• extracurricular,  grad school,  med school,  medicine

    i’ve never been happier

    Hello! I’m a soon-to-be 4th year student interested in applying for grad school (health/medicine-related). The program does not require any job shadowing experiences but I think it would look good on my application. After a google search, I found a U of T alumni who coincidentally graduated from the grad program i’m interested in and also works in my town. It seems like she is self-employed so there is no info on shadowing or volunteering like there is on hospital websites.

    How do I go about asking if I can job shadow or volunteer? I was thinking of sending an email but I’m not sure what I would write. My grades aren’t that impressive so I’m counting on my extracurriculars to get me into grad school (I probably shouldn’t mention that in my email though) and I think this would be a great opportunity.


    hello friend,

    you should just go for it! an email seems like a good choice– less forward than a phone call, and less terrifying on top of that. while i’ve never been in your specific situation, i did some research on job shadowing for you and think i can help piece together an email.

    from what i know, job shadowing is typically a shorter-term thing (we’re talking like 1-3 days) whereas volunteering might offer you slightly longer-term experience. i’m thinking volunteering might be of more use to you if you’re trying to gain significant experience for an application, but job shadowing isn’t a bad idea if you’ve just got a few questions you want answered and want a quick window into her career. obviously, her availability and willingness to offer one or the other to you will affect your options, but it’s probably important to be clear on what you’re asking of her up front. just cause, yknow, there is a difference.

    these are my thoughts on what the flow of your email could look like:

    hello —–,

    1. introduction
    2. how you found out about her
    3. why you want what you want
    4. what you want
    5. when you want it
    6. some kinda failsafe clause
    7. attach your resume

    so it’d probably end up looking something  like this:

    my name is —— and i’m a soon-to-be fourth year at u of t. i’m currently in the —- program, but i have a serious interest in pursuing —– in the near future. from what i understand/found on your website (or whatever), you graduated from this program yourself.

    [this is the part where you enthusiastically express interest in the field, the program, what this person does, etc. according to a ted talk i watched in like, the tenth grade, apple sells so much stuff by leading with their ‘why’. that’s the advice we’re following here. i dunno what your why is, though. that’s on you, buddy.]

    if possible, i would love the chance to shadow you/volunteer with you for (whatever period of time). i understand you may be extremely busy and unable to accommodate me. if that’s the case, could you please forward my request to a colleague who might be able to help me out?

    my resume is attached for your reference; i look forward to hearing from you soon. if you would prefer to speak on the phone, here is the number i can be reached at: (your phone number here!)

    thank you for your time,

    end email

    anyway, the tone of this question is a good indicator you can write a solid email! gotta love those full sentences and that good grammar.

    on top of that, it’ll probably help that she’s a u of t alumni who went through the exact program you’re gunning for. best of luck with this opportunity and i hope my answer helped!

    be Boundless,


  • admissions,  GPA,  med school,  medicine

    gurl bye (revised)

    Hi Aska! So I’m in my fifth year and hoping to go to med school. I’ve heard about the u of t weighing formula, and how they eliminate your lowest FCE for every year of full time study. I did a full course load for 4 of my 5 years (one year I did even did 6 FCEs), but for one of the years I did only 4.5 FCEs. Does this mean they won’t apply the weighing formula to me at all 🙁 Thanks so much in advance!


    the original march 8th published version of this post contained incorrect information. please disregard the original post. it has since then been revised. please see below for the post. my sincerest apologies for the mistake!


    this is a great question.

    what you’re referring to is the weighted GPA formula that we have at u of t for the MD program.

    you should be able to have your lowest 5 FCE’s removed from the calculation of your GPA since you completed 5 full years of undergraduate study. 4.5 FCE’s from fall to winter is still considered full time, so it looks like you’re good! if you want to triple check to make sure, you can always contact them directly!

