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U of T vs U of O Med

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Hey everyone, 


My friend was really fortunate to receive an offer to both U of T and U of O medicine but is having trouble deciding between the two schools. His personality and laid back lifestyle aligns more with Ottawa but he's attracted to U of T because they have a MD/MBA program (https://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/Degrees/MastersPrograms/JointDegrees/MDMBA). You complete your MBA after 3rd year MD (take a year off med) and then finish it during your 4th year (elective year) which sounds really hectic. What do you guys think? 

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1 hour ago, popfossa said:

You complete your MBA after 3rd year MD (take a year off med) and then finish it during your 4th year (elective year) which sounds really hectic. What do you guys think? 

That sounds great tbh, I wish I had a year between 3rd and 4th to take a break from clinical medicine, explore another field and prepare my CaRMS application!

I would go with UofT because there are probably more opportunities, you can be laid back in any program.

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toronto is way more expensive, much busier, the culture at the school is honestly a bit toxic, and the program is much more demanding than other ontario schools

ottawa is chill, both in weather and attitude

i would go to ottawa

I had this choice myself last year, and despite how much I really really loved Toronto as a city, I knew that the school's hypercompetitiveness/gunner culture was not for me. i'm much happier at a more chill program where I still have time and freedom to pursue other things outside of medicine.

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Hi!!! I am having this same decision to make, DM me!!!

I feel v pressured to go to U of T because of the 'prestige' and the whole FOMO about not going. But both have many pros and cons, maybe we can talk about our perspectives together

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If he/she knows where they want to do residency, or have a specific preference for certain very competitive residency (Eg. derm), then it might make a small difference. 

Honestly from an insider view there is not that much prestige factor to UofT, unless you are very academically/research oriented. In fact at some places in Toronto there are so many residents/elective students/fellows before clerks the training might be considered "weak" as you are more of an onlooker. Sure UofT is pretty demanding academically and have lots of lectures etc but then that doesn't translate to higher match rate in the end. The plus with Toronto is again research, and many esoteric things you won't find elsewhere like weird infectious diseases, inner city medicine, etc. It all depends on your career goals. You would rather be a grad from an unknown school thatm atched than a grad from a prestigious school that's unmatched.

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Couple things for your friend to consider:

It's normal to think UofT is more prestigious, lots of people make the same mistake in choosing their undergrad.
I didn't go to UofT but have family/friends who did - it's not a good med school experience at baseline. It's a BIT more toxic (there will be cringey/gunner people AND chill people at every school, but i think the ratio skews to the former moreso at UofT). But being a commuter-ish school, I can see there not being much of a campus culture - you will likely make a group of 10ish friends that youll stick with then switch up in clinical.

Social life wise, it's bad for the school BUT if you're from Toronto don't discount the ability to keep up with family, friends outside of medicine, and other perks like shopping and infrastructure only available in Toronto. Another benefit of UofT is research and subspecialized opportunities - with a worldclass city comes worldclass researchers/niches in medicine to do electives/volunteering/networking with - this is the only real benefit I see when it comes to the program, other benefits are mostly to do with the city. IF you stay at home, you're actually saving money than even if you lived in a very small rent community - if you can deal with living with your family. That MBA year, it's a great pulling factor but I feel like if you can't lock it in before admission, most people won't actually go. In the medicine pipeline, you tend to clump together with the school of fish, you'd want to hit the same milestones at the same time due to the constant comparison with peers - if your friends are doing researhc over the summer, youll try to do the same. People also start to view finishing school/matching as the end goal, so anything that prolongs the school time before that can be viewed negatively. If your friend REALLY wants to do it, then that's a point for Toronto, but we'll see.

UofO has some really big things going for it too, I think Cardiology and Anesthesia are some of (if not THE) best in the country so if those are interests that could be good networking opps while not sacrificing the camaraderie that comes with a smaller less-commuter oriented campus. Prestige, it's like a rung less than UofT but like I said before, not really going to matter other than "Oh so and so went there too, when did you graduate?" later in life. 

IN summary, I think you're friend is probably going to pick UofT because no one really cares about comparing and contrasting and will usually just pick the positive things said about the choice they've already made up in their head to run with. This is why so many premeds, despite frequenting these forums, will choose UofT as an undergrad, mostly for the small hit of dopamine the "prestige" offers in the summer before first year. I think you can't' go wrong with Med school in Canada of course, but although people feel bitter about not getting into UofT, the feeling of FOMO I've seen really comes from UofT students who see their friends at other schools form strong bonds, participate in campus culture, and have a better life experience rather than bonding through suffering I've seen at UofT. Look into the demands of each school as well, particularly to "mandatory classes" which is the real lifestyle killer at UofT.

Good luck to your "friend" in whatever they choose, I just hope they consider the choice fully informed and logically, rather than having made up their mind already..

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It seems like your friend is quite interested in business/MBA. At uOttawa, I would say that (so far) I don't really see any opportunities to pursue business-related things here during your MD. We have a Finance in Medicine interest group and a few lectures here and there but nothing crazy. So going to UofT may give your friend an advantage to really explore their interest in business because they'd be able to network + meet others students who are interested in the same thing through the MBA/MD program.

I think Ottawa is good in terms of being a "big city" with a "small town feel" and even the medical school has those vibes! I feel like we have enough sub-specialities so that we would be able to get a great clinical experience but it's not as intimidating as UofT.

I'm personally happy with Ottawa because it gave me a chance to get away from the GTA and carve out my own identity+become independent. In terms of the curriculum, I'm satisfied with the quality of education (given the circumstances) and I don't think I'd be any happier at UofT. The school overall is quite friendly whilst still having all the opportunities that I want (e.g I was able to find research and ECs that suited my personal interests).

I know there are quite a few current uOttawa med students that I've talked to that would've preferred UofT (mostly to do with wanting to be in the city + be close to their existing support systems in the GTA).

I will say though, if your friend is a nightlife person then do not pick Ottawa because everything is dead by 9 pm LOL. It's a very obvious government town and very "family friendly". Its trails and greenery honestly cannot be compared to Toronto!

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