Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums
Sign in to follow this  
mew

Cost of medical school as a factor in decision-making

Recommended Posts

I'm super lucky to have two offers to choose between (Toronto and Mac). I think I would be a better fit for a 4-year school but the comparative costs of Toronto (total tuition, costs of living) are making me think twice. I won't get family support and I've already used up my OSAP student grants so I'm not eligible for them while in med school. I applied for the Toronto need-based admissions bursary and a couple of the other scholarships but didn't receive any. I already have ~50K of undergrad debt and I get so scared thinking about the amount of debt I'm going to be in when I finish. But I'm also nervous about the idea of going to a school I'm not sure is a good fit for me. Does anybody have any advice/wisdom on this situation?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would talk with a financial advisor who specializes in medical school student line of credits. Having lots of debt post M.D. is not unusual for doctors, and you'd certainly have the income to pay it down (you'd just need to keep living like a broke student for a bit in residency/ post-residency).

I'm already in ~60k of debt (40k of which is a student line of credit) and I am totally prepared to take on more if I get in to medical school. My assumption is that it's doable to pay it down in a relatively low number of years because as a doctor you'll be getting paid well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congrats mew! I just learned that in Quebec, the max eligibility limit for loans is extended for med students. Wonder if Ontario has a similar policy?

If not, in short, I personally would feel more comfortable with my preferred school even if it leaves me with an uncomfortable amount of debt. Money can be made again, the experience of med school cannot

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, mew said:

I'm super lucky to have two offers to choose between (Toronto and Mac). I think I would be a better fit for a 4-year school but the comparative costs of Toronto (total tuition, costs of living) are making me think twice. I won't get family support and I've already used up my OSAP student grants so I'm not eligible for them while in med school. I applied for the Toronto need-based admissions bursary and a couple of the other scholarships but didn't receive any. I already have ~50K of undergrad debt and I get so scared thinking about the amount of debt I'm going to be in when I finish. But I'm also nervous about the idea of going to a school I'm not sure is a good fit for me. Does anybody have any advice/wisdom on this situation?

Don't forget if you go to Mac you also start working a year early, so that's an extra 250k+ of earning. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The debt seems like a lot now but in the grand scheme of things it is little. Go where you will feel comfortable and enjoy yourself, as that, above all, is more important than a year here, there, or a few tens of thousands of dollars. I know that thought seems strange but in your long, storied career you will make more money than you know what to do with, so go with your gut for now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Lactic Folly said:

Do you know if you want to do family or specialize?

Right now I think I'm interested in EM and peds. I don't have enough exposure to family to definitively rule it in or out yet but it 's not something I'm vehemently opposed to in theory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

EM, Peds and FM are all pretty attainable for Mac grads, the school does seem to match well in these fields and has a strength/emphasis in them as well, same with Toronto.  It's up to you, the costs of living in Toronto (assuming you are at SG campus) and the extra year of tuition + lost income aren't too small. I think if you have a preference for living in Toronto, or you want Toronto for residency, that pill is worth swallowing. However, if your main concern is the three year program and you aren't particularly against going to Mac, it isn't unreasonable to choose Mac. It isn't an easy decision for sure. 

All in all though, choose what makes you happy now. I get the sense that you don't think you'll fit in at Mac, and I think that is a very reasonable reason to not go to Mac. You don't want to be unhappy for 3 whole years of your life. There is a cost to living in Toronto, but there are also many benefits as well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Edict said:

All in all though, choose what makes you happy now. I get the sense that you don't think you'll fit in at Mac, and I think that is a very reasonable reason to not go to Mac. You don't want to be unhappy for 3 whole years of your life. There is a cost to living in Toronto, but there are also many benefits as well. 

I actually liked the institutional culture at Mac (WRC) better than at Toronto (MAM) and think I'd fit in socially at Mac much better than at U of T.  My research interests are also represented better at Mac than U of T (medical pedagogy, medical ethics/distributive justice in healthcare). But I'm very vulnerable to burnout and I don't think I could succeed in the 3-year program wrt less time to explore specialties, no summers, infrequent/short breaks, and no time off for CaRMS. I'm also not huge on PBL- I enjoy it but don't want it to be my main source of learning. There's also the design of clerkship and distribution of electives, which a few of my Mac friends have been burned by. But I know I don't want to stay in the GTA- I grew up there and left for a reason- so I'll be trying to match away from Toronto for residency, which makes me lean towards Mac as I've heard you should study where you want to practice. It seems like there are pros/cons to each school and no clear answer in my mind. I just don't want to make a decision I'll later regret.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, mew said:

I actually liked the institutional culture at Mac (WRC) better than at Toronto (MAM) and think I'd fit in socially at Mac much better than at U of T.  My research interests are also represented better at Mac than U of T (medical pedagogy, medical ethics/distributive justice in healthcare). But I'm very vulnerable to burnout and I don't think I could succeed in the 3-year program wrt less time to explore specialties, no summers, infrequent/short breaks, and no time off for CaRMS. I'm also not huge on PBL- I enjoy it but don't want it to be my main source of learning. There's also the design of clerkship and distribution of electives, which a few of my Mac friends have been burned by. But I know I don't want to stay in the GTA- I grew up there and left for a reason- so I'll be trying to match away from Toronto for residency, which makes me lean towards Mac as I've heard you should study where you want to practice. It seems like there are pros/cons to each school and no clear answer in my mind. I just don't want to make a decision I'll later regret.

