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Looking for input from anyone who is from Ontario and CHOSE to go OOP.

I've been accepted to Dal and am on the waitlist at Mac, and while my original thought was that I would choose Mac if accepted, over the past few months and my amazing experience visiting friends and interviewing in Halifax I've been thinking to choose Dal. This is also heavily based on me feeling a 4 year program is a better fit. I am hoping to come back to Ontario for residency but based on people Ive spoken to who have been through the process, being at Dal shouldn't negatively impact that (and depending on what speciality i want this thought is very premature lol) Very torn! So any input would be appreciated. Of course, if i never get that offer to Mac this won't even be an issue lol 

Few pros and cons I've thought of:

Mac Pros: Closer to home, friends and fam; build connections at Mac/in Ontario when I will most likely want to come back to Ontario
Mac cons: 3 year program and heavily self-taught which i'm not sure is best for me, covid, random selection process (which i don't think will be a big deal in the end)

Dal pros: love the culture, 4 year program, feel this school is more my "vibe"
Dal cons: far from friends and fam (have some friends at dal but nothing in comparison - i've always lived and gone to school in Ontario) 

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PGY 1 at Western here. While I can't comment on Mac specifically, I went to Dal as OOP and it was the best 4 years of my life. The friends, connections, and memories I've built in that beautiful province will last a lifetime. Of course I am biased, but I would highly recommend going to Dalhousie. It should not negatively impact your chances of coming back to Ontario for residency, but that being said I would have been more than happy to do my residency at Dal. 

Good luck!

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1 hour ago, boggie111 said:

PGY 1 at Western here. While I can't comment on Mac specifically, I went to Dal as OOP and it was the best 4 years of my life. The friends, connections, and memories I've built in that beautiful province will last a lifetime. Of course I am biased, but I would highly recommend going to Dalhousie. It should not negatively impact your chances of coming back to Ontario for residency, but that being said I would have been more than happy to do my residency at Dal. 

Good luck!

Thank's so much!!!

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hi Summergirl25,

I read your post. What resonated for me was your feeling that Dal was more your vibe....I think listening to your gut is important. There are prons/cons to both places as you mentioned. At the end of the day you want to feel like you made the best decision for you and where you can really picture yourself going and why. There for sure will be opportunities to even come back to Ontario for electives, summer vacations during med school etc. I don't think going to a school for medicine out of province would disadvantage you in any way when it comes to Carms. I would say to go for it.....I am excited for you that you have this opportunity. :)

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Just a few counter-points to consider here! As an applicant who is also from Ontario, Mac would be an easy decision for me personally. Don't underestimate the value of having a strong support system nearby!!! Even if you feel Dal may be a better "fit" on the whole, the value from the support you'd get by having family and friends nearby is worth thinking about carefully. I also think that you should think about where your interests in medicine lie. Yes, it is possible to match to more competitive specialties from Dal, but this is largely a primary care focused school, with a majority matching to family med or other primary specialties. If that is not what you're definitely interested in, it's worth thinking about that too. Mac is ultimately a better ranked medical school, and it's definitely hard to know exactly how that may shape the opportunities you may have, but worth noting and considering imo. Congratulations on being accepted, and best of luck with your decision!!! 

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While Dalhousie is a respectable school, it’s reputation pales in the medical community in comparison to U of T, Mac and McGill. While it is possible to match for a desired residency from Dal, the opportunities are, in my mind at least, much greater at these other schools because of the lengthy exposures that may be experienced and the vast amount of opportunities to network. 
Halifax is indeed a more pleasurable locale imo, which complicates what in my mind a no brainer.

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8 hours ago, Left Line said:

While Dalhousie is a respectable school, it’s reputation pales in the medical community in comparison to U of T, Mac and McGill. While it is possible to match for a desired residency from Dal, the opportunities are, in my mind at least, much greater at these other schools because of the lengthy exposures that may be experienced and the vast amount of opportunities to network. 
Halifax is indeed a more pleasurable locale imo, which complicates what in my mind a no brainer.

