Medical Where should I go for undergrad?

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Hi, so I am currently in Grade 12. I am a dual Canadian-US citizen who wants to go into neurosurgery and I have applied to around 26 schools in 3 different countries.
The pathways I am looking into are the following:

1) Undergrad in Neuroscience, Biochemistry, or Biomedicine at a Canadian University (either University of Toronto, McMaster, Queens, University of Ottawa, Carleton University, or Waterloo)

2) Attending University of New Mexico (a very low ranked university but offered a scholarship that would allow me to pay only $8000 per year, many of the biochem courses happen in the medical school campus, and I have reached out to a researcher working in neuroimmunology who is willing to let me work in their lab as soon as classes start with high potential for publications).

3) Attend a Irish Medical School (I have applied to multiple 5 year medical programs and have received offers for interviews, it is very expensive but will reduce time in medical school and increase time working as a practicing neurosurgeon; I am worried about the matching process and I don’t know if being a dual US-Canadian citizen will be beneficial)

4) Attending a well-ranked university in the US like the University of Rochester.

I would really appreciate any advice because if I go to the US for undergrad, I plan on pursuing an MD/PhD program.
The very first thing you should do is take a big deep breath. You're putting the cart before the horse here, worrying about neurosurgery when you're just looking at colleges. Lots of people are 100% certain what career they want -- then after further exposure change their minds.

You abslutely should not attend an Irish medical school. You will NOT be a neurosurgeon if you do that. Students from international schools are much less competitive than US or Canadian students and have great difficulty getting into competitive fields or programs. This would be a huge mistake.

UNM and U Rochester are fine schools, but they are not top US schools.

The first step in this journey is doing well in college. Pick a school you're happy with, and a major you enjoy. If there's a pre-med "track" of some sort, then enroll in that. If not, you'll just need to make sure you take the basics you'll need - chem, math, bio, physics, etc. I would choose the best and cheapest school you can. If you can get into U of T or McGill, they are both great choices. Some research while in school would be great, but don't sacrifice your GPA. Some shadowing also important.

Then, you'll apply to medical school, you'll have the choice of the US and Canada and can apply to both. Hard to give you advice since it depends on how undergrad goes, and your MCAT scores. A school in the US or Canada will give you many more choices.

There are some combined BS/MD programs in the US, I don't know if they exist in Canada. In the US they tend to pick students who are local, so as an external candidate your chances aren't great but you could try.

Do not rush this. Take your time. Shortcuts usually lead to dead ends.


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You should definitely go to undergrad in the US. Personally, of the choices listed above, I would go to UNM. It's lower-ranked, but no one really cares as long as you do well. Go to UNM (or any US undergrad), and get a stellar GPA. I said UNM because you have a scholarship. It's also good to be mindful of your finances when you can. Cheaper the better (for the most part). You have zero reasons right now to even be mentioning neurosurgery right now. You should be focusing on doing well in your college courses, especially science and medical school prereqs, learning how you learn best, acing your courses and GPA, gaining clinical and non-clinical volunteer experiences, getting some shadowing in (I advise getting shadowing in at least one primary care specialty), and making connections.

Once you get into medical school, THEN you can start thinking about what you wanna do down the line...but if you don't even get into medical school, what's the point of thinking about NSG?


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Thank you so much for your advice!

I have been quite conflicted as I have heard that prestige does play a factor in determining medical school admissions. I am interested in pursuing an MD/PhD program as well to go into clinical neurosurgical research which is why I have a keen interest for neurosurgery (I think realistically having a broad goal of being a physician wouldn’t help demonstrate my passion/motivation for a particular path in medicine which is why I specified “neurosurgery”). I didn’t want to be limited in my options for a competitive specialty which is why I really needed help with this dilemma. For undergrad programs in the US I am planning on doing either Biochemistry or Neuroscience (either a double Major or a major / minor) in an Honor’s program setting with a pre-med track. Since many extracurriculars will be closed or limited, I really want to pursue my passion for research before applying for the MD/PhD program in the future.

Once again, thank you so much for your advice! If you have any more advice I would be ecstatic for your help!
Prestige by itself can be overrated, and it is also a symbol of privilege. Go to where you will have the best support.
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