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Hi there, 

So I am currently a high school student in Grade 11, and am considering to go into the medical stream. My first semester grade 11 marks, in my opinion, are good, but are not necessarily that stellar (currently averaging at 89). During second semester, I'm doing better with an anticipated average of around 93 (mostly business courses, hardest course is functions).

Considering the fact that medical school heavily weigh GPA as well as MCAT, I was just wondering if this program is a "GPA killer"? From what I know, in this program, the college courses taken at Centennial College count as university credits and are presumably easy and high-school like in nature. As a result, I assume these are an easy way to bring up your GPA. However, the UofT courses (the mandatory life science ones) are considered hard and are specifically calibrated to bring the averages down if too high (bell curve). Is that true? One of the main factors that contribute to this program to be first on my list of choices is the fact that in addition to getting a degree, you also get a useful diploma which enables you to get a highly demanded job, as a paramedic.

Other programs that I am considering are either a bio program at either Ryerson or Brock (to simply get a higher GPA) as well as Life Science at McMaster. With these programs, however, the potential possibility of not making it into medical school can be devastating. However, if the correct courses are taken, there is a chance to venture my way into dentistry or podiatry. Ultimately, what do you think would be the best course of action for me?

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Advice from a med student graduating this year!

It's great that you're starting to think about it now. I wish I had when I was at your stage, but it worked out in the end :P

The best undergrad program to get into if you want to get accepted to medical school is health science at Mac. I recommend it, despite partially resenting students that come from there, just because they had it so easy compared to me (might get a lot of hate for that comment, but hey it's just my opinion).

Apart from that, almost any school would allow you to get into medicine as long as you try hard and study your butt off. I would generally avoid difficult schools like UofT/Waterloo or difficult programs, like physics/chem/biochem/engineering, etc. That being said a lot of medical students both in my class and across the country have gone through those degrees and have done fine, so it's def possible. 

For you, it's kinda hard to say. If you're set on medicine/dentistry, then just make sure that whatever program you're in, you should always aim to get 90+ in any and all your classes. If you're kinda unsure what you wanna do with your life, then it's okay to explore (like I did) just make sure you ACE everything. I started off in business, did some engineering, then switched to bio and completed my degree. It was tough switching a bunch of times, but I always made sure to keep my marks up, so I had no issues when I applied. Interestingly, having gone through these various fields made the MCAT kinda easy for me. 

To summarize (didn't end up being a summary), here's my advice. If you want Medicine:

1) Pick the easiest undergrad program possible. 

2) in your undergrad pick the easiest courses possible (helps to ask upper year students) 

3) Make sure you get 90+ in all your courses (if not then aim for 85+; what I did was enrolled in extra courses (more than 5) take a look at what's needed, downloaded stuff for them, drop them BEFORE the deadline to drop courses and studied over the break and enrolled in them again the next term, so I killed it -> one less course to worry about; get past exams from upper years) 

4) Familiarize yourself with the MCAT get resources and lectures and periodically study for it, then dedicate one summer to study for it a lot and write it, but not at the expense of your GPA, because GPA is king! 

5) Get involved in extra-curricular activities, you don't have to go on trips to other countries and volunteer and stuff unless you like that. in my opinion it's a waste of your time and money and many of us know it doesn't actually help the other countries. there's plenty to do locally. Bonus points would be if you're involved with stuff related to indigenous health, homeless people, the ageing population, refugees, and stuff like that (we eat this stuff up like it's no one's business)

6) Read Kevin and Indira's Guide to Getting Into Medical School. There's a PDF floating around somewhere

7) If you are not sure, what you want, feel free to do an undergrad program in something you enjoy, just make sure you do great in it

8) Do some TAing, while in undergrad, we love people who like to teach

9) do some research if you're into that too, helps a little for some schools, helps a lot for UofT

10 ) start forming relationships with people who would write you strong reference letters for when you apply to med school, or who are chill and will let you write your own reference letter. This is pretty key. The person doesn't have to have to be a doctor (as in MD or PhD) but they should be able to write WELL and KNOW you.

11) Enjoy your undergrad -> these are your prime years, make sure you have fun, work out and be healthy. The have fun part, may not be possible, especially if you did your undergrad somewhere tough like UofT, but try your best!

