Acherona

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Hi, I am sorry to post this on the residency forum but I'm not sure the allo and pre-allo kids can tell me anything I don't know.

I have been accepted to a few medical schools and am trying to decide between McGill and Mt Sinai, and also whether to try pleading my way off the Columbia waitlist. I loved McGill when I visited. The city is great, the clinical experience supposedly blows US schools out of the water (due to the socialized medicine/doctor shortage), and in addition to a low cost of living in Montreal, the tuition is about half the price of a private American school.

I was all set to go to McGill, but after reading through these forums and speaking with people I am realizing how important school reputation is, and I don't know how McGill is viewed or ranked compared to US schools. I emailed the residency director of radiology at MGH (I work at MGH and she is a McGill graduate 1968) and she told me that while McGill used to have an outstanding reputation, it is on the downswing due to lack of funds from the Quebec government (who apparently favor French speaking schools) and many faculty have left. She said I should go to an American school if I have the opportunity (it seemed like she meant *any* american school was better, not just a good one).

So I'm just curious if people are at all familiar with McGill and what you know/think about it? Do you think I will I be at any advantage in the match coming from Mt. Sinai? If so, is this advantage worth 60K? For those of you who are currently paying off huge debts or saved by going to a state school, how important has the money issue ended up being for you? Do you think it makes any difference in the long run?

Due to the price I am leaning towards McGill because I'm not sure the reputational difference between Sinai and McGill is that big. But what about Columbia? Should I aggressively pursue the waitlist and rearrange my whole life if I get an acceptance from them in like June? Is even Columbia worth the tuition? All other factors are pretty much equal for me (e.g. location, curriculum). I'm not necessarily shooting for a competitive residency (currently interested in Neurology/Psychiatry) except maybe radiology but I guess that shouldn't matter at this point.

Thanks for reading. Any advice or thoughts you may have will be appreciated.
 

PassinGas

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I am a current US M4 who just matched and am waiting to see where I will go come Match day on the 17th. I would strongly advise you to go with a US medical school. I don't believe that I would let the cost of going to school disuade me. You will make it up after residency. You could always try to spread your payments out. If you are considering shooting for a top residency program in the US, you would likely be at a disadvantage if you do not graduate from a US medical school. As far as clinical experience is concerned, you will have plenty of clinical experience at just about any US medical school, and if you don't feel that you get enough, you will more than make up for it during your intern residency year, so I wouldn't let some idea about clinical experience weigh too much into your decision. That's just my 2 cents.
 

TigerPath05

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Hello,
I am not familiar with McGill at all; however, I would not let $$$ make my decision on which school to attend. I do think that regardless I would attend a US school if given the opportunity which you have with Mt. Sinai. I know that from hearing comments on the interview trail, it is looked down upon if you are from a non-US school. That is not to say they aren't just as educated. I would think in the end when you are trying to apply for a residency, you will be in a much better position coming from a US med school. Good Luck! :)
 

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There is a difference between graduating from an LCME accredited school (which McGill is) and "not graduating from a US school", which most interpret as being an IMG. You're comparing Granny Smiths with Red delicious not apples and oranges.

A graduate of any LCME accredited school with US citizenship will not have any significant difficulties compared to a graduate of a school geograhically located in the US.

It is true that Columbia has a good reputation but in the end when applying for residency this factor is rather insignificant compared to the standsrds of good grades, LORs, USMLE scores, etc. I agree with the Op that I do not this the reputation of Mt.Sinai is significantly different from McGill. However, I cannot comment on the recent changes in McGill's reputation and I am not sure that changes in funding from the government are necessarily reflected by a decrease in quality or whether or not this soley affects the medical school.

If you were contemplating a non LCME school vs a US baed LCME school, I would advise the latter. However, if you would truly be happier at McGill, would do well and yes, spend less money, I would go there. One shouldn't choose a medical school soley based on cost, as you will likely be able to pay it back, but tens of thousands of dollars difference is harder to pay back at a reasonable rate.
 

