Getting Into A Canadian Med School

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by seeking1, May 7, 2008.

  1. seeking1

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    Hey everyone, first time posting here, really blown away by the community. :D

    Since you can't tell from the title, I'm a university student going from first to second year in Canada and I have desired to be in med school since I was young. I luckily have only had a single sorta-slack semester, but I don't want it to happen again.

    At the same time, I'm looking for ways to improve myself, get to know more about getting in and finding ways to enjoy doing so. Really, any positive suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Or even discussion on the difficulties of the process, I just want to start talking honestly with people who have an idea what this is like.
     
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  3. Begaster

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    About 20% of Canadian applicants get in at a Canadian school per year. It's tough. Tips:

    1. Study. A lot.
    2. When you're not studying, do EC, volunteer at a hospital, research. Start building your life experiences so you have something to talk about.
    3. When you've done both, have fun.

    That should be your order.

    At the end of second year, start getting ready to write your MCAT. This test blows. You will have a ****ty time. If you're in Ontario, expect to need to break the 80th percentile or so.
     
  4. seeking1

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    In regards to research, are we just talking research into the applications/med schools altogether, or doing actual research with professors and researchers? I have spoken with quite a few people on the latter topic and have heard mixed reviews on the outcomes...
     
  5. DocMTL

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    hi Seeking 1,

    First and foremost i would like to welcome youto the SDN community; you will find a great load of resources and help amongst other things on this website, so i hope you have a great experience here...here are my two cents on the process.

    ACADEMICS
    One bad semester isn't anything to worry about. However you have todemosntrate a trend in your GPA as you matriculate through undergrad. Admissions committee for medical schools will rather see an increasing GPA than anything else. SO i would commit, if i were you, in doing your ultimate best as far your courses are concerned. Your transcript has to show that you can handle the rigors of the medical curriculum

    MCAT

    If you intend on applying to med school in AMerica, even in Canada at the exception of University of Ottawa and I think Northewestern (something, i cant recall the exact name,) who do not require the MCAT, you have study smart for this test. I recommend getting EXAMKRACKERS as you take the prereqs for med school (i.e. General Bio, G. Chemistry, G. Physics, O. Chem with lab) and let them prep you in the test as it helps you through your courses. Some breeze through the MCAT while others dont. It will take a lot of work from you and your score has to be competitive...so again do your ultimate best...because the MCAT can make or break you application. You might want to take it your sophomore year (summer) or sometime your junior year ...It is offered 23 times a year, so whatever fits your schedule....

    If you dont know; it's a standardized test scaled on 45, evenly divided in three sections (15 points each) and an Essay question which is letter scaled (J through T, J being the lowest possible score and T being the highest)...but you can find any thread about MCAT to get a rough idea of what it entails..

    EXTRA_CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

    All medical schools require a well rounded student. You must demonstrate some leadership abilities and a passion for something...SO get involved with anything, Student government, pre-med organizations, volunteer organizations, community service, church, choirs, etc...What fits your interests. Make sure you keep a record of all your activities, time, supervisor, etc...because you will have to make a n account of them when you apply

    CLINICAL EXPERIENCE

    You need to have some form of shadowing, It will help you tremendously in deciding whether this carreer path is for you. It will put in perspective you drive and desire to be part of a medical community.

    PERSONAL STATEMENT

    An essay that you will have to write when applying to med school which should answer the following : Why medicine? There are many formats and ways to craft that...but start as soon as possible. It doesnt have to be immaculate (it won't the first time ) Just get something down on paper and tweek it as you go through your sophomore year and junior year...

    RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

    Research is sometimes an asset when applying to some schools that have a strong research requirements in their curriculum (i.e. Yale, Penn State, etc... I think) anyway, It is something that you should look into. Summer research programs, they are also a way for you to familiarize yourself with the insitution and the school of medicine that often sponsors these research internships. Some pay your way,

    BUDGET

    Finance you way wisely. Applying can be very expensive...When you get to your junior and you start applying ...you recognize the price ( AMCAS application: 160$ first school, 30$ for each supplemental school)

    AMCAS
    americal medical college application service! Is the primary application you send to american medical colleges. Kinda like a centralized service who filters your application (as far as verifying your transcripst and such) before they land on the desktop of the admissions committee...LONG application, you want to start in may of the summer of your Junior year (3rd year) and send your application early!!!!!!! That is the SECRET! Early bird gets the worm


    um.....I cant think of one right and i got to run...so ill hop on later and see if there is anything else i can telll you...

