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Do you think UAlberta/U of C med schools will become easier to gain admission from Alberta's failing economy?


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A mass exodus of foreign and domestic companies are expected in the oil sector over the coming years. Many people are considering to move from the province to seek job opportunities and better educational environments for their children, elsewhere. Educated immigrants and their families will increasingly choose other provinces as well...

U of A already announced they may be decreasing the number of faculties in response to Alberta's new budget plan. 

So in the wake of the changing energy market, do you think admission to UAlberta/U of C will become less competitive over the next few years?

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22 minutes ago, Olle said:

A mass exodus of foreign and domestic companies are expected in the oil sector over the coming years. Many people are considering to move from the province to seek job opportunities and better educational environments for their children, elsewhere. Educated immigrants and their families will increasingly choose other provinces as well...

U of A already announced they may be decreasing the number of faculties in response to Alberta's new budget plan. 

So in the wake of the changing energy market, do you think admission to UAlberta/U of C will become less competitive over the next few years?

If anything I would think it will be harder. You've seen it this year with U of C's application numbers increasing 17% - any economic downturn pushes people towards stable careers like medicine.

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lol what...if other industries are down that only drives more people to apply to medicine + online grade inflation + COVID + etc...this is the most competitive year in recent memory and will only get more competitive each year (for ex. just last year the average GPA for those accepted to UofC was 3.88 when it was 3.80 just 3 years earlier, and 3.70 ten years ago...and this year I would not surprised if the average accepted GPA is 3.9+).. Decreasing other faculties and bad economy drives more people to med (not just students but working professionals wanting a second career).

You basically listed every reason to explain why it is only going to continue to get more competitive. The stats that will be released from this cycle (applicant numbers, average GPA/etc) are going to be interesting...but next year and beyond will be even more so. 

 

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I know for the near future medicine will look more attractive for its security, but I'm talking about the long-run when things have equilibrated. If Alberta becomes more like Saskatchewan or Manitoba over time, then the overall pool of competitive applicants will shrink compared to cities like TO or VAN, assuming UCal and UofA continues to provide the same advantages to applicants who have IP status.

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1. Alberta will never become like "Sask and Manitoba" whatever that means...you clearly have no idea about Alberta/Alberta's economy. Alberta is one of the best places in the world and the dystopia you speak of makes no sense. There are still thousands of people flocking to AB...you need to watch less news.

2. Medicine is competitive everywhere in Canada. Yes, even traditionally "easier" IP schools like Manitoba and Dal have gotten very competitive recently. Go check the interview invites threads for this year.

3. Medicine will continue to get more competitive for UofA/UofC, just like the overall trend everywhere 

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Honestly, there is no better time for admin coms to reevaluate the way they look at your undergraduate grades. Grades have been overvalued by so many schools (I'm looking at you Ontario schools), as much as they somewhat matter for showing that you can handle the workload of med school. They should be looked at more subjectively, and not just taken at face value (i.e. what kind of courses did you take, how many electives did you take, what were the class averages relative to your marks).

While I appreciate the strides that Calgary and Alberta have taken to make the med school admission process fairer for all types of candidates (especially Calgary with their global academic evaluation), let's be honest that medicine has become out of reach for the average person, and this has only been reinforced by the pandemic where those with more uncertain career prospects are less likely to benefit from these hard times. With tough economic times this is only going to favour more privileged candidates who had access to more resources, could boost their GPAs or MCAT via tutoring (or getting accepted into soft undergrad degree programs) because they could afford to (or their parents could at least).... and then add the luck of COVID, where they could take more online courses that could more easily boost your marks (i.e. more cheating, look at the press release from UBC that found 100 students guilty of cheating during the first semester of online classes last spring). Meanwhile, a wrench was thrown in most people's career goals for those that have already completed their undergrad degrees a while ago before COVID (like me who finished it 5 years ago), which includes those already working who had stable jobs before COVID, but no longer have that job security. 

