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tjibs

Medical School

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tjibs

Hi everyone,

As a Grade 11 high school student in South Africa who is planning to move to Canada in the next 8 months; I was wondering if someone could give me some advice and information about pre-med and medical school in Canada specifically.

I've heard after high school in Canada it's not possible to go directly into medical school and start training, like South Africa? If so, are there certain requirements for the undergrad that you do in college? Does it have to be something in the line of science and biology?

Also, I'd like to know what I could do from this point forward to improve my chances into getting into medical school eventually, excluding good grades, I've already started on working on my community hours - that I know would've helped me if I wanted to apply to a university in South Africa. Maybe being an honor student could also benefit me?

Any other advice would also be greatly appreciated.

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CharleneK

Hi Tjibs,

First of all, congratulations on coming to Canada and choosing medicine. You are correct that in Canada, you cannot go to medical school directly after high school. Medical school in North America is considered a post-graduate degree, and lasts for 4 years.

People who have science or biology degrees do have a greater chance of being accepted, but I do know of people with social sciences degrees who had been accepted.

Getting into medical school is incredibly competitive in Canada, and your marks are only one aspect that is considered. Depending on the university you would like to get into, you will need a grade point average of 90% or more in high school, and high marks in your undergraduate degree. They are also looking for well-rounded indviduals, with outside interests, volunteering history, sports participation etc. playing an important role.

In order to be considered for medical school in Canada, you will have to attend an interview, and write an essay about yourself and why you want to study medicine.

My advice to you is to study hard and get your marks as high as they can go. However, also pay attention to extracurricular activities. They don't want Olympic athletes specifically, but want to know that you are out there in the world. Think about doing volunteering, both while you are still in South Africa and when you get to Canada. Also, get Canadian citizenship as soon as you can, because that will improve your chances.

If worst come to worst and you are not initially accepted, consider getting another paramedical degree, such as nursing, physiotherapy, medical laboratory etc. This may help if you want to re-apply to medical school later. (One of my colleagues used to be a truck driver before going to med school!).

 

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tjibs

I really appreciate your thorough explanation. Seems like there's a tough road ahead of me, challenge accepted! 

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CharleneK

You go for it!

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Lizelle

I believe @Hennie Calgary has a son that wants to study medical/is studying medical?

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Hennie vdB

@Lizelle, oi, and now you leave it to me to spoil this wonderful bubble of youthful enthusiasm?   @tjibs@CharleneK forgot the caps, it is INCREDIBLY COMPETITIVE. Incredible as in you really can't believe it from a SA perspective. So bad that thousands of medical hopefuls eventually end up studying in other countries and then try to make it back, or stay in the US or elsewhere. As example, Calgary University this year: 1,400 applicants, all with GPAs of 80% and more, wonderful lists of research, volunteering, achievements, leadership, yadda yadda yadda. Only 500 gets invited for interview, and only 160 gets a place. It takes a lot more than saying "challenge accepted". My son is now considering going to the Caribbean to study medicine at Saba University. Your best (and by far cheapest) bet would be to finish medicine in SA and then come over, depending on your personal circumstances. Or go to Oz, or UK, or US. Anywhere else is easier.

PM me if you would like some more detail.

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