I'm running outta things to say, but I hope this is helpful for you. I'll add more if I think of anything else. Medicine is loooong road buddy, many people question whether they made the right choice or not. Personally, I haven't regretted it and still love it. 

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15 hours ago, skyuppercutt said:

To summarize (didn't end up being a summary), here's my advice. If you want Medicine:

1) Pick the easiest undergrad program possible. 

2) in your undergrad pick the easiest courses possible (helps to ask upper year students) 

3) Make sure you get 90+ in all your courses (if not then aim for 85+; what I did was enrolled in extra courses (more than 5) take a look at what's needed, downloaded stuff for them, drop them BEFORE the deadline to drop courses and studied over the break and enrolled in them again the next term, so I killed it -> one less course to worry about; get past exams from upper years) 

mirin #3 hahaha

haven't heard of that one before, now that's gunning

 

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20 hours ago, kingmaker said:

Hi there, 

So I am currently a high school student in Grade 11, and am considering to go into the medical stream. My first semester grade 11 marks, in my opinion, are good, but are not necessarily that stellar (currently averaging at 89). During second semester, I'm doing better with an anticipated average of around 93 (mostly business courses, hardest course is functions).

Considering the fact that medical school heavily weigh GPA as well as MCAT, I was just wondering if this program is a "GPA killer"? From what I know, in this program, the college courses taken at Centennial College count as university credits and are presumably easy and high-school like in nature. As a result, I assume these are an easy way to bring up your GPA. However, the UofT courses (the mandatory life science ones) are considered hard and are specifically calibrated to bring the averages down if too high (bell curve). Is that true? One of the main factors that contribute to this program to be first on my list of choices is the fact that in addition to getting a degree, you also get a useful diploma which enables you to get a highly demanded job, as a paramedic.

Other programs that I am considering are either a bio program at either Ryerson or Brock (to simply get a higher GPA) as well as Life Science at McMaster. With these programs, however, the potential possibility of not making it into medical school can be devastating. However, if the correct courses are taken, there is a chance to venture my way into dentistry or podiatry. Ultimately, what do you think would be the best course of action for me?

  • Don't do Life sci unless you want to do (life) science research. Because medicine isn't guaranteed!
    • Try to get into engineering or nursing as they'll usually cover some areas of prereqs and are generally good degrees to have!
  • College courses are typically not counted the same way as uni courses, and can be confusing with course equivalencies. I would avoid them. It's better just to take uni courses as a non-degree seeking student if you're not in a science program.
  • Art's programs (BA) are a hell of a lot easier, and most uni's allow arts students to take some sci courses as well.  This includes intro bio, chem, ochem and physics. But usually won't include things like Anatomy, Physiology or Biochemistry. Biochem and physio are important for the MCAT, and are hard to study for as the material can get dicey. You need to check on the program you're applying to, before you make this decision.
    • BA programs typically help you better prepare for the dreaded CARS section. So this is also a plus.
  • As a high school student, you need to be getting involved with your community right now, and i'm not just talking about the required community service hours.
  • Enjoy your time in high school, while it lasts. HS is not a good predictor of how successful you will become in university, but having good work ethic and self improvement goes a long way and are good skills to invest in.
    • Average grades in a university (first year and large classes) tend to be in the mid to high 60's. This is a shock for people who come in with 90's, and some don't adapt fast enough, or ever.

 

Some info about Ryerson's Faculty of Science.

I did my undergrad at Rye but I decided to put off my medicine dream as I got severely ill. I can say that the program and faculty is too big for the resources available. Ryerson is a small uni (by physical space), and has a decently large Faculty of Science. This means that some profs have to share labs and therefore, there's less volunteering opportunites. The overall quality of lab work isn't what it used to be ever since they introduced the Biomedical Science program as there was a surge in applicants. From what I hear, there are lab renovations going on now, but there still isn't a dedicated science research building like UofT, and York have.