All this is going to do is encourage more grade inflation, and lead to more bright, motivated individuals fleeing Canada to study medicine elsewhere. I'm already considering studying medicine abroad next year, and I'm saying this as someone who had 4 interviews the last cycle I applied for (in 2018). Couple that with the political turmoil and economic instability, and I guarantee there will be an exodus of many more young Canadians aspiring to be doctors. This is Canada's loss of bright individuals who are objectively-speaking not "perfect" enough to get admitted into medicine here. I don't mind competition but not when it gets to the point that it becomes a game of who has more privilege than others.
 

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On 1/22/2021 at 1:28 AM, offmychestplease said:

1. Alberta will never become like "Sask and Manitoba" whatever that means...you clearly have no idea about Alberta/Alberta's economy. Alberta is one of the best places in the world and the dystopia you speak of makes no sense.

"Whatever that means" indeed. Many people enjoying living in those provinces and are perfectly content there. Not everyone is looking to move to Ontario or BC. Even if they are, medical school is finite. You could learn and grow a lot from training outside of your comfort zone. 

That said, I do agree that doomsaying about Alberta is likely exaggerated. The province had it very good with black gold for many decades. Now in decline, their GDP per capita is still the highest of all provinces. Their median household income is also comfortably above the national average, pricing in the 2015-6 recession - most physicians are also still paid better there. The unemployment rate of Calgary is on par with Toronto's last I checked.

They will face some growing pains as they struggle to diversify their energy based economy, but the quality of life there is indeed still quite high, and by some measures/rating scales (i.e. The Economist) Calgary is rated as one of the best places in the world to live. 

Medical school in Alberta will be competitive for a long time to come, much like across the rest of the country. 

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5 hours ago, Jarisch said:

Now in decline, their GDP per capita is still the highest of all provinces. Their median household income is also comfortably above the national average, pricing in the 2015-6 recession - most physicians are also still paid better there. The unemployment rate of Calgary is on par with Toronto's last I checked.

They will face some growing pains as they struggle to diversify their energy based economy, but the quality of life there is indeed still quite high, and by some measures/rating scales (i.e. The Economist) Calgary is rated as one of the best places in the world to live.

I also think the doom and gloom is extreme but always happy to have a little fun at Alberta's (and Sask and Manitoba's) expense. You're correct that Alberta has the highest billings (which is why I think some of the angst from doctors there is overblown) and that Calgary just ahead of Toronto and Vancouver in the top 10 on the Economist rankings, but I would take issue with your other points.

It's true that Alberta has the highest GDP per capita and median household income of the provinces, however I'm not sure this is the slam dunk argument that you think it is - it correlates much more with resource extraction as opposed to desirability, because the territories rank above Alberta on these scales and people generally aren't flocking there and raving about how wonderful it is to live there.

Second, The current unemployment rate of almost every city in Canada is the same so its not really a meaningful measure: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1410035401. However by province you can see that Alberta has a significantly higher unemployment than Canada, second only to Newfoundland. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1410028703

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8 hours ago, bearded frog said:

it correlates much more with resource extraction as opposed to desirability

What? GDP per capita and median income are important metrics of quality of life that essentially every worldwide ranking of countries uses as a basis, in part. But I never said it was a slam dunk measure.  Alberta continues to come out top in both of these, having exceeded Ontario and BC in productivity growth for decades preceding. Yes, this is even without oil. The territories have extremely small populations where industries of high productivity (typically resource based) will significantly skew GDP per capita without reflecting overall income potential. Additionally, there are obvious reasons why living in the territories is not desirable, and there are many reasons why living in Alberta does not have the same detracting factors. 

