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If you are reading this, it means you’re contemplating pursuing a career in medicine. We want to first congratulate you on making that decision for yourself! Thinking about your future can always lead to some feelings of stress and anxiety. Accessing this guide is an amazing first step towards actualizing your goal of becoming a future physician.
If you have not heard this yet, just know that there are already a group of students rooting for you! A large group of medical students from across Canada have contributed to the creation of this guide, with the hopes of providing you with ample support on your own path to medicine. The advice provided within the guide is aimed to raise awareness of the components that we believe are important to consider when applying to medicine. Having said that, the advice we are giving is NOT set in stone. At the end of the day, we encourage you to pursue experiences that are enjoyable for YOU, even if they are not listed in the guide.
Before diving deeper, it is also very important to note that each individual admitted into medicine had their own unique journey. That will become apparent to you as you explore the different pathways to medicine laid out in this chapter. In fact, a large proportion of medical students follow unconventional routes and may not even have intensive human biology backgrounds. So while reading through, please remember that there is not one path that is greater than another.
In this chapter you will learn about different undergraduate programs. The schools’ benefits and shortcomings will be discussed, as well as things that you should consider when choosing a school such as location, cost, support networks and environment. There will also be a discussion on program selection, course selection and summer school. Of course, the discussion on undergraduate education would not be complete without a section GPA. You will become familiar with the OMSAS GPA system and how it corresponds with the GPA grading systems of the different universities. Overall, this chapter will give you an understanding of the undergraduate system and some factors to consider when choosing the school to attend as well as key insights into the undergraduate academics.
Research & Extracurriculars
Extracurricular activities are an integral part of the application for many medical schools in Canada. This chapter will guide you in choosing your extracurricular involvements and dispel, some common myths surrounding extracurriculars. It will include advice on how to document your experiences, both objectively (tracking time) and subjectively (memorable moments), which is critical for the application and interview. Extracurriculars can seem like a daunting part of the process and there may be some confusion around what to do and what not to do. This chapter aims to provide insight and make the process of choosing which extracurriculars to be involved in much simpler.
This chapter will be covering all kinds of advice when it comes to tackling the MCAT. In this chapter, we will be discussing: the overall breakdown of the MCAT by sections, recommended resources that some students have used to prepare for the test, some classes in undergrad that will help in preparation for the MCAT, the truth about prep companies, and when to consider writing the MCAT.
Now that you have completed all the prerequisites, the next step is to finally apply to medical school! This chapter explores the whole process of figuring out the right schools for you and all the factors to take into account to preparing your application. It provides you with the tips and tricks to put together an application that showcases your expertise in the best light to that various reviewers that will look at it.
MD / PHD
This chapter will provide insight for those looking to combine their passions for Academia and Medicine in the pursuit of a MD/PhD degree. Before committing oneself to any path, especially this one, it is necessary to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of combining a PhD degree with your MD against choosing to complete a PhD before or after medical school. In addition, this chapter will inform you of the specific details regarding the process of applying for the MD/PhD stream including key fixtures such as your personal statement, interviews, etc. There are also prevalent misconceptions that are addressed in order to give you the perspective you may need to definitively decide whether this is the right choice for you or not.
The interview process can be a daunting experience but is also an exciting opportunity to display your strengths as a future medical student. This chapter will give you an overview of the various types of interview formats, and how you can prepare for them. It will explore how to practice in advance and up to the night before and discuss how to confidently and professionally present yourself. Specifically, this chapter will cover how to dress, communication skills, and where to stay during your interview.
Accepting Your Offer
In your path to a career in Medicine, there will be many big milestones with one of the biggest being your acceptance into Medical School! Your emotions may overwhelm you on this fateful day, and rightfully so. But, do not forget you have to actually accept your offer in order to say you’re officially a Medical student! This chapter will outline the steps to do just that as well as provide a framework with which to potentially decide which school is the best if you have received multiple offers. Keeping mind that this journey is a marathon and not a sprint, this chapter will give insight on how to navigate through the potential reality of being waitlisted or rejected.
This chapter will explore the finances involved in embarking on a career in medicine. It will cover the expenses required to apply for and attend medical school, and the ways in which you can finance your education. This chapter will also discuss how to make money in medical school, how you make money in residency, and the ranges of income you can earn as a physician.
You Didn't Get In, Now What?
This chapter will be discussing the steps some of us have taken after receiving a rejection from medical school applications. Some key points in this chapter includes: the immediate reassessment period - should you try again immediately, take a break, or pursue an alternative route, reflecting on your application +/- your interview, review some potential weakness and areas of improvement, and how to make the most out of the time you have before potentially applying again.
Wellness in the process of applying to medical school is an important topic that is not discussed enough. This chapter will explore the ways in which you can maintain wellness in life as you go through this stressful time. Specifically, this chapter will discuss how you can practice mindfulness, keep up your hobbies/interests, and maintain healthy relationships during the application cycle.