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any Canadians here?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by moo, Jul 5, 2000.

  1. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    I'm a Canadian who wants to get into a US med school. I consider myself a pretty competitive applicant, 3.72 overall GPA, 3.83 science GPA, volunteering plus work experience in a hospital, physics major (junior in september). But I'm not sure about the application process for Canadians and the success rates of Canadians accepted into US med schools. For example, do most American schools even accept Canadians? My dream school, the University of Washington (which has a great primary program!) won't even consider Canadian applicants. And even if I do get in, I'm worried about not being able to pay my way through med school. Is there any chance of getting some sort of financial aid without having to do an MD/PhD program?
     
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  3. Ponyboy

    Ponyboy Senior Member
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    What's with all these Canadians wanting to go to the US? Why don't you give Canadian med schools a shot? It's a lot cheaper and easier, especially if you're planning on working in Canada.
     
  4. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    It's not like I don't want to give Canadian med schools a chance. I do. However, there are some US schools to which I want to apply, because I eventually might want to practice there, if the government here remains stubborn and refuses to put more money into the health care system.
     
  5. ms

    ms Member
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    canadian schools are accredited by the same agency as us schools, LCME. Therefore, candian medical school graduates are NOT considered foreign medical school graduated in the USA.
     
  6. RYSA

    RYSA Member
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    As a fellow Canadian, who will be matriculating in a U.S. medical school in August, I have to say that I take offence to your statement. There is nothing wrong with Canadians entering U.S. medical schools, in fact many U.S. medical schools see the benefit of having Canadian students...adds diversity and complexity to the medical class. Also allows for pretty interesting debates during health care management/policy discussions. FYI there really are not a lot of Canadian who enter U.S. medical school annually. We are still considered foreign students, for immigration purposes and I know that the MSAR book produced by AAMC includes Canadians in the foreign student category. On average ~ 70 foreign students enter U.S. meds each year, and I am guessing that a larger majority of those students are Canadian, so to me that isn't a lot. In fact many Americans go to our medical schools as well and I will be willing to guess that on an annual basis ~ 70 U.S. students enter Canadian medical schools annually as well.

    Many times, Canadians find it easier to gain entrance into a U.S. medical school, just because there are more to apply to and chances are one will be offered a position.
    In Canada there are only 16 medical schools across the country, and many , many applicants, so basic statistcs will tell you that an applicant has a lower chance of getting into a Canadian medical school. Also, the majority of Canadians who do matriculate at U.S. medical schools end up practicing in the U.S.

    [This message has been edited by RYSA (edited 07-06-2000).]
     
  7. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    RYSA, would it be ok if I emailed you sometime? How are you financing your education? Including room and board US med schools can run up to 40 or 50 grand a year, and with the exchange rate, that's about 60 or 70 grand Canadian a year! I am not necessarily worried that I won't get into a US med school, but rather, that if I do get in there is no way in hell I can afford to pay for it. Are there student loans out there that you can get as a Canadian?
     
  8. Andre

    Andre Member
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    You will need a US citizen co-signer for any loan that originates here.
    From Canada, CanHelp etc + Royal Bank + CIBC has loans, but only up to US$10-15,000 year.
    Good luck
     
  9. QCC

    QCC New Member

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    FYI... I know the Bank of Nova Scotia has a "Scotia professional line" for Canadian medical students, residents and physicians. When my wife went through, the limit was somewhere around $50K and many of her classmates had similar lines at more than one bank. I don't know if the program works the same way for those going south.

    I'm still not sure why you wouldn't consider a Canadian school if you can get in (you've got the grades). There are lots of excellent primary care programs at Canadian schools and you can always go in the US match. Four or five students in my wife's class matched to the US for the residency. The cost difference is really quite staggering.

    I hope this helps... QCC
     
  10. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    Of course if I get into a Canadian school, I'll definitely go. However, Canadian schools seem to stress less on grades and more on the subjective stuff like interviews. You can have the greatest marks in the world, but if one interviewer has a bad impression on you, your chances of being accepted in that Canadian school are slim.

    It's not that I don't think that I can't impress the interviewers. I have a lot to say (about health care systems, ethics, myself, just about anything) but the thing is, the interview is the most unpredictable part of the application process. Grades, MCAT scores, and even extracurricular activities are controllable. For the most part if you work hard, you'll have these down pat. But there isn't much to work on in interviews. If they don't like the personality you bring to the table, they won't accept you.

    UBC med, for example, ranks individuals according to: interviews (50%), GPA (40%), and MCAT scores, extracurricular, and reference letters (10%). So clearly, if you flunk the interview, no matter how high everything else is, the chances of getting in are slim. I'm sure US schools place more emphasis on GPA and MCAT scores, that's why I think the candidate has more "control" over whether he/she is accepted or not.
     
  11. Tigger Tiger

    Tigger Tiger Member
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    Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted.

    I am a Canadian who has been accepted to a school in the US, so I guess I can lend you some advice.

