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naspec

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  1. A simple MCAT or other test score cutoff would be much less labor-intensive than filtering through and ranking thousands of subjective indicators such as extracurricular activities.
  2. If you need a copy of Doing Right, try and get one from the library. They are probably all signed out at this time of year, but you may get lucky like I did (I was in town during reading week, went to look for it at the library and a new copy had just arrived).
  3. My problem with the MMI is that it demands skills that are actually taught and improved upon during medical school. At my school clinical methods were heavily emphasized during the first two years, and this included interviewing patients and discussing ethical dilemmas in a practical small group setting. Over the years I noticed big improvements in the interviewing skills of me and my classmates because of this training. I did poorly on the MMI when I was interviewing for medical school, but after finishing clerkship, I now get along famously with my patients after even a brief encounter and am able to discuss ethical dilemmas with a depth and insight that I was too tentative to really do effectively as a nervous med school applicant. My clerkship evaluations confirm that. I feel that my previous poor performance on the MMI wasn't that I didn't have the innate traits required to be a good doctor, but that I was untrained. We don't penalize applicants for not knowing what a heart attack or mono looks like because we will teach them once they become medical students. The soft skills demanded on an MMI are certainly essential to being a good doctor, but like scientific and clinical knowledge, can be and are already being taught in medical school. Unfortunately I don't have a better suggestion about how to run the interviewing process. The hybrid approach at Queen's sounds interesting but is certainly resource and time intensive. For sure a panel interview runs the risk of being biased towards those who happen to jive with their interviewers. I'm not as worried about somebody memorizing all their answers for a panel interview because interviewers will be able to see straight through a ruse like that. An MMI is more difficult to develop a memorized "script" for, but people surely do prepare for it, as it would be foolish to show up at any interview expecting only your innate traits to carry you through. As an aside, sometimes I wonder if the MMI was set up with this in mind: if a group of interviewees does both a panel interview and MMI with no prior prep, I can see how the MMI would be more fair. I wonder about whether the MMI is biased towards those who have the time and money to sign up for practice MMI sessions. Whereas a panel interview anyone can practice by setting up a time with a friend or a respected mentor, an MMI requires a large group of people to find a place and time to meet. For the full-on dress rehearsal, you will need a time keeper and an equal number of people to play interviewer and interviewee, and after the session, you will need to give and receive feedback about how you did. This may be easy for students in traditionally premed programs who are plugged in to their premed student societies, where a lot of people with the same motivation can be found to participate in and run these sessions. There are also private companies that can set up such sessions for a fee. I wonder if instead of making things more fair, it actually increases the barriers to entry for the same non-traditional applicants that med schools who started the MMI wanted to attract in the first place.
  4. In many countries outside of North America, it is customary for high school graduates to apply directly to medical school (usually a 6 year program). One of my preceptors told us that where he was from, the first two years consisted of demanding basic science courses and the drop out rate was high. Compared with our system, it was easier to get in but harder to stay in. Here's something else that I think is interesting: when we consider the endless fellowship or locum treadmills of many postgraduate specialty training pathways, we are looking at pushing further and further back the age when you actually start working a steady job in what you were trained to do. If medical schools are also looking for more and more graduate degrees or "life experience" from their applicants, that also adds extra years to the beginning of training. Think about this from a typical student's point of view and how old they are at various milestones: A: "Traditional" progression of a specialty-trained physician/surgeon 17: finish high school 18-21: finish undergrad 22-26: MD 27-31: Residency 32-33: Fellowship 34: Job B: Alternative progression of family physician: 17: finish high school 18-20: three years of undergrad before getting scooped up by med school 21-23: MD (three year program) 24-25: Family residency 26: Job C: Now let's add some extra qualifications and life experience to the CV because jobs are scarce and competition is fierce and this one definitely wants an academic career with the satisfaction of being a leader in the field: 17: finish high school 18: travel Europe to discover yourself 19-23: finish undergrad taking an extra internship year traveling to underprivileged country to volunteer in medical outreach mission 24-25: Master's degree 26-33: MD-PhD 34-39: Residency (extended by 1 year due to taking one or two maternity/paternity leaves) 40-41: 1st fellowship (difficulty of conceiving additional children increases significantly after this point, better hope your family is "complete" by now!) 42-43: 2nd fellowship or locum 44: Job (maybe?) This would not be as much of a concern for those going into family medicine (shorter residency) or specialties where a job is guaranteed at the end. Now when most of us signed up for medical school we knew we were in it for the long haul, but looking at the second timeline, the prospect of working like a dog for maybe a job in your mid-40s is very discouraging for all but the most dedicated. Programs like the one at Queen's and Calgary (as well as getting into Mac after third year) give you that much more of a shortcut and could be well worth it, shaving up to four years off the beginning of Timeline C. What these programs seem to be doing is to shave two years off the start of the traditional timeline so that they can get into their resident/fellow roles while they are still relatively young and before family responsibilities and the demands of advancing age start slowing them down. I completely agree that this may not work out, and selecting candidates so early in the process will likely facilitate some degree of elitism (e.g. doctor's own children knowing what the deal is and how to play the game straight out of high school). I still think it is worth investigating whether shortening the amount of "life" you have to have lived before medical schools will admit you will result in more productive and more satisfied future doctors, especially in the academic world where training can be long and jobs scarce.
