Direct-entry master’s in nursing at McGill

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On Friday, I received an email from the department of nursing. I have been given a conditional acceptance to the direct-entry nursing MSc(A) programme here. The condition is that I must graduate from my current MA in biomedical ethics before Fall 2011. I don’t think that will be a problem.

So, it looks like I’m going to be staying in Montréal for a little while longer, and doing another master’s. :)

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1714,
    title = {Direct-entry master’s in nursing at McGill},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-05-4,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/05/04/direct-entry-masters-in-nursing-at-mcgill/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Direct-entry master’s in nursing at McGill" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 04 May 2011. Web. 20 Oct 2017. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/05/04/direct-entry-masters-in-nursing-at-mcgill/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, May 04). Direct-entry master’s in nursing at McGill [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/05/04/direct-entry-masters-in-nursing-at-mcgill/


Things that bother me about university applications

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The cost of applying

It costs a lot of money for prospective students to apply to most university programmes, and if you’re hedging your bets and applying to a lot of different places, the application fees add up very quickly. I dropped between $700 and $1000 in the past 12 months just on application fees. That’s not money going toward tuition. It didn’t pay for my MCAT, to say nothing about the prep materials. The only thing that money did was buy me the consideration of the admissions committees for all those different schools.

Does it seriously cost a university anywhere near $100 per applicant just for their consideration? What could the cost really be?

I have a pet conspiracy theory that this sort of practice is designed mainly to keep money and power within families and a certain social class. There is a serious financial barrier in place, keeping certain classes of students out of medical schools and the more prestigious schools. I have some discretionary income right now, so I can afford to apply to schools, but I feel like there is a justice issue here that should be addressed.

No information regarding when to expect a decision

Whenever anyone asks me about when I’ll know what I’m doing next year, the most truthful answer that I can give them on the subject is, “Whenever they feel like letting me know.”

Universities never give a straight answer about when one can expect a decision regarding admission. I realise that there is a bit of flexibility that is required, in that many of the students who are first offered positions in university programmes do not accept them, because they have also applied to many programmes at many schools, and a student can only accept offer of admission, and so multiple rounds of admissions-offers must be made. Not a big deal.

That said, if you’re in charge of deciding who does and does not get in to a university, you’ve probably got some pretty smart people who work for you, and I bet if they made it a priority and thought hard enough, you could probably give a date by which all decisions would be made, or a schedule for when rounds of admissions offers will be released.

(I haven’t thought this through, but it might be interesting for competitive university programmes’ admissions committees to get a Twitter account, and release information by tweeting. Something like: “Second round admissions done—4 more spots to fill,” or “All admissions decisions for autumn 2011 have been made.” Sort of a random thought.)

When I was admitted to McGill, I didn’t get the letter until May. That’s a long time to wait to find out what’s going to be happening in the next year. It’s hard to live like that—hoping that you get into one of these programmes, while they’re stringing you along, keeping your eye on viable alternate plans, but not being able to commit one way or the other to any of them. Housing is up in the air; one can’t commit to employment either. I really don’t mind waiting, but it is a really disrespectful way for universities to treat people—not knowing when or if you will ever get a response, and feeling like one has to be ready to pick up and run at a school’s whim.

Vague questions on the application itself

In contrast to undergraduate admissions, which are very straightforward by comparison, graduate and professional school applications always have essay questions that are very vague, and there is almost never a way to get clarification on what exactly is being asked for. I hate trying to play the “guess what I’m thinking” game. That is no measure of whether I am well-suited for your programme, unless I’m applying for some sort of school of clairvoyance, and if that was the case, then I would expect that the administration of such an establishment wouldn’t need an application to divine who would be a good student.

Bad feedback regarding receipt of application’s supporting documentation

When you have completed an online application, it is not uncommon for universities to provide an online “supporting document checklist” which is supposed to indicate which documents required for your application have and have not been received by the university.

I have yet to see one of these that is updated on anything close to a timely basis. I sent in all my supporting documents for my MSc(A) over a month ago, and yet none of them have shown up as having been received on the “supporting documents checklist.” I remember the same thing happening for my Memorial University MD application. It was over a month after everything was due that the checklist was finally updated to reflect that it had been received on time.

If I’m paying an average of $100 to each school I apply to, then I think the least they could do is spend a couple minutes when my transcript arrives to update their websites.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1268,
    title = {Things that bother me about university applications},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-02-15,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/15/things-that-bother-me-about-university-applications/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Things that bother me about university applications" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 15 Feb 2011. Web. 20 Oct 2017. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/15/things-that-bother-me-about-university-applications/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Feb 15). Things that bother me about university applications [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/15/things-that-bother-me-about-university-applications/


Finished my nursing application

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As faithful readers of my blog are aware, my “plan B” for next year is to apply for the direct-entry MSc(A) in nursing at McGill. As soon as I hear back from my second reference, I will submit the application and hope for the best!

The only really weird thing about the application was the first of the essay questions for Canadian applicants. It reads, “Describe briefly the development of health care services in Canada noting particularly the health care services of the province in which you reside.”

The other essay questions were ones that I expect—things like, Why do you want to be a nurse? and What was your most stressful life experience?, but that first one just seems weird. Do they want to see that I can write a brief research essay? What can they really tell about my aptitude for being a nurse, given a half-page or so written on the subject of the development of health care services in Canada and Québec?

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1123,
    title = {Finished my nursing application},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-01-12,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/01/12/finished-my-nursing-application/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Finished my nursing application" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 12 Jan 2011. Web. 20 Oct 2017. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/01/12/finished-my-nursing-application/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Jan 12). Finished my nursing application [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/01/12/finished-my-nursing-application/


Plan B

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I’m nearing the end of my Masters degree in bioethics at McGill. All I’ve got left is my thesis, which is coming slowly. It’s a fascinating project, which I’ll blog about a little bit later. But right now, my thoughts are consumed with what I’m going to be doing next year.

My plan A is that I’m applying to as many Canadian medical schools as I can. However, medical school admissions is a competitive process. There is a significant chance that I may not get in this year. In fact, most likely, if you were a betting man, you’d do well to bet against me getting in. You can get 1 to 30 odds against me personally getting in at the local casino. :P That’s not a problem. I’m okay if it takes a couple years for me to get in.

The question is, what do I do in the meantime, that will help to make me a better candidate, and not just be a terrible waste of time, while I wait to start doing what I really want to do?

My first thought was that I could get a second bachelor degree and try to boost my GPA a bit. I spoke to an academic counselor just this morning, and he told me that I might want to consider another option: The Master of Science in nursing programme.

This plan has a number of benefits:

  • It doesn’t take away from me being a “unique” medical school applicant.
  • It gives me clinical experience, which will be an asset to a future medical school application.
  • I will have something worth putting on this year’s medical school application under the “What will you do if you don’t get in?” section.
  • I’m likely to get in because I’m male-bodied. Is this morally questionable? Discuss.
  • I may never get in to any medical school, and this will provide a good job, salary and a respectable career in my field. Alternately, I may find that I just enjoy being a nurse, and don’t want to go into medicine. Who knows?
  • This may allow me to move into medical ethics later on in my career, being a medical professional with a bioethics background.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2010-912,
    title = {Plan B},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2010-09-21,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/09/21/plan-b/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Plan B" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 21 Sep 2010. Web. 20 Oct 2017. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/09/21/plan-b/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2010, Sep 21). Plan B [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/09/21/plan-b/


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