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Everything posted by yungdoc

  1. Hi there, welcome to the UofT Med family and good questions! 1. This is a tricky situation. Without revealing too much, I lived with a classmate I didn't know before entering medical school for two years with the intention of expanding my social circle as well. Although there were no conflicts, we didn't vibe well and it made the living situation a bit uncomfortable (the last thing you want at the end of a long day!). We both ended up moving out before clerkship began, and I lived on my own for last two years (which was much better, but much more expensive). I think the most ideal situation is to find a roommate you already know (within or outside of medicine). The large majority of people do not live on residence; generally UofT residences are more expensive than independent living, but more convenient (although there are many rentals near UofT that you can seek out ). I wanted the experience of living like a young adult who happened to be a med student, rather than a student first and foremost. Regardless of residence, medicine is a very social program (given the large volume of people that you are forced to encounter day to day), and you will meet and make friends regardless. 2. I'm from the suburbs so I may not have the best insight on this, but my colleagues from rural areas seemed to adjust well, although I'm sure they definitely missed the small town feel sometimes. Like I mentioned before, Toronto has a large, diverse volume so you cannot generalize. There will be very busy city people in your cohort and in the hospitals, but there will also be a ton of people who are kind, friendly and easy going. If you do choose to return back to a rural area for residency, I'd savour the experience of living in Toronto while you can; so much to do and see and involve yourself in.
  2. Hard to say as the essay questions change from year to year! I would recommend making sure you answer the question authentically; do not write what you think they want to hear. I also recommend injecting your own lived experiences in your answers (even if they don't explicitly ask for this in the stem). You only have so many opportunities to tell them about yourself, so take this opportunity! Just make sure it's seamlessly integrated and not irrelevant to the stem. e.g. If a question asks about your thoughts on a social issue, talk about a time you were an advocate for a marginalized group
  3. The undergrad vs. medical school reputation for "competition" is really quite different. It's a very very bad look to be a cut-throat snake because all of your will be colleagues one day and it's a very small world. More-so than outward competition is the sense of constant "imposter syndrome" that you aren't up to par with your peers -- this is something nearly everyone faces, regardless of if their peers are explicitly being competitive or not. I went to McMaster for undergrad (Health Sci lol) and it was a similar vibe -- a generally collaborative group of type A students, who was to individually succeed, but not necessarily at the expense of their peers. Academies are definitely beneficial! You end up encountering people across all academies, but my closest friends did end up being from the same academy as you. I'm not sure how the requirements may have changed since the year I applied (2015 to start in 2016). UofT does have a separate pool for graduate students. From my understanding, they will consider your application as long as your undergraduate GPA is above 3.0. However, a competitive graduate GPA is considered above 3.7. The overall weighted gpa (look this up, as it can considerably increase your GPA; UofT will drop a ton of your lowest grades if you have a full courseload per year of undergraduate study) of incoming classes in recent years have been 3.95-3.96. UofT only uses the MCAT as a screen; you just need to get a minimum of 125 in each section, and they will allow 124 in one section. Getting an MCAT score beyond this threshold will not help your application! I've seen lower gpa/high MCAT applications have success in schools such as Queen's, Western and McMaster (CARS only), that tend to look at MCAT more heavily compared to GPA. UOttawa is a very GPA-heavy school that you may not have great luck with. I only applied in province, so I cannot speak to the OOP experience.
  4. Of course securing a residency position is an important goal, but if that's all you're focused on during your medical education, your time in medical school will feel very shallow. I would focus more on becoming competent by immersing in the content, optimizing your clinical skills and individual style of patient encounters, getting to know patient populations through lived experiences, using your privilege as a medical student for the betterment of your community, and getting to know your peers. These elements are what makes medical school fruitful. Similar to med school admissions, residency matches can often feel like a lottery. I've seen people become very disappointed that they didn't get their perfect match, but a large part of that is them adopting a sense of entitlement over a specific program or specialty. Be open-minded, and like Bambi said, try and envision yourself in multiple specialties that you could be happy in. In terms of the "late convert" to a specialty, this is not uncommon (although varying degrees of success into the most competitive locations). From what I've seen, the best narrative is just to be honest that it was something you discovered late, and selling transferable skills from other experiences. Also booking as many last minute electives in that specialty would be helpful. It may not be the robust narrative that people who've had their heart set on a specialty since day 1 might have, but it's truthful and all that you have to work with.
