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Ottawa or McMaster? Have a choice between both

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I have a choice between both. What would you recommend? Pros and cons?

UPDATE: Thanks for all your responses guys. After consulting the forums, several medical students, and a doctor, I've chosen Ottawa. The comments listed here that were pivotal in my decision are tremendously helpful. I'm sure other individuals in the future can and will benefit from this information.

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I had the same decision to make and I chose to go to Ottawa. I will try to explain my thought process and how I approached the decision. 

I talked with upper year students in both Ottawa and McMaster to get a feel for how they found the program and if they had any regrets. I chose to talk to upper year students versus first year students because I think a lot of time first year students don't have enough experience in the program and can have the "happy to just be in medical school" mindset which can cloud their judgement on the program. I also tried to get most of my feedback from McMaster students that had rejected other 4 year programs because quite a few students only applied to McMaster for medical school. I also put a lot of thought into location, I did my undergraduate degree in Western and then have been in Toronto (where I grew up) for the past 2 years doing a masters. I have all my family here so being in an environment I am comfortable in and  being able to be around family was important to me. 

After talking about the program with as many people as I could, I came out with a couple of points about each school. Ottawa and McMaster seem to both have a good curriculum, students seem to love how the classes are set up. Ottawa seems to have a really tight knit group versus McMaster (this is something students from other medical schools often mention to me about Ottawa). McMaster I think because of the short time frame and the pace and pressure of the program seems to make it more difficult to create the same level of comrodery. 

The three year versus four year was also a big question as to whether it will affect me negatively in the future.  The McMaster students that I talked to did feel that they were rushed to decide on their speciality with little room to adjust without negative consequences. 

The summers off during Ottawa versus McMaster was also something that i considered heavily. Having the ability to reset during the summer and really figure out my career is important to me. I also think that being closer to family but not having as much time to spend with them defeats the purpose for me to going to McMaster. With the summers I can plan out and schedule myself better to be with family and friends more while also trying to gain some experience working with doctors in Toronto. 

Ultimately I decided I worked this hard to pursue medicine, and even if Ottawa is far from home its a sacrifice I need to make to ensure my career is set. I wanted to ensure that I had no doubt that the school I chose will help me get to where I want to be in my career. For that reason I chose Ottawa. 

I hope this helps a little at least. Again this was my thought process going in but regardless of what you choose congratulations on getting into medical school! 

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  • 1 month later...

The 3 years really does not allow for time to build your experiences (for example research/leadership which is important for certain specialties) and for your own career exploration. Let alone time to wind down during the summer. 4 years definitely the preference, unless you are set for family medicine from the start (however this is my own personal opinion)!

Mr Duck

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