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How is COVID-19 impacting the competitiveness in Canada


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Hi,

What are everyone’s thoughts with regards to how the pandemic has impacted the competitiveness for 2021 med school applicants?

I found an interesting article indicating U.S. applications are at a record high, surging 17%. (Even more so at specific schools) I can’t imagine Canada being particularly different... I presume in a poor job market, people flock to other means to fill their time, I.e schooling.

https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/applications-medical-school-are-all-time-high-what-does-mean-applicants-and-schools

What do you think? 

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I've heard it's the same here from schools that provide that sort of info- substantial increases in the number of applicants  compared to last year ...which just means more competition and the likelihood of acceptance is ever lower than it was previously. Anyone else find it ironic that we are going to the extremes of curfews to protect the system, when there are more and more of us who would give our eye teeth to help, which would in turn, alleviate the strain? But I digress. 

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I've been hearing stories about grade inflation, so if you're talking about future application cycles I imagine the competition will skyrocket because of the increase in GPA. As of right now, I also believe that the competition will be steeper because these increases in application do not come from people who just decide to apply on a whim as it takes years to prepare for med apps. They are likely premeds who originally wanted to apply in future cycles but decided to apply now because they have nothing better to do with their time. The interims stats released by UBC reflects this. The OOP average was pretty high this cycle. 

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I think you guys are missing what this data actually means. Overall applications are up, and applications for each school are up but they do not say if overall number of applicants is up. People generally can't just decide to apply to medical school in a year with having to study and take the MCAT etc. Much more likely this represents a similar number of total applicants but more applications per applicant. Why? People are applying more broadly due to the uncertainty this year perhaps, but I think the main thing is that with online interviews people can realistically interview at a lot more places with less costs of flying/accommodation etc. The same issue is being seen with the US match right now.

I think this effect will be less in Canada, as it's much more common to apply across the board at baseline, but if interview travel cost/time had been an issue in the past then people may apply to more places this year.

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2 hours ago, Ali-oop said:

I've heard it's the same here from schools that provide that sort of info- substantial increases in the number of applicants  compared to last year ...which just means more competition and the likelihood of acceptance is ever lower than it was previously. Anyone else find it ironic that we are going to the extremes of curfews to protect the system, when there are more and more of us who would give our eye teeth to help, which would in turn, alleviate the strain? But I digress. 

It takes years to train physicians. It takes 4 years of training (ie medical school) before you are of any use to the system. No premed would be able to meaningfully impact patient care from a medical aspect in time for this pandemic. Furthermore, the main problem with man power is a funding issue from the governmental level and not a shortage of doctors.

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1 hour ago, bearded frog said:

I think you guys are missing what this data actually means. Overall applications are up, and applications for each school are up but they do not say if overall number of applicants is up. People generally can't just decide to apply to medical school in a year with having to study and take the MCAT etc. Much more likely this represents a similar number of total applicants but more applications per applicant. Why? People are applying more broadly due to the uncertainty this year perhaps, but I think the main thing is that with online interviews people can realistically interview at a lot more places with less costs of flying/accommodation etc. The same issue is being seen with the US match right now.

I think this effect will be less in Canada, as it's much more common to apply across the board at baseline, but if interview travel cost/time had been an issue in the past then people may apply to more places this year.

I do not think this is true. UBC for example had the most applicants in history this year. There was an 202 increase in applicants IP (15%) and 120 (also 15%) increase in applicants OOP. Your argument of more applications per applicant would be valid if there was only an increase in OOP applicant numbers but there was a 15% increase in IP applicants. Many people who apply to UBC IP only apply to UBC so it's not like the increase was driven up by OOP's. 

Similarly, Calgary reported a 17% increase (most applications in past 10 years) and most people who apply to UofC are IP, so I could see the trend being the same when detailed stats are out. 

My prediction is that this cycle for 2021 start is going to be bad due to the numbers we see already...but where it will get particularly nasty is next year and the year after that where people will have 1.5+ years of grade inflation with which to apply to med with. What makes things even more ludicrous is that universities are allowing students to P/F one (or sometimes even more than one) course that they don't like their mark with.

The average GPA to get an interview this year to UBC was ~89% which was also the highest ever...so just imagine next year and the year after that after these online semesters are taking into account. 