  5. In retrospect, I am super glad I did graduate school in between (allowed me to live elsewhere and pursue a lot of things I wanted to do that I wouldn't have had the chance to if I entered med straight out of undergrad). Medicine is a marathon not a sprint; it is almost more beneficial to enter this demanding career a little later on (more maturity, insight, life experience -- these all matter, but specifically when residency interviews come around). There is quite a home school advantage at any institution. At my schools, about 50% of graduates will be continuing residency training in Toronto. Another opinion is that there is some stigma against UofT students pursuing residency at other institutions, as many people assume people want to stay in Toronto (which is often but not always the case). That's not to say your chances are poor otherwise; Toronto ends up attracting residents from all over. But to answer question, yes there is quite the home school advantage.
  6. Yes!! Although not many, this is certainly not an uncommon path to pursing medicine. And a lot of the nursing students come in with so much clinical experience that is incredibly helpful for thriving in medical school (their clinical skills are top notch).
  7. The current situation doesn't remove the downstream impact on our system if there are not enough doctors to meet demands in the coming years. I can almost guarantee that if you do not have a compelling case (e.g. a severely sick family member) during this pandemic, you will be expected to start your medical education on track. This isn't about the best optimal educational experience for YOU (the individual), it's about training enough competent doctors to meet the needs of society (and that certainly does not stop during a pandemic). That's not to say you won't receive a quality education; it may just not be as traditional as in previous years.
  8. I would definitely encourage as much exploration as you can early on and try to decide between a medical vs. surgical specialty in your first year. You really do need to continually build a narrative all throughout your time in medical school in order to have a strong CaRMS application, especially for competitive specialties. Luckily, I found myself most interested in two fairly non-competitive specialties, and ended up matching back in Toronto (I'll say it's a competitive program, but fairly uncompetitive 5-year specialty). Although explicit activities like research are "not required", some research NEVER looks bad. Be involved in your medical school and community; I find this sometimes sets apart those who match a their top choice programs vs. those who do not. I think there's a mix of both. If you think about it, there's only a few different ways for one to be a good med school applicant (GPA, MCAT, etc), but a million ways to become a good doctor. I'd like to say for the most part, I stuck to things I cared about (advocacy) but did dabble in things like research (that I don't care for as much, but never hurts to have experience in). I think moreso than any individual set of items, residency programs look at the whole individual; someone who has a genuine interest in the specialty, has the potential to elevate the field and most importantly, someone who they can work well with and are amenable to training. I'd also say med school is more collaborative than premed; you will all be future colleagues one day and it's just a bad look to be the cutthroat one.
  9. I applied for two cycles. I was unsuccessful after my first cycle after interviewing at two schools. After finishing grad school, I applied again and got into three medical schools in Ontario.
  10. Hey all, I'm a 4th year medical student at UofT about to start residency in July! Have time to kill during quarantine and happy to answer any questions about medical school, OMSAS, residency applications and beyond! I know that this is a nerve-wracking and exciting day for you, so happy to settle any qualms! Good luck tomorrow!!
  11. I'm from the St. George campus so it's hard for me to speak on that. A small subset of MAM students lived downtown, but the large majority definitely live in Mississauga, as that is where you will be based for Anatomy, Clinical Skills, CBL, and most third year core rotations in clerkship. However, lectures can generally be attended at either St. George or MAM sites. I would personally recommend living in Mississauga; long commutes to and from school are not worth it on med school!
  12. Hey all, I' m a 4th year medical student at UofT about to start residency in July! Have time to kill during quarantine and happy to answer any questions about medical school, UofT, etc.! Good luck tomorrow!!
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