Unemployment statistics over time and by city are listed below: 

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1410029401

I don't even live in Alberta. I'm pointing these facts out because while the province is duly so in a lot of pain right now, they are falling from a much higher place than the rest of us. They still do not have a provincial sales tax and are one of our lowest income tax jurisdictions. They may need to make some changes in the future as they diversify the economy and and fill those vacant oil jobs. But to the OPs original message, I still think that Alberta will be competitive and there are many things going for it that do indeed make it a fantastic place to live. 

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20 hours ago, silver_08 said:

Honestly, there is no better time for admin coms to reevaluate the way they look at your undergraduate grades

This is an interesting idea, and one that I've spent a lot of time thinking and talking to others about. I completely agree with your main point (that grades aren't everything and other factors such as class average should theoretically be considered), but the reality is, how are they going to do this? There are so many uncontrollable factors that affect your GPA- what uni you went to, what program you're in, what prof you have in a certain class, what classes you take, etc., that it would be impossible to make it fair. At my university, after second year I had no required courses so there could be a humungous difference in GPA in two people coming out of my program just based on if they took hard or easy courses. It's a nice thought, but I unfortunately don't think it's feasible for them to look at anything other than GPA (nor would they bother to, even if they could).

As for grade inflation- it's a tough situation but what are you going to do about it- it's kind of the same situation where it will be impossible for med schools to figure out which schools made it harder to get good marks, which made it easier, etc., and COVID has affected everyone. I for sure agree with your point that privilege makes it easier to get into medicine (this is a huge problem) but I don't understand your point about having money making it easier to do "soft undergrad programs"- I'd actually argue the opposite (small unis that tend to be "easier" to get good marks usually have less expensive tuition). But overall this is a complicated and prevalent issue that does need to be addressed.

I will say though, although other things are important as well, GPA is still an important marker when applying to medical school because this career is very academically demanding and they need to ensure that applicants have the ability to handle that- not only for their own success but also so they can care better for their patients. It would be nice if each person could have their GPA individually assessed for program difficulty, class averages, etc. but that's just not feasible. Personally, I think they should be more lenient with extenuating circumstances (ex- a family member died during one year of undergrad, struggling with working a full-time job during school, etc.) and should take those things into account instead of the other GPA factors you mentioned. Kind of like u of Ts AEE, but all schools should have something similar. Tied with this, I think the courseload requirements at many schools should be relaxed- they want to see you can handle the rigors of med school but it should be something more like UBC where if you were also working, doing tons of ECs, etc. there's more forgiveness for taking less than a full courseload.

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Calgary is 45 min away from the some of the best scenery/mountain ranges in the entire world, while having one of the best skylines in North America (especially for a city with a population of 1.5 million people). This does not include the fact that it has been consistently the number 1 fasting growing (population wise) city in all of Canada for more than 10 years... So, yea people do want to "flock here"... @bearded frogno one thinks your comments "poking fun" at other places in Canada is funny, especially when your views are not even based in fact as the other poster and myself have shown you. Does not hurt to have the highest median income (and by far the highest physician income) province with a significantly lower cost of living and real estate market compared to other major cities in Canada as someone else has pointed out.

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20 hours ago, silver_08 said:

 All this is going to do is encourage more grade inflation, and lead to more bright, motivated individuals fleeing Canada to study medicine elsewhere. I'm already considering studying medicine abroad next year, and I'm saying this as someone who had 4 interviews the last cycle I applied for (in 2018). Couple that with the political turmoil and economic instability, and I guarantee there will be an exodus of many more young Canadians aspiring to be doctors. This is Canada's loss of bright individuals who are objectively-speaking not "perfect" enough to get admitted into medicine here. I don't mind competition but not when it gets to the point that it becomes a game of who has more privilege than others.
 

While I understand your frustration with med school admissions, going abroad for med school is an option generally only available to those coming from the most privileged backgrounds.  The chances of then working as a physician anywhere are far from guaranteed.  Sure, there are success stories of those that match to Canada or the US, but they're really the minority.  For the rest, they've spent combinations of bank credit and family wealth to earn a generally very costly degree which  may or may not lead to the career that they thought.  

