Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums

Recommended Posts

Are there any current UofA med students who might be able to comment on their med school experience so far? Just in the process of choosing between schools and would really appreciate any perspectives on: curriculum, collegiality between classmates, networking/mentorship opportunities, life in Edmonton, class schedule, clinical skills, faculty, research opportunities, breadth of clinical experience, rural focus, FM focus, or any other general thoughts. Would also appreciate any perspectives from people who had to choose between Ontario schools and UofA (I'm OOP for both). Thanks so much in advance!! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, 2nd year here! Chose UofA over UofC for med for personal reasons and since I wanted the pacing of a 4 yr program, and no regrets!

I'll try to touch on everything you asked but if I miss something, lemme know. Culture is very friendly and welcoming with both students and faculty. I knew no one going in and am an introvert, and found a great group of friends and am on good terms with pretty much everyone. Plenty of mentorship opportunities. Right off the bat you get a 2nd yr, 3rd, yr, and faculty mentor so lots of brains to pick. And most people are chill with you asking them questions regaarding career advice or other mentoring. 

UofA is a research heavy school so no pressure to do research but if you want to, ample opportunity to do so. MD STIR program is an option and tons of 1st and 2nd yr meds do summer projects. Quite easy to find a supervisor willing to take you on since so many are involved in research and enjoy having students. 

Curriculum is managable and laid out in systems blocks, although you start out on Foundations which is a mishmash of a ton of stuff since they need to bring everyone to the same page. Schedule is pretty good imo, we get Thursdays off ("self directed learning") and thats pretty nice. Most days are 8-5 with classes (tuesdays and fridays were often 8-12) but it's not all lectures, there's usually anatomy lab, or small group sessions thrown in there. clinical skills has been f***** with covid but before that it was peppered throughout and is designed to follow along with the blocks. You learn general vitals and general approach in Foundations and the would learn cardiac exam in cardio block for example. There are both teaching sessions with classmates and practice sessions with standardized patients. 

If you're into rural med, there is lots of ways to gain experience. You can do your FM clinic placement for yrs 1 and 2 in a rural site and do all of 3rd year in a rural site (it's called Integrated Community Clerkship). Edmonton has a HUGE catchment area so there are a lot of rural sites that fall under UofA's jurisdiction. 

As far as Edmonton goes, good places to eat, expensive rent depending on where in the city you live, river valley and parks are amazing if you're outdoorsy. Winters are **cold**, dark, and long but there is still lots happening in the city and plenty to do.  A lot of med students live near or on campus and transit system in the city is better than most, especially the LRT (train) system. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, dragoncat said:

Hey, 2nd year here! Chose UofA over UofC for med for personal reasons and since I wanted the pacing of a 4 yr program, and no regrets!

I'll try to touch on everything you asked but if I miss something, lemme know. Culture is very friendly and welcoming with both students and faculty. I knew no one going in and am an introvert, and found a great group of friends and am on good terms with pretty much everyone. Plenty of mentorship opportunities. Right off the bat you get a 2nd yr, 3rd, yr, and faculty mentor so lots of brains to pick. And most people are chill with you asking them questions regaarding career advice or other mentoring. 

UofA is a research heavy school so no pressure to do research but if you want to, ample opportunity to do so. MD STIR program is an option and tons of 1st and 2nd yr meds do summer projects. Quite easy to find a supervisor willing to take you on since so many are involved in research and enjoy having students. 

Curriculum is managable and laid out in systems blocks, although you start out on Foundations which is a mishmash of a ton of stuff since they need to bring everyone to the same page. Schedule is pretty good imo, we get Thursdays off ("self directed learning") and thats pretty nice. Most days are 8-5 with classes (tuesdays and fridays were often 8-12) but it's not all lectures, there's usually anatomy lab, or small group sessions thrown in there. clinical skills has been f***** with covid but before that it was peppered throughout and is designed to follow along with the blocks. You learn general vitals and general approach in Foundations and the would learn cardiac exam in cardio block for example. There are both teaching sessions with classmates and practice sessions with standardized patients. 

If you're into rural med, there is lots of ways to gain experience. You can do your FM clinic placement for yrs 1 and 2 in a rural site and do all of 3rd year in a rural site (it's called Integrated Community Clerkship). Edmonton has a HUGE catchment area so there are a lot of rural sites that fall under UofA's jurisdiction. 

As far as Edmonton goes, good places to eat, expensive rent depending on where in the city you live, river valley and parks are amazing if you're outdoorsy. Winters are **cold**, dark, and long but there is still lots happening in the city and plenty to do.  A lot of med students live near or on campus and transit system in the city is better than most, especially the LRT (train) system. 

