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Physics -> Business -> Ontario Med School?


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Hi everyone,

I'm in my late twenties and an Ontario native. I have never taken a biology course in my entire life, and considered myself a 'pure physics guy' with an aversion to medicine. While I've been successful in my career, I do not feel fulfilled, and a lot of soul searching has led me to seriously consider becoming a doctor. Specifically, I am looking at radiation oncology since it lines up well with my prior experiences. That being said, I know you can't count on a specific match, so I remain open minded. While I think I can make a compelling case, I am concerned that my grades and lack of healthcare-related ECs will hold me back from the Ontario schools in particular. Profile below:

Academics:

  • Undergrad: B.A.Sc. Engineering Physics, cGPA 3.92/4.30 which is roughly 3.78/4.0 on the OMSAS scale (if I did it right)
  • Grad: M.Sc. Particle Physics, course-based, GPA = 3.77/4.00
  • MCAT: Not taken yet

Research:

  • 2 years researching particle physics
  • 1 summer researching medical physics (NSERC)

Work Experience:

  • 3 years of management consulting at a top firm giving strategic advice to F500 corporations across North America
    • Very stressful, ~60-70 hours a week, crazy high stakes and high emphasis on polished communication skills
  • 2 years as a top-ranked TA for physics and economics
  • Ongoing management of my family business after my father's passing

ECs:

  • Intramural sports all throughout undergrad, didn't join clubs cause I thought they were lame (I'm dumb)
  • Have won and recieved prize money in several business case competitions 
  • Executive role in Canada's largest science festival
  • Work-related leadership roles at my office
  • Caretaker role in my immediate family due to parental health problems and passing of my father

What's the read here? I don't think I could stomach going to an international school given my family commitments. Ontario is preferable but I'd go anywhere in Canada realistically. I'm hoping the sheer toughness of my academic coursework might give me some slack on the GPA, but I have a feeling engineers get the short end of the stick for Canadian med schools.

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2 hours ago, PhysicsToMed said:

Hi everyone,

I'm in my late twenties and an Ontario native. I have never taken a biology course in my entire life, and considered myself a 'pure physics guy' with an aversion to medicine. While I've been successful in my career, I do not feel fulfilled, and a lot of soul searching has led me to seriously consider becoming a doctor. Specifically, I am looking at radiation oncology since it lines up well with my prior experiences. That being said, I know you can't count on a specific match, so I remain open minded. While I think I can make a compelling case, I am concerned that my grades and lack of healthcare-related ECs will hold me back from the Ontario schools in particular. Profile below:

Academics:

  • Undergrad: B.A.Sc. Engineering Physics, cGPA 3.92/4.30 which is roughly 3.78/4.0 on the OMSAS scale (if I did it right)
  • Grad: M.Sc. Particle Physics, course-based, GPA = 3.77/4.00
  • MCAT: Not taken yet

What's the read here? I don't think I could stomach going to an international school given my family commitments. Ontario is preferable but I'd go anywhere in Canada realistically. I'm hoping the sheer toughness of my academic coursework might give me some slack on the GPA, but I have a feeling engineers get the short end of the stick for Canadian med schools.

Generally speaking, no slack given to applicants with engineering backgrounds. However, if you completed the 'typical' engineering course-load (5 or 6 courses per semester), some schools will remove your lowest year, lowest courses, or some variation of this, which can help bring up your GPA. If you post your breakdown by tem (1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, etc.), we will be in a better position to help you.

In terms of ECs, don't worry about having specific healthcare related activities. Schools don't care. I applied without any 'typical' premed/healthcare ECs and received 2 interviews this cycle. Feel free to reach out to me, I'm happy to help a fellow engineering graduate. :)

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Fellow physics to med here. I have a B.Sc. in physics and will be starting at Ottawa this Fall.

You definitely do not need any health-related EC's to be a successful applicant. The first thing you should do is take a look at how all the schools calculate your weighted GPA (e.g., UofT drops lowest marks based on full-time course loads, Ottawa weighs later years more heavily, McMaster just takes your raw cGPA, etc.). Once you take your MCAT, you'll have a better idea of where you stand. Focus on CARS so you raise your chances at Mac.

The importance of ECs can get overblown for Ontario schools. I consider myself as someone with average ECs. I only had around 16 items on my ABS sketch for OMSAS and I managed to get 3 interviews in Ontario this cycle. Taken altogether for Ontario, GPA, MCAT and CASPer are each way more important than ECs. You definitely do not need any health-related ECs to be successful here.

Lastly, don't underestimate the role that CASPer plays. some people say that "you can't prepare for CASPer" but that's untrue. I took the CASPer test over 3 times because of rejections in previous cycles. My first attempt at it was complete rubbish, and over the cycles I got way better. So the MCAT and CASPer are the things that give you the most bang for your buck (in terms of time spent on them vs. positive effect they have on your application) in Ontario and lots of other schools as an out-of-province applicant.

So calculate your weighted GPA at each school to get a better idea of your chances. Do great on the MCAT (especially CARS) and CASPer, write awesome essays based on your unique experiences, and you'll have great odds.

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