The profs were good at teaching, but the lab space was sub par. I would not suggest Ryerson for a premed. York has better resources, and is of similar quality in terms of teaching as Ryerson. I would recommend york over ryerson for now. Both schools have similar entrance averages, though I think Ryerson is slightly higher now; so if you get into one, you will likely get into the other. If you want to go to ryerson, I would pick a different faculty, like Engineering (specifically biomed) because you'll also get an engineering degree. And if you don't get into medicine, at least you'll get a engineering degree which is arguably a better degree than any Life Sci degree from any Uni.

While I can't speak for Brock, I can almost sense that it's in the same boat as Ryerson. Although, Brock has a better chance to grow, as it's not physically restricted by the constraints of having a university in a historic part of Toronto.

 

At any rate, you should be trying for 90s in highschool, and like the previous reply said...go to Mac Health sci, Western's Med Sci, or controversially, UofT's Life Sci.

 

 

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3 hours ago, 1D7 said:

mirin #3 hahaha

haven't heard of that one before, now that's gunning

Hahaha I did it since I switched out of engineering because I went from: almost guaranteed to having a job after undergrad --> hopefully getting into medical school

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On 2018-04-14 at 10:20 PM, skyuppercutt said:

Advice from a med student graduating this year!

It's great that you're starting to think about it now. I wish I had when I was at your stage, but it worked out in the end :P

The best undergrad program to get into if you want to get accepted to medical school is health science at Mac. I recommend it, despite partially resenting students that come from there, just because they had it so easy compared to me (might get a lot of hate for that comment, but hey it's just my opinion).

Apart from that, almost any school would allow you to get into medicine as long as you try hard and study your butt off. I would generally avoid difficult schools like UofT/Waterloo or difficult programs, like physics/chem/biochem/engineering, etc. That being said a lot of medical students both in my class and across the country have gone through those degrees and have done fine, so it's def possible. 

For you, it's kinda hard to say. If you're set on medicine/dentistry, then just make sure that whatever program you're in, you should always aim to get 90+ in any and all your classes. If you're kinda unsure what you wanna do with your life, then it's okay to explore (like I did) just make sure you ACE everything. I started off in business, did some engineering, then switched to bio and completed my degree. It was tough switching a bunch of times, but I always made sure to keep my marks up, so I had no issues when I applied. Interestingly, having gone through these various fields made the MCAT kinda easy for me. 

To summarize (didn't end up being a summary), here's my advice. If you want Medicine:

1) Pick the easiest undergrad program possible. 

2) in your undergrad pick the easiest courses possible (helps to ask upper year students) 

3) Make sure you get 90+ in all your courses (if not then aim for 85+; what I did was enrolled in extra courses (more than 5) take a look at what's needed, downloaded stuff for them, drop them BEFORE the deadline to drop courses and studied over the break and enrolled in them again the next term, so I killed it -> one less course to worry about; get past exams from upper years) 

4) Familiarize yourself with the MCAT get resources and lectures and periodically study for it, then dedicate one summer to study for it a lot and write it, but not at the expense of your GPA, because GPA is king! 

5) Get involved in extra-curricular activities, you don't have to go on trips to other countries and volunteer and stuff unless you like that. in my opinion it's a waste of your time and money and many of us know it doesn't actually help the other countries. there's plenty to do locally. Bonus points would be if you're involved with stuff related to indigenous health, homeless people, the ageing population, refugees, and stuff like that (we eat this stuff up like it's no one's business)

6) Read Kevin and Indira's Guide to Getting Into Medical School. There's a PDF floating around somewhere

7) If you are not sure, what you want, feel free to do an undergrad program in something you enjoy, just make sure you do great in it

8) Do some TAing, while in undergrad, we love people who like to teach

9) do some research if you're into that too, helps a little for some schools, helps a lot for UofT

10 ) start forming relationships with people who would write you strong reference letters for when you apply to med school, or who are chill and will let you write your own reference letter. This is pretty key. The person doesn't have to have to be a doctor (as in MD or PhD) but they should be able to write WELL and KNOW you.

11) Enjoy your undergrad -> these are your prime years, make sure you have fun, work out and be healthy. The have fun part, may not be possible, especially if you did your undergrad somewhere tough like UofT, but try your best!

I'm running outta things to say, but I hope this is helpful for you. I'll add more if I think of anything else. Medicine is loooong road buddy, many people question whether they made the right choice or not. Personally, I haven't regretted it and still love it. 