    First and foremost, before you even think of applying, determine whether you can AFFORD to pay for medical school in the US. As a foreign student (i.e. NO GREENCARD/CITIZENSHIP) you will probably only have a decent shot at getting into PRIVATE schools. Thus, tuition (+ expenses) will be about ~$50,000 per year. That translates to $75,000 Canadian EACH year. Upon acceptance, schools will not issue you a student visa (I90) unless you are able to prove to them that you can afford this tuition over four years. They accomplish this through checks on employers, banks, etc. Relatively simple form, but just a real pain in the a$$.

    You CAN get some funding. Government provides $5000 Canadian for US students, which is a drop in the bucket. Also, there is organization called CanHELP which will lend you up to the cost of tuition (if you have a valid cosigner), BUT the interest rates are phenomenal. So, unless you are wealthy, you will be (like me) in debt. This may have an influence on the specialty you decide upon. Primary care just may not be practical. Choosing a residency for the 'practicality' rather than 'passion' really, really sux.

    Also, understand that applying to the US will be a very expensive. I think I spent close to $5000 applying to 10 schools. Don't just factor in the primary application + the secondaries. If you get interviews, you will have to FLY to these places. There were times when I was booking flights when I thought I was pretty unfortunate for having received interviews.

    Now, that you've determined that you can afford to go through this viscious process, there are a few tips. As a foreign applicant, you need to be able to distinguish yourself above and beyond the American applicant. Being Canadian is not enough. You'll be asked, why US when Canada has excellent medical schools? Why US when it costs a lot less than studying in Canada? You're just studying in the US for the money aren't you?

    Thus, you have to realize WHY you want to study in the US and why staying in Canada is just not good enough.

    Third, as many will atest to, applying early is critical. I know many, many people who have sent in their AMCAS application on May 31 via FedEx so that it hit AAMC on June 1, the first day they accept applications. Although this is somewhat extreme, I figure since that you haven't listed your MCAT scores, you have not written them yet. If you are writing the 'cat this August and applying this year, you WILL be at a disadvantage. Your APPLICATION will not be reviewed until mid-October, and by then, many schools will have interviewed students (some even accepting students!)

    Now, I may have painted a rather bleak picture, but the decision that you embark on should not be taken lightly. This is an expensive, time consuming process. But, the flip side of the coin is that, the US has many more opportunities. I decided to apply because there were certain things offered by the school I am matriculating to that NO school in Canada offered (extremely flexible curriculum, lots of money for research, etc).

    Honestly, ALL of the medical programs in Canada are strong. MANY Canadian physicians goto the US for their residencies or even after they finish their residency they are highly sought after. So if ultimately you want to work in the US, going to a school in Canada is not disadvantageous to you. I've spoken with many residency directors in both the US and Canada and the esteem that they have for Canadian graduates is high.

    Canada provides above average health/education to the masses -- we live in an outstanding society.

    Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck. As long as you are ambitious and true to yourself, then you will be able to achieve your goals, and live happily.

    RYSA - If I think this is you (RENEE22 on Anand Med Board), then I spoke with a couple of shipping co's about tariff's across the border to the US and they basically told me that it is not a big issue. i.e. there are none. There is a small transaction fee though (dunno how small).

    Doesn't make sense to me, but that's what they said.
     
  12. Tigger Tiger

    Tigger Tiger Member
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    Oh.. this is in response to the 'unpredictableness of interviews'.

    If you think that the interview process is different in the US, you are mistaken. Applicants with your stats are plentiful each with unique extracurriculars.

    Interviews are the same in the US as in Canada. If they don't like you at the interview, they will can your app. It doesn't matter whether you are from North or South of the 'border'.
     
  13. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    Thanks for the feedback Tigger Tiger. I have considered how expensive it would be to go to a US school, and I am plenty aware that Canadian schools are just as good as US schools. You're right, I haven't taken the MCAT yet... On my first TPR diagnostic, I scored a PS 8, VR 7, BS 6, which aren't great but I should be able to pull them up. I am not doing the MCAT this August, but rather in April. To be honest, I am too lazy to do the MCAT this summer. Because I am a physics major, I haven't done a biology course since first year and I haven't taken biochem yet which I'll do this coming year. As a result, I will be filling out apps next summer.

    The part about applying costing over 5000 bucks scares me. I do not come from a wealthy family, and 5000 on apps and plane tickets is a lot. I am planning on applying to a few west coast schools in addition to some Canadian schools. I hope you don't get the impression that I am looking down on Canadian schools... I'm not. It's just that the US affords so much more opportunity for doctors, and I'm sure you can attest to that as you have chosen to attend a US school.
     
  14. Medschooldreamer

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    Moo,
    I'm also from Vancouver; I am applying to UBC and also to a few schools in the US. Unfortunately my GPA is not nearly as good as yours. I think you should apply to UBC if money is an issue because luckily the tuition is frozen in BC which means we pay the cheapest rates for University in all of North America. Also, if you are worried about the interview not going well, you should do some work on improving your interviewing skills and your confidence. Another factor on your side is that UBC may be increasing their number of seats by 50% for 2001 admission in response to the shortage of docs.
    Good luck,
    GG
     
  15. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    Hey Medschooldreamer!

