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Waterloo Life Science Vs. Mcmaster Life Science

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Hey everyone!

 

I'm in grade 12 and currently applying to university. Just like a lot of other people out there, I want to pursue medicine and choose an appropriate undergrad degree to maximize my chances of getting into med school!  I'm struggling in deciding which program to choose between these two. Is one program significantly better than the other? I've heard Waterloo is not known for sciences, but is a "school of engineering and co-op". Some other things to take into consideration is that Waterloo is near my home, whereas McMaster is about 45 mins away. Saving money is always nice as well. I've also applied to programs such as biomed at Guelph and Med Science at Western. 

 

Thanks in advance and happy holidays! 

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Most important is grades, if you get into McMaster Health Sciences (over 60% of their students get into medical school), that is the best choice because they have grade inflation. Otherwise, its really up to you where you want to go. Medical Science at Western is also a good choice, they send a good percentage to medical school as well. 

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The biggest thing with choosing an undergrad is making sure that if, over the next few years, you decide not to go into Medicine, you're happy with the degree you got and the other job opportunities that can come out of it. For me, that was why I chose not to go into McMaster Health Science!

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^ that is the dumbest advice tbh, It's a way of coping: telling yourself that I don't want to get into the best program in Canada to get into med school (Mac Health Sci) because you know you won't get in. If you know for sure you want to get into med it does not matter what your major is. It is only when people who are iffy and not sure if they want to be a doctor then they should decide a good major as a backup. 

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You're 17 when you're applying for undergrad programs. There are most definitely people going into science who believe they want to become a doctor because it's one of the only jobs they associate with science and because they want to help people and that seems the most obvious option. All I'm saying is how can you be 100% sure Medicine is the only option for you? University is a time when you learn a lot about yourself and possible career options, and your feelings towards Medicine may change as you do, same as people who go into an undergrad not wanting to go into medicine and halfway through realising that's what they want to do. I'm not saying don't do Health Sci, it's absolutely a great program, but just be conscious of other options or interests.

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If anything, going into science in university is only going to increase your interest in getting into med school when you realize how useless a BSc is, seeing grad students slave away, seeing PhD's not finding jobs, seeing people how went through an entire BSc struggle to find work cleaning test tubes for 15/hr in a lab, etc etc

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The biggest thing with choosing an undergrad is making sure that if, over the next few years, you decide not to go into Medicine, you're happy with the degree you got and the other job opportunities that can come out of it. For me, that was why I chose not to go into McMaster Health Science!

 

I completely agree with this. You can get into medical school from any degree, choose one that will not only maximize your chances of getting good grades, but also your chances of getting a job out of graduation if you decide not to pursue a graduate degree. Medicine is not a guarantee no matter what program you go to - plan your education around what you enjoy and what will help you achieve the life you want in terms of income and lifestyle. Do not choose your education program because it's the "most likely to get into medical school", because you will be lost and disappointed if you don't get in.

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You're 17 when you're applying for undergrad programs. There are most definitely people going into science who believe they want to become a doctor because it's one of the only jobs they associate with science and because they want to help people and that seems the most obvious option. All I'm saying is how can you be 100% sure Medicine is the only option for you? University is a time when you learn a lot about yourself and possible career options, and your feelings towards Medicine may change as you do, same as people who go into an undergrad not wanting to go into medicine and halfway through realising that's what they want to do. I'm not saying don't do Health Sci, it's absolutely a great program for pumping out doctors, but just be conscious of other options or interests.

 

At the same time its not a bad program for pumping out anything else as well. You could go into research, other professional schools even business with a health sci degree. The only thing you probably couldn't easily do would be accounting, engineering and investment banking.  

 

If your alternative to BHSc is any other life science program, BHSc is likely the better choice. You can literally do anything a life science degree can get you with BHSc and on top of that your grades are going to be higher and you are more likely to get into medical school. 

 

If your alternative however is business, engineering etc and you aren't sure you want medicine then that is a bigger and tougher decision to make for sure since BHSc will not prepare you for those careers. 

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Do Mcmaster BHSc. 

Most pre-med science BSc degrees are useless anyway. Might as well go to the one where you'll get high enough marks to get into Med related careers even if Medicine doesn't work out. 

I would stay away from Accounting, Engineering, CS or even Chemistry degrees. These are all employable degrees but they'll most likely kill your GPA. 

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BHSc isn't specifically built for med school like a lot of posters will have you believe. There isn't anything specifically pre-med about it and large portions of graduates go on to do research and other careers (even an isolated few who pursue MBAs and other "unorthodox" career paths).

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I'm not clear why the belief that attending the BHSc at McMaster University is akin to some sort of "higher probability" route to medical school, continues to be perpetuated. 

 

As someone who has not attended the program, I cannot comment on whether the grades are in fact inflated there, but that is a claim that tends to persist. However, if this is the most compelling reason to attend the program, then I am not sure that it forms the basis of sufficient criteria upon which one should make their own decision, regarding their undergraduate education.

 

It would appear to me that the reputation that the program has for its high medical school matriculation rate, as well as its high barrier to entry as an undergraduate program, would make it more attractive to and selective for, the kind of students that are not only already quite self-determined, but who perhaps may be set on "gunning" for medical school prior to entering university.