Lots of factors that go both ways listed in your posts, OP.

That being said, if you sense that you are vulnerable to burnout (or currently burnt out), I would advise against a 3 year program. I also advise that you should go somewhere that you have your core rotations before doing electives.

Ultimately I think you should go wherever you will have the best social support network, whether that is Mississauga or Waterloo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, mew said:

I actually liked the institutional culture at Mac (WRC) better than at Toronto (MAM) and think I'd fit in socially at Mac much better than at U of T.  My research interests are also represented better at Mac than U of T (medical pedagogy, medical ethics/distributive justice in healthcare). But I'm very vulnerable to burnout and I don't think I could succeed in the 3-year program wrt less time to explore specialties, no summers, infrequent/short breaks, and no time off for CaRMS. I'm also not huge on PBL- I enjoy it but don't want it to be my main source of learning. There's also the design of clerkship and distribution of electives, which a few of my Mac friends have been burned by. But I know I don't want to stay in the GTA- I grew up there and left for a reason- so I'll be trying to match away from Toronto for residency, which makes me lean towards Mac as I've heard you should study where you want to practice. It seems like there are pros/cons to each school and no clear answer in my mind. I just don't want to make a decision I'll later regret.

This post totally changes the question.  I recommend go to Mac.  The main advantage of Toronto is if you want to be in Toronto.  Mac has a more pleasant/easier pre-clerkship, more time to explore in your first year, and is overall much more "chill".  Even with summers off, you will have a more relaxing experience at Mac vs U of T.  I would really choose U of T for med school only if I wanted to be in Toronto, or if I was gunning for something competitive which might make the summers off a bit more useful.  The only time Mac is more stressful is in clerkship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, mew said:

I actually liked the institutional culture at Mac (WRC) better than at Toronto (MAM) and think I'd fit in socially at Mac much better than at U of T.  My research interests are also represented better at Mac than U of T (medical pedagogy, medical ethics/distributive justice in healthcare). But I'm very vulnerable to burnout and I don't think I could succeed in the 3-year program wrt less time to explore specialties, no summers, infrequent/short breaks, and no time off for CaRMS. I'm also not huge on PBL- I enjoy it but don't want it to be my main source of learning. There's also the design of clerkship and distribution of electives, which a few of my Mac friends have been burned by. But I know I don't want to stay in the GTA- I grew up there and left for a reason- so I'll be trying to match away from Toronto for residency, which makes me lean towards Mac as I've heard you should study where you want to practice. It seems like there are pros/cons to each school and no clear answer in my mind. I just don't want to make a decision I'll later regret.

Unless you specifically want to match to Mac for residency, there isn't any real advantage or disadvantage to going to either Mac or Toronto for medical school. If your goal is only to get out of the GTA for residency, that is not an issue, all the other medical schools are not GTA and as long as you do electives outside of Toronto in diverse locations, you will have no issues matching outside of the GTA. 

Mac does get time off for CaRMS, we get 3 weeks off since everyone foregoes their 2 week summer vacation and banks the time for CaRMS. You are right though that the 3 year program is intense, the first year and a half is chill, but that can provide false reassurance because if you coast at Mac you will struggle in clerkship. 

I think research interests wise, Mac is a bit stronger in your area, but in either case, the research is done in Hamilton or Toronto and at either Mississauga or Waterloo, you will be close enough to access both. Nothing is stopping you from going to medical school in Mississauga and doing research with people in Hamilton. 

It is a tough decision for you, Mac wins on cost savings and you like the idea of WRC over MAM. Toronto wins on having summers and breaks in between. If your goal is to match to McMaster then yes, I agree choose WRC. If your goal is to just match someone in Ontario outside of the GTA, then either will do. It still is true that it is easier to leave the city than to come back in, so if you do choose Toronto, as long as you set up your electives in diverse enough locations, you can easily convince non-GTA programs that you are serious about coming to them. 

Again, for your specialty and research interests, Mac is not a bad option. If you don't really like the idea of living in Mississauga for 4 years and you can save 100-150k off of living costs/working earlier and you don't want Toronto for residency, McMaster isn't a bad option. You can't go wrong with either though, you really have a unique enough situation that the pros=cons. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×