    (fyi: full-time status= a student enrolled in 3.0 full course equivalents or more for the fall-winter sessions is considered to be full-time.)

    also, the frequently asked questions section of the MD program does state that if you have five years of undergraduate study, you are allowed to eliminate 5 of your lowest FCE’s from your GPA calculation. so there you go!

    since you are applying to med school, check out the OMSAS page on U of T if you haven’t already!

    say bye to those crappy breadth courses you almost failed

    peace and love,


    aska edit: shortly after posting this, i was notified of a mistake that i had made when looking at what counts as full time. i used the arts and sciences definition of full time when answering your question, and it ended up being drastically different than what medicine considers full time.

    so, as i’m sure you know, from the standpoint of medicine at u of t, in order to be considered full time, you need to be in 5 FCE’s. since you didn’t have 5 FCE’s in your last year, it may throw off your weighted GPA calculation and you may not be eligible to eliminate any of your lowest FCE’s. however, this is up to the discretion of admissions, so contacting them directly is the only way you’ll get a solid answer.

    i sincerely apologize for the mistake and any inconveniences (false hope) it may have caused! this is a student run website and sometimes we make mistakes but we always encourage you to contact the source directly. since your case is a unique case, please please please give them a call or shoot them an email: here is the link to their contact information: http://www.md.utoronto.ca/contact


  • international students,  med school

    OMSAS is awesome

    I’m an International student from India.
    Currently I’m a final year student in the undergraduate medical course in India- MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery).
    After finishing my graduation, I’m aspiring to pursue my Post-Graduate in Medicine in the U of T.
    How can I get a detailed information about the admission procedure to the University, admission criteria, etc.?
    One additional question I wanna ask is:Are there any arrangements for International students to take a tour of the University & are any counseling services provided to International students for their admission process??Thank you


    hey there,

    unfortunately, there isn’t a great deal of information on how an MBBS is assessed at u of t. in fact, there’s pretty much nothing.

    assuming that “post-grad” means you want to pursue the MD program at U of T, this page outlines the requirements that you would need to fulfil as an international student, however, they state that you require a “Completion of a non-medical bachelor’s degree equivalent to a four-year bachelor’s degree in Canada with WES transcript assessment”.

    the WES transcript, fyi: is a” transcript from studies undertaken at universities outside of Canada or the USA which needs to be submitted to World Education Services (WES) for assessment.” the u of t site states that: “for admission consideration we require a course-by-course evaluation which includes an overall GPA calculation.”

    since your MBBS would be considered “medical” AND from an international institution, you might encounter an issue applying to the program. the best thing to do would be to contact the md program directly.

    if you’ve somehow already figured out that you’re eligible to apply, you can go ahead and look at the Ontario Medical Schools Application Service site; which has detailed information regarding how to apply to each medical school in ontario! it’s super informative and includes tons of information on each school. check out this link on applying to U of T’s med school. OMSAS pretty much has the answers to all your questions regarding medical school!

    in terms of advising for international students, there is always the centre for international experience (CIE) which is a great place on campus that welcomes international students and help them with international student-specific questions. contact them here: http://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/cie/contact-us and you may even be able to ask them questions about how your degree transfers!

    hope this helped, best of luck to you!



  • med school,  subject POST


    Hi there. I have a question regarding UofT medical school as well as the current neuroscience major program. Any help would be appreciated,

    So I’ve been doing some planning on medical school and my career path and needed some elaboration on graduate school applicants.  I understand graduate students are welcomed with a lower gpa (the plus side) but what constitutes for a graduate student? Is a masters degree required or does taking several courses at the graduate level count? Basically, after
    completed my undergrad and entering grad school what would be expected of me? It would be helpful too if you could compare an undergraduate and a graduate student’s process for applying to medical school.

    With the Neuroscience major, there is a bit where it states that enrollment into the program course is possible without the required gpa to the extent that “laboratory spaces are available”. if i were to apply and be accepted minus not meeting the gpa requirement, does that mean my position is only temporary until someone meeting the requirement arrives or would it be set in stone?

    thanks again!


    hey there,

    let’s do these Q’s in order, shall we?

    first off: i don’t know if you mean taking graduate courses as an undergraduate, or dropping out of a graduate program after completing a couple of courses. if it’s the former, you would still be assessed as an undergraduate, regardless of your having graduate courses on your record. as a graduate student applying, you do need to have completed your graduate degree by the time of admission in order to actually be eligible to enter into the MD program.

