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broclivity44

An OOP Guide to Interviewing at U of S

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Hey all OOP applicants!

Hope everyone's calmer than I was last year! As invites are just around the corner, I thought I'd throw together a little guide on what to expect and what to know in order to successfully interview here at U of S as an OOP. I'm currently in 1st year hailing from Toronto, and I remember scrambling around last year since I had little guidance. With the hopes that this doesn't happen to anyone else, I thought I'd write a little something something to help y'all avoid that.

The Invite

Last year, I received my e-mail on February 5th at 2:11 pm EST. I was wait-listed for an interview initially (for reference, cut-off last year for a direct interview was a 521+ with a 130 CARS. Those with a 521/522 and/or a 128/129 CARS were waitlisted). However, I moved off the waitlist and received an invite on February 28th at 6:15 pm EST. Although I can't speak for what will happen this year, the OOP waitlist moved well last year so if you are stuck at this point, I would still STRONGLY recommend you begin prep anyway.

Once you receive the invite, you are given the option to pick any available time slot you want (privilege granted only to OOPs). There are four sessions: Saturday morning/afternoon and Sunday morning/afternoon. Sunday morning was full when I received an invite, but the other times were still open and I ended up interviewing Sunday afternoon.

Travel

You will be making your way to YXE, Saskatoon International airport and from there you can either take a cab or rent a car. I personally rented a car from Enterprise and I had no issues there.

Accommodations

If you decide to rent a car or don't mind cabbing everywhere, you can pretty much stay wherever you want in the city. There is metered parking directly across from the Health Sciences Building where you will be interviewing, and it won't cost too much for a couple of hours.

However, there are two hotels within walking distance to campus should you choose to not cab or drive everywhere. The closest is Refresh Inn and Suites (http://www.refreshinnandsuites.com/), and it's almost directly across HSB (where you interview), about a 2-3 min walk. The next is Holiday Inn Express (https://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/us/en/saskatoon/yxees/hoteldetail); a little pricier but it's a pretty nice hotel, about a 10 min walk from HSB. In terms of food, there are two pub/diner styled restaurants: Alexander's and Louis nearby, a campus food court that is open on the weekends, and a Subway, Dairy Queen, and pizza place.

I personally stayed at Holiday Inn near the airport since I was able to get a discount there. Not nearly as convenient as staying close to campus, but since Saskatoon is quite a small city and there's little traffic, there was no hassle getting to and from my interview.

Interview itself

The interview begins with an hour orientation in a lecture hall with all the other candidates. There you'll have some time to socialize, get your bearings, and learn more about the interview process. Shortly after, you'll break into circuits of 12 people and walk over to where the MMI is set up. The interview is 10 stations with 2 rest stations (12 in total) with 2 mins to read, 8 mins to answer (making it 10 mins/station, 2 hrs in total).

While I can't speak on what questions will be asked, a good base will be to read up on any pressing public health and public policy issues, especially in regards to Indigenous health, rural health, social determinants of health, poverty, drug abuse, and LGTBQ issues. If you're coming from Ontario, Saskatchewan's MMI questions are quite different so please be prepared for the unexpected.

Final Thoughts

Getting an OOP interview to U of S is a huge accomplishment in and of itself so if you made it this far, give yourselves a huge pat on the back. You're probably wondering what it's like to live in Saskatoon and go to U of S, and honestly, I have nothing but good things to say about my experience so far. I love it here (which I honestly didn't expect), I love the college and I love my classmates. I do think that I am more of a small city guy at heart even though I was born and raised in Toronto so perhaps that's why I've adjusted so well, but in my opinion, if any of you hail from Western University and loved it there, you'll find yourselves right at home here too.

This was done rather quickly and right before a class haha, so let me know if there's anything else you want to know about. I'll be sure to update it whenever I can. Also, feel free to send me a direct message if you have any more questions. Also if any fellow OOP students here at USask has anything more to offer, don't hesitate!

Good luck to everyone and I'm looking forward to meeting some of y'all in March!

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Super informative post thank you this as a prospective applicant. Just out of curiousity what are the odds of acceptance after interview? I couldn’t find any published stats online. Thanks again for the helpful post.

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1 hour ago, AvgApplicant said:

Super informative post thank you this as a prospective applicant. Just out of curiousity what are the odds of acceptance after interview? I couldn’t find any published stats online. Thanks again for the helpful post.

Hey no problem! I don't know the exact numbers but if you make the MMI cut off, which was scoring above about the 4th decile, you have a very good chance of getting accepted. Waitlist seemed to move very well last year. 

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2 hours ago, AvgApplicant said:

Super informative post thank you this as a prospective applicant. Just out of curiousity what are the odds of acceptance after interview? I couldn’t find any published stats online. Thanks again for the helpful post.

https://medicine.usask.ca/documents/ugme/admission/2018 Admissions Statistics 5-Year Summary.pdf this will probably help you out a bit. It said that a 43.5%ile on the interview would be considered a pass for the OOP pool. I think this is actually higher than it has been in previous years. If you pass the interview as an OOP, you are either waitlisted or accepted (your references will be contacted if you pass so if they are contacted, that is a good sign). I was notified of being waitlisted on May 15th last year and was accepted off the waitlist on June 11th. I was actually offered a Saskatoon spot rather than Regina (I'm assuming most OOPs choose Saskatoon), so there is definitely a ton of waitlist movement and not a ton of people accept their spots. I did end up declining the spot in favor of another school (conveniently after I had already sent my 2kish confirmation deposit in :mellow:). 

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If you submit your preferred dates and they are both on the same day does that pretty much guarantee you will get that day? I haven't received confirmation yet but I am booking travel and although they say they will get back to you on March 4th that is way too late to book flights.

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23 hours ago, AvgApplicant said:

If you submit your preferred dates and they are both on the same day (Sat March 16th for me), does that pretty much guarantee you will get that day? I haven't received confirmation yet but I am booking travel and although they say they will get back to you on March 4th that is way too late to book flights.

I want to say it's highly likely but I can't guarantee anything. Based on last year neither of those slots filled up by the time I was offered an interview in Feb 28th, but things may be different this year. Best way to confirm is to email them and ask. Good luck!

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Great post! 

I can vouch for Refresh Inn as staying there makes for a very stress-free experience in a new city. Well maintained lounge with a nice free breakfast and wifi. There are a variety of food options within walking distance on the corner of Cumberland and College, great for dinner/lunch. 

The only thing I'll add is that, when you arrive on-site, the Med Admissions team can take all the items you have brought with you and store them away safely upon sign in. Therefore feel to wear a big jacket and some fat ski pants over your dress pants to protect you from the cold. You can take them off after getting inside.

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