I have looked around a multitude of forums and I would just like to say that your comment is more sound and harbours more information than entire threads filled with 100s of comments do. So thanks for that. And moreover, if you don’t mind, can I ask you a few questions? If you don’t reply or answer, DW, I won’t take it personally.

1. Where did you do your UG degree? I see that you’ve changed  your major quite a bit, but at what university did you complete your degree?

2. Do you mind listing your ECs and volunteer experiences? Also are the ones I do in high school right now, weighed the same as the ones I do in university?

3. What was your cGPA? 

4. Did you shadow any doctor in university? How significant is doing so?

5. What is one piece of advice that you would give a high school student who is transitioning to university life? What should they do/know before starting school in September, in terms of preparing to learn?

6. Most people I see on forums go to U of T, Mac or Western. I was just wondering how people at medical school actually went to Ryerson or York? Is it high or low? 

7. If I get into Western’s Med Sci and York’s Kinesiology (let’s just say theoretically), which one would you recommend? They are arguably polar opposites. However, apparently Med Sci is similar to Mac’s Health Sci, so I don’t lnow.

My cousin is currently doing his last year of residency as a physiatrist. After seeing his dedication to his work as well as seeing him work hard in an attempt to help people, to me, is just inspiring and selfless. 

Sorry if I asked too many questions and made it sound too much like a job interview.

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No worries, I'm happy to answer questions. 

1. Where did you do your UG degree? I see that you’ve changed your major quite a bit, but at what university did you complete your degree? I won't share that, because it would make it really easy for people to know who I am and at this point, I would like to keep it anonymous. I did it in Ontario though. You can very easily switch into and out of undergrad degrees as long as your grades in your terms are good. I just had to sign a paper and poof, degree switched. Other classmates who did not have good marks couldn't do it so well. I did mess up the order though because I did engineering -> business -> bio, so I'm not sure if it would be easy to switch into engineering but going into business and bio was fine. I didn't even need to do extra terms before graduating (i.e. finished in 4 years) because I got credits for most of my courses and the ones I didn't get credits for just counted as electives. This did mean that I had less easy courses to choose from but I was a good test taker so it worked out. 

2. Split this question: Do you mind listing your ECs and volunteer experiences? Haha made me pull up my application for this one: First aid in the community (ended up holding leadership positions); Teaching assistant; mentored lower year science students; one summer of research (but got 2 publications); orientation leader; started a club (which fell apart the next term, but obviously I didn't mention that); did some student leadership course that was offered through my university and free (++ resume padder, you can def find stuff like that); was on deans list and got some entrance scholorships. 

Also are the ones I do in high school right now, weighed the same as the ones I do in university?  University is weighed more unless you started something in high school and are continuing it during undergrad

3. What was your cGPA?  3.84 (includes a course I got a 60% in first year and some summer courses. does not include UofT's formula for dropping courses)

4. Did you shadow any doctor in university? How significant is doing so? No, I don't think it really matters. Much better to do things you enjoy and are benefiting society. ABOUT TO DROP WISDOM BOMB -> Probably one of the most important things is not really the experiences, but your ability to write about them and express (what you got and learned from them in an easy to follow story format (especially for UofT essays or interviews). This not only applies for medical school but also for residency having just matched. The interviews that I absolutely killed (in a good way) where the ones that I could just tell a nice story, not about how amazing I was (which I'm not, I consider myself pretty average in my class), but about things I enjoyed, why I enjoyed etc.

- Eg. I shadowed a doc and learned about the health care system and know what it's like to be a doctor so I know this is the right career for me. I helped with organizing patient files and telling patients where to go --> useless. 

I shadowed a doc (or volunteered in a nursing home/ or worked as a cashier <-- see experience doesn't matter) and had the chance to interact with people in different age groups. One experience that stood out to me was when I helped an elderly woman 

5. What is one piece of advice that you would give a high school student who is transitioning to university life? What should they do/know before starting school in September, in terms of preparing to learn? Learn how to cook, exercise, party (but not too much) and start off strong. Stay uptodate with your courses and try to review the material by the end of the week. The courses I did amazing at, where courses where I'd review the material at the end of the day. 

