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Canadian accepted at Ireland med school (University college dublin)- any other can..?

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Michael W48, 04.12.04.

  1. Michael W48

    Michael W48 Junior Member

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    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    SDN 7+ Year Member

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    Hi

    I am a resident of Alberta going to Queen's University in Ontario, Canada. I have applied to premedicine (3rd year of it) at St. Georges and got an interview (This means that to get my MD I would do this third year of pre-med then 4 yrs of med = 5 years total). I also just got accepted into medicine at University College Dublin in Ireland (5 yr. program). I have done two years at Queen's. I am either going to Ireland or St.Georges for sure next year and I don't know which to pick. My final goal is to practice medicine in the States. I realize that SGU teaches the American curriculum and allows you to make contacts while you do rotations in the states - but the Irish school has a 100% success for their their Canadian students recieving residencies in the states after passing the UCLME (which they all do). It also has a good reputation. Cost is not an issue (the difference isn't very much).

    Does anyone know how hard it is to do well and prepare for the UCLME after going through a European curriculum? I don't wan't to make life hard by learning two different curriculums and struggling on the UCLME or possibly not passing.

    Any thoughts on my situation? Thanks for the help

    Mike
  2. Flankstripe

    Flankstripe Junior Member

    Joined:
    01.24.04
    Messages:
    32
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    #1 There's no need to ask the same question in multiple forums.

    #2 You asked this question already, and got some great advice from people, as seen in this thread here:

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=108285

    Let me be a little more blunt, since I think this is a really important point. It would be an incredibly frigging stupid decision to head to either the Caribbean or to Ireland for medical school when your final goal is a competitive US residency, and for which you require the very competitive H1B visa. It would be downright moronic, in fact.

    You have a very legitimate chance to get into either a US or Canadian medical school (you mentioned having an 85% GPA), and either of these schools WILL get you to Emerg or any other competitive specialty, AND prepare you stronger for the USMLE (which you don't even know how to spell properly), AND will allow you to practice with ease in either country (seeing as all Canadian and US allopathic schools are accredited by the LCME, while neither SGU nor Irish schools are), AND will line you up for getting the H1B visa (if you went to med school in the US, you have a far higher chance for getting the H1B visa by extending your F1 med student visa), AND will cost you less money than either SGU or Ireland (particularly if you stay in Canada and take advantage of the cheaper tuition and living costs).

    It is also legitimately possible to get into a Canadian med school after just 3 years of undergrad, and if you went to Mac or Calgary, to graduate after just 3 years of medical school. That means that you could be a Canadian MD after just 4 years, instead of 5 from either SGU or Ireland. Even in the worst case scenario, where you graduate from a North American med school after finishing your Bachelor's, that's just 6 years total.

    Seeing as you'll probably lose an entire year just trying to get your H1B visa after completing your five year plan of SGU/Irish med school, that means that you would complete a US or Canadian med degree in EXACTLY the same time as it would take for you to go off-shore. More importantly, you'd also have:

    #1 Saved tons of money in tuition and living costs.
    #2 Got an MD degree from an LCME accredited institution.
    #3 Been very well-trained to write the USMLE Steps 1 and 2, or the Canadian equivalant LMCC Part 1.
    #4 Have the ability to match into the first round of CaRMS
    #5 Have the ability to match into the US without any of the stigma of coming from an international medical school.
    #6 Have a far easier time getting ANY competitive residency you want (IMG's don't routinely match uber-competitive specialties like Derm, ENT, or Ortho with anywhere near the frequency of US or Canadian grads).
    #7 Have a much easier time getting the H1B visa.

    It's a no-brainer. Don't make the incredibly short-sighted decision to head to St. George's or Ireland when you haven't even ever applied to either a US or Canadian med school, especially when your planned career path would be helped out such a significant amount by staying in North America for your medical education.