As a current Dal student, I would have to respectfully disagree. While Dal may be less internationally known than UofT or McGill, I'd argue that reputation means next to nothing for Canadian med schools outside of "impressing" your family and friends. Dal has a very comparable match rate to the rest of the schools in the country, and consistently matches to competitive specialties across the country.

I'd also argue that we likely have more opportunities than bigger schools. Although Dal may not have as many super specialized physicians, they have residency spots in almost every discipline. We start half day/week electives (that we can choose ourselves) in first semester of first year to help us explore different specialties. With a smaller class size, you also don't need to worry about fighting as much over limited learning opportunities. Although you may not have the opportunity to network with as many physicians, you're able to build stronger relationships with the ones you do work with since you'll be spending more time with them.

OP, I think really it comes down to length of program vs support system and which you value more. I'm sure you'll fair well at either school! Although not an OOP, the ones in my class and the one below me speak very highly of their choice to come to Dal.

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22 hours ago, swomenapp said:

Just a few counter-points to consider here! As an applicant who is also from Ontario, Mac would be an easy decision for me personally. Don't underestimate the value of having a strong support system nearby!!! Even if you feel Dal may be a better "fit" on the whole, the value from the support you'd get by having family and friends nearby is worth thinking about carefully. I also think that you should think about where your interests in medicine lie. Yes, it is possible to match to more competitive specialties from Dal, but this is largely a primary care focused school, with a majority matching to family med or other primary specialties. If that is not what you're definitely interested in, it's worth thinking about that too. Mac is ultimately a better ranked medical school, and it's definitely hard to know exactly how that may shape the opportunities you may have, but worth noting and considering imo. Congratulations on being accepted, and best of luck with your decision!!! 

 

22 hours ago, Left Line said:

While Dalhousie is a respectable school, it’s reputation pales in the medical community in comparison to U of T, Mac and McGill. While it is possible to match for a desired residency from Dal, the opportunities are, in my mind at least, much greater at these other schools because of the lengthy exposures that may be experienced and the vast amount of opportunities to network. 
Halifax is indeed a more pleasurable locale imo, which complicates what in my mind a no brainer.

I encourage you both to take the time to look into the CMAs data on CARMS throughout the years. 

https://www.carms.ca/data-reports/r1-data-reports/

I also encourage you to talk to people from both programs, you’ll find both schools will give you adequate exposure to any field you want. For example, I know at dal you can set up shadowing outside of electives in any specialty no problem. I imagine Mac has something similar. The “less opportunity” at dal is not actually a disadvantage if you factor in the fact that there are less students, and there’s a good chance you may be the only student in your year spending time under a preceptor.

 

It should all come down to the environment you want to be in and which program suits you best. The school won’t make you a better physician, but the effort you put in will.

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In this climate, I would personally be nervous about attending a 3 year program.  COVID will likely be yesterday's news by the time you're in clerkship (which is where it matters most) but given that you have only 1.5 years to do any sort of clinical immersion, your pre-clerkship years may be limited in terms of opportunity for pre-clerkship elective/ hospital exposure.  Something to think about at least! 

As for the "reputation" comment, it's important to consider why that matters.  Dal grads have excellent match rates, and ample opportunity for research, electives, etc.  We have all major specialties, fewer learners, and lots of eager mentors which means opportunities are easy to come by and help with matching etc.  Unless you are super keen on exploring a highly specialized subspecialty, (or like some said, impress your friends) I can't think of why Dal being a smaller or less internationally-known school would be a disadvantage in any way.  

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5 hours ago, swomenapp said:

Also, it might be worth posting something similar in the Mac thread and just get other takes about how people have found the three year program, self-directed learning, opportunities etc to get a wider range of perspectives!

Yes absolutely. Always ask multiple people and take advice with a grain of salt! 

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