  5. OP asked whether it's still financially feasible to go to medical school expecting to work in a large urban centre, and whether we would still choose it if we had the option of going into something else like engineering. It's a highly personal decision about what you want to do with your life. I can answer a few of those questions for you. Regarding the financial aspect, there is a lot of support available to medical students. If you are at least four years out of high school and in Ontario, OSAP will start considering you as an independent student and will no longer reduce your funding based on your parents' income. Others may correct me, but I think this will amount to around $14,000 per year. The university will also have bursaries available to apply for as well, and at my school the last I heard it was $3000 per year. As you may have seen in other subforums, there are also large lines of credit available to us from banks with interest rates at prime and very favorable repayment terms ($200,000 divided over four years at 3% per annum back when I started). There is some underlying some doom and gloom about interest rates going up, but unless you are living a high-roller lifestyle, with student loans, school bursaries, and covering the difference with your line of credit, you will not be financially hurting throughout your time in medical school even if they do increase. It is perfectly feasible to finish medical school having used less than a quarter of that line of credit. You will easily be able to pay that back when you first start working, even if you are doing locums until you find a permanent position. Also I'm interested to find out more about your desire to work in a large urban centre. There are many small communities who are actively trying to recruit new family physicians and who are well within commuting distance of at least the suburbs that ring a large city. This may be an option for you if all you want is to live in a city but don't care as much where you work. About whether I would choose medicine over engineering if I had to do it again, I can offer some insights regarding that as well. My old classmates from engineering had a very difficult time finding jobs when they graduated because of the economic downturn. Those who found work in urban areas are certainly not savoring an upper-middle class lifestyle giving current living expenses. I would say that my financial freedom as a medical student is comparable to most of my former classmates. Even though I am supported by debt, I remain confident that it is perfectly manageable and that I will easily be able to repay it. Engineering graduates who want a ballin' lifestyle may go into management and they put in the effort of networking and gaining extra qualifications that goes along with that. In order to make it down that path I estimate is more competitive and fraught with uncertainty than applying for medical school. In summary, never be afraid to go to medical school (at least, a Canadian one) because you are afraid of going broke.
  6. It could be being held back because there is missing information. We're all independent students by now, but for your undergrad years, something like one of your parents not filing their tax return could result in it being withheld. I think there is a link on the status page of the OSAP site where you can check.
  7. Better call the admissions office to find out for sure: 519-661-3744
  8. Hey look: http://www.premed101.com/forums/showthread.php?p=728848#post728848 So it looks like Queen's does still have some kind of last two years policy, and AFAIK Western has a "best two years" thing going on as well. Unless you are the beneficiary of some massive in-province/in-region admissions advantage, don't waste your time applying next cycle, and instead take an extra year or two to really work on those grades.
  9. War is Peace Freedom is Slavery Ignorance is Strength Do not question The Party
  10. I'm not sure what your plan is, but right now your best bet might be to look at which med schools will give you a pass on those first three years, e.g. those that only look that your two best years, or last two years, etc. Policies may have changed significantly from when I was applying, so maybe someone with more recent experience would know.
  11. Scotia gave me the LOC based on an acceptance letter and a printout of the receipt showing that I had paid the tuition deposit.
  12. Hey, this sounds interesting. A lot of 2014s need to get ours renewed as well. Do you have a link that we could put on our Facebook group?
  13. For someone with your background, you could try to find experience to medical biophysics, imaging, etc. There's a lot of work to be done in those fields, and they seem to be scouting for talent. For example, in Ontario, Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Robarts Institute in London, and McMaster's program (I don't know what it's called) all seem to have good reps. I've come to notice lots of Iron Rings in the hospitals these days, so rest assured that many have come before you. As always, maintain good grades when looking for these opportunities and it will be easier to get your foot in the door even without much previous experience.
  14. Good point, you're not going to get a chance to talk about how you saved a village from a cholera outbreak if your 2.8 GPA gets you sorted to the bottom of the spreadsheet and you don't even get invited for an interview. Only do things that you really care about, and keep your grades up to avoid major headaches down the road. On the other hand, what previous posters said about the point of diminishing returns is correct, and you should carefully study the GPA conversion scales from various med schools (especially OMSAS) in order to figure out just where that point lies for you, and what you need to do to maintain it. Would have saved me a lot of trouble if somebody had explained that to me when I was applying.
  15. I heard from a doctor who graduated from here a few years back that he took a year off in clerkship to do an overseas stint and graduated with the class below him. Didn't find out too many details though. Don't listen to your friends, you will get plenty of time to travel, discover yourself, etc during medical school if you so wish, and having the line of credit to back you up makes things a lot less stressful (unless you are already loaded), and maybe you will find some willing travel buddies in your new class.
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