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mustardyellow

Any advice on choosing a medical school?

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I had 7 acceptances and 2 waitlists - making this decision was super hard, especially because after 9 interviews, the schools all kind of blurred together.

I honestly couldn't find a lot of information online, so I decided based on where I wanted to live, and process of elimination. As mentioned above, 3 vs 4 year is super important, but otherwise I decided mostly based on things like "what size of city do I want to live in" "do I want to live a 5 hour flight from home, a 5 hour drive from home, or a 1-2 hour drive from home?" "How do I feel about the weather in Vancouver vs Edmonton vs Toronto" and so on.

If you know people attending different schools, I'd also try to honestly talk to them about it - there are lots of things I've learned about my school that I had no idea about before (sorry, I'm not willing to share my school publicly).
 

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I’d say the first question is 4 year versus 3 year (I wanted a 4 year because I wanted summers, another good reason to go 4 year is if you want more time to decide on specialty). 

Then you need to decide if you care more about location or curriculum. Different people have different stances. I chose curriculum over location because I figured I can survive anything for four years, especially if I’m busy with school. And living in London did suck and I loathed it but I don’t regret prioritizing curriculum. 

In terms of curriculum, getting all your electives post-core and pre-CaRMS is ideal but most four year programs have that. For me my major choice was between U of T and Western and I went with Western because the U of T curriculum seemed really anatomy/lab heavy and I knew that would make me miserable and also be pretty useless to me in my career, and also because at that time U of T had a curriculum that was very basic science and physiology heavy in the first year whereas Western was block based and more integrated (I don’t think this is the case these days though). But for other people that isn’t a factor. So it’s kind of what matters to you in a program and how you learn best. 

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14 minutes ago, ellorie said:

living in London did suck and I loathed it

Was your frustration with London just that it wasn't a big enough city for you? (MS1 curious about different cities in case I have the chance to consider several for residency in a few years).

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It’s not big enough, and it’s also extremely straight/cis/conservative. Not an amazing place to live as a single queer woman and people made some awkward comments to me about my sexual orientation. 

Plus the food is largely terrible, particularly the take out options, and in my opinion there’s basically nothing to do. 

Not everybody would agree with me but that was my experience. I’m glad I got out and I would never go back, even if someone offered me my dream job. 

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if you are Black/Brown/Muslim/Asian/not straight ... living in London is like living in the Deep South of the USA...don't know why people in London are so racist and anti anything and anyone who is not a  White conservative but that's the way things are sadly.

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#1 - go to where you will have the most success. This doesn’t mean most renowned dept, but where you have the supports to lean on when things get tough 

#2 - cheapest. All schools are great. Cost of living is important, and the 3 year vs 4 year debate while valid, also imparts a full year’s tuition and opportunity cost. 

 

Imo

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Social Supports are key. Having family and friends close can help relieve the pressure and stress of med school.
Also studying medicine where you want to practice afterwards is beneficial too. You will gain a better understanding of the provincial legislation, health structures/resources, and can build local connections. 
Thirdly, cost is major. I think Alberta has the lowest tuition and Ontario has the highest. 

Edit: Looks like Quebec for residents and MUN/AB is on par with being the cheapest.

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1 hour ago, Butterfly_ said:

Social Supports are key. Having family and friends close can help relieve the pressure and stress of med school.
Also studying medicine where you want to practice afterwards is beneficial too. You will gain a better understanding of the provincial legislation, health structures/resources, and can build local connections. 
Thirdly, cost is major. I think Alberta has the lowest tuition and Ontario has the highest. 

Is AB actually lower than MUN?

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1 hour ago, Butterfly_ said:

Social Supports are key. Having family and friends close can help relieve the pressure and stress of med school.
Also studying medicine where you want to practice afterwards is beneficial too. You will gain a better understanding of the provincial legislation, health structures/resources, and can build local connections. 
Thirdly, cost is major. I think Alberta has the lowest tuition and Ontario has the highest. 

Actually, Québec schools for residents have by far the cheapest tuition ;) If only I were IP for Québec...

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39 minutes ago, Chels1267 said:

Is AB actually lower than MUN?

It’s definitely close when you factor in a bunch of the new fees we’ve been hit with in the last few years. MUN’s tuition is going up $2000 for Fall 2019, and $2000 for Fall 2020 so if it isn’t now, it might be soon.

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5 hours ago, YesIcan55 said:

if you are Black/Brown/Muslim/Asian/not straight ... living in London is like living in the Deep South of the USA...don't know why people in London are so racist and anti anything and anyone who is not a  White conservative but that's the way things are sadly.

this is so incorrect. wow. 

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London is a more conservative city for sure, but it did have some diversity when I was last there.  

I do know of visible minority women from London who went on to become successful surgeons, breaking some glass ceilings in their fields.  That being said, visible minorities were rarer vs TO.  Likewise wrt to LGBTQ with notable success stories that I knew of.  

re OP:  If you are in the privileged position of having multiple offers, then most of the advice above is really good - social/family support, 3 vs 4 yr, pre-clinical/clerkship structure, cost of living, learning/teaching style, networking and research opportunities, ...  As Bambi notes, to some extent people will tend to stay nearer  to areas where they already are, but not always for sure.  

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1 hour ago, toastman said:

this is so incorrect. wow. 

tell that to my Muslim friends who experience almost daily racism in London, or do a little bit of reading into the many articles/stories of racism in London

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If you know you want family medicine 100%, 3 year school. If you are at all unsure or want more time to do prepare an application to the most competitive specialties, 4 year school.

Ideally during clinical years core clerkship rotations completed before electives. You will look better on your elective rotations.

Closeness to family/friends is another consideration. There is a mild home school advantage when it comes to residency match.

Cost I would say is the lowest consideration. Just budget well if you're going to an expensive school.

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1 hour ago, YesIcan55 said:

tell that to my Muslim friends who experience almost daily racism in London, or do a little bit of reading into the many articles/stories of racism in London

I am a muslim born and raised in London....

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The experience of racism and discrimination in London is quite varied. But keep in mind, medicine is one of those fields where the workers are often more diverse than the population they often serve. Combine that with the fact that you cannot control/predict who walks into your clinic and you have to interact with them on a pretty deep level, you will almost inevitably receive a range of "off" to "blatantly discriminatory" remarks, regardless of where you go. In the experience of many of my colleagues who have trained in London, it is more often things like being asked "where are you really from?"; people assuming female medical students/MDs are nurses; *to a person of X race: "Oh are you X? One of my coworkers is also X!". There are of course instances of people receiving derogatory remarks shouted at them from strangers driving by unprovoked or even worse, but I think the general consensus is that it's not to the extent that many will be deterred to train here.

tl;dr: minorities in medicine will probably face discrimination everywhere they go. Don't be deterred from London.

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