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You are in an enviable position. choices bewteen LCME schools. I am an European IMG (US citizen). For whatever reason...the view is that studying in the US and /or doing residency in the US is the Holy Grail of medicine. I study with students from all over the world and its just crazy to what they will put themselves and their families through just to get a shot at working in the US. You have a chance..your advisor is right..Do US while you can...and you're set for life. And in NY City to boot. maybe a 100 years from now, everyone will want to work in China..but for now, the end of the rainbow is in the US. PS Your loans will be paid off quickly....so start looking for an apartment! Congrats and GL! :thumbup:
 

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Just a quick note.. I have to say, having graduated from a Canadian med school myself... McGill US grads are very competitive with their matches... there's absolutely no disadvantage from graduating from McGill vs. other reputable US medical schools when it comes to the match. The whole thing with the Quebec government is a very separate issues and I doubt anyone would hold that against you come match time. Again, as aforementioned this is LCME v. LCME, not foreign.

S
 

tr

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Acherona:

Why don't you ask the admissions office if you can see McGill's match lists from the last couple of years?

- tr
 

worriedwell

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4th year med student from us med school going into psychiatry here...

I'm obviously biased and I know nothing about McGill but I feel strongly that you should go to Mt. Sinai.

Never assume you'll want to go into something that isn't competitive. If its just about money, 60K is a drop in the bucket, and should not hinder you one bit. It really is a psychological burden, but won't change your life in any real way. It would be more of an argument if we're talking a full ride vs. 200K in debt, and even then not definitive. You're talking about your entire medical career here and where you are able to go to residency has a significant effect on your career, networking, mobility, etc. Ultimately, I don't think you will do yourself much of a disservice at McGIll, but heed the advice of academic people who advise you to go to a US school, its probably worth more than our advice.

Plus, Sinai is a bigtime connected academic medical center in the heart of Manhattan with capable, diverse, happy students who have the potential to go to any residency. I'm not sure you could say that students at McGill (regardless of accreditation, still probably somewhat of an outsider among residency directors) have the potential to go to any residency they want. But I am not the expert on that, I just have the gut feeling that it isn't the case.
 

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Firstly, congratulations on these great acceptances! Between Mount Sinai and McGill, I would undoubtedly recommend for you to take the Mount Sinai offer. Don't get me wrong, McGill is a wonderful school, but for you as an American there are a few issues to consider. Money should not be a consideration, either way it will be paid off within a reasonable amount of time. The Quebec government has certain regulations that makes it difficult for Americans, and they come up with new ones all the time. Firstly, you must sign a contract when enrolling saying that if you stay for your residency you must practice for four years in a remote and underserved area. Secondly, in order to do your residency in Quebec you must pass a French exam. Thirdly, Mount Sinai does have much better facilities, opportunities, a better reputation (even though McGill's is good too, Mount Sinai is a more impressive and more stellar institution) and will get you farther, easier. You should be ecstatic that you have such great schools to choose from! But, if I were in your shoes, I would go for Mount Sinai. It is SUCH an amazing school, and it is so beautifully situated in New York, such gorgeous facilities too. McGill is a great school, but the facilities and funding are for sure sub-par. What do you think?
 

Surfer75

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ODB said:
Firstly, you must sign a contract when enrolling saying that if you stay for your residency you must practice for four years in a remote and underserved area. Secondly, in order to do your residency in Quebec you must pass a French exam.
I was under the impression that the OP was returning to the US for residency so this shouldn't be an issue.

S
 
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Acherona

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Surfer75 said:
I was under the impression that the OP was returning to the US for residency so this shouldn't be an issue.

S
Yes, it's true the quebec government makes you sign that contract but I plan to return to the US for residency.

According to the admissions propaganda, ahem, literature, McGill does very well in the US match. "in 2000, over two thirds of the U.S. applicants matched to their top 3 choices in both discipline and program desired!" Then of course some places like MGH and Johns Hopkins were listed. But I don't know how good that statistic actually is compared to other schools.

It also says, "the quality of education compared to the top US medical schools is equal, if not superior, to the top American training (many of us have turned down highly-rated American schools – i.e. Harvard and Stanford – to come to McGill). McGill students and graduates have a reputation of being sharp physicians and generally distinguish themselves amongst their peers by demonstrating superior clinical skills."