If you had 4 interviews the last cycle you applied, and are still interested in going to med school, then reapplying again in Canada makes far more sense rather than gambling on an overseas med degree.  Applying broadly in Canada costs a fraction of anything abroad - it would be odd to consider going abroad with that many interviews in a single cycle.

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24 minutes ago, offmychestplease said:

Calgary is 45 min away from the some of the most best scenery/mountain ranges in the entire world, while having one of the best skylines in North America (especially for a city with a population of 1.5 million people). This does not include the fact that it has been consistently the number 1 fasting growing (population wise) city in all of Canada for more than 10 years... So, yea people do want to "flock here"... @bearded frogno one thinks your comments "poking fun" at other places in Canada is funny, especially when your views are not even based in fact as the other poster and myself have shown you. Does not hurt to have the highest median income (and by far the highest physician income) province with a significantly lower cost of living and real estate market compared to other major cities in Canada as someone else has pointed out.

I think people's impression of Calgary and Alberta are also formed by their perception of the culture and politics.  Rightly or wrongly, the current provincial leadership doesn't have the same values that many non-Albertans have in areas like climate and the tension between the medical establishment and the provincial government also makes people wary.  Plus, I really do think that Calgary and Alberta are in a transitional phase - I don't think in the short-term at least, Calgary's going to continue to grow like it has in the past few decades - nor will the oil and resource sector do as well as it's done previously.  That being said, I have family in Calgary, and have visited numerous times and agree it's a nice place in many ways.

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18 minutes ago, indefatigable said:

I think people's impression of Calgary and Alberta are also formed by their perception of the culture and politics.  Rightly or wrongly, the current provincial leadership doesn't have the same values that many non-Albertans have in areas like climate and the tension between the medical establishment and the provincial government also makes people wary.  Plus, I really do think that Calgary and Alberta are in a transitional phase - I don't think in the short-term at least, Calgary's going to continue to grow like it has in the past few decades - nor will the oil and resource sector do as well as it's done previously.  That being said, I have family in Calgary, and have visited numerous times and agree it's a nice place in many ways.

I agree completely! I think they're falling from a high place but that they'll be ok after this economic transition. Calgary tends to be significantly more liberal than Edmonton. Their mayor is fantastic! I also agree that the current provincial government does not espouse much confidence. I really hope they get rid of him at the next election. Blows my mind that mandatory masking in Alberta wasn't a thing until relatively recently... 

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2 hours ago, indefatigable said:

While I understand your frustration with med school admissions, going abroad for med school is an option generally only available to those coming from the most privileged backgrounds.  The chances of then working as a physician anywhere are far from guaranteed.  Sure, there are success stories of those that match to Canada or the US, but they're really the minority.  For the rest, they've spent combinations of bank credit and family wealth to earn a generally very costly degree which  may or may not lead to the career that they thought.  

If you had 4 interviews the last cycle you applied, and are still interested in going to med school, then reapplying again in Canada makes far more sense rather than gambling on an overseas med degree.  Applying broadly in Canada costs a fraction of anything abroad - it would be odd to consider going abroad with that many interviews in a single cycle.

4 interviews in one cycle is not a guarantee that I'll have 4 (or even half of them) this time around. The randomness of med school admissions means that you could easily go from being waitlisted one year (like I was) to not getting an interview invite for that same school the following year.

By abroad I mean the U.S., which is one of the few places that can more easily match back into Canada for residency. Also, I'm not opposed to launching my career abroad instead of in Canada, after all I may just have to take better opportunities elsewhere than in my own country.

I wouldn't call it odd, but a consequence of putting my life on hold while holding unstable jobs hoping that things work out for med school. If you reach 27 (almost 28 by year's end) and you've already been rejected a few times by med school, you'd understand where I am coming from. I can't keep hoping that I'm going to have a successful career here in Canada, when there may be far better opportunities abroad for me.

