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High School Student Looking For Advice


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This post is fairly lengthy, be forewarned.

I'm currently an Ontario high school student planning on medicine as my future career. I am in grade 11 but only have 16 credits because I had to take the previous semester off, due to personal health issues.  I'll have to take an extra semester to get all the credits I need. I have a health issue that requires me to have weekly visits an hour away from home at Mac. The specific clinic is only available during the day for appointments, so I miss pretty much a half-full day of school every week.  I'm looking into trying to find an adult(16+) clinic that has later appointments so that I can miss less or no school.

 

Currently I am doing a specialized program that is only half days,and even then attendance isn't mandatory, which is working well.This semester I'm knocking off credits that are very textbook based and can be self-taught(grade 11 and 12 religion, parenting, and civics/careers). I can't do sciences self-taught without labs. I did that with 3U bio and got 71 in the class with 46 on the exam. I have a very poor grasp of those concepts, which makes me wonder if I should retake the course, just so I actually understand 3U concepts and can get good grades in 4U.. Opinions?  I am very confident that in a healthy state of mind and body I could get at LEAST 90, more likely 95 in bio.Keep in mind that I was very sick near the end of the semester, and when I wrote my exam. I was admitted to hospital 3 weeks later, very close to dying. Another question: should I take physics? Will it help me in any way- either short term for the grade 12 math or longer term for undergrad or med? Would taking 3U and 4U humanities courses be beneficial?

 

Also, a non-grade related question: are soccer and 1000 hrs of volunteering (from age of 16) in patient care at the hospital (including being asked to train volunteers in my service) good as EC's? I also plan on doing a lot of public speaking and am looking into creating an organization/group in my community to raise awareness for the health issue I am experiencing. Would this look good on apps?  I'm going to do it regardless as I am extremely passionate about it , but I'm wondering how universities would view this.. Is there anything else I should do like worship team or chaplaincy team at school?. 

 

As an undergrad program I am looking into McMaster health sci , Western Med Sci, Redeemer Health Sci, Mac Kin, and Redeemer Kin. My top school is McMaster- I strongly believe that PBL as a method of learning would work very well for me. 

I do very well in anatomy, and love it as well as exercise physiology- but would a kinesiology degree even be worthwhile with an end goal in medicine? I know that Mac and Western programs are very well-known and that Mac Health Sci is known as a good option for premeds who can get in (but is not a ticket to med school). If my ideal school is Mac and I think PBL would work well for me, should I aim to go there, with other schools as back up? I plan on doing specialized pediatrics and I've wanted to as soon as I started volunteering. So having a Children's hospital in close proximity to the campus is important. I also don't want to live in Toronto. For these reasons Mac is attractive, as the Children's Hospital is right on campus. Western would be good too, as I've visited LHSC and am really impressed with their facilities (more so than Mac in all honesty). Realistically I would go to whatever Med school I got into, and if I didn't get in I would reapply the next cycle and get more volunteer+work experience in the meantime.

 

Anyways, I think by this point I am just rambling on... :rolleyes:  Thanks in advance to anyone who answers any of my questions, I really appreciate it.

 

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This post is fairly lengthy, be forewarned.

I'm currently an Ontario high school student planning on medicine as my future career. I am in grade 11 but only have 16 credits because I had to take the previous semester off, due to personal health issues.  I'll have to take an extra semester to get all the credits I need. I have a health issue that requires me to have weekly visits an hour away from home at Mac. The specific clinic is only available during the day for appointments, so I miss pretty much a half-full day of school every week.  I'm looking into trying to find an adult(16+) clinic that has later appointments so that I can miss less or no school.

 

Currently I am doing a specialized program that is only half days,and even then attendance isn't mandatory, which is working well.This semester I'm knocking off credits that are very textbook based and can be self-taught(grade 11 and 12 religion, parenting, and civics/careers). I can't do sciences self-taught without labs. I did that with 3U bio and got 71 in the class with 46 on the exam. I have a very poor grasp of those concepts, which makes me wonder if I should retake the course, just so I actually understand 3U concepts and can get good grades in 4U.. Opinions?  I am very confident that in a healthy state of mind and body I could get at LEAST 90, more likely 95 in bio.Keep in mind that I was very sick near the end of the semester, and when I wrote my exam. I was admitted to hospital 3 weeks later, very close to dying.

To save time I wouldn't retake any classes if you feel you can still do well going forward.