"Many of us" is probably 2 people in the last 5 years. I'm having trouble assessing this. tr, maybe I will ask to see match lists or somehow try to seek out American 4th years. But I have to say the fact that people on here don't seem to know that McGill is accredited is not a good sign.

oh and the Dean of the school claims McGill is one of the "top schools in North America" but it's unclear where he is getting this from. :confused:

Thanks for the advice everyone
 

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Acherona said:
Yes, it's true the quebec government makes you sign that contract but I plan to return to the US for residency.

According to the admissions propaganda, ahem, literature, McGill does very well in the US match. "in 2000, over two thirds of the U.S. applicants matched to their top 3 choices in both discipline and program desired!" Then of course some places like MGH and Johns Hopkins were listed. But I don't know how good that statistic actually is compared to other schools.

It also says, "the quality of education compared to the top US medical schools is equal, if not superior, to the top American training (many of us have turned down highly-rated American schools – i.e. Harvard and Stanford – to come to McGill). McGill students and graduates have a reputation of being sharp physicians and generally distinguish themselves amongst their peers by demonstrating superior clinical skills."

"Many of us" is probably 2 people in the last 5 years. I'm having trouble assessing this. tr, maybe I will ask to see match lists or somehow try to seek out American 4th years. But I have to say the fact that people on here don't seem to know that McGill is accredited is not a good sign.

oh and the Dean of the school claims McGill is one of the "top schools in North America" but it's unclear where he is getting this from. :confused:

Thanks for the advice everyone
Don't despair about SDN users not knowing the McGill is LCME accredited. There is a common misbelief that anything outside the geographical borders (including Puerto Rico) is considered a foreign school and not LCME accredited.

Match lists don't tell you much - after all a position like Prelim Surgery might not be hard to get at Harvard or Hopkins. If they told you that their students matched into Derm at one of those places, I'd be more impressed. But in the end the places people match isn't the be all - after all, without knowing where they applied or how high they matched on their ROL, the location itself (especially without a notation of which field) means little.
 

tr

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Acherona said:
According to the admissions propaganda, ahem, literature, McGill does very well in the US match. "in 2000, over two thirds of the U.S. applicants matched to their top 3 choices in both discipline and program desired!" Then of course some places like MGH and Johns Hopkins were listed. But I don't know how good that statistic actually is compared to other schools.
Call Mt Sinai, which is your other viable option right now. Ask them for the same statistic: what proportion of their students matched to one of their top 3 residency choices last year?

Also bear in mind that *you* have to live with this decision for the next four years. There's no point in being less than happy for four years so as to get a 14% (or whatever) edge on being happy for the next four (during 1-2 of which you'll be mostly miserable anyway because you won't be sleeping enough).
 

tr

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P.S. - why don't you post this in the Canadian IMG forum? They'll probably have better information for you.
 

PassinGas

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McGill does very well in the US match. "in 2000, over two thirds of the U.S. applicants matched to their top 3 choices in both discipline and program desired!"
I'm not sure but don't most US med school students on average have about an 80-85% match rate to their top 3 choices (back when these statistics were kept), so wouldn't that just go to show you that the US schools have a better residency placement than the just over 66% that McGill is bragging about? Someone correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks.
 
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Acherona

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PassinGas said:
I'm not sure but don't most US med school students on average have about an 80-85% match rate to their top 3 choices (back when these statistics were kept), so wouldn't that just go to show you that the US schools have a better residency placement than the just over 66% that McGill is bragging about? Someone correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks.
Yes, I looked up Sinai and 81% of students got one of their top 3 choices in 2001. At Yale, it was 90% in 2000.
 

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PassinGas said:
I'm not sure but don't most US med school students on average have about an 80-85% match rate to their top 3 choices (back when these statistics were kept), so wouldn't that just go to show you that the US schools have a better residency placement than the just over 66% that McGill is bragging about? Someone correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks.
While the rate may be lower, it is not clear to me whether the numbers are referring to McGill students applying for a US residency, those applying for a Canadian residency, or combined. Since the Canadian match system is different (and there are more geographical restrictions for candidates) than the US, I'm not sure we can accurately compare the numbers.
 

ileum27

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I went to undergrad at McGill then med school at NYU (I was born and raised in Mtl).