    it would be difficult for me to further compare and contrast a graduate student’s application process between an undergraduate and a graduate student. the reason for that is that there are SO MANY factors that can affect an application. first off, there is no one undergraduate or graduate experience: people have different degrees, programs, transcripts, etc. secondly, the application process itself is variable (with the MCATs, interviews, etc.). if you’re an undergrad, the best place to go with these kinds of questions is really your registrar’s office. if you’re a grad student, talk to the medical school(s) that you’re interested in – they will know the subtleties of this stuff better than i do.

    second: i’m not sure where exactly you’re reading that bit about the lab spaces, but the neuroscience major (assuming you’re talking about human biology: neuroscience, the major at the undergraduate level) is a type 1 program. that means that as soon as you’ve completed 4.0 credits, you can enrol in the program on ACORN. no GPA requirement in sight.



  • med school

    M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., 2.Chainz.,

    Hey aska,
    I am in second year and I?ve been looking into graduate programs lately. I have a set mindset on what I would like to do in the future but I am super confused on how to get there. My goal is to become a pathologist, there is a graduate program under LMP (Laboratory medicine and pathology) at UofT. But I don?t understand the amount of education required to become a liscened pathologist. Do I need a master’s, or PhD, or both? What about a MD? What about writing the MCAT? I see some universities asking for MCAT, while UofT did not when it comes to the pathology program. If I can become a pathologist with a master?s what?s the point of a PhD? I just want to know the educational pathway in becoming a pathologist. Please help.



    hey there,

    first thing’s first: pathologists are doctors. before you do anything else, you need to get into medical school. uoft’s laboratory medicine and pathobiology M.Sc. program (which i believe is what you’re referring to in your question) is a degree that you get to specialize in this area AFTER your M.D.

    there’s no one set path that you need to take to become a pathologist. from what i understand, it’s not as formal a title as “Dr.,” for which there is only one degree that can license you. depending on what kind of pathologist you’d like to be, there are probably different programs that would make most sense for you – at uoft and?also elsewhere.

    to do an M.D., you definitely have to write your MCATs. i don’t know of a single university in the world that does?not?require MCAT scores as part of your application, so you can count on writing them at some point.

    obviously, a Ph.D. would be more beneficial to you were you to be more interested in research – however, there’s no cut and dry difference in terms of accreditation. you can read about the nitty-gritty differences?in terms of program requirements here. there’s also the M.D./Ph.D. program, which you might be interested in. however, your first step should most likely be learning a bit more about medical school. here are some good starting places.



  • admissions,  americans,  med school,  other schools (boo!)

    strap on your toque, yankee, you’re in for a wild ride

    Hi, I am a US student thinking of applying to U of T. I’ve heard many many rumors of the soul crushing undergraduate experience at U of T. As a hopeful medical school applicant, would I be better off grades wise in a top university in the US or is Toronto not as terrible as it seems? I’d really like to go to Toronto but I’m worried….


    hey there,

    that depends on which U.S. universities you’re thinking of, my friend. are we talking state universities or Ivy League? even within state universities, there’s a lot of variety in terms of quality. the comparison you’re making is going to be very different depending on which other schools you’re thinking about.

    i can’t tell you how well you’re going to do at uoft. i wish i could, but it would be disingenuous. the best i can do is give you a couple of factors that will influence your experience here, and that you can consider before making your decision:

    1. uoft is one of, if not the, most academically intensive universities in canada. i won’t go so far as to say that it’s the “Harvard of the North” (because we gotta stay humble out here in the 6ix), but it is very academic. uoft is an institution focused on research, and that goes right down to the undergraduate level. from day 1, you will be required to treat your school like a full-time job. if you excelled in high school, if you’re willing to work hard, and if you’re interested in the material, that is by no means impossible. but it does require a serious commitment to focus on your academics.
    2. uoft is very big – and i feel like you can’t really understand the real implications of that bigness until you actually get here. it can be very isolating. there are lots of wonderful, small communities within uoft where you can feel connected and valuable (your college community, residence community, seminar courses, extracurriculars, etc.) but if you don’t search all that out, you can feel a little stranded. and, trust me, if you feel distanced from and unappreciated by your school – like you could skip class, not do the assignments, etc. and no one would notice – that can have a very real effect on your schoolwork. a lot of U.S. universities have that small, collegiate feel throughout the entire institution, but at uoft, you have to do some digging.
    3. two positive points now: keep in mind that if you are graduating from a world-class university, medical schools are going to know that your GPA will not be as high as people who graduated from less academically rigorous schools. they will factor that into the application; everyone’s GPA is not equal.
    4. second: GPA is not the only factor medical schools look at! MCAT scores and extracurricular experience are also important parts of your application. that’s where toronto is ideal. we have a lot?of hospitals here. a?lot. “hospital alley” is within walking distance of uoft, and there are lots of opportunities to volunteer and gain valuable experience at each of them.
    5. finally: i know that americans think canada is just, like…cold america, but keep in mind that culture shock can be a difficult thing to manage, especially in first year (that’s not to say that we don’t have people to help you deal with that – because we do). you’ll be moving far away from home all on your own, meeting all new people and learning to stand on your own two feet, even more so than domestic students, who might just be a car ride away from home.

    i know that’s a lot of information, but keep in mind that you have time to mull it all over. uoft is a wonderful place to be. it’s in the middle of an amazing city, it’s a nexus of?research and innovation and exciting student life, we have cool people and exciting courses and i am so glad i’m here. BUT it’s not for everyone. so do think carefully about it.

    one last piece of advice: if you can manage to get up here and tour the place a bit before deciding, i find that’s often helpful.



  • med school

    i can’t be a doctor because i hated the cow eyeball lab in AP bio.

    Hey there,

    I’m a third year student at utm and I have a cgpa of 3.71 but an omsas gpa?of 3.56 which puts me below the 3.6 cut-off for U of T med school. My?volunteer activities aren’t that impressive either: I volunteer about 6 hrs?a week on campus as a first aid responder and I’m a research assistant in a?psych study. I also plan on volunteering at a clinic/ hospital this summer?but that’s all I have so far. In the past, I did tutor kids voluntarily in?high school and was a prefect and the chairperson of my school’s science?club.

    Realistically, what do you think are my chances of making the cut? Do you?have any advice (again, realistic advice)?

    Out of curiosity, when U of T says the average accepted applicant has a gpa?of 3.88, is that on the omsas scale or in general? Also, do you know if the?american scale (AMCAS) converts grades in a similar way as OMSAS? Because?omsas is killing me.



    hey there,

    since 3.6 is the?cut-off, i doubt you would have much chance getting in if you hadn’t met that. HOWEVER, you are only in third year. you have (at least) three more semesters to get your GPA as high as you possibly can.

    now, i’m no admissions committee, but i wouldn’t call your volunteer activity unimpressive. obviously, i have no way of comparing you to everyone else who is going to be applying to uoft med school in your year, so my opinion isn’t authoritative. i find everyone impressive, honestly. i find getting to class on time impressive – but that’s another issue.

    still, i wouldn’t despair just yet. if you stay on track with your plan to volunteer this summer, i think you’ll be doing ok. (again, i can’t REALLY answer this question because i – tragically – haven’t been invited to be a part of any admissions boards, but this is just MY FEEL of the situation. if you want some more professional?advice, i’d recommend talking to uoft med admissions).

    focus on your GPA. take advantage of utm’s?academic resources (before you object: 1. you’re paying for it already, you may as well use it; 2. no it’s not an admission of defeat to ask for help).

    get a tutor, if you think it will help. if you’re taking some pretty specialized courses that don’t often get tutored, ask around the department of the courses you’re having trouble with to see whether there are any grad students willing to help you. go to your profs’/TAs’ office hours. put aside one more hour of the day for studying. there’s a lot you can do.

    you’re already doing a great job – all you need is to make one or two small changes that can push your academic career from ‘really good’ to ‘competitive.’ try and figure out where you need to make some improvements, and seek out help in those areas.

    to see how your grades would convert on the AMCAS scale, take a look at the very last table on the last page of this document.

    best of luck with it!