Omg THANK YOU so so much!! Really appreciate you taking the time to share and this is super helpful for helping me make a decision :) how do you find the diversity of your class and Edmonton? How long are the FM clinic placements? Is it like a once a week thing or do you do it in chunks (e.g. couple weeks at a time)? Also are there a lot of opportunities to explore different specialties? I've heard opportunities differ between schools but I assume since Edmonton is a bigger city there are opportunities to try lots of different things? Also does UofA use PBL at all or mainly traditional lectures? Sorry I have so many qs haha

Link to post
Share on other sites

Diversity isn't too bad, definitely not where it should be but they are trying. They made some changes regarding Indigenous applicants in 2019 and this cycle made changes regarding Black applicants. Still a long way to go for other PoC and LGBTQ+ students, although each class is more diverse than the other. Basically, I'd say the med class diversity reflects AB's population pretty closely.

FM clinic placements happen in 1st yr and there are a number of mandatory sessions you have to complete. When and how you do them is up to you and your preceptor. Most people go once a month since you typically go for the whole day. You stay with the same placement for 2nd yr unless something goes awry. 

Again, career exploration has been on hold cuz covid, but before that, you could shadow whomever you wanted, however frequently you wanted. In the 6 months of normal med school I got, I shadowed 7 times. Some people did 0, others did one every week and went nuts. Depending on specialty you could arrange it yourself or had to go through student groups (ex. Obgyn Interest Group). Since UofA offers every single entry level residency program (and most subspecialties), we basically have every specialty you'd want to see and have 2 tertiary care hospitals in the city, Stollery Children's Hospital (largest after Sick Kids, and largest catchment are of any peds hospital overall), and several other high level hospitals in the city. Also tons of FM clinics as well of course. 

Learning is divided into lectures, anatomy lab, clinical skills and communication sessions, and DL (discovery learning) which is PBL. In DL your group gets a case to work on throughout the week that is integrated with whatever block you are on. Other small group case-based sessions are peppered throughout. We also often have patient presenters who come in to share their experience with aa particular conditon or a certain part of the healthcare system.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, dragoncat said:

Diversity isn't too bad, definitely not where it should be but they are trying. They made some changes regarding Indigenous applicants in 2019 and this cycle made changes regarding Black applicants. Still a long way to go for other PoC and LGBTQ+ students, although each class is more diverse than the other. Basically, I'd say the med class diversity reflects AB's population pretty closely.

FM clinic placements happen in 1st yr and there are a number of mandatory sessions you have to complete. When and how you do them is up to you and your preceptor. Most people go once a month since you typically go for the whole day. You stay with the same placement for 2nd yr unless something goes awry. 

Again, career exploration has been on hold cuz covid, but before that, you could shadow whomever you wanted, however frequently you wanted. In the 6 months of normal med school I got, I shadowed 7 times. Some people did 0, others did one every week and went nuts. Depending on specialty you could arrange it yourself or had to go through student groups (ex. Obgyn Interest Group). Since UofA offers every single entry level residency program (and most subspecialties), we basically have every specialty you'd want to see and have 2 tertiary care hospitals in the city, Stollery Children's Hospital (largest after Sick Kids, and largest catchment are of any peds hospital overall), and several other high level hospitals in the city. Also tons of FM clinics as well of course. 

Learning is divided into lectures, anatomy lab, clinical skills and communication sessions, and DL (discovery learning) which is PBL. In DL your group gets a case to work on throughout the week that is integrated with whatever block you are on. Other small group case-based sessions are peppered throughout. We also often have patient presenters who come in to share their experience with aa particular conditon or a certain part of the healthcare system.  

I can't thank you enough!! Feeling more and more excited about choosing UofA after hearing how great the program seems! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Ss123toy said:

I can't thank you enough!! Feeling more and more excited about choosing UofA after hearing how great the program seems! 

Hey congrats... you can't go wrong with UofA. If you were choosing between UofA or Memorial honestly if it were me I'd choose UofA simply because the school support system is truly amazing. There were times that I struggled in medical school and the faculty is nothing but supportive and gave me the tools to succeed. There are some amazing faculty that really advocates for the students if there is an issue. With the recent news at Memorial I would be hesitant to go as I would be concerned with how the faculty would support me there. 

- G

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ss123toy said:

Any thoughts on how the whole Alberta government beef with the AMA will affect med students, if at all?

My perspective is they aren't involved in medical education and therefore you will feel no impact unless you plan to stay for residency or become a staff physician here. Your only priority in medical school is to attain important medical (and try to attain public health) knowledge, rock your rotations, pass exams, and match to a residency program... everything else is secondary to these objectives. Your goals are to see how well the faculty can support you and what the quality of education is. 

- G

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...