How to Succeed on your Mcmaster Health Science Supplementary Application

There are 3 McMaster health sciences admission requirements:

  1. Course requirement: 6 grade 12 courses (5 required and 1 elective)
  2. Grade requirement: At least a 90% average in those 6 courses
  3. Mcmaster health science supplementary application

A great supplementary application is the key to getting into McMaster’s Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honors) program. 

Every year there are students with 98%+ highschool averages that are not offered admission and every year there are students with averages of 90-91% that do get in!

This is because an offer of admission is more heavily weighted on your supplementary application than your high school grade average. So put in your best effort into your supplementary application in order to maximize your chances of success.

You will not get in if your supplementary application score is low, but you can get in if your highschool average is 90.0% as long as your supplementary application score is high.

To do your best on the supplementary application you must understand the 3 sections below:

  1. What is on the McMaster Health Science Supplementary Application?

→ Clearly understand the supplementary application and the patterns in the questions

  1. How is the McMaster Health Science Supplementary Application Graded?

→ Understanding how the supplementary application is graded to help you with optimizing your responses

  1. TOP 7 TIPS for a Successful McMaster Health Science Supplementary Application

→ Once you fully understand the 2 previous sections you will be able to fully appreciate and apply the tips in this section 

What is on the Mcmaster Health Science Supplementary Application?

The McMaster health science supplementary application is designed to determine if you would make a good fit for the BHSc program and is divided into three questions. Each question must be completed in 1500 characters (~250 words) or less and usually follows a certain pattern every year:

Question 1: This question is about understanding who you are as a person. It is designed to help determine what values or characteristics are important to you, often in a form of self-reflection. 

Question 2: Question 2 is usually the most creative question. This is your big chance to set yourself apart from other applicants and demonstrate your unique creativity to your evaluator.

Question 3: The final question tests your problem-solving skills. Here evaluators look to see if you are able to provide a reasonable explanation for the data or tables provided and defend your reasoning with evidence.

Here is a list of the past 5 years supplementary applications to help you have a better understanding of what your year’s application may look like:

How is the Mcmaster Health Science Supplementary Application Graded?

Your McMaster Bachelor of Health Sciences Application will be graded by faculty, staff, and upper-year BHSc students. All identifying information such as name, race, gender, and age are removed to allow the evaluation process to be more fair and unbiased. Each individual question you submit will be marked on a scale from one to seven by two randomly selected evaluators, for a total of six evaluators per applicant. If any large discrepancies are noticed between evaluations further evaluators may be needed. (1) The grading scheme is as follows:

Level 0 – No ResponseThe question being asked was not answered
Level 1 – Very PoorThe question was answered, but the thought process and writing style was extremely  unclear
Level 2 – PoorThe question was answered, but the thought process and writing style was not clear.
Level 3 – AverageThe question was answered and the explanation was average.
Level 4 – GoodThe question was addressed and the answer was adequate.
Level 5 – Very GoodThe answer provided was well explained and the applicant would be a good fit for the program.
Level 6 – ExcellentThe answer provided was unique and very well explained.
Level 7 – OutstandingThe answer provided was exceptional and this student would make an excellent McMaster Health Sciences student.

The evaluators are not given much guidance except for what appears above as such the marking is very subjective. Nonetheless the grading is very consistent as all evaluators are part of the BHSc program and know what to look for: people who exhibit characteristics like themselves.

The most common score is a 4 as most grade 12 students with a 90%+ average can answer the questions well, but that is not what will get you in! 

Notice that Level 5 means “well explained” and “good fit for the program”. Hint: So research what the McMaster’s Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honors) program is about and emphasize on your application those aspects of yourself that match the program.

To get to Level 6 your answer must be unique. Hint: Try brainstorming different ways to approach the questions and choose a perspective that other students would not take. Take a calculated risk in your answer!

Level 7 is extremely rare; you can only achieve it by focusing on quality in your answer, as well as being unique and it must echo the McMaster’s Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honors) program’s principles. 

The marks you receive on your supplementary application will then be combined with your high school grades to determine offers of admission. 

McMaster uses an iterative approach to determine which applicant will receive an offer. Supplementary applications will be grouped according to the average score they receive from all six evaluators. Within each group, there is a cut-off grade, with higher-achieving supplementary applications receiving lower cut-off grades. Because of this, it is possible to have extremely high grades, yet not receive an offer of acceptance due to a lower supplementary application. This happens every year! However, this also allows an extremely strong supplementary application to compensate for a lower highschool grade. This makes your supplementary application extremely important to the application process.

TOP 7 TIPS for a Successful Mcmaster Health Science Supplementary Application

There is no recipe for writing a successful supplementary application. If there was then everyone would follow it and no one would be unique.

That being said, we have collaborated with dozens of health science students and graduates to help even out the playing field for those that may not have access to “insider’s knowledge” like some of the applicants. Here is our collaborative effort of the best tips and tricks to help score a 7 on your application:

  1. Do Your Research: The first thing we recommend doing is taking a look at the McMaster website and understanding what their program is looking for. The Health Sciences supplementary application is designed to help determine who you are as a person and if you would make a great fit for the program. In particular, they want open-minded individuals who can think critically. Understand what type of student they are looking for so that you can show the evaluator that you are the perfect fit for this program.
  1. Start Writing Early: The supplementary questions will be given out months in advance of the application deadline so start early and continually revise your application. Other activities will start piling up quickly and it’s nice to have some breathing room to brainstorm and make multiple revisions of your application. Don’t be afraid to completely scrap your original answer and pick a completely new direction. As you fully formulate an answer, new deeper perspectives will arise and that’s the time to rewrite.
  1. Be Unique and Creative: Every year the BHSc program receives 5000+ applications. Each evaluator reads many applications and it’s important that you stand out amongst all the other applicants. Think of answers and experiences that are unique and creative, that think outside the box and provide insight into who you are and how you think.
  1. Use Real Life Experiences: When answering the questions back your thoughts and ideas with evidence. Highlight your life experiences, extracurriculars, and hobbies and show off your critical thinking and problem-solving skills with unique and thought-provoking answers. This helps show your learning process and gives a greater insight into who you are. There is no other place to talk about your extracurriculars so if you think there is something evaluators should know about you don’t be afraid to say it.
  1. No Experience Should be Discounted: When talking about yourself remember that your experiences don’t have to be in healthcare, research, or something big. All the things that you do make who you are as a person and that is all that the evaluators are trying to figure out. There is no such thing as an insignificant experience!
  1. Be Genuine and Talk About Who You Are: When you write your application be genuine about portraying who you are. Do not pretend to be someone who you are not, they can tell if you aren’t passionate about what you are writing about. Once again the application is designed to see if you are a fit for the program. So be truthful about who you are and trust the acceptance process.
  1. Constantly Review Your Work: Your supplemental application is extremely short so quality is more important than quantity. Constantly revise your answers to make sure you get to your best answer.

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