Nonetheless, I know for a fact that though most US grads from McGill do well on match, it depends what you want to go into. I have several friends who went to McGill med, and the Dean's office at McGill is not as supportive of its students as US schools' (in terms of Dean's letters, taking a yr off for research). Furthermore, medicine in Canada esp Qc is changing daily (for better or for worse). Clinical experience is great at McGill but a lot of scut, and while you might have more responsibility and hands-on activities, the teaching is less and the time to study is limited. Any hands-on experiences you might miss out on as a med student, don't worry, you'll make up as a resident, believe me. And all schools quote the same statistic of so-and-so percent get their top 3 choices, so don't get caught up in that.

I vote for Sinai. Patient population in NYC is also very different from Mtl and you will be exposed to more pathology in NYC.
 

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I can'r speak to McGill (although I've heard it's good), but I do know Mt. Sinai--you will have a leg up for anything you want to do coming from there....NYC is a competitive market, and having an "in" to the system is like gold. You'll make LOTS of useful contacts there....take it and run!!!

PS--everyone's right--med school is so expensive everywhere that now's not the time to worry about money---it will all be paid back in due time!!
 

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Acherona,

Several comments:

1) I would disagree with the posters who suggest that you shouldn't let finances factor into your decision. Many of the faculty I work with are still paying off their medical school loans. While finances shouldn't drive your decisions 100%, neither should they drive your decisions 0%. Somewhere in between is a nice compromise.
Furthermore, if in 4 years you decide you want to do the altruistic thing and go into a less-moneyed profession, having a lighter debt load will make the decision easier for you. Committing to a life of service is difficult enough for most 'normal' people -- why set things up to make it even harder for you to 'do the right thing'?

2) As several posters have noted, McGill is LCME-accredited -- enough said. One of my friends from Toronto received interviews for peds at all the top programs, and I work with a McGill alum (now faculty) who is chief of her division (N=2).

3) "% who matched to one of their top three choices" is a meaningless statistic. This statistic would only have meaning if students received interviews at every program they wanted to consider. Otherwise, you're comparing apples and oranges. Consider this stylized example: student Mary at A-1 Prime School of Medicine applies to top programs in internal medicine, gets interviews everywhere, and ranks to match at 15 highly competitive programs. Her top 8 includes: Hopkins, MGH, UCSF, Duke, Brigham, UCLA, CCF, Mayo. Unfortunately, she 'only' gets her #5 choice, Brigham. But student Bob at Bufu School of Medicine thinks he is not a strong candidate (and does not get advising from his dean to the contrary) and applies to several regional programs. Maybe he gets his #2 choice. If there are more Marys at A-1 Prime School of Medicine than there are Bobs at Bufu School of Medicine, then A-1 Prime School of Medicine ends up looking pretty bad (if you are comparing them using the "% who matched to one of their top three choices" statistic). That statistic is probably more a reflection of good student advising (+/- student ambition) rather than school quality.

All in all, I would say that the quality difference between Mt Sinai and McGill is not that large. I have heard -- to support one of the previous posters -- that at any of the Canadian schools it is a little more difficult to do 'atypical' things like take time off or do a dual degree. Mt Sinai may make it easier for you to match in NYC (i.e., more likely to have faculty and Deans who know faculty and Deans at the other NYC medical schools, easier in terms of logistics to arrange visiting rotations, etc) -- but it's not like you would be shooting yourself in the foot by going to McGill. The clinical experience will be comparable, and as long as you do well at either school, you will be in a good position to do well in the match.

Congratulations on having a choice!

Cheers
-AT.
 

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Acherona said:
Yes, it's true the quebec government makes you sign that contract but I plan to return to the US for residency.

According to the admissions propaganda, ahem, literature, McGill does very well in the US match. "in 2000, over two thirds of the U.S. applicants matched to their top 3 choices in both discipline and program desired!" Then of course some places like MGH and Johns Hopkins were listed. But I don't know how good that statistic actually is compared to other schools.

