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Mcmaster Health Sciences Vs. Queen's Major Admission Award


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If you were offered a $48 000 scholarship to Queen's as well as admission to McMaster health sciences, which one would you choose?

The scholarship to Queen's. Queen's is a very good undergraduate institution. But that's my personal opinion. I think you should evaluate each of the programs and choose the one you are most interested in. 

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Queen's. That amount of money will remove an unbelievable amount of stress and worry from not just your 4 years, but the next 40 years of your life.

 Everyone I know at that school loves it and it seems like for a not huge school, they send a large amount of people to med school each year

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Think about your circumstances. Look at the program... do you like idea of loads of problem based learning in small groups? Queen's has amazing programs, look into the ones you were accepted to and talk to people that went to that program. Finally, how much will this money help you? At the end of the day if you're not happy and can't excel at either school, no money/award will be worth it. All I'm saying is don't be blinded by the money, factor it in to all the other things about the schools. 

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Perhaps the OP has placed the cart in front of the horse

 

I'm going to set something straight for OP. Getting into health sci is in many ways a lottery, and you can get rejected even if you have a perfectly fine supp app. Don't have expectations or get your hopes up.

 

If you're in the situation where Queens is offering you this scholarship and you have to accept it before health sci admissions comes out (mid May) then I'd take the scholarship. Be prepared to work very hard, regardless of whatever institution you go to.

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Okay thanks! It's just that the chances of getting into medicine from Mac Health Sci are so much higher than any other program, so that's why I'm still not sure...

The problem with this logic is that we don't actually know how many people in other programs actually pursue medicine. All we know is how many get in. For all we know there could be a much larger proportion of people in this program who decide to pursue medicine. Additionally, you technically don't have a higher probability of getting in if you go to Mac over Queens considering that the sample of people who are able to get into Mac health sci are the more elite. If you are one of those people who is able to get into the program then you are part of this "elite" cohort. Whether you attend Mac or Queens does not change the fact that you are one of those "elite" people which are going to be more likely to get into medical school. Anyways, what I'm trying to say is that whether you attend Queens or Mac is probably not going to really affect your chances of getting into medical school. I don't see either school having a significant advantage over the other with respect to opportunities and opportunity for success. Good luck to you

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had a couple of good high school friends (who have remained life long friends) who are now docs, get into health sci at mac and go straight to MD after UG.

Every single person in their class got into professional school of some sort, same goes for 95%+ of classes above / below.

pros:

1. they teach you basic sciences at a more clinically oriented level, when you take Bio101 in the biology department your prof will be a PhD in some biology topic which may or most likely may not relate to real life in any way, they may teach and test a lot of mundane / overly complicated / detailed and useless info. This affects grades and the precious GPA. Health sci will teach you what you need to know for the MCAT for the most part.

2. you make lots of connections; the idea is that this program is oriented at the student who wants to work in healthcare (doesn't have to be an MD) but wants healthcare exposure, there are benefits in gaining access to research/volunteering in the McMaster Hospital lots and lots of hospital research opportunity that just came by having lists of clinicians distributed to the health sci class etc).

 

basically it opens doors and these are things you ultimately need to build an application.

 

The negative thing I will say is I recall my friends saying it was very competitive at times and some peers will be very cutthroat. Everyone is competing to go into medicine afterwards.

 

I'm guessing you are on this forum because you want a career in healthcare. I think you need to remember that most healthcare degrees nowadays are extremely competitive. So personally I would think about the program in which I'm most likely to succeed academically.

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Okay thanks! It's just that the chances of getting into medicine from Mac Health Sci are so much higher than any other program, so that's why I'm still not sure...

With that much money to free up your time to participate in any ECs you please, rather than needing to do whatever job fits your schedule/pays the most, you'll have just as good a chance.

 

Mac Health Sci doesn't get you into med school-it's the people who do. It's very poor logic to assume that people who get into one of the most competitive programs in the country then get into med school because of said program. They would likely get in regardless.

 

Of course a program with higher entrance requirements will likely lead to those students having higher grades. And a much, much higher percentage of students want to go to med school. The vast majority of people in my BSc have zero interest in med school-despite that many have the ability to do so.

 

It's probably hard to appreciate now, but going to university for free is a life changing thing. And as I said, Queen's sends a lot of people to med schools each year for being a not-huge school. 50K is huge, and you will spend years and years of your life paying back that after you finish med school on top of the extra stress paying that much more for school.

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had a couple of good high school friends (who have remained life long friends) who are now docs, get into health sci at mac and go straight to MD after UG.

Every single person in their class got into professional school of some sort, same goes for 95%+ of classes above / below.

pros:

1. they teach you basic sciences at a more clinically oriented level, when you take Bio101 in the biology department your prof will be a PhD in some biology topic which may or most likely may not relate to real life in any way, they may teach and test a lot of mundane / overly complicated / detailed and useless info. This affects grades and the precious GPA. Health sci will teach you what you need to know for the MCAT for the most part.

