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UofT life sci vs. Queens life sci vs. Western health sci

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22 members have voted

  1. 1. Which one to pick

    • Queens Life Sci
      9
    • UofT Life Sci
      6
    • Western Health Sci
      7


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In a previous discussion with a friend - if you are just trying to maximize your GPA I heard Western Health Sci is good.

But do not let that be the only factor. A person does better where they are comfortable and have support. If you family and friends are in Queen or Toronto, you will be able to find success in both schools

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Just fyi, western medical sciences is more on par with the life science programs you’ve listed above. Most people in the health science programs end up doing allied healthcare, with the exception of maybe bsc kinesiology.

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I graduated Western Health sci and I don't know if I'd recommend it. There are parts of the program that both helped me be successful this application cycle, but parts of the program also made it challenging. 

3rd and 4th year assessments are primarily group projects/presentations/essays/community field work. While these will really beef up your "soft skills", help a lot with all sorts of interview types and give you some neat experiences to add to your CV, it's not going to do your gpa any favors. Marking these things are crazy subjective and breaking a 90+ (4.0) is almost impossible. Breaking an 80+ (3.7) is no sweat, and 85+(3.9) needs considerable effort. But if you're aiming for that 4.0 then I wouldn't really expect it. However there are communication science and rehabilitation science courses health sci students can take for credit during these years and 90+ is easily attainable in these courses. They are essentially science courses but are very clinical and have a more typical evaluation structure. Assignments and presentations in these class are marked more objectively so getting higher grades is easier. 

Research for students is not really integrated into the program so you really have to go out on your own to find opportunities. Finding interesting topics within health sci is harder for some than others. Research in rehab sci or communication science is likely to interest premeds as its pretty clinical research. There is a 4th year independent study course where you can do research but it's only a half credit which is dumb because it's not a lot of time to do anything meaningful. 

Overall the program is large and not really supportive. Never found guidance or professors to care a whole lot about you. There are definitely some great profs who's classes I've loved and I reached out to for research, but health sci has given me some of the worst instructors I've ever had in my life. They are constantly firing and hiring contract profs and some of these profs are so bad I can't even express. Whether it's unfair making, confusing evaluations with unclear expectations or just awful lecturing, health sci has given it to us. It's common for a health sci class to have a very high average halfway through the course, then have a completely bullshit evaluation of a final exam or final project to artificially bring the marks down. Appeals for these classes is not uncommon. Overall they're disorganized and don't have their shit together. The problem is they don't even know how to make the program or what to teach students because the program is a dead end unless you get into professional school or graduate school 

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16 hours ago, KingKunta_chickenwings said:

I graduated Western Health sci and I don't know if I'd recommend it. There are parts of the program that both helped me be successful this application cycle, but parts of the program also made it challenging. 

3rd and 4th year assessments are primarily group projects/presentations/essays/community field work. While these will really beef up your "soft skills", help a lot with all sorts of interview types and give you some neat experiences to add to your CV, it's not going to do your gpa any favors. Marking these things are crazy subjective and breaking a 90+ (4.0) is almost impossible. Breaking an 80+ (3.7) is no sweat, and 85+(3.9) needs considerable effort. But if you're aiming for that 4.0 then I wouldn't really expect it. However there are communication science and rehabilitation science courses health sci students can take for credit during these years and 90+ is easily attainable in these courses. They are essentially science courses but are very clinical and have a more typical evaluation structure. Assignments and presentations in these class are marked more objectively so getting higher grades is easier. 

Research for students is not really integrated into the program so you really have to go out on your own to find opportunities. Finding interesting topics within health sci is harder for some than others. Research in rehab sci or communication science is likely to interest premeds as its pretty clinical research. There is a 4th year independent study course where you can do research but it's only a half credit which is dumb because it's not a lot of time to do anything meaningful. 

Overall the program is large and not really supportive. Never found guidance or professors to care a whole lot about you. There are definitely some great profs who's classes I've loved and I reached out to for research, but health sci has given me some of the worst instructors I've ever had in my life. They are constantly firing and hiring contract profs and some of these profs are so bad I can't even express. Whether it's unfair making, confusing evaluations with unclear expectations or just awful lecturing, health sci has given it to us. It's common for a health sci class to have a very high average halfway through the course, then have a completely bullshit evaluation of a final exam or final project to artificially bring the marks down. Appeals for these classes is not uncommon. Overall they're disorganized and don't have their shit together. The problem is they don't even know how to make the program or what to teach students because the program is a dead end unless you get into professional school or graduate school 

Solid advice. Yeah, a lot of these things are difficult to know unless you have someone who has recently graduated from the program. Keep in mind though that you can still switch majors, so just because you enter as a health sci does not mean you need to stay, for Western the first 2 years I believe are common between health and med sci. 