6. Most people I see on forums go to U of T, Mac or Western. I was just wondering how people at medical school actually went to Ryerson or York? Is it high or low? 

Honestly, Idk that many people who went to ryerson or york in our class. They are smaller schools though so you would expect proportionally less students common there. UofT is huge, so even if 0.5% get into med school it could still be more students than 2% from york. Most students are from healthsci at mac, since, as mentioned before, their undergrad is easy AF

7. If I get into Western’s Med Sci and York’s Kinesiology (let’s just say theoretically), which one would you recommend? They are arguably polar opposites. However, apparently Med Sci is similar to Mac’s Health Sci, so I don’t know.

I don't know either of these programs, so can't speak to it. I know more students from western than york, but I assume you can do more with a kin degree than with a med scie degree if you don't get into med school. My advice if you want medicine and think you can get good grades, pick the easiest possible degree and go from there, while being aware that you might not get in. It's a risk that I took switching into bio and it worked for me but I knew my marks in engineering were also in the high 80's low 90's in a touch school, I felt comfortable knowing I would do well in bio. There are also many examples for people who did the same switch and did not get in. Sorry my answer to this is not as straighforward as the other Q's

 

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6 hours ago, skyuppercutt said:

6. Most people I see on forums go to U of T, Mac or Western. I was just wondering how people at medical school actually went to Ryerson or York? Is it high or low?

Honestly, Idk that many people who went to ryerson or york in our class. They are smaller schools though so you would expect proportionally less students common there. UofT is huge, so even if 0.5% get into med school it could still be more students than 2% from york.

For #6, York and Ryerson are not small. York is one of the largest universities in all of Canada and Ryerson's student population is greater than most universities outside of Toronto. The main reasons these schools don't send many students to medical school is self-selection. High performing students have their pick of universities and will usually head to prestigious/well-known programs (i.e. McMaster, UofT, Western, McGill, Queens, prominent West/East coast universities). On top of that, good students rise to the level of their peers (i.e. you can learn a lot from successful friends/colleagues) and the challenges set for them. Here's an old but relevant article with a nice graph from 2014: http://www.macleans.ca/education/university/gambling-on-an-m-d/.

MD_CHART.jpeg

My main point is that if you work hard & smart, form a social network of successful peers, find mentors, and keep an eye out for good opportunities, you will do well regardless of where you go. The caveat is that of those things listed, the extrinsic factors are easier to find at the well-known/prestigious programs.

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5 hours ago, 1D7 said:

For #6, York and Ryerson are not small. York is one of the largest universities in all of Canada and Ryerson's student population is greater than most universities outside of Toronto. The main reasons these schools don't send many students to medical school is self-selection. High performing students have their pick of universities and will usually head to prestigious/well-known programs (i.e. McMaster, UofT, Western, McGill, Queens, prominent West/East coast universities). On top of that, good students rise to the level of their peers (i.e. you can learn a lot from successful friends/colleagues) and the challenges set for them.

I stand corrected. Thank you for sharing this!

5 hours ago, 1D7 said:

My main point is that if you work hard & smart, form a social network of successful peers, find mentors, and keep an eye out for good opportunities, you will do well regardless of where you go. The caveat is that of those things listed, the extrinsic factors are easier to find at the well-known/prestigious programs.

Completely agree with this too! Have a like!

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I can't speak on the utsc program specifically but I have been with my boyfriend throughout his entire journey through the paramedics program at another Ontario college, which would be similar to the Centennial courses you would take. I just wanted to say to be careful assuming it's an easy program because it's in college, as honestly his coursework is harder than my BSc stuff sometimes. They have to know so many drugs, conditions, contraindications, treatments, etc. The program is extremely vigorous and actually less than a quarter of the students have graduated from his class due to failures and dropouts. Also if you are a smaller person, the physical "gym" and lab classes can be hard, as you have to lift close to 200 pounds on a stretcher upstairs with only one other person helping you to even pass the class. 

It sounds like an interesting program for sure but I wouldn't do it as an easy undergrad to get into med! Again this is more about paramedic programs in Ontario in general, but Centennial is one of the higher rated ones, so I would assume it would be similar difficulty to his. Hope this helps a bit and good luck choosing your path!

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