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2 hours ago, Psych said:

This is an interesting idea, and one that I've spent a lot of time thinking and talking to others about. I completely agree with your main point (that grades aren't everything and other factors such as class average should theoretically be considered), but the reality is, how are they going to do this? There are so many uncontrollable factors that affect your GPA- what uni you went to, what program you're in, what prof you have in a certain class, what classes you take, etc., that it would be impossible to make it fair. At my university, after second year I had no required courses so there could be a humungous difference in GPA in two people coming out of my program just based on if they took hard or easy courses. It's a nice thought, but I unfortunately don't think it's feasible for them to look at anything other than GPA (nor would they bother to, even if they could).

As for grade inflation- it's a tough situation but what are you going to do about it- it's kind of the same situation where it will be impossible for med schools to figure out which schools made it harder to get good marks, which made it easier, etc., and COVID has affected everyone. I for sure agree with your point that privilege makes it easier to get into medicine (this is a huge problem) but I don't understand your point about having money making it easier to do "soft undergrad programs"- I'd actually argue the opposite (small unis that tend to be "easier" to get good marks usually have less expensive tuition). But overall this is a complicated and prevalent issue that does need to be addressed.

I will say though, although other things are important as well, GPA is still an important marker when applying to medical school because this career is very academically demanding and they need to ensure that applicants have the ability to handle that- not only for their own success but also so they can care better for their patients. It would be nice if each person could have their GPA individually assessed for program difficulty, class averages, etc. but that's just not feasible. Personally, I think they should be more lenient with extenuating circumstances (ex- a family member died during one year of undergrad, struggling with working a full-time job during school, etc.) and should take those things into account instead of the other GPA factors you mentioned. Kind of like u of Ts AEE, but all schools should have something similar. Tied with this, I think the courseload requirements at many schools should be relaxed- they want to see you can handle the rigors of med school but it should be something more like UBC where if you were also working, doing tons of ECs, etc. there's more forgiveness for taking less than a full courseload.

I agree with you on most of these points.

Fighting grade inflation is a challenging issue for most universities, especially in the context of professional schools where a couple points difference in GPA can make or break someone's hopes of getting accepted. I think the best way for ad coms to approach GPAs is to complement the evaluation of marks with a more subjective evaluation, to see if things add up. Or an even better way is to just apply cut offs after which point it's a moot point whether you have a 3.9 or a 3.91. Personally, I think it's gotten so competitive that these razor thin differences in GPA (3.9 vs. 3.91) should not be seen so objectively as a sign that someone doesn't have what it takes to be a doctor. Someone could have easily just had one bad course (like I did) that skewed their GPA off by a couple points making all the difference between getting an interview or not. Having one mess-up of a course shouldn't make or break someone's professional aspirations. We all experience failure and have difficulties in life from time to time, and this shouldn't reflect on our character or how well we'd perform at a professional career like medicine.

Otherwise, if schools don't tolerate these "mistakes," are they not just indirectly conveying the message that they only want perfect students? By studying medicine you're committing yourself to a life full of learning and making mistakes... shouldn't med schools admission committees be focused instead on looking at the candidates with the most potential to grow, rather than those who have already achieved everything in life? There are numerous tragic stories of high-performing overachievers in med school who ended up taking their lives because they couldn't handle experiencing failure for the first time in their life during med school.

Personally-speaking, I think the best way to combat grade inflation starts with professors caring more about how the impact of distributing out too many As to their class can have on how university marks get perceived. I'm saying this from a perspective of someone who is working towards an alternative career to medicine, where employers don't give a hoot about your grades, which makes perfect sense. Employers want to see that you are willing to learn, are coachable, can adapt quickly to the job, and you have a pleasant, approachable personality. Shouldn't med schools arguably be adopting a similar approach to evaluating their candidates?

