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Pre-Med University Dilemma

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Hey everyone,

 

I got into U of T life science (trinity college) and McGill Biological, Biomedical and Life Sciences (as well as nursing but I don't think I will likely go into that program). I am waiting on UBC science but since I am in BC in a linear system, I won't get a decision until March/April. I also got into McMaster Life Science, Western's Medical Science, and SFU's biological science but I have decided against them...unless that was a big mistake and if it was please let me know. >.<

 

I was thinking of doing a double major in Psychology/Immunology and physiology. 

 

Of course, as you can probably guess, I am aiming for medical school. I am planning to apply for all Canadian med schools in third year and, if I don't get in, apply for American and Canadian ones in fourth year. 

 

Now, all that's left is decide which university to attend...decisions, decisions...

 

I have a few pros and cons I have thought of but in the end, they balanced out...so now I am back at square one. 

 

U of T: 

Pros are that I got a scholarship(6k) and Toronto...enough said. I am really excited to go to Toronto. The opportunities in research and just opportunities in general are just amazing. Cons are that people say undergraduates at U of T are generally miserable, the large student body is intimidating, don't go you're GPA will get crushed and your dreams will be ripped apart, etc...U of T seems to get a lot more hate than the other schools academics-wise.

 

McGill:

Pros are that they are so medical oriented and the research opportunities are just as endless. Smaller student body and students are generally happier (or so I heard). Cons is no scholarship(I didn't realize you had to apply for one) and Montreal won't feel as comfortable and familiar as Toronto. Also, I heard that its hard to find jobs/volunteer if you can't speak french (and I really can't speak french). 

 

UBC:

Pros is that its literally 10 minutes from my house so I can have the support of my family and I save money. Cons...THEY DON'T HAVE THE PROGRAM I WANT TO MAJOR IN SECOND YEAR (probably do pharmacology major or honours physiology...or just biology major but their choices are really limited)  :'( 

 

UBC sounds like the least compelling but as someone who has never had to be independent, I am terrified. I know that I need to grow up one day and become independent but it still intimidates me. 

 

Any thoughts or suggestions? Any advice or regrets or lessons learned from your experiences?

 

Sincerely, 

A high school student facing a quarter-life crisis. 

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A couple of things..

 

1) When you are deciding what school/program to accept, keep in mind what the program will be like, what most upper year students say about the program.. etc. People telling you that a program will be hard/easy should not be your only decision making factor, but still keep opinions in the back of your head. 

 

2) You should aim for the path of least resistance. Go to the program where you feel you will do the best, and will have the most support. You still will have to put in the work wherever you go, but don't construct unnecessary obstacles for yourself.

 

3) From what I know (I may be wrong), double majors require more work. If you don't have to do it, I would suggest rethinking that. If you are interested in more than one field, you can simply take the courses you like in the other field, without being forced to take a lot more courses you may not be interest in. But look into school requirements, and see what each school mandates. 

 

4) This relates to (1), you will have people telling you that X program is extremely difficult (who knows, it may be), you will also have people telling you that Y program is extremely easy. Something you should think about is that everyone has their own perceptions of what is easy/hard, but you are the only person who can judge your own work ethic and see if a program will be feasible to do well in or not. 

 

5) In first year, keep an open mind. Look around at the different programs/ majors, take courses that will be easily transferred to another program (if you decide to switch). A lot of first year courses are similar between programs (especially the science ones). Many people find out in first year if they will end up liking their program or not. Do your research during first year, talk to upper year students, look at the upper year courses. Just make sure that you will be able to enjoy what you learn and do well in your program. Being interested in what you are doing goes a long way in helping you to do well.

 

tl;dr Aim for the path of least resistance, pick your courses wisely, and put in the work. 

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I personally would opt for either McGill (based on what I've heard from classmates) or Western (I went there, MedSci). Stay away from U of T undergrad, you will have to work slightly harder to maintain a high GPA which is time you need to pursue extracurriculars. 

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Stay away from UoT. Not only have I heard from many individuals that the atmosphere is terrible and a GPA killer, countless doctors have said to stay away as it is not a good undergraduate school if you are planning to go into medicine. May I ask why you have decided to exclude Western and Mac? Both are excellent programs.

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Stay away from UoT. Not only have I heard from many individuals that the atmosphere is terrible and a GPA killer, countless doctors have said to stay away as it is not a good undergraduate school if you are planning to go into medicine. May I ask why you have decided to exclude Western and Mac? Both are excellent programs.

 

I have decided against them as I am from BC and its going to cost A LOT more money if I go there. I might as well go to UBC or SFU. But, since U of T and McGill are in the top 50 worldwide, it will be more worthwhile spending money going there since its so much more reputable and the cities are much larger and there's more opportunities.

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I have decided against them as I am from BC and its going to cost A LOT more money if I go there. I might as well go to UBC or SFU. But, since U of T and McGill are in the top 50 worldwide, it will be more worthwhile spending money going there since its so much more reputable and the cities are much larger and there's more opportunities.

