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Most important factors for CaRMs? And how to get strong LORs?


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I’m an incoming M1 and don’t really know much about CaRMS but I’d like to inform myself more on the different factors that go into the selection process, and which ones are more important than others. 

Also, I believe letters of recommendation are important but I’m coming from a lower ranked school (University of Montreal) and hoping to potentially match at UofT. Am I being too hopeful? If not, how do I get strong letters of recommendation for a school like UofT, coming from a less prestigious, francophone school?

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Prestige doesn't really a role in Canada, especially since you come from a Francophone school, the staff at UofT most likely have zero clue which Francophone school is more or less prestigious than others.

If you really want UofT you should find ways to show your face as often as you can during your 4 years. For example you could do research project in Toronto during the summer, then do as many electives as you can in Toronto. 

Honestly a lot of times it's very hard to rank candidates because they all have good knowledge and skill, so naturally the person that they are most familiar with, aka the ones that they are comfortable with or some faculty knows in person, gets ranked higher.

I think sometimes it's not the best because some people are very friendly and likable but they're honestly poorly skilled subpar candidates. Nonetheless you see this all the time because it's human nature that when we like a candidate we tend to selectively ignore their weaknesses and convince ourselves that just because they're skilled in socializing and maybe ass kissing, they'll be equally skilled at their tasks. 

If you want a funny musical corollary of what I just said above, you can enjoy this little ditty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kfao1s3Tiek

Also when COVID is over and conferences are in person again you should attend them, where you might meet faculties. 

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I have been on the committee for a ultra competitive specialty for the last 2 years. Where you do your medical school has no impact on how you are ranked. The caveat being home school advantage which in my opinion is blown out of proportion. Also University of Montreal is the top French speaking School and has a good reputation. The one thing is they put all your grades on your MSPR, so my suggestion is to do as best as possible on all courses as it will affect your Match.

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It's not always the name of the school itself, but rather the associated opportunities and even sometimes educational differences.  Montreal is a major academic centre with lots of active researchers which means you should have some good chances to get involved which will help your applications.  This extends beyond research too - some schools/programs seem to have more chances for other activities or involvement which can also help with applications.  

Educationally, Montreal has essentially a 1+4 year MD, where the prep year covers a lot of material which is useful in medicine - some schools also have stronger anatomy/surgery traditions than others - like the poster above mentioned, Montreal has a "good reputation".  

Beyond the "home school" phenomenon, I also think regionalism also plays a role - kind of an extension of the "home school" concept where programs may be more familiar with candidates from certain schools based partly on geography or language, etc..  So for UofT face time would help.

Think of being competitive as living in an "administrative world" - it's about looking as good on paper as possible, and ideally networking, etc.. which is a combination of luck and skill, where dedication and talent also plays an important role. 

For the OP, grades are no longer an aspect of pre-clinical or clinical education anywhere in Quebec either so this shouldn't hold you back.  

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2 hours ago, indefatigable said:

It's not always the name of the school itself, but rather the associated opportunities and even sometimes educational differences.  Montreal is a major academic centre with lots of active researchers which means you should have some good chances to get involved which will help your applications.  This extends beyond research too - some schools/programs seem to have more chances for other activities or involvement which can also help with applications.  

Educationally, Montreal has essentially a 1+4 year MD, where the prep year covers a lot of material which is useful in medicine - some schools also have stronger anatomy/surgery traditions than others - like the poster above mentioned, Montreal has a "good reputation".  

Beyond the "home school" phenomenon, I also think regionalism also plays a role - kind of an extension of the "home school" concept where programs may be more familiar with candidates from certain schools based partly on geography or language, etc..  So for UofT face time would help.

Think of being competitive as living in an "administrative world" - it's about looking as good on paper as possible, and ideally networking, etc.. which is a combination of luck and skill, where dedication and talent also plays an important role. 

For the OP, grades are no longer an aspect of pre-clinical or clinical education anywhere in Quebec either so this shouldn't hold you back.  

Have they changed the grades for a Quebec? The applicants I reviewed from Quebec this year all had their grades in their MSPR.

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3 hours ago, Aetherus said:

Have they changed the grades for a Quebec? The applicants I reviewed from Quebec this year all had their grades in their MSPR.

They would be likely one of the last cohorts- my understanding is that everything is completely pass/fail since 2017 / 2018 depending on the school in Quebec.

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