Medical School Application

Med SchoolYou may recall from my previous posts that a friend of mine is a Health Sci student at McMaster. She’s currently in the midst of the med school application process and in order to shed some light on it all, I decided to further exploit her expertise and ask her about her experience. It’s important to note that she’s applying to medical schools in Ontario, so this post will discuss application through OMSAS (Ontario Medical School Application Service), which likely differs slightly from the processes of schools in other provinces.

As one would expect, the application process for medical school is thorough and extensive. First and foremost, OMSAS requires you to link your transcripts and release your MCAT scores. Although it may seem like a no brainer, it’s a crucial step that demands additional emphasis since it’s often overlooked. OMSAS also requires an autobiographical sketch which is split up into five sections; awards/accomplishments, employment, extracurricular, research, volunteer and other. Each item you list should include a 150-character description and the e-mail as well as the mailing address of a verifier. While most of the Ontario med schools consider the autobiographical sketch in its entirety, the University of Ottawa asks that you select your top three items. In order to ensure you don’t leave anything out, it’s a good idea to frequently update your CV or keep a running list of all of your extracurricular activities. And since verifier contact information is required, it’s recommended that you start contacting your verifiers sooner rather than later so you know the addresses you have are current. As for the actual description, my friend suggests that you look up the mission statements of the schools you’re applying to and tailor your descriptions to suit those missions. There are no general OMSAS essay questions or personal statements, but certain schools will require additional essays, the University of Toronto being one of them.

Furthermore, the University of Ottawa and McMaster University also require you to submit your CASPer score. CASPer is an online assessment of ethics and personality. Within 5 minutes, you’ll be presented with 12 scenarios and for each scenario, you’ll be asked to select from a handful of possible courses of action.

In addition to all of that, you also need three references. Each reference is required to fill out an OMSAS provided checklist assessing your competence and your academic ability as well as a write a letter commenting on your “moral and ethical character, strengths and weaknesses and outstanding characteristics”.

Once all is said and done and you’ve submitted your applications by October 1st (it’s the same deadline every year), there’s nothing left to do but wait for a response. Interview invitations will be sent out in late January. Getting an interview is no easy feat. It’s like part one of med school acceptance, so there’s plenty to celebrate, but you’re not entirely out of the woods just yet. The interviews themselves take place between March and April and successful applicants will start to receive acceptances in May.

Hopefully all you prospective med students found this post helpful in some respect or another. I wish you all the best of luck!

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