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39 minutes ago, Edict said:

Solid advice. Yeah, a lot of these things are difficult to know unless you have someone who has recently graduated from the program. Keep in mind though that you can still switch majors, so just because you enter as a health sci does not mean you need to stay, for Western the first 2 years I believe are common between health and med sci. 

You're thinking of biology and med sci, these programs have the same first 2 years essentially. Health sci is quite different as you're not mandated to take any science courses other than biology, except if you do the health sci with bio module (but even then you're not required to take all the first year courses med sci is). This is how it is at Western at least. 

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Let me just provide some insight here (as a u of t student)

If medical school is the goal for you, going to u of t won't be a cup of tea either. You will need to work very very hard, you can do well, you can get good grades but that requires constant effort and perseverance throughout all years of your undergrad. You can't decide to slack for a few weeks and not catch up, it'll hurt your exam. It's doable but just a lot of work. I'm personally feeling the effect of the hard work and effort after finals were done because it is exhausting.

with any university you will go to, you will face difficulties and you will need to adjust based on these difficulties. With of t, it's a big adjustment which takes some people longer than others. As a person who has always wanted medical school, I love the fact that u of t provides a range of different courses, lots of resources, great research opportunities, but if I could go back in time, I wouldn't choose it because I'd rather a university which isn't too focused on keeping low averages.

This is just my personal opinion! I'm sure that other people think otherwise, but it's just how i feel

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We should just have a red-lined stickie on the top of the premed forum: IF YOU WANNA DO MED DON'T GO TO UOFT FOR UNDERGRAD

My friends and I joke: UofT is where hopes and dreams go to die.

Hope your friend makes a wise decision.

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I'm a U of T grad wanting to pursue medicine - I did life sci at U of T and my best advice is to avoid going here at all costs if you want to pursue medicine, grad school etc. 

Not only is it notoriously difficult to do well, it's not a welcoming environment. 

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Agreed.  U of T life sci really was a terrible experience and I cant advise you more strongly to NOT go there.  When people say it isn't that bad I feel like I'm in some alternate universe, or maybe those people are just insanely smarter than me.

To put it in context:  I am a year out of residency.  During most of residency I did 1 in 4-6 call where I was up most of the night, so I worked usually ~27 hours those days.  On top of that I had to study material pretty regularly.  Despite all that, U of T life sci was by far the hardest 4 years of my life.  I worked more hours and was more stressed in my easiest month there than in my hardest month of med school or residency (except maybe the first month of 2 at U of T before I realized how fucked I was).  I find people who say it wasn't so bad baffling. 

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11 hours ago, positivevibes said:

I'm a U of T grad wanting to pursue medicine - I did life sci at U of T and my best advice is to avoid going here at all costs if you want to pursue medicine, grad school etc. 

Not only is it notoriously difficult to do well, it's not a welcoming environment. 

 

On 5/31/2018 at 1:14 PM, plastics91 said:

We should just have a red-lined stickie on the top of the premed forum: IF YOU WANNA DO MED DON'T GO TO UOFT FOR UNDERGRAD

My friends and I joke: UofT is where hopes and dreams go to die.

Hope your friend makes a wise decision.

 

7 hours ago, goleafsgochris said:

Agreed.  U of T life sci really was a terrible experience and I cant advise you more strongly to NOT go there.  When people say it isn't that bad I feel like I'm in some alternate universe, or maybe those people are just insanely smarter than me.

To put it in context:  I am a year out of residency.  During most of residency I did 1 in 4-6 call where I was up most of the night, so I worked usually ~27 hours those days.  On top of that I had to study material pretty regularly.  Despite all that, U of T life sci was by far the hardest 4 years of my life.  I worked more hours and was more stressed in my easiest month there than in my hardest month of med school or residency (except maybe the first month of 2 at U of T before I realized how fucked I was).  I find people who say it wasn't so bad baffling. 

I don't think it's a matter of intelligence probably just about finding your groove. I'm one of those "U of T life science was easy" type...but I found clerkship to be a more of a challenge, whereas it sounds like clerkship would  have been a relative breeze for you.