It also says, "the quality of education compared to the top US medical schools is equal, if not superior, to the top American training (many of us have turned down highly-rated American schools – i.e. Harvard and Stanford – to come to McGill). McGill students and graduates have a reputation of being sharp physicians and generally distinguish themselves amongst their peers by demonstrating superior clinical skills."

"Many of us" is probably 2 people in the last 5 years. I'm having trouble assessing this. tr, maybe I will ask to see match lists or somehow try to seek out American 4th years. But I have to say the fact that people on here don't seem to know that McGill is accredited is not a good sign.

oh and the Dean of the school claims McGill is one of the "top schools in North America" but it's unclear where he is getting this from. :confused:

Thanks for the advice everyone
Note that the statistic there if for first choice DISCIPLINE and LOCATION. The most common reported stat is discipline, so make sure you are getting the right numbers.

http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/ugme/faq.htm

Q: What percentage of US students from the McGill medical program match to their first choice discipline in the US?

A: 87%

This is off McGill's website, which would make it closer to Yale's match rate.

Also, I don't see how many US schools, other than some selective top schools, can compete with the reputation of McGill. I mean, Sir William Osler??, Penefield?, Montreal Neurological Institute. Johns Hopkins was actually co-founded by a McGill doc. There truly is NO difference in terms of accreditation between US and Canadian schools, and Canadian grads are not considered IMG. The most recent class at McGill that took the USMLE step one scored the US mean, and I also found while searching this person (agreed just one person)

http://www.usmle.net/step-1/messages2005a/162197.html

got 232/94.

Also note that most Canadian students will not write the USMLE (but Americans will) and if they do, it is really of secondary importance because most US states will accept the MCCQE in lieu of the USMLE. USMLE is not used as a criteria for admission to residency in Canada, and therefore I suspect if anything the scores for this exam will be lower because of that reason, not the quality of education or student body.

There are definitely politics that effect the funding of the universities in Canada, however this difference is usually brought up when comparing the University of Toronto (Canada's other elite school) with McGill. However, as I am a resident and have been though the process, I would say that it is usually easier to get matched at your home school/city for a variety of reasons, in both the US and in Canada. If you want to do a residency in NYC, then you are better off going there for med school (mind you that you can still practice anywhere when you graduate, even if you went to McGill).
 

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Although I would take issues with Yamo's use of historical figures to justify McGill's current quality (there's a reason Osler never returned you know), I'm pretty shocked at the beating McGill is taking in this thread. McGill's status certainly isn't what it was even a few years ago in Canada, let alone internationally, but it's still one of the world's best universities. The Times in England rated it a few years ago as one of the world's 10 great academic centres, Gourman put the med school in the top 5 in the world (yes, I know about the Gourman issues), and as far as facilities go, it is consolidating its teaching hospitals into a $1 billion "super hospital" and has the resources of a major research university. There are schools in the US that compare favourably to McGill, but I wouldn't at first count Mt. Sinai as one of them. I agree, though, that you should probably go with the NYC option if you want to do your residency there or if you're simply more comfortable there in terms of location, curriculum etc. But keep in mind that every year 20+ US students go back to the US and help to boost McGill's rep there & McGill probably gives you the best bang for your US dollars.

Try to go to the Canadian premed board and look in the McGill forum re: USMLE issues and prep; McGill is US friendly, but it is a Canadian school and probably isn't designed with the USMLEs in mind.

Don't bother with the innocent ignorance of some people here re: Canadian schools. Few Americans go to Canada for med school so it's not surprising that many do not have knowledge of something that will never impact them them personally. If you ask a lot of Canadian pre-meds what Mt. Sinai is, many will say it's a hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto.
 

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Didn't McGill invent the PBL curriculum? A couple of attendings here in Hawaii trained there and appearantly it is world famous. So is Mt.Sinai though, so you're doing pretty good regardless of what you choose. Good luck. (personally, I'd go live in Manhattan)
 

winstonm

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dbiddy808 said:
Didn't McGill invent the PBL curriculum? A couple of attendings here in Hawaii trained there and appearantly it is world famous. So is Mt.Sinai though, so you're doing pretty good regardless of what you choose. Good luck. (personally, I'd go live in Manhattan)
No, it was McMaster in Hamilton, Ontario.