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The Most Unfair Undergraduate Program


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I've been mulling over this topic for a while now. Regrettably, the more I ponder it, the more frustrated I become. 

 

It's a program that gives a select, few students unfathomable advantages in what is possibly the most competitive medical school admissions process in the world. And no, it isn't about about mac health sci.

 

It's about QuARMS. 

 

QuARMS selects 10 students who have been nominated to receive the Chancellor scholarship, an award based only on their performance in high school, for admission into a guaranteed route to a pre-med program. Of course, the process involves the submission of a supplementary application and an interview, but the admissions rate is about 3.3% (10/300), higher than the 2.5% (100/4300) Queens' sports for its non-highschool route. 

 

Baffling, considering that QuARMS students bypass all of the following:

1) The rigours of an undergraduate education and achieving a competitive GPA (they only need a 3.5 GPA to continue to medicine)

2) The MCAT

3) Having to construct an ABS that is competitive at the post-secondary level

4) Bypassing competition with Masters/PHD/more experienced students who are arguably more prepared for the study of medicine

5) The uncertainty of possibly not achieving one's goals

 

You might want to ask a QuARMS student for their opinion about these inequities, but you won't find one on this forum.

 

Why? Because they never had to go through the pre-med process. 

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I've been mulling over this topic for a while now. Regrettably, the more I ponder it, the more frustrated I become.    It's a program that gives a select, few students unfathomable advantages in wha

Often, students who have published at this age do so by virtue of possessing auspicious connections, not because they have anything impressive enough about to them to warrant that exaltation. For inst

Just my opinion, but I think it is the journey of getting into medical school that will help shape and define who you are, and the physician you become to be.   Sure there may be some programs easie

Don't hate on people who started to plan their career early.

 

BTW why do I hear this rumour that most Queen's students are rich trust-fund kids who think the med school at uOttawa is for losers???

Where did you hear this rumour? i have never heard any of my classmates say this.

 

Also QuARMS is definitely a very hot topic. From what I have heard, the 10 people they take from high school are very impressive candidates. I have heard that some have already published. But yeah, I agree, I think QuARMS is unfair..

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Where did you hear this rumour? i have never heard any of my classmates say this.

 

Also QuARMS is definitely a very hot topic. From what I have heard, the 10 people they take from high school are very impressive candidates. I have heard that some have already published. But yeah, I agree, I think QuARMS is unfair..

 

Where did you hear this rumour? i have never heard any of my classmates say this.

 

Also QuARMS is definitely a very hot topic. From what I have heard, the 10 people they take from high school are very impressive candidates. I have heard that some have already published. But yeah, I agree, I think QuARMS is unfair..

 

+1

 

I know a few of them and they are very, very, very impressive. 

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+1

 

I know a few of them and they are very, very, very impressive. 

 

Often, students who have published at this age do so by virtue of possessing auspicious connections, not because they have anything impressive enough about to them to warrant that exaltation. For instance, their parents may be physicians, researchers, etc. I've seen it happen.

 

The EC centricity of the QuARMS evaluation favours those from cities large enough to house such an array of extracurricular activities, whereas the MD admission from undergrad is more holistic and less tunnel-visioned on one aspect of excellence. Yet these qualities should not warrant bypassing items 1 through 5 which I have listed above! The undergraduate experience is radically different from the high school one in that it is much more shaping, demanding and telling of one's true capabilities. These "very impressive" individuals from high school may have not been thus in their undergraduate studies. 

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Don't hate on people who started to plan their career early.

 

BTW why do I hear this rumour that most Queen's students are rich trust-fund kids who think the med school at uOttawa is for losers???

As a current Queens undergrad....I can confirm the disproportionate number of trust fund kids. Personally, I have to pay for my education myself and I have told friends this, and have them reply with 'thats so cool!' and that working must be 'so fun!'. I  read some stats this year that Queen's has like 1/2 the normal % of students on OSAP then other ON schools

Not sure about the Ottawa part though

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I think it's unfair in that it depends on the opportunities one has in high school, I'd like to see how many of them came from rural areas or economically challenged families....

Not to say they aren't likely incedible applicants, I'm sure they would get into a med school regardless, however picking them from high school is a bit much, in my opinion

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I think it's unfair in that it depends on the opportunities one has in high school, I'd like to see how many of them came from rural areas or economically challenged families....

Not to say they aren't likely incedible applicants, I'm sure they would get into a med school regardless, however picking them from high school is a bit much, in my opinion

They wouldn't get in with the 3.5 GPA that the program requires to go onto med school

 

or without an MCAT

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One that were actually disadvantaged would see the entire system as one big steaming pile, they wouldn't simply focus on one select demographic. The QuARMS students are simply among the multitudes that have it easier than them. To those who already got in the quote unquote "fair" way, if you feel any resentment toward these QuARMS students, in my eyes, it is exactly like an able-bodied person shouting at a paraplegic for using a wheelchair to help them accomplish what they had to do on their own, with no assistance. Be thankful for what you have, no matter how hard you had to work for it.