I think you should really consider the programs and experience at each of the schools. I understand that it is going to cost a significant amount more, however, if you're planning to go into medicine you will be spending a lot of money regardless. I'm not familiar with BC and whether or not there is access to student loans and how accessable said loans would be if you attended an Ontario school. That is definitely something to get informed about. Additionally, I don't think going to Toronto/ McGill vs. Mac/Western would make a difference in getting into American med schools. All of those schools are known internationally and are around the same caliber (Canadian schools don't have such a huge gap as American schools do). So to be honest I don't think international reputation should factor into your decision, but in the end it is your decision. To be honest I think interest in your program and student experience are going to be the largest factors which will help you to get into med school. Without these two factors, it is more likely your gpa will suffer and without a good gpa it'll be tough to get into med school regardless of your research, MCAT, and EC's. Just something to consider.  

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Hey everyone,

 

I got into U of T life science (trinity college) and McGill Biological, Biomedical and Life Sciences (as well as nursing but I don't think I will likely go into that program). I am waiting on UBC science but since I am in BC in a linear system, I won't get a decision until March/April. I also got into McMaster Life Science, Western's Medical Science, and SFU's biological science but I have decided against them...unless that was a big mistake and if it was please let me know. >.<

 

I was thinking of doing a double major in Psychology/Immunology and physiology. 

 

Of course, as you can probably guess, I am aiming for medical school. I am planning to apply for all Canadian med schools in third year and, if I don't get in, apply for American and Canadian ones in fourth year. 

 

Now, all that's left is decide which university to attend...decisions, decisions...

 

I have a few pros and cons I have thought of but in the end, they balanced out...so now I am back at square one. 

 

U of T: 

Pros are that I got a scholarship(6k) and Toronto...enough said. I am really excited to go to Toronto. The opportunities in research and just opportunities in general are just amazing. Cons are that people say undergraduates at U of T are generally miserable, the large student body is intimidating, don't go you're GPA will get crushed and your dreams will be ripped apart, etc...U of T seems to get a lot more hate than the other schools academics-wise.

 

McGill:

Pros are that they are so medical oriented and the research opportunities are just as endless. Smaller student body and students are generally happier (or so I heard). Cons is no scholarship(I didn't realize you had to apply for one) and Montreal won't feel as comfortable and familiar as Toronto. Also, I heard that its hard to find jobs/volunteer if you can't speak french (and I really can't speak french). 

 

UBC:

Pros is that its literally 10 minutes from my house so I can have the support of my family and I save money. Cons...THEY DON'T HAVE THE PROGRAM I WANT TO MAJOR IN SECOND YEAR (probably do pharmacology major or honours physiology...or just biology major but their choices are really limited)  :'( 

 

UBC sounds like the least compelling but as someone who has never had to be independent, I am terrified. I know that I need to grow up one day and become independent but it still intimidates me. 

 

Any thoughts or suggestions? Any advice or regrets or lessons learned from your experiences?

 

Sincerely, 

A high school student facing a quarter-life crisis. 

 

People from UT do get into medical school but from what I've seen they often don't have as smooth a path to medical school (you don't get as many getting in after 3rd or 4th year compared to for example Mac Health Sci). I'm an advocate for leaving home for school if you can afford it and you seem to be leaning away from UBC, and I do think that everyone needs to grow up someday I do think that going home away from school (i did) makes you more independent and mature and that will reflect when you interview for medical school.  

 

Personally I would go to one of Western, UT or McGill. If you just really want to maximize your chances for medical school Western is probably the best decision, they definitely have an easier time getting the GPA required over there compared to UT, but you seem to really like Toronto and I think it might be worth it to do that if you are really motivated. 

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T

 

People from UT do get into medical school but from what I've seen they often don't have as smooth a path to medical school (you don't get as many getting in after 3rd or 4th year compared to for example Mac Health Sci). I'm an advocate for leaving home for school if you can afford it and you seem to be leaning away from UBC, and I do think that everyone needs to grow up someday I do think that going home away from school (i did) makes you more independent and mature and that will reflect when you interview for medical school.  

 

Personally I would go to one of Western, UT or McGill. If you just really want to maximize your chances for medical school Western is probably the best decision, they definitely have an easier time getting the GPA required over there compared to UT, but you seem to really like Toronto and I think it might be worth it to do that if you are really motivated. 

To be fair, they can also live away from home if going to UBC. Sure it wouldn't be a necessity since they have family so close to home, and would seem odd since its not required expense like if they went away...but i know plenty of people who moved out even with family locally. No reason you have to stay living at home just because its a commutable distance from school etc.

I feel that most gr 12s i know who end up not going UBC locally and go out east, the primary reasons were just to not live at home. I dont personally think thats a good enough reason to choose a school, when you can be a real adult and have conversations with your parents in the first place that you want to move out and be independent - local university or not. In a way, choosing a OOP university for that reason specifically, is in a way bypassing that discussion all together...since it would be a necessity of living away by choosing to attend that university. 

