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XenoSed

RCSI (Ireland) or UQ (Australia) for a Canadian

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Hi everyone! I am a Canadian graduate that got accepted into both graduate entry medicine program in University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) for this upcoming cycle. I was wondering if anyone has any advice on which one I school should I go to. I do want to come back to Canada (this is my last ditch effort with a 513 MCAT but a 124 in CARS and cGPA: 81%, Strong ECs [suicide prevention volunteer, special needs swimming head coach, volunteer science teacher, hospital volunteering], and research [1 publication as 2nd author and working in research since graduation]), but at this point in my life I am flexible to pursue medicine elsewhere. Here are some pros and cons I can think of:

 

RCSI - Ireland Pros:

- Reputable school with stronger curriculum

- I have connections with people who have graduated from RCSI (Some of which came back to Canada), people who are graduating, and people are still in this school, so I will have a huge support network for guidance

- School is known to help support and provide resources to get students back to Canada

- Higher match rate to Canada as an IMG

RCSI - Ireland Cons:

- Expensive

- If you can’t match back to Canada, you can’t stay in Ireland to continue training

- Lots of rain (superficial reason!)

 

UQ- Australia Pros:

- Less expensive

- Can apply through the Australian pathway and stay in Australia if can’t match back

- Have some family in Australia

- More sun (superficial reason!)

UQ- Australia Cons:

- Less support for students coming back to Canada

- Huge class size

- Weaker curriculum 

- Was really easy to get in. There was no letter of references, personal statement, or interview (really skeptical about this)

- Lower applicants applying back to Canada (although higher success rates)
 

Overall the UQ option is more attractive because of a “back-up” plan in place but the ease of getting into that school has made me skeptical. Also the lack of knowing anyone that has gone through that pathway has made me uneasy as well.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice!!

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This is completely anecdotal: I’ve met and know people who graduated from RCSI who got residencies in US or Canada. I’ve never met a UQ grad. 

Maybe it’s because UQ is newer? However, to me this means something in the ever worsening odds in the IMG match. 

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12 minutes ago, LostLamb said:

This is completely anecdotal: I’ve met and know people who graduated from RCSI who got residencies in US or Canada. I’ve never met a UQ grad. 

Maybe it’s because UQ is newer? However, to me this means something in the ever worsening odds in the IMG match. 

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The odds for RCSI (or another Irish school) is definitely better. In the April 2018 CaRMS Forum report, 54.1% of IMGs from an Irish medical school was able to match back. Obviously, this is not saying you can't if you were to go to Australia since matching is largely dependent on the individual, but these trends do provide some context.

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4 hours ago, iFlayx said:

Why not consider USDO schools?

I didn't think of that option beforehand and now I'm not sure if I want to risk waiting another year. I'm in my late 20's and I'm also afraid of my 2016 MCAT score expiring soon. To be honest, I am not sure what requirement of DO school is compared to MDs and where to start researching which schools are good/compatible.

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5 hours ago, LostLamb said:

This is completely anecdotal: I’ve met and know people who graduated from RCSI who got residencies in US or Canada. I’ve never met a UQ grad. 

Maybe it’s because UQ is newer? However, to me this means something in the ever worsening odds in the IMG match. 

Exactly my scenario too! Anecdotally, I know a handful of RCSI graduates and students but know nobody who went to Australia for Medicine. And as "la marzocco" (I love their coffee) said, those 2018 CaRMS stats are making Ireland look much more attractive. They say that the lower matches in Australia are due to less students submitting an application and choosing to stay in Australia. Not sure if I should read that as more students are unable to get presentable stats to submit an application(due to weaker curriculum) or is it the Australian lifestyle and medicine pathway is more attractive.

I'm also skeptical on how UQ sells itself as a super attractive school yet it doesn't have a screening process that requires a personal statement, LORs, or even an interview. The potential safety net of maintaining the Australian medical pathway if unable to match back to Canada is the only real reason why I'm so inclined to go to Australia but it also seems too good to be true. Seems like there is something I am missing to the whole story. Similar to most people, I know and hear a lot more about Canadians who go to Irish schools rather than Australia.  

I'm trying to find someone who can say that RCSI is the better choice if you have the means to support that route. Because Australia seems way too easy and safe for not to be teeming with Canadians (again anecdotally). Thanks for the help guys!

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8 minutes ago, XenoSed said:

Exactly my scenario too! Anecdotally, I know a handful of RCSI graduates and students but know nobody who went to Australia for Medicine. And as "la marzocco" (I love their coffee) said, those 2018 CaRMS stats are making Ireland look much more attractive. They say that the lower matches in Australia are due to less students submitting an application and choosing to stay in Australia. Not sure if I should read that as more students are unable to get presentable stats to submit an application(due to weaker curriculum) or is it the Australian lifestyle and medicine pathway is more attractive.

I'm also skeptical on how UQ sells itself as a super attractive school yet it doesn't have a screening process that requires a personal statement, LORs, or even an interview. The potential safety net of maintaining the Australian medical pathway if unable to match back to Canada is the only real reason why I'm so inclined to go to Australia but it also seems too good to be true. Seems like there is something I am missing to the whole story. Similar to most people, I know and hear a lot more about Canadians who go to Irish schools rather than Australia.  

I'm trying to find someone who can say that RCSI is the better choice if you have the means to support that route. Because Australia seems way too easy and safe for not to be teeming with Canadians (again anecdotally). Thanks for the help guys!

As somebody with close friends who’ve done medicine in Australia and Ireland, I can definitely say that Australia is the better way to go. RCSI is a very expensive option that seems to cater to Canadians, but in Australia you have the opportunity of staying in Australia which every Canadian I’ve seen almost always intends to do after they’ve spent a year there. Matching back to Canada has been equal for both, but at least with Australia you have a) the option of staying there, and b) cheaper than RCSI and a much richer experience. Why do people stay in Australia? The pay during training is much better than Canada, all speciality options are open to you as a domestic graduate, and if you want to be a family doctor, you can finish it there in 4 years and go back to Canada without any exams or extra training because the colleges have reciprocity. 

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It is up to you, but I'd recommend Australia. The backup option does sound nice, a lot of Irish docs and UK docs go to Australia to train because of the better lifestyle/salaries there. In Ireland, i've heard some people do stay it is just hard as you need to essentially have excellent grades and be willing to take whatever spots others don't want. The Irish medical system is not as nice as Australia or Canadas for sure. 

UQ itself I have not heard good things about. They seem to also accept a huge number of students from the US and may have over 600 medical students each year. You can imagine, there is no way you are going to get a quality medical school experience with class sizes that large. However, if it is true Queensland gives you that preference for internship spots, it is worth sucking it up and going there potentially. 

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22 minutes ago, Edict said:

It is up to you, but I'd recommend Australia. The backup option does sound nice, a lot of Irish docs and UK docs go to Australia to train because of the better lifestyle/salaries there. In Ireland, i've heard some people do stay it is just hard as you need to essentially have excellent grades and be willing to take whatever spots others don't want. The Irish medical system is not as nice as Australia or Canadas for sure. 

UQ itself I have not heard good things about. They seem to also accept a huge number of students from the US and may have over 600 medical students each year. You can imagine, there is no way you are going to get a quality medical school experience with class sizes that large. However, if it is true Queensland gives you that preference for internship spots, it is worth sucking it up and going there potentially. 

There is also Griffith University which has a much smaller class size (180 vs UQ's 500), is a little bit cheaper, and has a better reputation in Queensland hospitals. Plus you get to live right next to the beach which is always a bonus! 

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