 

There is some correct and incorrect in this answer. Yes, our biology courses are more clinically-focused and don't contain the minutiae of your typical BIO101 course. No they don't specifically train us for the MCAT. In fact, I had a lot of gaps in my learning for the MCAT (namely some areas of biochem, genetics, all of physics and orgo). 

 

2. you make lots of connections; the idea is that this program is oriented at the student who wants to work in healthcare (doesn't have to be an MD) but wants healthcare exposure, there are benefits in gaining access to research/volunteering in the McMaster Hospital lots and lots of hospital research opportunity that just came by having lists of clinicians distributed to the health sci class etc).

 

There are opportunities to make connections at every university, but I agree that health sciences can help a lot with getting healthcare exposure (though it is up to the student to seek those opportunities out themselves). Virtually every student is involved with some level of research or volunteering, and we have mandatory research/project/thesis courses which many people use to gain exposure to the healthcare setting. I'm sure this can be emulated in other university programs but I think having some courses where we can explore our personal interests helps a great deal with making connections.

 

basically it opens doors and these are things you ultimately need to build an application.

 

The negative thing I will say is I recall my friends saying it was very competitive at times and some peers will be very cutthroat. Everyone is competing to go into medicine afterwards.

 

I wouldn't describe the program as cut throat, but it can feel competitive. I've never had anyone refuse to help me or intentionally sabotage me (which is what I think of when I think of "cut throat"), in fact I can walk up to any person in the student lounge or anatomy lab and have a genuine conversation with them (or study with if we have an upcoming midterm). There's a lot of support within the community, and I feel that most people want to see everyone succeed. Many people often feel inadequate in the presence of many excellent peers, especially if you hear that some of them have interviews, they got a publication, etc. This form of competition isn't very explicit (it's almost taboo to discuss med school in this program) but it can be disheartening for many people.

 

I'm guessing you are on this forum because you want a career in healthcare. I think you need to remember that most healthcare degrees nowadays are extremely competitive. So personally I would think about the program in which I'm most likely to succeed academically.

I wanted to clear some things up since I am a current student.

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One thing that's often pointed out is that the majority of Mac Health Sci students have much higher GPA's compared to most people in regular life science programs.

 

Maybe you could argue that students entering Mac Health Sci are already smart, but then look at a program like McGill life science, where the entering averages are similar to Health Sci (high 90's). 

 

Their fraction of students entering medical school is not nearly as large as that of Mac Health Sci...

 

Thanks for all the advice though, I appreciate it. :) I know I didn't get accepted to Mac yet, so this is just something I've been wondering about. 

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Interest also has a lot to do with it. It's pretty safe to assume that every one in Health Sci wants to be in health care, but many people in McGill science programs (biology stream) actually have no interest in medicine. They are in the program because they want to do other things such as research.

 

Caliber of students in the program also plays a role in "probability of getting in to med". From my program at McGill, which is considered eleite because you can only apply to after 2 years in undergrad (1 year general science requirements and 1 year in one of 4 feeder programs) with good GPA, everyone who finished the program and wanted to go to med school got in somewhere. The only two people in my class who didn't go to med are people who didn't want to do med. One is in a PhD program at MIT, the other is in dent.

 

As for your original question: if finances matter to you at all, take the scholarship at Queens. That sort of scholarship does not come easily. Even if you don't care about the money, having a prestigious scholarship will make you stand out in your future endeavors.

 

As previously mentioned, being in a specific program does not increase your chances at med. Med school don't care about what degree you have. They care that you have good grades. All sorts of biases have been pointed out that could explain why so many of Health Sci students end up in med.

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If you were offered a $48 000 scholarship to Queen's as well as admission to McMaster health sciences, which one would you choose?

 

This depends on whether or not I could afford schooling without the scholarship or if the scholarship would help with financial difficulties. 

 

If the 48k is nice but not necessary i'd take Mac but if the 48k is really going to help make undergrad less of a burden I would take Queens. 

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I think if you receive an acceptance to Mac Health Sciences, then unless you are under significant financial pressure I would consider accepting it.  Mac Health Sci people on this forum have mentioned how a relatively large number of people get a perfect GPA there - which would greatly help your chances.  Elite universities like Princeton (with an acceptance rate of about 5%) had an actual quota until recently on the number of As they would hand out.  

 

Of course you should evaluate your relative interest in the programs - but traditional pre-med programs often emphasize lab and technical skills, whereas Mac Health Sci seems to emphasize soft skills a lot more.  This and the chance of a perfect gpa would really help.  

 

It's really hard to tell how many people actually are "thinking" about med school when they begin university, but I remember a bio faculty member at Mac mentioned that he felt most of the class wanted to get into medicine.  Maybe after the first semester or year most people give up, but I wouldn't take that chance if I were you.  