    I think most any Carib med student/graduate would tell you the same. Keep up your 85% average, rock the MCAT, and get into a US or Canadian med school if you plan on going into a competitive specialty AND are also saddled by the additional baggage of the H1B visa, which you are as a Canadian citizen. Don't be stupid with your future career.
  3. Michael W48

    Michael W48 Junior Member

    Joined:
    03.05.04
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    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Flankstripe,

    Getting into medicine in Canada is extremely hard and I know many Canadians who have achieved marks of 85% and above and still not gotten in after they applied with a 4 year degree. For example, one of my friends had an 88%, good resume, good MCAT, and in my opinion a great personality and people skills and did not get accepted at any of the many Canadian schools and 6 American schools he applied to. He then did a masters and dropped out because he hated it, took the MCAT again, got a 33, applied again to many Canadian and US schools and once again didn't get accepted. This is not an isolated case - it's happening to many high achieving Canadians.

    The point is I am busting my ass to get an 85% at Queen's and have little or no time for anything else but school. It is hard to maintain these marks and still know that I may not get accepted at a Canadian school after my degree. 100% of the Canadian graduates from the Irish school I've been accepted at passed their USLMEs and attained residencies last year in the US (there are about 20 each year). It is true, many of them were not very competitive residencies but getting a competitive residency is not all that important to me (I have done my research and job shadowed many physicians in IM or Peds and either of these careers would be more than good enough for me).

    If going to an international school meant that I could not become a doctor in the States then I would not go but from the information that I have gathered I have found that getting a non competitive residency and an H1 B visa as a Canadian from an international school can be done without acheiving "rediculously high marks and scores on the USMLE" (correct me if I'm wrong). Many Canadians are doing it and becoming doctors in the states every year; therefore, I don't see why going to an international med school would be "an incredibly friggin stupid" decision given my goals and background.

    I understand where you are coming from and acknowledge many of the downfalls of going international (ie. cost) especially since my last message indicated that I wanted a competitive residency. But if I can go to Ireland next year, get an MD and practice in the states afterwards (granted it may take an extra year to get the H1 B) then I don't see why not. Either way I get to my final goal of practicing in the states (assuming that the information I have gathered concerning the ability of Canadian FMGs to get US residencies in non competitive fields is correct). The FMG route may be more expensive but it also saves me two years of a degree full of courses that I am not all that interested in as opposed to spending those years in a respected medical school taking courses that I am very interested in (I have researched thouroughly the courses I would be taking and the program itself).

    I am still not sure about what decision to make so I hope to hear your reply and those of any others. By the way, my last message was not the same as any of my previous ones. In my latest message I asked whether I should pick the caribbean or Ireland, not whether I should go at all.

    Michael 48
  4. Flankstripe

    Flankstripe Junior Member

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    An 85% is a competitive GPA for either Canadian or US medical schools. Fine, your friend didn't get in. That doesn't mean that you wouldn't. US schools have a much more favourable acceptance percentage due to the sheer number of spots available. You could still go to a US med school and get all the benefits I named earlier, and not have to deal with the IMG stigma and associated problems mentioned previously.

    I think it's good that you've already acknowledged that fact, which is that going abroad will limit your career options. The next question is: Why would you deliberately choose a medical school setting which will put limitations on your future career.

    Some personal anecdotes. I thought I was going to be a family doctor when I got into med school. I just recently matched into Radiology. Somewhere in the 4 years of med school, I discovered that I really enjoyed the diagnostic challenge of the field, as well as that I wanted to incorporate my skills in Anatomy and Pathology heavily into my career field. I also really enjoy working with computer technology. Family Medicine just doesn't do that to the same degree as Radiology, nor was my Family Medicine rotation experience anywhere near as satisfying as when I had been shadowing family doctors previously.