  • first year,  life science,  med school

    medical school? what a HUMERUS proposition

    Hi there,
    Does first year of life science at utm count towards med school. What count towards the science gpa, and does it matter if i fail a course in my first year of life sci, will it ruin my chances of getting into med school, a Canadian med school.


    hey there,

    you can totally do life sci at UTM if you want to get into medical school. medical school in canada isn’t very restrictive in terms of what kind of program you need to take.

    for example, uoft medical school only requires that you take 2.0 life science courses and 1.0 social science courses. heck, i even qualify for that, and i’m in a humanities program.

    however, it all starts to go south for me when you take into consideration the other requirements, like a competitive MCAT score, letters of reference, an interview and a competitive GPA.

    with a few finicky exceptions, pretty much every course you take will count towards the GPA used to determine your admission average for medical school.

    failing a course in first year definitely won’t ruin your chances, but it will be a very low mark on your transcript which will lower your GPA, so, you know…try not to fail.

    however, at uoft medical school at least, if you apply directly after your undergrad and you’ve taken a full course load every semester, uoft med school will drop your lowest 4 marks from the admission GPA, so that’s kinda nice, isn’t it? admissions committees aren’t all bad.



  • med school

    Dr. Aska to the rescue


    I have a few questions with regards to UofT med school marking schemes.?Does UofT med school consider a 3-4 course load as a full course load or?does it have to be 5 course load per term?

    I am aware that UofT Med school? drops 4 lowest full-course equivalent?grades for applicants with 4 full-time years.?My first year with regards to gpa is a complete disaster, and I am highly?concerned with my future application for Med school acceptance at UofT for?2017.



    hey there,

    5.0 credits/term is the going rate for ‘full course load.’

    if you did not take a full course load, then yeah, the ‘weighting formula’ which allows you to drop the lowest 4.0 FCEs from the admissions GPA will not apply, so in that case, those first year courses would still be factored into your GPA.

    i would recommend talking to your registrar’s office about how severely that may affect you. since i don’t know your GPA, i can’t really say how much cause for concern you have (for the record, a 3.8 is considered ‘competitive’). you can also call?416-978-7928, which is the faculty of medicine’s ‘admissions inquiries’ number, ’cause they’ll definitely know what they’re talking about. they’ll?certainly know more than i do.



  • med school,  physics

    shying away from physics

    Hey aska! YES, I do read your blog regularly hehehe~ I’m having trouble choosing courses for first year Life Sci, my main problem is Physics – I hate it (no offence to anyone). I cried through 2 years of A level Physics and even my parents don’t really want me to take it. BUT, I’ve heard it’s really important for upper year courses. I’m looking forward to a degree in ANYTHING Bio related. [[[[med maybe?]]]] So…exactly how vital is it that I take physics now? A little help please? Thanks!

    Oh I forgot to mention one thing (this is the anon who hates Physics): I’m taking the Maths/Calculus courses, I don’t know if that makes a difference or not.


    hey there,

    A-level physics? i spy a brit in our midst! or one of the many vestiges of british education that still litter our post-colonial world. you know how it goes.

    you could get by in an entire degree in life science without taking physics, and do quite well. there are definitely plenty of subject POSts which don’t require or emphasize physics – just browse the programs offered by cell & systems biology, human biology, cognitive science, and biology.

    additionally, medical schools don’t typically require that you have any physics credits, per se. that said, the mcat does have a physics section. while most of it was probably covered in your A-levels, some people choose to take one or two first-year physics courses just to make sure they’re ready.

    physics can enhance your understanding of calculus, and of some areas in chemistry. but i wouldn’t say it’s required.

    HOWEVER, in order to make sure that not taking it won’t impact you down the line, i would sit down one day and draw up a schedule of all the courses you’d like to take during your degree. do any of them require or recommend physics? that can help you decide.

    finally, if there are any programs you’re interested in, try contacting the department to see if you can talk to an undergraduate/program coordinator and ask for their opinion. they definitely know more about these things than little ol’ uneducated aska.