 

There was a graphic that came out of MacLean's  showing the relative number of people in med school from different universities:

 

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

 

If you look at the numbers - Mac wins (hands down).  I think the majority of the successful Mac students come from Mac Health Sciences.  We can argue ad infinitum how many science students actually want to go to medicine, but my experience with oversubscribed premed clubs, Carribean recruiting, etc..  there is a lot of demand. 

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Take the scholarship! Queen's is a good school for getting into medicine and if you're able to obtain such a substantial scholarship (provided it is merit-based), I'm guessing you already have many of the tools necessary to gain admissions to medicine. You'll have to work for a good GPA, but you would anyway, and you're starting in a good position for success as long as you keep up the habits that got you were you are and are willing to learn new approaches to the unique challenges of post-secondary education.

 

Mac Health Sci, rightly or wrongly, does place many students in professional schools, though not all of them. A good portion of that is selection bias - they put students in medical school because they select students already likely to get into medical school. If you get in, but turn down the acceptance, you're already realizing much of the benefit of going to that program!

 

What a full-ride scholarship at Queen's provides you is flexibility. Financial flexibility to pursue interests without thinking as much about cost, and personal flexibility to set your own course for your career outside what is a very good, but also very single-minded program. At your stage, your future career is still very much in flux. If you still end up wanting medicine, Queen's will still give you a very good opportunity to become a physician, likely quite similar to the opportunity Mac Health Sci would provide. If you don't end up wanting medicine - and many people change their minds through their undergrad - you'll have more options than Mac Health Sci might be able to provide. And in either case, Queen's starts you off with a fairly significant award plus $48k, which is a pretty hefty amount of money.

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This thought just occurred to me – I find it funny how it seems many high schoolers would jump at the chance to go to Mac Health Sci, citing the unique learning style (among other things) as big pull factors, yet a few years down the line they find themselves questioning whether PBL at Mac Med would really suit them. Just something I’ve observed in myself and even in my peers.

 

My point is, while there are many perks to Health Sci, it isn’t for everyone. It's easy to obsess over the percentage of health sci students that get into med that you don't really consider how going to another school/program could even be more beneficial for you in the long run, especially if there are added incentives as is the case with you.

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This thought just occurred to me – I find it funny how it seems many high schoolers would jump at the chance to go to Mac Health Sci, citing the unique learning style (among other things) as big pull factors, yet a few years down the line they find themselves questioning whether PBL at Mac Med would really suit them. Just something I’ve observed in myself and even in my peers.

 

My point is, while there are many perks to Health Sci, it isn’t for everyone. It's easy to obsess over the percentage of health sci students that get into med that you don't really consider how going to another school/program could even be more beneficial for you in the long run, especially if there are added incentives as is the case with you.

 

From what i've heard though Mac Health Sci has a lot of teamwork and their PBL is different from Mac Med (larger group and much more self reflection than actual learning). The teamwork in Health Sci is also for marks and considering everyone needs a high GPA people can get frustrated if teammates do not pull their weight or have different ideas of work. This is a bit different than in med where there are no grades so teams in general function much better when everyone is helping each other without any repercussions and where learning is more to the point and there is much less self reflection. 

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From what i've heard though Mac Health Sci has a lot of teamwork and their PBL is different from Mac Med (larger group and much more self reflection than actual learning). The teamwork in Health Sci is also for marks and considering everyone needs a high GPA people can get frustrated if teammates do not pull their weight or have different ideas of work. This is a bit different than in med where there are no grades so teams in general function much better when everyone is helping each other without any repercussions and where learning is more to the point and there is much less self reflection.

My point is that this kind of learning is not for everyone and other programs may be more beneficial for certain people.
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My point is that this kind of learning is not for everyone and other programs may be more beneficial for certain people.

 

Its not as if you don't get lectures though, I would still go for health sci if affordable, it just makes your life less stressful and easier. To be fair, if you can't work well in teams you should also avoid medicine because you will definitely have to work in teams for most of your career, gone are the days when you could set up house as a solo practice family doctor, most likely we are moving more and more towards working in teams for your entire career not just school and residency. 

 

For what its worth i've yet to meet a health sci that has actually regretted going to health sci. The consensus seems to be if you couldn't get into med school coming from health sci you probably wouldn't have gotten in if you went anywhere else. 

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Its not as if you don't get lectures though, I would still go for health sci if affordable, it just makes your life less stressful and easier. To be fair, if you can't work well in teams you should also avoid medicine because you will definitely have to work in teams for most of your career, gone are the days when you could set up house as a solo practice family doctor, most likely we are moving more and more towards working in teams for your entire career not just school and residency. 

 

For what its worth i've yet to meet a health sci that has actually regretted going to health sci. The consensus seems to be if you couldn't get into med school coming from health sci you probably wouldn't have gotten in if you went anywhere else. 

As would 50K.  Organic chemistry exams, in my experience, cannot compare to the severe stress that comes with a lack of money for university/living expenses

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