    Classmates of mine who thought they were going to be Pediatricians ended up loving Geriatrics. Surgeons who loved anatomy ended up going into Psychiatry. Emerg wannabes decided to go into Anesthesiology. Internal Medicine guys ended up going into Pathology. Neurosurgery guys ended up in ENT. And tons of people floated into Radiology from all sorts of other specialties. The point is that people change their minds, and do so frequently in medical school. Those changes can often be pretty dramatic. I flat out don't believe you when you say that you are certain you'd be happy in Peds or IM. Especially since because I'm certain you haven't shadowed doctors in all the above specialties.

    Rule #1 of Medical School is that you can NEVER be certain of your career choice until you are actually living it in clerkship, and probably not even then. Shadowing a doctor is nothing like the actual job itself; you have no idea how much other work is involved in running the office, hospital administration, patient charting, malpractice paperwork, insurance issues, dealing with patients and other hospital staff, etc. You might very well discover in third year that you really love Radiology, or Dermatology, or Urology, or Orthopedic Surgery, or ENT, or Ophthalmology, or any number of other competitive specialties, and it would be a damn shame that you wouldn't have a realistic shot at any of them because you went to a foreign school and have that IMG label slapped all over your application.

    Particularly since you also need an H1B visa (which would be much easier to get coming from a US med school because of that F1 visa extension option).

    Take Dr. Cuts as an example. He was a US IMG who ended up matching into Radiology, which was an incredible accomplishment. I take my hat off to him. Despite getting USMLE scores in the 240's, he still only ended up with some 6 interviews out of 140 applications, which, no offense, is a pitiful ratio. In contrast, this year, guys who graduated from US med schools with USMLE scores in the 230's routinely could expect some 20 interviews from 40 applications. You could extrapolate that out to say that while an IMG gets 6 interviews, the US medical graduate could expect to get 70 interviews! That's a blatantly HUGE difference. 6 interviews is often not enough to match into a tough specialty.

    I went to 20+ Radiology interviews, and saw not a single IMG applicant out of the hundreds of other interviewees. They all got rejected pre-interview. Why would you want to start your career off with that IMG label? It makes no sense, especially considering that you've never even taken the time to apply to either the US or Canada first.

    Even if you did end up wanting a less competitive specialty, going to a US medical school will open up doors in getting that residency in awesome locations, like San Francisco, San Diego, LA, Portland, Seattle, New York, Boston, Chicago, Miami, etc. You would have increased options in deciding which location you want, instead of being stuck with whatever locations are left after the US medical graduates get first pick. Wouldn't it suck if you had family/friends/girlfriend/wife in a certain city, and you weren't able to match into a residency there because you weren't competitive enough?

    That's true, but few to none of those Canadian IMG's are doing their residencies in competitive specialties like Derm, Ophtho, etc, and if they are doing them in uncompetitive specialties, they are more likely to be at less desirable programs or locations. That's a very significant point. Might not seem like it at your stage, but it's true nonetheless.

    Listen. EVERYONE goes through the same weeder courses. Do you really think that most doctors loved studying Physics or Organic Chem for their MCAT/prereqs. No. But they sucked it up, got through the material, and developed a better character and work ethic for it. Two more years of undergrad is nothing, and it's a time to learn and develop all sorts of academic and non-academic interests. If you completed your BSc and either a Canadian or a US MD, that would take you 6 years. In contrast, if you go foreign MD next year, that takes you 5 years plus a complete year wasted filling out paperwork for your H1B visa. It STILL takes you 6 years!

    The difference is that 6 years from now, if you stayed in Canada or the US, you'd look back and say to yourself: "Thank God I had the foresight to stay in North America so I could more easily match into my #1 specialty in my #1 location." If you head to SGU or Ireland, 6 years from now you might be seriously kicking yourself because you were discriminated against because of your IMG status, couldn't land that specialty or location you wanted, and worse yet, knew that you could have avoided all those hassles and all that discrimination if you'd simply stayed in North America for your medical school education.

