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Bias against BA in competitive specialties?


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Hi everyone,

I have the option of graduating with a BA next spring, or a BSc the year after. I am currently interested in neurosurgery or neurology as specialties. I know that I want to do something related to the brain. I am very interested in finding out if there is bias against those with BAs during the match process for competitive specialties. This will help me determine whether or not to graduate next spring. 

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In Canada I do not expect that faculty to have biases/discriminate again non-science degrees, as many faculty members across Canada also have BA's prior to entering med school.

As long as you are keen, show insight and interest in the field, work hard, show humility and good collaborative skills I don't think any program director could care less.

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Disclaimer: I have nothing to base this on other than my intuition and life experience.

My feeling is that once you have progressed so far beyond your Bachelor's degree, it will matter less and less. You will have developed a full resume of extracurriculars and academic experiences in order to be accepted to medical school. Once you are in medical school, you will continue to build up your experiences. The fact that you had a BA instead of a BSc (I think) won't even be a consideration. Also, the mantra upon entering university is that you can go to med school with any degree. If there were penalties later on, there would be a revolt!

Do what you want to do! Science courses are super helpful with writing the MCAT (I only took the basic sciences, no orgo or biochem because I did a Bachelor of Health Science).

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8 hours ago, gangliocytoma said:

UofT Neurology wants your undergrad transcripts for some reason.. I really wonder why

Really pointless to be honest. The only point of undergrad transcripts is to better assess candidates who you don't assess well on elective (although I'd argue it's a very poor assessment tool). 

Rads wants them because it can be hard to assess applicants during electives in rads due to the nature of the elective experience. But if you can't properly assess your elective students on neurology elective, you've failed as a program offering electives.

Plus it's Toronto. They do weird stuff sometimes because thats what Toronto does. 

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44 minutes ago, NLengr said:

Really pointless to be honest. The only point of undergrad transcripts is to better assess candidates who you don't assess well on elective (although I'd argue it's a very poor assessment tool). 

Rads wants them because it can be hard to assess applicants during electives in rads due to the nature of the elective experience. But if you can't properly assess your elective students on neurology elective, you've failed as a program offering electives.

Plus it's Toronto. They do weird stuff sometimes because thats what Toronto does. 

Couldn't rads test applicants directly?  I mean that's what Montréal does I believe.  Makes more sense than trying to interpret undergrad transcripts I would think (of course banks of questions would build up).  

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11 hours ago, NLengr said:

Really pointless to be honest. The only point of undergrad transcripts is to better assess candidates who you don't assess well on elective (although I'd argue it's a very poor assessment tool). 

Rads wants them because it can be hard to assess applicants during electives in rads due to the nature of the elective experience. But if you can't properly assess your elective students on neurology elective, you've failed as a program offering electives.

Plus it's Toronto. They do weird stuff sometimes because thats what Toronto does. 

Thanks for the reassurance, I was a little worried since I had a slow start to university.

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The unanimous "it doesn't matter" is reassuring. I am doing research with a neurologist, and I meet with her next week. I'm going to ask her opinion about this as well. I initially thought there might be bias even if people don't want to admit there is, but I really hope that's not the case.

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14 hours ago, calcan said:

Couldn't rads test applicants directly?  I mean that's what Montréal does I believe.  Makes more sense than trying to interpret undergrad transcripts I would think (of course banks of questions would build up).  

Yes. McGill rads also tests their candidates during the CaRMS interview, and likely for the reasons previously stated - challenges in evaluating a student during their rads elective.

 

And to answer OP's question - it doesn't matter if you graduate with a BSc or a BA. I'd even argue that by getting a BA, you'll have a more interesting story to tell come interview time.

Scep

Edited by Sceptical
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On 2017-06-24 at 2:36 PM, 1997 said:

Neither! I did 1 year of undergrad and got into medical school (4 years, no med-p).

There are tons of people who become neurosurgeons without B.Sc in Canada (and many, without even an undergrad degree)! And you can always do a M.Sc or MPH during medical school which might be more valuable than a B.Sc or BA.

That's amazing.

Before I asked the question in this thread I never took the time to realize how diverse Canada allows its applicants to be. I also realized how much I subconsciously valued a BSc over a BA, but for medicine it doesn't seem to matter, and I would not have understood that had I not asked this question. 

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