 

Another question: should I take physics? Will it help me in any way- either short term for the grade 12 math or longer term for undergrad or med? Would taking 3U and 4U humanities courses be beneficial?

Physics would be beneficial to take as you'll most likely have to do it in university and having that knowledge helps a lot with the MCAT but you can get away with not taking it. I'm not sure how beneficial high school humanities courses would be for you.

 

Also, a non-grade related question: are soccer and 1000 hrs of volunteering (from age of 16) in patient care at the hospital (including being asked to train volunteers in my service) good as EC's? I also plan on doing a lot of public speaking and am looking into creating an organization/group in my community to raise awareness for the health issue I am experiencing. Would this look good on apps?  I'm going to do it regardless as I am extremely passionate about it , but I'm wondering how universities would view this.. Is there anything else I should do like worship team or chaplaincy team at school?. 

Those ECs are good to start but you'll need to do more than that. Don't do things solely because they will look "good" on your app, but focus on ECs that you are interested in so that you'll be able to effectively convey what you learned from them on your app. There are no "must have" ECs.

 

As an undergrad program I am looking into McMaster health sci , Western Med Sci, Redeemer Health Sci, Mac Kin, and Redeemer Kin. My top school is McMaster- I strongly believe that PBL as a method of learning would work very well for me. 

I do very well in anatomy, and love it as well as exercise physiology- but would a kinesiology degree even be worthwhile with an end goal in medicine? I know that Mac and Western programs are very well-known and that Mac Health Sci is known as a good option for premeds who can get in (but is not a ticket to med school). If my ideal school is Mac and I think PBL would work well for me, should I aim to go there, with other schools as back up?

Only you can answer this. Go wherever you think is best for you.

 

I plan on doing specialized pediatrics and I've wanted to as soon as I started volunteering. So having a Children's hospital in close proximity to the campus is important. I also don't want to live in Toronto. For these reasons Mac is attractive, as the Children's Hospital is right on campus. Western would be good too, as I've visited LHSC and am really impressed with their facilities (more so than Mac in all honesty). Realistically I would go to whatever Med school I got into, and if I didn't get in I would reapply the next cycle and get more volunteer+work experience in the meantime.

I think it's good that you're thinking ahead but don't decide where you're going to go to school solely on whether or not they have a children's hospital. Regular hospitals also accomodate children and if you want to work with kids there are many other opportunities to do so that aren't restricted to the hospital.

 

 

Anyways, I think by this point I am just rambling on... :rolleyes:  Thanks in advance to anyone who answers any of my questions, I really appreciate it.

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The most important attribute you can bring with you into university is a strong work ethic; this is far more important than grades at that stage of the game. You are somewhat ahead as you have progressed to having become an independent learner - which is of great value in undergrad, even more so in medical school. Chill. Enjoy the journey. You are in a marathon. The subjects you mentioned are useful. And kin is a good preparation for medicine provided you have a genuine interest in kin. And you are ahead of the game in volunteering. One step at a time. Take only a program in which you have an interest and are motivated, and which will provide you with a Plan B. 

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The most important attribute you can bring with you into university is a strong work ethic; this is far more important than grades at that stage of the game. You are somewhat ahead as you have progressed to having become an independent learner - which is of great value in undergrad, even more so in medical school. Chill. Enjoy the journey. You are in a marathon. The subjects you mentioned are useful. And kin is a good preparation for medicine provided you have a genuine interest in kin. And you are ahead of the game in volunteering. One step at a time. Take only a program in which you have an interest and are motivated, and which will provide you with a Plan B. 

thank you for your reply! as far as a program that can function as a plan b , I'm assuming kin would be good for that - because you could go into physiotherapy.. Can you really do any health care professions that actually involve patient care with that degree? I mean you could always apply to post degree RN programs, or do healthcare admin, or become a teacher.. but is it realistic? 

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thank you for your reply! as far as a program that can function as a plan b , I'm assuming kin would be good for that - because you could go into physiotherapy.. Can you really do any health care professions that actually involve patient care with that degree? I mean you could always apply to post degree RN programs, or do healthcare admin, or become a teacher.. but is it realistic? 

You really, truly, can do ANY of those options with any BSc OR Bkin. Or BA even. It does not matter one little bit, they really don't expect you to have your life plan set in stone at 17 years old. 

 

So pick whichever suits you best, and in 4 or 5 years, you can apply to whichever health professions you want. 

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I believe that volunteering from age 16 counts and in any event, I included activities earlier than 16 which I had continued afterwards. Altruism at all ages is important as is gaining expertise in an activity at an early age which you develop into accomplishments and awards later in your life.