If your lot in life places you such that you can handily afford an MCAT prep course and two application cycles or so without taking out a loan, you need to check your privilege at the door. Stop thinking about others who maybe kinda sorta have it easier than you. For every one of those, there may be dozens who have it more difficult... so focus on your own apps.

Frankly, I don't care how others get to medical school, as long as I can join them. And if I can't, I've already accepted that at least one person is going to get in who is quote unquote "less deserving" than I because the system does not favour people like me. Who cares if that person is QuARMS or not? Will that be any consolation?

 

Lastly, I want to point out that:
 

 

but the admissions rate is about 3.3% (10/300), higher than the 2.5% (100/4300) Queens' sports for its non-highschool route. 

 

While there's nothing wrong with this calculation, it's from the realm of absurd mathematics that we should not be making inferences from as the "300" that apply are influenced heavily by sampling bias. How many people don't apply because they know they would be rejected? Of the 300 who do actually apply, many are likely elite and/or privileged students who are going to continue on and become successful med students "the fair way" as these are non-mutually-exclusive sets. How likely is it that these 10 students who get accepted would not be accepted if they applied later in life with the MCAT, etc? Even though they publish that cut off, how many of them do you honestly think will hover around, or worse, below, a 3.5?

 

Sure they're 'robbing' us of 10 acceptance spots, but 3-4 years later they'd be 'robbing' everyone else of spots as well.

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Also QuARMS is definitely a very hot topic. From what I have heard, the 10 people they take from high school are very impressive candidates. I have heard that some have already published. But yeah, I agree, I think QuARMS is unfair..

 

I agree, I never liked the idea of having QuARMS either. Even if those students would have gotten into medicine regardless (since they're all extraordinary applicants), it just doesn't sit right with me.

 

The administration speaks very highly of the program though, and I look forward to meeting the 10 QuARMS students next year.

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It's worth keeping in mind that QuARMs is a bit of a test run right now. I know some of the administration at Queen's are interested in shortening the training process for physicians, which is a worthy goal, and that QuARMs is only one of the paths to doing so that they've had a hand in. QuARMs might not be a worthwhile approach in the end, but it's hard to say so without trying it first.

 

As MathToMed mentions, QuARMs may be heavily slanted towards wealthy students, but so is the regular admissions process. The vast majority of accepted applicants come from at least upper-middle class families. Additionally, since QuARMs takes the top 10 high school students, it's by its very nature taking individuals with every possible advantage to getting in, including wealth. If you looked at the top 10 admitted individuals in most medical programs, I'd expect many of them to be quite well off as well.

 

All that doesn't mean QuARMs should be given a pass for giving preference - either intentionally or unintentionally - to wealthier applicants. It's not a good thing that the current system is so biased towards wealth, so if QuARMs propagates this bias (or even further enhances it), that still needs to be addressed. But to me, QuARMs' admission of highly qualified but wealthy individuals is a symptom, not the main problem, and there are bigger issues to tackle in equal opportunity in medical school admissions.

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I think the justification of QuARMs students being highly qualified or that they'll make great doctors doesn't really answer any concern. The problem is not about whether they are qualified or not or whether theyll make great doctors but that there is a clear unfair advantage to this program.

 

In Ontario, where its nothing short of a blood bath to get into med, where western REQUIRES a 12 in Bio to get an interview, where a wgpa of 3.88 is considered low, where premed's strive to get stellar ECs during Uni in order to stand out, you are telling me you are going to take 10 highschool students and stream them into med??? Are you kidding me?

 

and lastly,

MAC health Sci is wack....

 

Getting into Med School is competitive, no question. Getting into QuARMs is competitive too, arguably more competitive than the common stream. It considers students earlier in the process, so the requirements are different, but that doesn't automatically mean it's any easier to get into.

 

Keep in mind that this is 10 spots out of 954 in Ontario, barely 1% of spots. The existence of QuARMs in its current form doesn't significantly alter anyone else's chances of getting into Med School in Ontario.

 

I'm not a huge fan of the QuARMs program - among other objections, I think there are better ways to achieve the goals of the program - but your argument from incredulity isn't really a point against it, it's just a way to vent frustrations about the entirely separate matter of Ontario Med Schools being quite difficult to get into. Rather than rage about its existence, please follow the lead of other posters and explain constructively why you believe it's an unfair program that shouldn't exist.

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Judging by this discussion, we can anticipate a Health sci Accelerated Route to Medical School (HARMS) in the near future.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

 

In all seriousness though, it's fine to have opinions about QuARMS (positive or negative), but for now I think it's best to let them test out the program some more. The first batch will be entering med school next year, so if adjustments need to be made to the program itself then it will get done.

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An interesting analogy, MathToMed, however I regret my disagreement. A QuARMS student can hardly be likened to a paraplegic. In this fictional reverie you have produced for us, a QuARMS student is best thought of as possessing a jet pack, traversing treacherous waters through flight while the remaining, less privileged folk swim the turbulent waters. If there is any paraplegic in this situation, I dare say it would be the non-traditional, mature applicant who is inextricably attached to a GPA not reflective of his/her current academic prowess.

