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ThinkingInLoops

How to set myself up for success

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Hello,

I'm currently 19 years old and have been in the military for approximately a year and a half. I came to the conclusion a few years ago in high school that medicine was the only place I could see myself going, but never considered attempting to become a MD until recently. I joined in order to eventually get into Search and Rescue and become a para rescue paramedic through that route, and fortunately by pure luck I was posted to a SAR unit 8 months ago while I wait to begin the last phase of my training for an unrelated profession (SAR requires 4 years of service before you're eligible to apply). While I've been here I've only further realized how much I want to pursue medicine, while simultaneously realizing I will not be going into SAR. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the job and outdated equipment/aircraft, as well as a shortage in the numbers of personnel here I would estimate 70% of the job entails equipment maintenance, 28% training, and maybe 2% operational work (if that). Of course, no one tells you this until it's too late and unfortunately while a lot of the guys here are very motivated to help people, they seldom get the opportunity.

All of this had lead me to today. I understand that for (most) med schools both what and where you studied is irrelevant, and this is why I'm not sure which direction to head in now. I will be going to school through the military and this means that tuition costs are irrelevant and that it also does not matter what I study as the overwhelming majority of officer positions do not require a specific degree (outside of Law/Medicine/Some engineering, etc.). I would like to study is something along the lines of Neuroscience or Biochemistry, but I don't want to risk burning out maintaining a 3.7+ GPA in a needlessly difficult program if it's not going to help me with building a strong application for med school. I could definitely go down the humanities or arts route as well but in the event of not getting accepted into med school I would prefer a degree that held some weight on an application to a paramedic program. What I'm trying to ask is is there some sort of median where I would be able to study something that's applicable to medicine while not reducing my chances of achieving a competitive GPA? I also speak Russian and French and was wondering if multiple languages would help make a strong application.

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If I were you, I would go into a relatively "easy" program to boost my GPA. Being in the military gives you a massive advantage as you'd be considered an IP applicant in MANY schools, and the fact that you served also gives you a huge leg up over your typical pre-med in terms of your EC's. Do extensive research into what ever program you choose and make sure it's not overly difficult. For example, If you were going to the University of Waterloo, I would advise you to go into Honours Science, and pick basically every "birdie" course they have to ensure you get a very high GPA. 

You can also try something like a Psych program which tend to be birdie as well. It's really up to you, but medicine is very accessible for you as long as you get a competitive GPA, which is why I think you should put less emphasis on doing a degree for a "backup" plan. 

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I think picking something that you’re interested in is very important. Studying something boring can be mind numbing and you may end up getting bad marks from lack of motivation. I come from a non-science background and I found that students in med school with strong anatomy and physiology knowledge are way ahead of the game. So whatever discipline you choose, taking some courses in biology and anatomy would be beneficial to you. Like the previous poster, I think a psychology program is a good choice (if you have interest in it). It’s a good mix of science and arts incase you want to go the latter route.

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I highly recommend this route at Concordia University in Montreal. Not only will it prepare you well for Med, but although the material is voluminous (but not particularly hard’), if you are motivated and work very hard, you can be a straight A student and get into medicine! Read every post carefully.

 

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Psychology is something I would be very interested in studying actually. And @Butterfly_ I would definitely not pick anything I'm not interested in (whether it gave me an advantage or not) as I find it exponentially easier to stay motivated and maintain good study habits when I'm interested in the subject, as I'm sure is true for most people. @tavenan Do you have any more info on what schools would consider me an IP applicant? I have a few more years remaining on my contract (I'm using this time to upgrade some high school courses) and will soon be posted out of Ontario, I'm not sure how that affects applications as I'm going to be moved around from province to province for the next little while. Also good to know service would be valued as EC's as I believe if I went the route of getting them to pay my education I would have to do some training throughout the summer as well, and would be limited in free time.

 

And thank you @Bambi I'm reading through all the posts, definitely an interesting program as well to consider!

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17 minutes ago, ThinkingInLoops said:

Psychology is something I would be very interested in studying actually. And @Butterfly_ I would definitely not pick anything I'm not interested in (whether it gave me an advantage or not) as I find it exponentially easier to stay motivated and maintain good study habits when I'm interested in the subject, as I'm sure is true for most people. @tavenan Do you have any more info on what schools would consider me an IP applicant? I have a few more years remaining on my contract (I'm using this time to upgrade some high school courses) and will soon be posted out of Ontario, I'm not sure how that affects applications as I'm going to be moved around from province to province for the next little while. Also good to know service would be valued as EC's as I believe if I went the route of getting them to pay my education I would have to do some training throughout the summer as well, and would be limited in free time.

 

And thank you @Bambi I'm reading through all the posts, definitely an interesting program as well to consider!

You'd want to look this information up for each individual school, I'm not a big expert in this area because I'm not a service member. But for Dalhousie, for example, you would be considered a IP applicant regardless of where you were posted. The exact requirement is: 

 

 You have been on active duty as an RCMP police officer or as a member of the Regular Force of the Canadian Armed Forces for a minimum of 12 consecutive months prior to the application submission deadline (Section 2)

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5 minutes ago, tavenan said:

You'd want to look this information up for each individual school, I'm not a big expert in this area because I'm not a service member. But for Dalhousie, for example, you would be considered a IP applicant regardless of where you were posted. The exact requirement is: 

 

 You have been on active duty as an RCMP police officer or as a member of the Regular Force of the Canadian Armed Forces for a minimum of 12 consecutive months prior to the application submission deadline (Section 2)

Perfect, thank you! 

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