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I'm currently in grade 11, wanting to go into sciences (specifically bio/biochem) in university, and hopefully med school afterwards. I'm mainly looking at UBC, Uvic, UofA, McGill, McMaster, UofT, and Western. I'm really undecided and just want to know what your experiences are at your universities. Not just the academics, but the social life and your thoughts on the city and dorms. Also any cool classes that you enjoyed. Basically just what you love and hate about uni to help me decide lol. Sorry if this kind of thing is already somewhere in the forum, I just joined :) Thank you!!

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I'm currently in grade 11, wanting to go into sciences (specifically bio/biochem) in university, and hopefully med school afterwards. I'm mainly looking at UBC, Uvic, UofA, McGill, McMaster, UofT, and Western. I'm really undecided and just want to know what your experiences are at your universities. Not just the academics, but the social life and your thoughts on the city and dorms. Also any cool classes that you enjoyed. Basically just what you love and hate about uni to help me decide lol. Sorry if this kind of thing is already somewhere in the forum, I just joined :) Thank you!!

 

welcome, welcome - don't obsess over it but learning how the process works early on if you are possibly interested is not a bad idea at all. 

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The best way to get a feel for all these campuses is to visit. I know it may be a bit expensive to travel around, but you will be spending 4 years there so it will be worth the expense to go have a look around for yourself. This way you can decide on the dorms and "feel" of the campus for yourself. You want to be somewhere that YOU will feel the most comfortable. The classes will be similar across the board and unless there is a unique major somewhere, I wouldn't worry too much about individual classes. I think the city, social life, and how much you feel at home on campus will be your main determinant. Good Luck.

 

P.S. I went to U of Guelph for my undergrad and loved every second there. Can't comment on the schools you mentioned, but have spent some time at the Mac campus as well and it is a pretty nice place to be as well.

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This is Canada so all the universities you mentioned are pretty much equal in terms of the education you are going to get. All of our schools are top tier and will prepare you for med which is why what school you went too doesn't play much of a role in things like jobs or med/grad school applications. I have never heard anyone say "oh that person went to UBC, they must not be very good, lets take the applicant who went to McGill". The only real differences will be:

 

1) class sizes

2) class numbers (bigger schools have more classes offered and thus more flexible schedules which can be very important)

3) programs and specializations offered

4) access to researchers. I know you are only in grade 11 but if you had a certain research interest than that might affect your choice of school as you might want to go to a place where they have someone active in that specific field.

 

The dorms, swimming pools, social stuff is all trivial. You are looking for an education not a summer camp. If you are thinking of medicine then I would go to a school where I could focus on my grades, take the courses I needed to take (so avoid small schools that may only offer certain courses at certain times and may have wait lists) and save as much money as possible. The last thing I would care about is the social vibe because if you are serious about med than you are going to be missing out on a lot of it anyway. You need to get the highest GPA you can, everything you do from here on out should be to facilitate that. GL

Edited by Fresh fry
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The best way to get a feel for all these campuses is to visit. I know it may be a bit expensive to travel around, but you will be spending 4 years there so it will be worth the expense to go have a look around for yourself. This way you can decide on the dorms and "feel" of the campus for yourself. You want to be somewhere that YOU will feel the most comfortable. The classes will be similar across the board and unless there is a unique major somewhere, I wouldn't worry too much about individual classes. I think the city, social life, and how much you feel at home on campus will be your main determinant. Good Luck.

 

P.S. I went to U of Guelph for my undergrad and loved every second there. Can't comment on the schools you mentioned, but have spent some time at the Mac campus as well and it is a pretty nice place to be as well.

What did you get your degree in at Guelph? 

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The dorms, swimming pools, social stuff is all trivial. You are looking for an education not a summer camp. If you are thinking of medicine then I would go to a school where I could focus on my grades, take the courses I needed to take (so avoid small schools that may only offer certain courses at certain times and may have wait lists) and save as much money as possible. The last thing I would care about is the social vibe because if you are serious about med than you are going to be missing out on a lot of it anyway. You need to get the highest GPA you can, everything you do from here on out should be to facilitate that. GL

 

I disagree with these statements. I think you need to be a well balanced individual. You can get the grades you need for medicine at ANY school if you work hard, and the last thing you want is to burn out in undergrad because all you do is study 24/7. Emphasis on work-life balance is super important so pick somewhere you will be happy. I am not saying to pick a school based on the reputation of its parties, nor am I saying that GPA isn't important, but the idea that you can't have any fun while away at school because you need to study 24/7 is just ridiculous. If that is the approach you take, it will be a miserable 4 years. I can promise you that.

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I disagree with these statements. I think you need to be a well balanced individual. You can get the grades you need for medicine at ANY school if you work hard, and the last thing you want is to burn out in undergrad because all you do is study 24/7. Emphasis on work-life balance is super important so pick somewhere you will be happy. I am not saying to pick a school based on the reputation of its parties, nor am I saying that GPA isn't important, but the idea that you can't have any fun while away at school because you need to study 24/7 is just ridiculous. If that is the approach you take, it will be a miserable 4 years. I can promise you that.

I agree 100% with you Rob. Work-life balance is crucial and more often than not, the students with a good balance tend to be the ones who make it to med, rather than the people who are studying 24/7.