 

Nonetheless, the point of which analogy is most instructive aside: I am rather perplexed at how the topic of privilege is relevant to this discourse. I myself do not come from a privileged background, self-taught the MCAT and had to perform amicably well the first time so as to not cost myself a re-write. In fact, these realities are what provoke outrage at admission processes which unjustly favour the wealthy and expand inequities when there is sufficient cause for concern presently.

 

Further, the claim that these outstanding high school students would have all received an MD anyway is preposterous. A high school average does not guarantee post-secondary success; in fact, the correlation between first-year grades and graduating averages is surprisingly weak. Extracirrucular excellence does not predict anything academic in post-secondary , either at the GPA or MCAT level. Further, these students are not even expected to uphold rigorous academic standards or to meet minimum MCAT requirements; who is to say their high school accomplishments should absolve them from these measures of competency? High school is a simple time for many people. A simple time is not predictive of success in a profession as complex as medicine.

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One that were actually disadvantaged would see the entire system as one big steaming pile, they wouldn't simply focus on one select demographic. The QuARMS students are simply among the multitudes that have it easier than them. To those who already got in the quote unquote "fair" way, if you feel any resentment toward these QuARMS students, in my eyes, it is exactly like an able-bodied person shouting at a paraplegic for using a wheelchair to help them accomplish what they had to do on their own, with no assistance. Be thankful for what you have, no matter how hard you had to work for it.

 

If your lot in life places you such that you can handily afford an MCAT prep course and two application cycles or so without taking out a loan, you need to check your privilege at the door. Stop thinking about others who maybe kinda sorta have it easier than you. For every one of those, there may be dozens who have it more difficult... so focus on your own apps.

 

Frankly, I don't care how others get to medical school, as long as I can join them. And if I can't, I've already accepted that at least one person is going to get in who is quote unquote "less deserving" than I because the system does not favour people like me. Who cares if that person is QuARMS or not? Will that be any consolation?

 

Lastly, I want to point out that:

 

 
 

 

While there's nothing wrong with this calculation, it's from the realm of absurd mathematics that we should not be making inferences from as the "300" that apply are influenced heavily by sampling bias. How many people don't apply because they know they would be rejected? Of the 300 who do actually apply, many are likely elite and/or privileged students who are going to continue on and become successful med students "the fair way" as these are non-mutually-exclusive sets. How likely is it that these 10 students who get accepted would not be accepted if they applied later in life with the MCAT, etc? Even though they publish that cut off, how many of them do you honestly think will hover around, or worse, below, a 3.5?

 

Sure they're 'robbing' us of 10 acceptance spots, but 3-4 years later they'd be 'robbing' everyone else of spots as well.

If i have ever had a man-crush on the internet, it would be you.

 

This man/woman speaks great wisdom, heed their posts. 

 

(Y)

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As a current Queens undergrad....I can confirm the disproportionate number of trust fund kids. Personally, I have to pay for my education myself and I have told friends this, and have them reply with 'thats so cool!' and that working must be 'so fun!'. I  read some stats this year that Queen's has like 1/2 the normal % of students on OSAP then other ON schools

Not sure about the Ottawa part though

LOL this is why I can't stand Queen's kids

 

 

If i have ever had a man-crush on the internet, it would be you.

 

This man/woman speaks great wisdom, heed their posts. 

 

(Y)

 

Also LOL at this

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QuARMS lets in only 10 students in all of Canada.  I suspect that 80-90% of this very select group of students will be outstanding (I'm talking not just 95-99% in high school - which means nothing - but winners of science contests and Olympiads, published independent research, public speaking at national/international levels ... etc.  I suspect Queen's never wants to be in a position to take away a spot from a student, as the appeal process would be hard, so set a pretty low bar at the undergraduate level to reduce that risk (as in...less than 3.5 will be easy to kick someone out...less than 3.9 might be harder).

 

MAC health sciences is a whole other kettle of fish.  McMaster produces more medical students than any other university in Canada - including larger or more prestigious universities such as Toronto, UBC, McGill, and Alberta.

 

http://www.macleans.ca/education/university/gambling-on-an-m-d/  

 

What is amazing about the data above is that it does not include OTTAWA medicine - a large Ontario medical school that is notoriously GPA based with no MCAT requirement, that is FULL of McMaster Health Science students as well.  So the McMaster sourcing is even greater.

 

McMaster produces more medical students than ALL the atlantic undergraduate schools combined

McMaster produces more medical students than ALL the Alberta schools combined (in the above list - with Calgary and Ottawa not included though - I suspect all of Alberta might be comparable to McMaster).

 

And almost all the McMaster students come from Health Sciences - McMaster does have relatively hard programs for virtually all programs excluding health sciences.

 

So while QuARMS is not perfect - it is less impactful on us than MAC health sciences.

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