The other day while procrastinating at work, I decided to calculate my GPA. Now, since your GPA is probably the single most important factor in determining whether you'll be considered for an interview, you'd think that I'd have checked if I even have the required grades to even think about applying. But this definitely was not something I even considered when I decided this is something I'm determined to pursue.
To be honest, I kind of assumed my GPA was good enough. I did very well in university and graduated with distincition from a tough honors program. With this assumption, I started making plans for things that I actually need to have in order to apply, such as registering for some prerequisites for certain programs, brainstorming organizations to volunteer for and wondering who I could ask for a letter of recommendation.
But as I was reading this great book ("So you want to be a doctor, eh?" by Dr. Anne Berndl), the author really put a LOT of emphasis on grades in undergrad and had listed the minimum required GPAs for all Canadian medical schools, all on a 4.0 scale and I started to wonder...hmmm, am I really sure I even HAVE the grades for medical school? Because if not, doing all the other stuff will be a huge waste of time.
So I quickly logged on to my UWO website and downloaded my grades. Then I prorated them to be on a 4.0 scale. AND FROZE when I looked at my average GPA. It was about 3.4 and for the first UofT, the first university I looked at the minimum required was 3.6. FUCK.
BUT....then I read the fine print. The GPA is based on the OMSAS scale and I thought, ok maybe I just calculated it wrong. And luckily, I was right! Based on my OMSAS GPA, I actually have a GPA of 3.7, if you take the straight average. However all medical schools have different methods of calculating the GPA (i.e some take a straight average, some take the best 2 years, some let you knock off your lowest mark every year, some only take the average of years where you did full time study etc). So, still using UofT as my test, I recalculated based on the UofT method and my GPA went up again to over 3.8!
This was a huge relief but also a major lesson to not just assume. Because honestly, even though my GPA is good and gives me the chance, its still not exceptional and will definitely not give me an edge.