if I follow the first plan.



People on the forums are probably tired of hearing me repeat this but…

The question I always ask is the goal to get into medical school or to get into medical school quickly? Overloading on courses in an attempt to rush risks mediocre grades. Taking an extra term or two to do well will not be looked down upon by the adcoms. Bad grades will.

Here, Here! Great advice, Rich. I know that I can push through and apply to a med school a year earlier than I plan, but I want the best possible application and I plan to use this time to make that possible.

How’s LI? Haven’t been back in a couple of years but plan to do so this Christmas.


Other than outrageous property taxes, high electric rates, jobs being moved out of new york, and the hot sticky simmer weather, its great.


I am just starting out, so unfortunately I can’t offer much advice other than what I’ve been given by others here – take it slowly and focus on the grades. That’s really helped me to sit and plan what I’m going to be doing for the next few years. Instead of working full-time and juggling school full-time so that I can finish in 4 years, it is going to take me about 6 years to finish up.

Please do keep us (me!) posted on how you do. My husband is from Canada, so I do have the option of attending school up there. My primary choice would be UOttawa because it is close to family… Same reason why I am hoping to get into SUNY - it’s only 3 hours from Ottawa. But I’ve heard it’s a lot harder to get into school up there because they have so few seats available.