    THAT'S why you should go to a US or Canadian med school. Your choices don't really make any material difference to me; I've got my Radiology residency all set up. It's just that I've gone through the residency application cycle already, and I think that you are on the verge of making an incredibly naive and impulsive decision to go offshore for medical school, considering that you definitely will have visa issues for residency and might someday want a tough specialty. Offshore is an option for those who don't have the numbers to get into North America (and have been repeatedly rejected) or perhaps want to stay and practice in those locations. You don't fit either of those categories.

    It's your life, I just happen to think you'd be making a really stupid decision, and it very likely may come back to haunt you 6 years from now as you start the competition for a residency position. Stay in North America for your medical education. It's more than worth it to do so, even if that means two more years of undergrad.
  5. silenthunder

    silenthunder Senior Member

    Joined:
    05.19.03
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    Location:
    canada (richmond hill, ontario)
    SDN 10+ Year Member
    Michael I rather agree with Flankstripe;
    Don't know if you're the same dude who I pm'd on valuemd, but if you're not then:

    WHY would you really want to go to a foreign med school if your end goal is to practice in the states/canada?

    The BEST and EASIEST way to get to your goal is to finish your degree and apply to canadian medical schools and american medical schools.

    Unless there are other issues at play, I think your reasons for wanting to go to a foreign school require alot more thought.

    Have you considered the fact that if you get into a US school you will be eligible for the first round of CaRMS, and could thus secure a fairly good residence placement in canada, without having actually attended school there?

    just some food for thought.......

    Cheers,

    Silenthunder
  6. donato

    donato New Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Canada
    Certainly, the decision to become an IMG must be a well informed decision. The advice to consider Canadian or US schools is good advice as the post-graduate career path will be much easier and you would definitely have greater access to demand specialties.

    However, to present a truely balanced view, one must also consider that the situation in Canada is changing quite dramatically over the next couple of years due to the double-cohort in Ontario (i.e. elimination of Grade 13 with a double-class size currently in undergrad). The demand for the limited number of Canadian medical school spots will be extremely high for several years to come (only minimally offset by the opening of the Northern Medical School). This demand will certainly overflow into higher competition for the limited number of spots available to Canadians in US/Overseas schools as more and more students are faced with the decision to become an IMG as their only route into medicine. It is quite unfortunate, but admissions in Canada is becoming much more of a lottery than it is a predictable process that focussed hard work can navigate.

    All this to say, in the spirit of "a bird in the hand", I would not necessarily discount the opportunity to go to Ireland. If you end up behind the admissions demand curve, you could very well lose several years struggling to get into a North American school only to regret not taking the Irish path. On the other hand, you could be successful in gaining admission to a US/Canadian school and have a much easier career path. Unfortunately, one cannot predict the future, but you can certainly educate yourself (through these forums) then make an informed decision on whether to go to Ireland or not. A couple of comments:

    1. If you decide to go overseas, I would choose Ireland over the Carribean - higher quality education and reputation of Irish schools

    2. Flankstripe's comments about not knowing what speciality you will truely want noted, if you are willing to forgo the competitive specialties, Ireland becomes an option worthy of consideration.

    3. You are on the right track in not letting cost drive your decision. The cost of your education, when amortized over the balance of your career, will not be a major factor.

    4. To go to Ireland would not be a "stupid" decision. It is a "different" decision that is worthy of consideration in light of the deteriating prospects for admissions over the next several years. It will also be a very rewarding experience to live in a different culture - an experience of a lifetime that you will never forget. Having said this, the reasons why others are telling you to think about Canada or the U.S. are very real - becoming an IMG means you will be labelled an IMG for many years to come, you will be locked out of some great specialties, and you will have to work harder than the next guy to get to the same goalpost. You must truly understand what this is going to mean for you and be prepared to live through this experience if you are going to go down this path.

    Do your homework, read these forums extensively, try to visualize what both paths will look like, talk to some IMG's that have gone down this road ... then make an informed decision. Good luck!

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