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yungdoc

Fourth year med student answering questions!

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On 5/15/2020 at 12:42 PM, UBCthrowaway123 said:

Hi there! Thank you for taking the time to do this - I’m sure it helps out a lot of incoming students! 

I was wondering what you thought about the culture and sense of community at U of T. I know that U of T often gets the reputation of being “competitive” (which may be completely unsubstantiated), so I wanted to see what your experience was like, especially if you or others went to a different school for undergrad. Or, if you went to U of T, did the culture change a lot from undergrad to med?

One thing that does draw me in, though, is the fact that U of T does have academies that make your circle a little smaller, as opposed to UBC, where 180 students would be in your classes!

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. 

 

On 5/16/2020 at 6:00 PM, Neurostudent said:

Hey ! So kind of you to do that :)

So I'm a grad student with very good EC:

  • lots of teaching experience
  • lots of congress-national and international (poster sessions and talks)
  • will have submitted my first paper as 1st author when applying
  • lots of volunteering in hospital
  • volunteering in a program that vulgarize neurosciences - giving workshops in high schools 
  • being part of several commitee (i'm president of one of them)

..But not the best GPA :( 

For the MCAT, I have no idea since it will be my first attempt (any advices??)

Where should I apply? Where do you have the best chances??

Thanks a lot!!

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. 

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Hey @yungdoc, Thank you for doing this!

1. What's your advice on housing for an incoming M1 wishing to make friends and expand their social circle? Does it really matter if you choose residence, rooming with another med student, or living by yourself? Some tell me that residence (grad house) makes it convenient to make friends since its catered towards a more social crowd of students and there is events, etc.. that makes it easier. But I also hear that regardless of the housing option I choose, I will have many ways to meet and make friends with other med students on campus. 

 

2. Also one more question: I've lived most of my life in small towns, so to be honest I'm a little scared of downtown Toronto lol. I am open to embracing it but I was wondering if it will be difficult to adapt. My biggest worry is that big city people tend to be less nice than rural people (I know that's a broad generalization so I could very well be wrong), and I worry this might also be the case in Toronto hopsitals with impatient preceptors/residents. Would love to hear your opinion. I am ready to adapt to the new lifestyle, but any advice and information is really appreciated.

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On 5/19/2020 at 1:32 PM, RiderSx said:

Hey @yungdoc, Thank you for doing this!

1. What's your advice on housing for an incoming M1 wishing to make friends and expand their social circle? Does it really matter if you choose residence, rooming with another med student, or living by yourself? Some tell me that residence (grad house) makes it convenient to make friends since its catered towards a more social crowd of students and there is events, etc.. that makes it easier. But I also hear that regardless of the housing option I choose, I will have many ways to meet and make friends with other med students on campus. 

 

2. Also one more question: I've lived most of my life in small towns, so to be honest I'm a little scared of downtown Toronto lol. I am open to embracing it but I was wondering if it will be difficult to adapt. My biggest worry is that big city people tend to be less nice than rural people (I know that's a broad generalization so I could very well be wrong), and I worry this might also be the case in Toronto hopsitals with impatient preceptors/residents. Would love to hear your opinion. I am ready to adapt to the new lifestyle, but any advice and information is really appreciated.

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. 

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Hi @yungdoc, thank you for taking the time to answer questions! I have a (premed) question as well that I was hoping you had some insights into. We've all heard that UofT values research "very highly" and I was wondering how true you think this is (based on the backgrounds of your classmates)? Is it possible to be interviewed/accepted at UofT if you don't have much research experience? For me, I just have 1 year wet lab + 1 year clinical lab and no research awards/pubs. Also, I'm wondering if you know how the reference forms are viewed, if they're ranked or just as a "pass/fail". I'd really appreciate any insight you have! thanks so much!!

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Hi cdnpd: I think research is highly valued. As are other components of the application. I think good simple advice is to stand out. That means reflect on your strengths and amplify those qualities or that experience; be it clinical volunteering, ECs that are translatable and unique, academic excellence. That is, applying the Pereto principle to applications.

Well I don't think specifics are important with the references which you should remain blinded to. Ask refs if they can write you a strong letter, give them a synopsis of what you've done, ask them to highlight aspects of your behaviour that are reflected in canmeds competencies. 

 

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RiderSx: 

1. It's tough to comment without knowing what type of social creature you are. Shit changes quickly when you begin the curriculum so I would say remain flexible and do what feels right and comfortable after. You'll make friends and then go on from there.

2. Regardless of atmospheres and culture which are unique to every city and institution, nothing changes wherever you are. Be nice, listen carefully, use good judgement, and highly prioritize being a good teammate. 

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