Aug 19, 2016
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Pre-Medical
I am a Canadian student currently attending university in Montreal, and I have been browsing SDN for a good while now. I plan on applying to both Canadian Medical schools and U.S Medical schools (all of those who will accept Internationals/Canadians) and while gathering information about EC's and etc., there seems to be a mixed opinion about shadowing.

In Canada (Quebec), shadowing is nearly impossible.

The pre-med association will supply a few spots of 1 day shadowing every year for all the pre-meds of a 40k student university. So even if I could get a spot, the shadowing will still be very limited (<10 hours) and with a single physician. I've tried talking to the physicians of the hospital in which I am currently volunteering and they don't even understand the necessity of it and there is a huge legal barrier as well.

Now, in some threads people seem to place a lot of emphasis on shadowing many docs/specialties and for numerous hours. While in others, I have seen the term "most superficial clinical experience" being used to describe shadowing, almost deeming it useless.

My question is, as you may have guessed, is not shadowing going to make my application much less competitive?

Thank you in advance for your help.
 

Pagan FutureDoc

2+ Year Member
Oct 28, 2015
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If you don't have shadowing you'll need to demonstrate you know what a physicians day/workflow is like. Basically adcoms want to be sure you know what you are getting into.
I'm fairly certain that school that take a good number of Canadian applicants are aware of the challenges you face in getting shadowing
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
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Academic Administration
If shadowing is hard to get in Canada, it is likely that Canadian medical schools do not expect students to have shadowing experience. Your focus should be on MCAT which is so much more important to Canadian schools.

If you do believe that US schools are a strong possibility for you, it might be worth seeking a summer research experience at a top US medical school and then talking your way into some shadowing opportunity on your off hours.
 
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OP
J
Aug 19, 2016
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Yes LizzyM, Canadian schools consider GPA + MCAT for 80% of the application, the rest is EC's, CV, research, etc. So shadowing is unheard of (even frowned upon) by AdComs here.

As to seeking a research experience in the U.S, is this common? I'm already applying to labs here, they all ask for a 2 year commitment minimum and they expect the students to work more in the summer.

Would it be a possibility to cold call doctors from Vermont, New York and Maine (closest states to me) and try my luck with them? Or will they find it weird, considering I'm not from the U.S/ have no links to them?
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
23,148
32,698
Status
Academic Administration
Yes LizzyM, Canadian schools consider GPA + MCAT for 80% of the application, the rest is EC's, CV, research, etc. So shadowing is unheard of (even frowned upon) by AdComs here.

As to seeking a research experience in the U.S, is this common? I'm already applying to labs here, they all ask for a 2 year commitment minimum and they expect the students to work more in the summer.

Would it be a possibility to cold call doctors from Vermont, New York and Maine (closest states to me) and try my luck with them? Or will they find it weird, considering I'm not from the U.S/ have no links to them?
Yes, I think it would be odd to cold call docs in the US. If you were to have time for a research experience in the summer in a med school lab in the US, then the shadowing could be piggy backed on it but it sounds like you are already tied up in the summer.

This is going to put you at a disadvantage for admission in the US but if you work hard you should be able to get into a school in Canada.
 
OP
J
Aug 19, 2016
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you both for your advice.

I'll try and get as much shadowing hours as possible, and otherwise make my application worthwhile even if my shadowing is on the low side.