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20 hours ago, Aetherus said:

It takes years to train physicians. It takes 4 years of training (ie medical school) before you are of any use to the system. No premed would be able to meaningfully impact patient care from a medical aspect in time for this pandemic. Furthermore, the main problem with man power is a funding issue from the governmental level and not a shortage of doctors.

Sure does take 4 years and the doctor shortage is chronic and independent of COVID. Covid just made it worse. Let's not get started on  how the government spends our money. Suffice it to say Canadians would not be opposed to the benefits to their care that  having more doctors would offer.

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1 hour ago, Ali-oop said:

Sure does take 4 years and the doctor shortage is chronic and independent of COVID. Covid just made it worse. Let's not get started on  how the government spends our money. Suffice it to say Canadians would not be opposed to the benefits to their care that  having more doctors would offer.

There is no doctor shortage, there is only a misuse of funds and a poor distribution of resources. There is no point in increasing Medical School positions as there is already a shortage of residency positions and a shortage of jobs in certain areas. Furthermore, we don’t need more doctors in major centres, we need them in the remote communities and it is hard to get people to stay long term to provide care. There are many things the government is mishandling in this pandemic, but medical school positions is not one of them.

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18 minutes ago, Aetherus said:

There is no doctor shortage, there is only a misuse of funds and a poor distribution of resources. There is no point in increasing Medical School positions as there is already a shortage of residency positions and a shortage of jobs in certain areas. Furthermore, we don’t need more doctors in major centres, we need them in the remote communities and it is hard to get people to stay long term to provide care. There are many things the government is mishandling in this pandemic, but medical school positions is not one of them.

Or, as my colleague says "maybe we need to rethink having 1000 people living 1500km away  from major centres, and expecting anywhere close to a level of quality care that is standard".

I think we always say there is a "need" - but do we really "need" to have vast spread out small centres endeavouring to have higher level of quality care, without the efficiencies of clustered concentrated centres for quality of care?

Unlike other countries that often have better transport infrastructure, and less natural geographic barriers - Canada is so wide spread...and I think there is something to be said about rethinking community planning for the rural context. (I'm pro Rural before things are misconstrued  but do acknowledge the exorbitant costs associated with delivering rural medical care...and whether there is equity/efficiency in this process).

 

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On 1/13/2021 at 2:01 PM, offmychestplease said:

My prediction is that this cycle for 2021 start is going to be bad due to the numbers we see already...but where it will get particularly nasty is next year and the year after that where people will have 1.5+ years of grade inflation with which to apply to med with. What makes things even more ludicrous is that universities are allowing students to P/F one (or sometimes even more than one) course that they don't like their mark with.

The average GPA to get an interview this year to UBC was ~89% which was also the highest ever...so just imagine next year and the year after that after these online semesters are taking into account. 

I think the same. This is why you (offmychestplease) have seen me on other threads looking at backups/international schools - Canada med just feels like it's gonna be out of reach for anyone in my boat.

I'm sure there's a few of us kicking around with similar situations to me: wrote the MCAT in summer 2019 after second year (did below the med average in uni in 1st and 2nd yr), but the MCAT really whipped me into shape and my GPA has been near perfect ever since (i.e. even in the pre-COVID 2019 September semester and the first half of the 2020 Winter semester). But then COVID happened, and suddenly the fact that I'm doing well in uni isn't even that unique anymore (and the 2020 Winter semester doesn't even count at some unis, lol).

Since you mentioned UBC, I mean yeah, I'm hoping to apply there next year with nearly a 90 average, and I honestly feel like that's going to be below the interview average. And the ECs game gets harder with an increased number of applicants too. I would not be surprised to see a 90 average IP with 50th to 75th percentile NAQ receive pre-interview R's next year

I feel like I owe it to myself to apply to Canadian med again this summer (and even if I don't "owe it to myself," it's still the smart move because all I'll lose is some money, can always change my mind later if I do somehow get accepted but don't want to attend). But I also feel like the Canadian med admissions process is now going to skew heavily. Essentially, that what used to be the top 20% of applicants will become the top 50%

It's really messed. I don't think any of us who are still applying particularly want to try 5 times to get in.

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