 

One can attend any other university in virtually any other program and still matriculate into a Canadian medical school.

 

McMaster BHSc is not the end-all-be-all that it is at times made out to be.

 

OP also never mentioned the BHSc program, but only "Life Sciences" which I assume is a different program at McMaster, so this thread may have become derailed.

 

It's also important to mention that applicants should look into what the approach of the BHSc program is, as from what I understand it is much more self-directed and group-work driven, compared to the relatively more solitary and lecture-driven curriculum that is traditionally found in almost every other university program. 

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My $0.02:

 

I can't speak for McMaster specifically, but from what I've heard from my friends at Western and Queens, UWaterloo sciences are a lot weaker and make it harder to achieve a high GPA.

 

If you're going for engineering/CS/math/accounting, where your GPA won't matter nearly as much since you'll get great co-op opportunities + a sick job right out of undergrad, then Loo is a pretty sweet choice. I've seen friends getting 60-70s in every course, yet land jobs at Amazon, Google, Facebook etc. just on the strength of the co-op programs.

 

However, since Canadian med schools put such emphasis on GPA relative to the States, I think you'd have an easier time staying away from UWaterloo sciences. The co-op program is pretty wasteful for science degrees, imo, especially since a lot of the science placements will mostly serve to show you how difficult finding a job with a science degree really is (as some of above posts will affirm). Having said that, UWaterloo is probably still easier than U of T in terms of GPA, but not by much.

 

There are also generally fewer opportunities to volunteer/work/research here to boost up your EC's later on than in other schools more supportive of their science programs, as Waterloo is mostly a teaching university focused on engineering/CS.

 

Obviously I'm biased while also having no direct experience being an undergrad anywhere other than Waterloo, so take all this with a grain of salt. Grades aren't everything, and who knows, maybe you'll enjoy your time here more than at Mac.

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To OP, if you are applying to Waterloo, I would also recommend looking into the Health Studies program. You take some relevant introductory health courses (which are pretty easy), some epidemiological courses, research courses and still be able to take the same physiology, genetics, the intro. cell biol. courses as the Science students.

 

However, if you do choose to do Science at Waterloo, you should note that your first year will be quite heavy in terms of evaluations. Since Waterloo Science separates their introductory science courses into individual lecture and laboratory components (and science students must take both components regardless), you can have up to a maximum 8 final exams (5 Lectures + the 3 associated labs) for each of your first year terms (Fall & Winter). 

- Another thing to note: in your senior years (3rd and 4th year), the biology courses offered to students are mostly in the realms of microbiology and ecology

 

 

Now when it comes to GPA, I can't really answer that one for you as I believe that one's results depend on the amount of work that one is willing to put into it. 

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No one has really commented on Mac life sci life, so here's what I learned. Note, while I wasn't from Mac life sci, many of my close friends were/are.

 

Mac life sci can be significantly easier or harder based on how you strategize your courses and major. There are routes with relatively easier workloads and ability to excel, especially if you can identify problem courses and stay away from them. All of the compulsory courses you take are not unreasonably hard and may be 4.0'd with proper work. Mac life sci isn't a breeze by any means, but it does, in my opinion, reward you fairly for your effort.

 

What I can personally vouch for are the EC opportunities at Mac. Research potential is high in Hamilton and the GTA and could be a defining feature in your future abs. There are tonnes of clubs with which you can show off some leadership. The student union is also willing to fund your start-up initiatives if you demonstrate commitment.

 

You can get a 4.0 and you can get a killer CV. Mac is a safe option but unfortunately I don't know much about UWaterloo.

 

A side note: a few months ago, I heard that some out-of-province med school(s) accept applications only from students at universities with a med program. I would look further into this.

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No one has really commented on Mac life sci life, so here's what I learned. Note, while I wasn't from Mac life sci, many of my close friends were/are.

 

Mac life sci can be significantly easier or harder based on how you strategize your courses and major. There are routes with relatively easier workloads and ability to excel, especially if you can identify problem courses and stay away from them. All of the compulsory courses you take are not unreasonably hard and may be 4.0'd with proper work. Mac life sci isn't a breeze by any means, but it does, in my opinion, reward you fairly for your effort.

 

What I can personally vouch for are the EC opportunities at Mac. Research potential is high in Hamilton and the GTA and could be a defining feature in your future abs. There are tonnes of clubs with which you can show off some leadership. The student union is also willing to fund your start-up initiatives if you demonstrate commitment.

 

You can get a 4.0 and you can get a killer CV. Mac is a safe option but unfortunately I don't know much about UWaterloo.

 

A side note: a few months ago, I heard that some out-of-province med school(s) accept applications only from students at universities with a med program. I would look further into this.

Thanks for responding. What major would you recommend for an easier workload? 

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Thanks for responding. What major would you recommend for an easier workload? 

 

Because I wasn't a life sci grad, I never really understood the numerous majors and specializations. The challenging sounding ones, as far as I know, are indeed quite tough and I would personally avoid those. Meanwhile, broader specializations or general life sci probably have easier workloads. I don't think you need to worry about that until after 1st year. Sorry this is hardly a comprehensive answer, but it's all I could piece together based on my friends' experiences.

 

If any Mac life scis could chime in that would be great.

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