 

The worst is, I have friends who moved away for university but once they graduated they ended up moving back to Vancouver and living with their parents again. That is painful too see, and its obvious they are again trying their best to find work elsewhere so that they can move out again.  

Pros and cons. But if you want to be independent and mature, then have that conversation.

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Moving out for the sole reason of achieving independence may not be a good idea. There are many other ways in which maturity can be developed, even at home.

 

As for living at home, there are definitely pros:

 

1) MUCH less (if any) living expenses. You won't have to pay for board, food.. etc. 

 

2) You won't have to go through navigating your way through a new city. Starting university will provide you with enough to adapt to. 

 

3) TIME--> think about all the time you will save (ex: no cooking all the time). 

 

4) Family support

 

There may be cons, but to the best of my knowledge, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. 

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In terms of McGill, are you thinking specifically about the interdepartmental honours immunology program? It is a pretty interesting program and I have heard that graduates are quite successful at continuing their studies afterward. However, it is also a very small competitive program to enter, so you are dealing with an already high performing group.

 

Aside from that program, I can't really see what distinguishes McGill from the cellular, anatomy and physiology program at UBC... Having done a similar pathway at McGill, the course selection looks fairly similar. 

 

I would personally caution you against doing a double major, particularly if you want to combine physiology and micro/immunology. I have known very smart people in both programs (i.e. doing only ONE major) and they are both quite challenging (U3 in particular). Doing them both seems somewhat unnecessary and putting yourself at high risk for a low GPA.

 

This may sound somewhat strange, but I don't think the specific program is the most important thing to consider unless you have an extremely niche interest. No matter what they call themselves, your courses across most schools will largely be the same. You seem to want to study a combination of physiology, psychology and immunology - all of which exists at your top three named schools.

 

I think there is something to be said for staying at home, to be honest. Yes, moving out at some point is necessary and you will grow as a person. Does it have to be in first year uni? No. Having a stable home environment without distractions and help with meals/etc (if that is your situation) can really help in the transition to university. 

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In terms of McGill, are you thinking specifically about the interdepartmental honours immunology program? It is a pretty interesting program and I have heard that graduates are quite successful at continuing their studies afterward. However, it is also a very small competitive program to enter, so you are dealing with an already high performing group.

 

Aside from that program, I can't really see what distinguishes McGill from the cellular, anatomy and physiology program at UBC... Having done a similar pathway at McGill, the course selection looks fairly similar. 

 

I would personally caution you against doing a double major, particularly if you want to combine physiology and micro/immunology. I have known very smart people in both programs (i.e. doing only ONE major) and they are both quite challenging (U3 in particular). Doing them both seems somewhat unnecessary and putting yourself at high risk for a low GPA.

 

This may sound somewhat strange, but I don't think the specific program is the most important thing to consider unless you have an extremely niche interest. No matter what they call themselves, your courses across most schools will largely be the same. You seem to want to study a combination of physiology, psychology and immunology - all of which exists at your top three named schools.

 

I think there is something to be said for staying at home, to be honest. Yes, moving out at some point is necessary and you will grow as a person. Does it have to be in first year uni? No. Having a stable home environment without distractions and help with meals/etc (if that is your situation) can really help in the transition to university. 

This is what meal plans are for lol. Just head over to the cafeteria and eat. You may gain a few pounds but hey it's all part of the uni experience. Living on rez for your first year uni is an amazing experience. You get to meet new people and really make close relationships and its a blast. I'm so glad I did and feel that my friends who did not have the opportunity missed out. Whether you stay at home or move out for uni makes a huge difference with respect to how you perceive and experience uni. This could be something to consider. University is not all about getting good grades. You should really take the experience in and enjoy it and deciding whether to live at home or not is going to affect this hugely. Just my two cents. 

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I have to say, I'm also for staying home first year, but I think it's a personal choice.

 

Grade 12 to first year is already a huge transition without a new city, being away from home, etc. I moved out for med school as j already had the academics part down.

 

Also, I don't think it's fair to say that everyone should experience living in res because it's great. Some people hate it. I certainly would have.

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My gut is stick with UBC and take a program about which you are interested or passionate and which will lead to an alternative potential career. Good luck!

 

Yes always go with the program that reflects your passion....medical schools pick up on this later and will respect you for it more than hey I just took whatever I thought would get me into med school 

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I have to say, I'm also for staying home first year, but I think it's a personal choice.

 

Grade 12 to first year is already a huge transition without a new city, being away from home, etc. I moved out for med school as j already had the academics part down.

 

Also, I don't think it's fair to say that everyone should experience living in res because it's great. Some people hate it. I certainly would have.

 

 I agree, it should 100% be a personal choice. 4 years is a long time to be unhappy on the hope you will get into med school.

 

I was the complete opposite of you- I needed to be far away from my family, who has their own problems, to focus on myself and my studies. Staying home would have been toxic and I likely would have ended up dropping out. 

 

That's the risk of taking advice of forums here, no one else really knows what's best for you. Hearing advice and opinions is fantastic, but ultimately it's up to what is best for you

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