 

Furthermore, students from any school can do well and get into medicine. A decent portion of my med class did their undergrad at U of T and despite its notoriety for having low marks, they still did well enough to get into med here. When I was choosing my undergrad, the majority of my decision was actually based on how much people liked their school, which explains why I ended up doing my undergrad at Western. Be sure to enjoy your undergrad because you don't want to look back at your time from age 18-22 (you're young, you're at university, and you don't really have many responsibilities) and feel that you didn't make the most of it.

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I disagree with these statements. I think you need to be a well balanced individual. You can get the grades you need for medicine at ANY school if you work hard, and the last thing you want is to burn out in undergrad because all you do is study 24/7. Emphasis on work-life balance is super important so pick somewhere you will be happy. I am not saying to pick a school based on the reputation of its parties, nor am I saying that GPA isn't important, but the idea that you can't have any fun while away at school because you need to study 24/7 is just ridiculous. If that is the approach you take, it will be a miserable 4 years. I can promise you that.

Thank you for your input, it's always good to get advice from different perspectives.

 

I think you are taking away something from what I wrote that I did not intend. I must not have been clear so thank you for bringing this to my attention. I am in no way advocating that the OP needs to do anything but study. As someone who completed their undergrad in 3 years and is currently a busy surgical resident with a young family I completely understand the importance of work-life balance. What I said, or rather what I intended to impart, was that when it comes to choosing a university with the intention of getting into medical school I would skew the deciding factors towards things that affect one's GPA over more trivial things like social aspects. To me these are things like class selection and availability, access and presence of high output researchers in health science fields, and degree programs offered. To clarify I have at no time suggested that the OP do nothing but study. That being said as anyone who has been on this forum for any length of time will attest too, unless the OP wants to find themselves needing to apply multiple times and face multiple rejections, the key to success in getting accepted to medical school in Canada is unarguably a strong full time undergraduate GPA and everything should be done to facilitate that while maintaining a good work-life balance and remaining active in strong and fulfilling ECs.

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I agree 100% with you Rob. Work-life balance is crucial and more often than not, the students with a good balance tend to be the ones who make it to med, rather than the people who are studying 24/7.

 

Furthermore, students from any school can do well and get into medicine. A decent portion of my med class did their undergrad at U of T and despite its notoriety for having low marks, they still did well enough to get into med here. When I was choosing my undergrad, the majority of my decision was actually based on how much people liked their school, which explains why I ended up doing my undergrad at Western. Be sure to enjoy your undergrad because you don't want to look back at your time from age 18-22 (you're young, you're at university, and you don't really have many responsibilities) and feel that you didn't make the most of it.

Yeah I totally agree! I want to get into medecine, but enjoy life at university too. Did you like Western? What would you have to say is better at Western vs other Ontario/eastern canadian schools?

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I disagree with these statements. I think you need to be a well balanced individual. You can get the grades you need for medicine at ANY school if you work hard, and the last thing you want is to burn out in undergrad because all you do is study 24/7. Emphasis on work-life balance is super important so pick somewhere you will be happy. I am not saying to pick a school based on the reputation of its parties, nor am I saying that GPA isn't important, but the idea that you can't have any fun while away at school because you need to study 24/7 is just ridiculous. If that is the approach you take, it will be a miserable 4 years. I can promise you that.

Exactly! I'm really just looking for the balance where I'll be able to achieve good grades and still maintain a life outside school. It's so overwhelming with all the different choices, I just want to get to know what kind of atmosphere will suit me best. Thanks for all your help! :)

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Thank you for your input, it's always good to get advice from different perspectives.

 

I think you are taking away something from what I wrote that I did not intend. I must not have been clear so thank you for bringing this to my attention. I am in no way advocating that the OP needs to do anything but study. As someone who completed their undergrad in 3 years and is currently a busy surgical resident with a young family I completely understand the importance of work-life balance. What I said, or rather what I intended to impart, was that when it comes to choosing a university with the intention of getting into medical school I would skew the deciding factors towards things that affect one's GPA over more trivial things like social aspects. To me these are things like class selection and availability, access and presence of high output researchers in health science fields, and degree programs offered. To clarify I have at no time suggested that the OP do nothing but study. That being said as anyone who has been on this forum for any length of time will attest too, unless the OP wants to find themselves needing to apply multiple times and face multiple rejections, the key to success in getting accepted to medical school in Canada is unarguably a strong full time undergraduate GPA and everything should be done to facilitate that while maintaining a good work-life balance and remaining active in strong and fulfilling ECs.

I agree with Fresh Fry - yes, you need a work life balance. However, because your social time is undeniably limited in pre-med, variety/options aren't as important as people tend to think. Because I am from BC, I will use the example of comparing the UBC Vancouver vs. Okanagan campus. Although Vancouver certainly has more variety in terms of social life and extracurriculars, most pre-med students at Okanagan are perfectly happy and never run out of new things to try simply because they do have to be selective with what social activities/ECs they have time for. So pick a school that you think will make you happy, but remember that you don't have to be in a particular place/school to have opportunities, so focus on the school that's academic life suits you and trust that you'll find ECs you love too :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Your day is like a whole pie, divide and allot your time to what is important. You do need a high GPA for most med school generally.

Go where you think you might achieve that. Some universities have a reputation for bring a party school....and it is true, so don't go there if you will be tempted to party all the time. Think of the weather too, if you are not use to the extreme cold, don't go there.

Pick an undergraduate to go into that your ability will let you do well, be realistic. You will be happier if you do well. But fon't forget you should always have a plan B.

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