    It may seem like a lot of work...but you can definitely make if we did!! best of wishes:D:thumbup:

    DocMTL
     
  6. seeking1

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    Wow, that was extensive and fast, and thanks for the intro! :D

    Yeah, some of those things I've already jumped on, and courtesy of this year I've started realizing things I need to start doing or things I need to let go of altogether or for a while. I have a cardiologist who's a family friend in the area, and seeing how I'm interested in cardiology, then it can only make sense that I shadow her.

    I'm doing my best to apply to scholarships again, sadly my school provides little in terms of aid to science students....

    I was wondering if anyone had a comment on the lifestyle that you guys have to face on a day-to-day basis. On a bone-weary schedule? Enjoying life while somehow maintaining everything for application? However you're living, let me know.
     
  7. PistolPete

    Physician

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    Good luck! Getting into a Canadian med school will be tough. One thing that I hear over and over: NUMBERS ARE KEY. Canada is much more numbers oriented than the US. You will be much better served by having a high GPA/MCAT and below average EC's than the other way around.
     
  8. Begaster

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    "You need to have some form of shadowing, It will help you tremendously in deciding whether this carreer path is for you. It will put in perspective you drive and desire to be part of a medical community."

    Shadowing experience is not mandatory for Canadians, though volunteering in some sort of healthcare service (a hospital, for example) is generally expected.


    Likewise, there is no early acceptances into Canadian schools. You apply at the deadline and decisions are made during the same time. You do not need to worry about applying by July, like American students do.


    Research is very, very important if you want to stand a chance at some of the powerhouses like McGill, U of T, or UBC. Go to a professor, ask to work in his lab.

    Pete, it's not that Canada is more numbers oriented - you still need to be well-rounded. It's just that there are less spots per applicant. 50% of American applicants will get in on any given year. Only 20% do up here. Ergo, the cutoffs for all of our schools end up incredibly high.
     
  9. TheGreatHunt

    TheGreatHunt High Performance

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    Where in Canada are you?
     
  10. seeking1

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    Begaster has a point, although I was unaware of the research work being factored in at those institutions. Are you aware of any bias towards certain undergraduate programs from these schools? I've heard murmurings of such a concern....
     
  11. medisforme

    medisforme Family Medicine resident

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    while the average gpa for canadians definitely tends to be higher, that is merely due to the lower number of med schools and the fact that close to half of canadian med schools apply a weighting formula to gpa(unlike american med schools).
    However, i disagree with the quote in that with the exception of a couple of schools, canadian med schools are way less number oriented than american med schools.
    Ie. look at ubc, they couldn't care less what your mcat score is as long as you score better than seven in each section. Furthermore, at universities such as UBC and McMaster EC's count for half your pre-interview score which i think is a lot higher than a lot of US universities.
    Furthermore, at a lot of other canadian universities grades are only used as a cutoff for interviews and count for nothing once you interview.
    For canada, EC's (especially volunteering) are huge, most schools will not even grant an interview if they don't see some health care experience on your application.
    SO GET SOME HEALTH CARE EXPERIENCE (important to get something besides doctor shadowing as well)

    Good Luck!
     
  12. PistolPete

    Physician

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    I never said that mediocre EC's or not being well-rounded was a good thing. My personal opinion is just that having a GPA on the low side will almost assuredly kill your app for Canadian medical schools, mainly because you will not be able to get to the interview stage. I think the GPA average for Ontario medical schools backs this up. Anyway, once you get the interview, your performance there and your EC's/experiences are key. My point is, that someone with a 3.5/31 will have a much easier time getting into medical school in the US than they will in Canada. That's all. I encourage Canadian students to apply to US medical schools as well.

    I wish the OP the best of luck! Get good grades and MCAT, but try and stand out from the rest of the pre-med pack by doing a cool EC that you love! That will help tons come interview time!
     
  13. medisforme

    medisforme Family Medicine resident

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    overall, i do think you are right. however, in province applicants definitely have more slack when it comes to gpa compared to out of province. ie. a 3.51 would still give you a decent chance at UBC (avg. 3.66), memorial and dalhousie as long as you were considered in province. I have yet to hear about someone getting into an OOP med school however with that gpa, no matter what EC's or research they had.
     
  14. canadiangirl8

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    Hey OP! Check out www.premed101.com/forums

    It's the Canadian version of SDN and has school by school threads (because there are only 17! :p). I think you'll find much more school specific information there. In terms of numbers vs. EC's vs. personal statements, I find each school totally varies. There's no generalization in terms of what's more important. So have a read through some of the threads in premed101 :) I found it quite helpful when I applied this year.
     
  15. seeking1

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    WHOA, THIS IS SUPER USEFUL! Thanks canadiangirl8, this is the bomb!
     

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