I would even argue to some degree that ad coms should be weighing in more strongly alternative parts of your application, like work experience (no, grad school doesn't count). After all, medicine is a career and you should have already demonstrated some job skills and ability to work in collaborative, high-stressed environments like workplaces. But this discussion about work experience is another topic and I don't want to derail the discussion from the main issue of grade inflation.

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2 hours ago, silver_08 said:

4 interviews in one cycle is not a guarantee that I'll have 4 (or even half of them) this time around. The randomness of med school admissions means that you could easily go from being waitlisted one year (like I was) to not getting an interview invite for that same school the following year.

By abroad I mean the U.S., which is one of the few places that can more easily match back into Canada for residency. Also, I'm not opposed to launching my career abroad instead of in Canada, after all I may just have to take better opportunities elsewhere than in my own country.

I wouldn't call it odd, but a consequence of putting my life on hold while holding unstable jobs hoping that things work out for med school. If you reach 27 (almost 28 by year's end) and you've already been rejected a few times by med school, you'd understand where I am coming from. I can't keep hoping that I'm going to have a successful career here in Canada, when there may be far better opportunities abroad for me.

I understand your disappointment and frustration.  

We're on the same page - the US isn't considered abroad for medicine which usually refers to UK, Australia, Carribbean..  as for sure, you can apply essentially as a CMG for residency positions to CaRMS rather than an IMG.  The US could be a great opportunity, and you're right, many Canadians in different industries do leave to go there - still, for med school, it's very costly, and is much more complicated to finance than a Canadian med school needing a co-signor and savings.  Moreover, it's much more difficult for non-US citizens to get accepted with a costly and time-consuming application process. 

I agree that that past interviews aren't a guarantee of future interviews, but they do at least give a realistic possibility of having more interviews.  I wasn't aware that you'd gone through multiple cycles - in that case, I'd suggest doing everything you can to prepare for interviews as that seems to be the barrier for you.  A US med school will have interviews too - probably less MMIs, but you'll still have to prepare - it won't just be an acceptance because of stats...  Med school in Canada is competitive and I understand you're feeling discouraged - but so many others would kill to be in your shoes with so many interviews already.  

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4 hours ago, Jarisch said:

I agree completely! I think they're falling from a high place but that they'll be ok after this economic transition. Calgary tends to be significantly more liberal than Edmonton. Their mayor is fantastic! I also agree that the current provincial government does not espouse much confidence. I really hope they get rid of him at the next election. Blows my mind that mandatory masking in Alberta wasn't a thing until relatively recently... 

Calgary isn't more liberal than Edmonton. In the 2015 and 2019 Provincial elections, Edmonton voted almost wholly for the NDP party, often in landslide victories, while Calgary skewed more conservative (Calgary was almost entirely blue in 2019). I'm not saying that this is good or bad, but it's unfair to say that Edmontonians aren't progressive, at least relative to the rest of Alberta.

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2 hours ago, burneraccount909 said:

Calgary isn't more liberal than Edmonton. In the 2015 and 2019 Provincial elections, Edmonton voted almost wholly for the NDP party, often in landslide victories, while Calgary skewed more conservative (Calgary was almost entirely blue in 2019). I'm not saying that this is good or bad, but it's unfair to say that Edmontonians aren't progressive, at least relative to the rest of Alberta.

I don't think that says anything. You have to consider (1) Notley is from Edmonton, not Calgary (2) the 2015 vote for the NDP was a protest vote by Albertans, and not necessarily a change in political views in the province, which is also why they promptly lost by a landslide in the 2019 election (3) the Albertan NDP are more conservative than the conservatives in most non-prairie provinces, so their party afilliation doesn't really make then "liberals" per say (kind of like how most democrats in the US are more conservative than the conservatives in Canada—it's all very relative).

Not saying that I agree that Edmonton is more conservative than Calgary... but I don't think the points you make necessarily refute the previously posted point.

 

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