    For sure I will apply to UBC med, but it remains to be seen whether I will get in or not. I've also heard that they will be increasing the capacity by 50 percent to 180 students for the entering class in 2001. I hope this works as an advantage to us all.

    I have been rethinking the issue of US med schools lately, and I have to say that even if I do get into one (and that's a big IF), I don't think I would want to take out a huge student loan just to go there. I may not even apply to any US schools, I don't know. But for sure, I'm going to apply to UBC, U of Alberta, U of Calgary, U of T, Western, and some other Ontario schools. Now that I've thought about it, applying to US schools might just be a big waste of time, since you gotta fly down there for all the interviews and stuff, and the chances of getting in are slim.

    Are you going to SFU? Email me sometime, we'll talk ([email protected])
     
  16. RYSA

    RYSA Member
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    Moo:

    Sorry for the delay in posting, but I just returned from a well-needed Caribbean vacation. Between working full-time and making preparations for school (only 4 1/2 weeks lefts..ohmigod!) I've been stretched pretty thin lately.

    You have already been given some pretty good advice by previous posters...especially Tigger Tiger (and by the way, yes I am Renee22, are you Jet?). I just want to add that everyone's situation is different, and what I experienced while applying to the states may not be what you will experience.

    That being said, I should let you know that, with a bit of luck and persistence there are ways aroung paying ~$50,000 U.S. a year for medical school. I was lucky enough to have been accepted to a state medical school, which offered an entry scholarship (small, but it definitely helps) and a grad assistantship that cuts my tuition expense by more than 50% and pays me a small monthly stipend. Mind you, I was very lucky to get the assistantship, but I know that a few schools do offer this option, if you are willing to do research or administrative work for 10hr/week. I also deferred my matriculation for a year, in order to save money for school and also for another personal reason. My school (which has already been so good to me and I am already in love with, I hope this doesn't change over the years!) was kind enough to grant the deferral. So in all, I will not have to take out any big loans (except a small OSAP loan) for my first year meds.

    For my second year and onwards, I'll probably take out a small loan from Citibank (caution, you need a U.S. cosigner for this one), since the loan program is good and very competetive. If you don't have a U.S. cosigner (which is a shame, since the U.S. based loans are much much better), then you can opt for CANHelp. So in essence, these are the only options that we as Canadians have to pay for medical school in the States.

    I only went through the application process once to medical schools in both Canada and the U.S, and this was for the 1999 entering class. By the way, I applied to the U.S. schools at the end of September and still got accepted (I don't advocate this, but all is not lost if you apply late...and believe me I was NOT an exceptionally strong applicant). I received one interview in Canada and 4 interviews in the States. I was accepted to two schools in the States and no schools in Canada. I was fine with the end result, since I always had the intention of practicing in the States anyways.

    My advice is to do what is right for you. In the end it is YOUR time and money that will be spent on YOUR education...so make the best of it! Try to apply to a wide range of schools in both Canada and the U.S. After considering the nature of the curriculum at each U.S. medical school, seriously take location into consideration when deciding which school to apply to...this will help to cut down costs for the interviews..I was able to either drive or take the greyhound to all my interviews in the States.

    I wish you luck and hope that have a good experience during the application process. Hopefully you will gain acceptance to the school that is the best for you.

    To Tigger Tiger: Thanks for the info...It's good to know. I'll be moving on August 12th and have soo much to organze before I go. I think the fee that you are speaking of is the fee to process the F-1 visa at the border/port of entry to the States. The fee is ~$50-60 U.S. I wish you luck in school Tiger. Make us Canadians proud!!

    Take care,

     
  17. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    RYSA, thanks a lot. Your input has helped me a lot. I've realized that not only is a medical education in the US expensive, the process of applying can be expensive as well, when you factor in the exchange rate and all those plane tickets that you're going to need to fly to your interviews.

    I have decided to mainly apply to Canadian schools, as I said above. UBC med has apparently decided to increase their enrollment for their freshman class by 50 percent to 180 students, so my chance of gaining acceptance has increased. I may only apply to a few Californian and Oregon schools, as I wish to remain on the west coast if I do go to the US.

    Again, thanks for the input... I realize now that going to the US for med school can be really expensive if you don't have the proper connections.
     
  18. a-fresh

    a-fresh New Member

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    Medschooldreamer

    I moved from BC a year ago, but I still read the news from there. I'm hoping to get accepted to UBC for the entering class of 2002. The tuition freeze is a good thing, but the NDP doesn't have a chance of winning the next provincial election. Who knows how much the tuition will increase then... that's gonna suck!
     
  19. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    a-fresh,

    The stupid NDP government has finally come to its senses and realized that we need to graduate more doctors. Supposedly they are increasing the size of the entering class by 50 percent to 180. This should happen for the entering class of 01. Tuition, however, shouldn't be a problem because I believe med schools in Canada, in general, are much lower than that of the US.
     

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