  • med school

    no take backs in university

    I am a first year student for the med school game. I went to an academically poor public highschool in a countryside in ontario and the transition from high school to UofT has been rather tumultuous. I have received B- in BIO120H, B+ in MAT135H, C in CHM139H, and currently have 62 in ECO100. I have not been partying or wasting any time. I didn’t even get to explore the city yet and have been stuck in the library every single day studying. I have changed my studying habits twice since I came to UofT and still seems like my habits are not working. I have figured that I will have an “average GPA” to apply to med school only if I take 22.0 credits throughout 4 years and attain 4.0 in every single course until I graduate, which seems highly unlikely based on how I?am performing right now.?Is it possible to repeat first year? Would UofT scrap my past academical history and let me start fresh??Even if I transfer to another university, attaining 4.0 every single semester is the only option to med school now.
    I need some advice,
    Steve L.


    hello. this is an old question. if you?d like to see why i am answering these BLASTS FROM THE PAST, please go?here! thanks!



    hey there,

    i realize that i have already addressed this in my epigraph up there, but i feel the need to say again that while our dear friend steve, who 2-ish years ago was facing quite a conundrum with his first-year marks, has long since decided on a path for his life – whether or not that path led to med school – this is still a pressing issue for a big chunk of first years, every year. so this question isn’t addressed so much to steve as it is to the people steve represents: the questioning, the disilusioned and the panicked.

    (this part though is just for steve, in case he’s still reading: hey steve, sorry this question never got answered in time. askastudents are rotated in and out on a yearly-ish basis, and in the process of that switch questions can sometimes get lost or not transferred over. i hope the fact that your question didn’t get answered in time didn’t embitter you against askastudent FOREVER, and that you’ll allow me to use your question as a model for FUTURE STUDENTS).

    alright, so, onto the question. the title of this post is left over – if my math is correct – from one or maybe two askastudents ago, but i’ve kept it because i agree with it. and the reason i agree with it is because the faculty of medicine agrees with it – an average GPA of 3.6 required to be eligible for admission to med school, and it is based on all university courses you’ve ever taken ever.

    so once you’ve done your first year, it automatically becomes part of your application. it’ll be factored into your application GPA – no scrapping of past history, no negotiations, regardless of redone courses or bad high schools or whatever other reason you can come up with. meaning that, yes, you would essentially have to get 4.0 across the board in the rest of your undergraduate career (not to mention do great on your MCATs and the?non-academic shenanigans?which are part of your application) in order to be eligible and competitive. there’s no way to wipe first year from the record, is what i’m saying.

    this means that you – metaphorical steve – have a decision to make. do you want to be a doctor so incredibly badly that you are willing to give it 110% for 3 more years (+4 or however long it takes for you to finish your MD)? if you are, that’s great. if you like anatomy more than sleep, more than socializing, more than TV or leisure reading or drinking or being able to tack on M.D. to the end of your name – if you still like studying bones and shizzle MORE THAN ALL THAT – then i’d say, use the summer to gain some new study skills, regroup, and tackle the 2nd year with your goal in mind.

    however, if you want to become a doctor because “the economy is bad” or because “it’s prestigious,” or because “people always said i was smart enough to,” or because “M.D. really does look nice at the end of my name,” then it is not worth the mental wear and tear. the economy is bad for everyone. prestige is about doing your job remarkably, not which job you do. being smart doth not always a high-paying job equate. and Steve M.D. sounds silly as heck, with all respect. so forget those reasons and do what you WANT.

    cheers, metaphorical steve, and thanks in advance for all the help you’ve been to other first-years.


  • admissions,  med school

    what’s up, doc? (should i go to med school, that’s what)

    I’m a gr.10 student in Toronto struggling to pick a career. I am good at English and language courses. I am not very good at math, and around average in science.

    However, after visiting a relative in the hospital, I fell in love with the idea of going to work and saving people every day. Since then, it has been my dream to be a doctor. I also know that I want a prestigious job, and a doctor would fit that requirement.

    So that’s my problem. Should I work a lot harder and see if I can get into med school, or should I forget that and pick courses that I am good at?



    hey there,

    i’m gonna start with a disclaimer here. basically the two kinds of questions that are answered on this blog are 1) i’d like to find this specific information and i couldn’t find it on the #@!&* uoft website and 2) i’d like YOUR ADVICE on my PERSONAL LIFE. your question falls into category number 2, meaning i’m just going to answer with my opinion based on my experiences. ultimately though, i am not you, and it’s up to you to make the decision you think is best. so. hashtag don’t sue me.