That being said....what matters for getting into medicine is GPA and GPA benefits from being in in a relatively easier program/school...and even if someone found U of T life sci not that difficult, other programs are still even less difficult, and therefore better bets

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Hey there, recent graduate from Queen's Life Sci.

 

I strongly do not recommend this program unless you are interested in pursuing a Masters. It is fantastic preparation for a MSc, but in my opinion, very poor preparation for professional schools or any career out of undergrad.

This is because in third year, the program splits into Life Science majors and Life Science specializations. The specializations are research-focused (cancer research, microbiology, neuroscience etc.) and you CANNOT get a fourth year thesis project without being in a specialization stream. Fourth year BScH life science majors can get into classes with special projects or presentations, but they are not allowed to do a thesis. Professors in the department are highly encouraged to hire lab volunteers and summer research assistants from the specialization streams, which means that it is nearly impossible to get research experience as a Life Sci major without special connections. It is very difficult to convince a medical school that you meet the "scholar" pillar without any significant research experience. 

What's even more frustrating is that majors get last pick during course selection. So many of the really interesting (or bird course) upper year electives aren't available. In my third year I picked the 10 classes I really wanted to take, as well as 5 backups. Of those 15 choices, I got into 2 of them. Which meant that in my third year I had to take 8 courses that I had very little interest in. It is veeeeery hard to get good marks in classes you dislike. 

Now the catch here is that the prerequisite courses for the specialization programs are arguably the most difficult courses offered in the entire department, but they are not a requirement for the majors. If you go to qubirdhunter.com , students submit grade distributions from their classes. If you look up some of the specialization prerequisites, many of them have a 0% A+ rate and class averages in the C+ to B+ range, which means you can kiss your 4.0 goodbye if you take a specialization stream. Also, if you take a specialization, you have less elective space and you are not allowed to take a minor. That was the deal breaker for me, as I was a Life Sci major, psyc minor. 

I obviously can't speak for my entire graduating class, so hopefully you get some success stories of Queen's Life Sci going on this thread, but I would say to pick another major if you're interested in med school. Two of my friends from Kinesiology just got accepted to Ottawa and Dal, and an old lab partner that ended up switching to Chemistry got into Western last year. I had 6 classmates who did a Life Sci specialization and applied to med school, and none of them got any interviews. However, they're all in grad school now, so they might have a better shot in 2 years? Of myself and 3 friends who did the major stream and applied to med school, 2 of them got an interview (different schools) but no acceptances. We're all in the process of applying for college or allied health professional schools now, because you can't really do much with a Life Sci degree on its own. 

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Maybe I’m being a bit defensive because I’m a UofT alum, but I feel like I should say something good about the school since no one else has said a good thing about it. Idk I guess majority rules in these cases and maybe UofT really was a shit undergrad, but that really wasn’t my experience.

 

academics first. I really don’t consider myself incredibly intelligent, probably just average. But I did my readings as they were assigned (not in-depth either; just as a preview of lectures), asked questions and went to office hours when I was stuck, and there really weren’t any surprises on tests and exams. Did I have to work harder than in high school? You bet your god damn ass. But which university isn’t more rigorous than secondary? 

 

But my undergrad also provided me opportunities and more importantly the support to pursue these opportunities. I came to undergrad with the mindset to bunker down as a premed and getter done asap to apply to med, but midway I got distracted for a bit in business and the school had resources to support me and my team with tens of thousands in funding + extras in in kind, free mentorship, technical expertise, legal counsel, equipment, etc (in addition to funding many other teams). 

 

When I wanted to start  research, there were research courses for all life science students starting as early as second year, giving you lab experience from that point and the opportunity to establish connections. and if you gun hard enough the researchers (on campus or off site at our many associated hospitals) are sometimes down to take on first year students.

 

if you have any kind of extra curricular event you want done, there’s support again in terms of funding, professors who will co-write applications and proposals with you, etc etc.

 

downtown Toronto is also pretty great. I guess the commuting aspect would suck but I cant comment on that since I lived close to campus.

 

idk. A lot of what I said is also available at other universities and not at all exclusive to UofT, but I feel the academic difficulty is a bit exaggerated and the wealth of opportunity you can receive while at the school, should you reach for it, really enriches the experience and makes it a pretty good undergrad in my opinion. The things I got to do through the university’s and my professors’ support were certainly, certainly big parts of the things I spoke of during interviews and idk if I could’ve gotten in without that experience and maturity 

 

n=1 please don’t lynch. 

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