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I admire you for already thinking about such a detailed plan to get where you want in life. In high school, I don't think I put a single thought into my life, and didn't in face decide on medicine until well into 3rd year of undergrad. At this point however, I worry that you may be putting the cart before the horse (picking med schools, starting clubs, etc.) The single most important factor that goes into med school admissions is unfortunately GPA. Now I am not saying that this is the only thing that is important because it takes a lot of experience to convey what makes you a good candidate for medicine, but those extra-curriculars are pretty much just for show without grades that make you competitive.

 

I am sorry to hear that you have dealt with some health issues that have stopped you from achieving your full potential. Right now, as others have said, the most important thing is finding a way to become academically successful. Then, once you have this under control you can worry about everything else that is required to strengthen your application. The program you choose for undergrad won't make any difference in the long run; there are people in my class with BA, BSc, MA, MSc, PhD, etc... Pick something you will enjoy because UG can be quite an adjustment and a lot of people who do well in high school don't necessarily find the same once they move on.

 

Hope that helps.

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You've really given this a lot of thought even at this early point, and that's great. You want to become as informed as possible so you can make the right decisions. Keeping your GPA as high as possible is key, and you're more likely to do that if you're doing something you enjoy and at a place you feel good about and fit in. So keep doing your research, maintain your academics, and do get involved outside the classroom. 

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Thanks everyone! I decided to retake bio to make sure I understand everything fully, and to take physics.  My ideal programs would be iSci or healthSci at mac , but I've also been looking into Dietetics as I am extremely interested in the subject and do very well in it . I do my internet surfing on nutrition in my spare time and I can never get enough of it. I'm thinking it could provide a good fallback(being a dietitian) and with electives would also be very helpful in medicine.

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Nutrition is a great area to think about. I find that many health care professionals (myself included)are lacking knowledge in this area. It doesn't get as much attention as it should during med school but patients always ask about it. With a background in nutrition, when you do become a doctor, you'll be better able to answer these questions. 

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Thanks everyone! I decided to retake bio to make sure I understand everything fully, and to take physics.  My ideal programs would be iSci or healthSci at mac , but I've also been looking into Dietetics as I am extremely interested in the subject and do very well in it . I do my internet surfing on nutrition in my spare time and I can never get enough of it. I'm thinking it could provide a good fallback(being a dietitian) and with electives would also be very helpful in medicine.

Sounds like an excellent plan in my opinion. Something I actually found myself wishing I had considered in high school. Seems like the best of both worlds; you get the solid science background which is helpful for the MCAT (and UofT/Ottawa pre-reqs), no worries about pass/fail credits like in nursing, still some flexibility in course selection. Plus the obvious benefit of an alternative career path, for a year or two while re-applying to med or for longer. 

 

Honestly, how well you have thought this out at this stage in the game is impressive, particularly how receptive you are to the feedback given here (as opposed to the more common 'tell me the easiest, most guaranteed route into med' perspective many people have. I think with that kind of planning abilities, you'll have no issues with whatever program you choose because you'll likely notice and be willing to switch if it happens not to be the best fit for you!

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If you are interested in dietetics, either Guelph's applied human nutrition or Western's (Brescia) nutrition and dietetics are excellent options. I did AHN at Guelph and had a 95% average in my last two years (would have been even higher if a food science elective hadn't dragged it down - earned a 85% in that class, my only non-A+ in my last two years). I'm now training to be registered dietitian - I'll write the CDRE in November, and assuming I pass, I'll be a dietitian at that point. I couldn't be happier. This is the perfect career for me (although it's not medicine). My practica and education allowed me to discover that dietetics is the best career for me. I love my studies and my work! And no sleep deprivation. ;) I've also been fortunate to work in areas where the doctors truly valued my expertise. Even as a dietetic intern, I had MDs asking for my opinion on the management of Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and other conditions where dietary management plays a huge role.

 

Also, at Guelph, in AHN you learn about charting, how to conduct assessments, and even have the opportunity to be tested via OSCEs, just like medical students and residents. One of Guelph's AHN profs, Andrea Buchholz, just won a 3M award for being one of the top profs in Canada. If you are interested in nutrition/dietetics, I highly recommend Guelph's AHN program. Anecdotally, I know at least 3'AHN grads who have gone on to medicine. Still others (like myself), ultimately decided that medicine was not the right choice, but other health care careers, such as RD, were the right choice.

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