    this is the thing. being good at math and science are really important for the many,?many years you’re going to have to go to school before becoming a doctor. and being good/bad/average at math and science in high school is very different from at university. what i would do is take your average right now in your math/science courses, subtract 10% from them, and see if that meets the requirements for proceeding in a science-centric program in university, as well as the requirements for medical school.

    at uoft, a GPA of 3.6 (that’s around an 83%) is required to be considered for admission, not to mention MCAT scores and extra-curriculars. consider if you could keep that average throughout school without making yourself completely miserable. more importantly, consider if you would ENJOY doing math and science for 7+ years. if you’re not having fun, it’s not worth it.?i’m sure you already know all this, but i just want to stress that this stuff is really only doable if you actually want to do it. otherwise, you start to resent the work, resulting in you not doing it, resulting in you ultimately not meeting the requirements for admission to med school.

    that being said, if you love the idea of working in a hospital and helping people, being a doctor is not the only option. you could become a bioethicist, a nurse, a paramedic, a psychologist?(at uoft that program has a calculus prerequisite, but at lots of other schools it’s an arts program!) and a whole bunch of other jobs which haven’t crossed my mind because i am not a good person and have never worked at a hospital. there’s no reason to sacrifice things you like for things you’re good at.

    what i’m getting at is that you have a lot of options. countless people in lots of different professions save lives. if the only reasons you want to become a doctor are to save lives and because it’s prestigious, i’d say you’re going in for the wrong reasons. there are lots of prestigious jobs out there, enough that there’s guaranteed to be one you’d love doing. it may just take a bit more time to find them.

    i hope that helps. and if it didn’t, don’t worry, because you’ve still got two years to figure it out. that’s plenty of time, so don’t feel like you have to rush a decision. just take it step by step, and you’ll figure it out.



  • med school,  polisci

    a crisis of academic faith a.k.a. all of our lives.

    Hello! Let’s say that you get accepted into social sciences (in first year), for political sciences. And, you know you want to go to medical school in the future, but would really like to study politics as well. As we know, medical school accepts students from all disciplines of studies. Though, for UofT’s medical school requirements you need at least 2 FCE of life sciences. How does that work? You study political sciences but take science courses at the same time? But I don’t have Highschool 12U chem or physics!!!!! Can I take night school or summer school during my UNIVERSITY YEARS to fulfil any of these requirements??Can I still pursue my dream of becoming a doctor? Thanks in Advance!


    hey there,

    ok, i don’t want to be presumptuous here. i know there are many brilliant young people who have multiple interests and can juggle them all equally. i know this because i used to be one of them. i was in the sciences, i was in the arts, i was in languages; i could do everything. however, university has this great effect on people where it both broadens your perspective and forces you to focus in on the things that really matter to you. it happened to me and it will probably happen to you, unless you’re hard on yourself now and force yourself to make a decision, which is what i would recommend.

    what i’m saying is: it would be in your best interest to ask yourself honestly, now, whether you truly want to pursue medicine or political science. both fields are academically rigorous and you kind of have to be fully dedicated in order to be successful in them.

    you can easily get 2 FCE of life science in university if you’re enrolled in political science, by doing a poli sci major and two life science minors. that would give you more than 2.0 FCE and fulfil those requirements for med school. however, you’ll be competing for entrance into med school and on the MCATs with people whose entire program has been focused around life science, and that’s tough.

    also, most life science courses in first year either require or recommend grade 12 chemistry?or grade 12 calculus. PUMP can be used to fulfil that calculus requirement, but unfortunately there’s no equivalent program for chemistry. doing night/summer school while in university won’t fulfil the requirement because you need to have completed grade 12 chem/physics before you actually take the university courses. there are some biology courses that don’t require any grade 12 chemistry, so you can look into those to get some of your life science credits, but most courses will require the grade 12 background in chem.

    all in all, yeah, if you’re really dedicated, it probably can be done, but i wouldn’t advise it. chemistry and physics are just as important for those studying medicine as bio, and if you want to study poli sci now but want to become a doctor in the future, that’s telling me that your real passion lies with politics. obviously, you should do what you want with your life, but just don’t compromise your real passion for something that feels safe, because lemme tell you, med school is hella expensive, and you’d better be sure that’s what you want to do before spending all that money.