View Full Version : Age, Year Of Study
Do Canadian medical schools care about your age or year of study when you apply? I know you can't apply until third year for most schools in Canada (2nd year for Alberta/Calgary, and 4th year for McGill), but do the remaining schools favour grad and 4th year applicants?
07-14-2001, 06:50 PM
I am assuming that you are a 3rd year student, huh :) I was also a third yeard applicant last year and also concerned about some of the same things your are. However, I think that you don't have too much to worry about:
UofT seems to admit a lot of third years. I know of at least 4 that are going to UofT next year, and I am sure that there are probably at least 50 or so third year students that will be there.
Western has no bias either; I know of a third year going there. Same with Queens: just meet the MCAT/GPA requirements and you have yourself an interview.
I know of some third years waitlisted at Ottawa as well, although I also know of a lot of third years that met the GPA requirements and had good sketches that were not interviewed.
Finally, McMaster seems to favour older students, but some third year students get in. This may be a longshot, but a shot worth taking.
07-15-2001, 12:09 AM
It's a policy at all schools not to discriminate based on age. But if you LOOK way too young, I can tell you from experience that you're less likely to get admitted because your interviewers might not take you seriously or be distracted - I mean, I don't think patients trust
"Doogies" nowadays, so if your interviewer can't take you seriously how can we expect anybody else too? I say this b/c it's pretty obvious to me that my age (or apparent age; most interviewers don't know your age, only what's on your essay, CV) distracted my interviewers at most schools where I interviewed. Even though I'm sure they were trying their best to ignore it, a tone (like the one my parents use!) came up a few times.
In short, age is a number, and has no place in admissions. But how you look, and how you present yourself in interview does, and if you appear very young (physically or psychologically), it'll place you at a disadvantage.
AAAGH this is my 3rd edit! Well as to your 2nd question, YES as a third year you should have fewer weaknesses than the average 4th year applicant if you're applying anywhere. TO and UWO, etc. as mentioned above are more tolerant than other schools like UBC/McGill/Calg, but in the end there is less tolerance for 3rd year applicants with obvious weaknesses. Particularly, your GPA should be outstanding. I know that at UBC, they scrutinize 3rd year applications and if your GPA is just "OK" your chances plummet down a lot more than what they would for a 4th year.
07-16-2001, 12:33 AM
Age generally isn't as much of an issue as your year of study. I'm not too familiar with the Ontario schools, and it seems that U of T takes a very high (in my opinion) proportion of it's class out of third year. At UBC, you can expect perhaps 10-15 people at the most to be accepted out of third year. Everyone else has at least a Bachelors degree, if not more.
In the States, it's even rarer to be accepted after third year.
Because of this, I think that if you apply after third year, you should be doing it with the expectation of not getting in. What you will gain from the application process, however, will be invaluable when you re-apply again in fourth year, because you now know how the system works, are familiar with the deadlines, and already have a working copy of your application from your previous attempt.
As far as age goes, age can often reflect on other characteristics. I don't want this to degenerate into an argument about how age discrimination may or may not be present, but the reality is that an older applicant has had more time to do research, travel, work, meet people, and in general, develop that intangible "personal qualities and experiences" stuff that helps you out on your interview. As a third year student, your application really needs to be the equal of a fourth year student in order to be successful, and that's difficult because by definition, you've had one less year to accomplish it.
Finally, if you look really young, or have any personality traits that date you as being young, this probably isn't an advantage during your interview. Is this fair? Probably not, but subconsciously, I'd have a harder time taking someone seriously if they didn't fit my mental mold of a mature individual. And I'm saying this as someone who got in after third year. It's tougher to apply as a third year, no doubt about it.
UBC, Med 3
07-30-2001, 07:42 PM
How about those of us who have thought of medicine over the years, have become convinced at a later age that it is the only viable career option, returned to secondary school for upgrading while completing a university degree, and then applying in their early 40's? My average is 84.5%, converted GPA for OMSAS 3.82, with all of the core Physiology, Molecular biology, Physical and Organic Chem. I feel that the life experience should be viewed as valuable, but have been exposed to two diametrically opposed camps: one that says "Go for it, they'll LOVE a mature applicant" and the other which says, "Not a chance, they never take anyone under thrity-five". What's your view on this?
Age isn't used as a factor in admissions, so that shouldn't be a problem. If you have the marks and the life experience, and are so sure this is what you want, then obviously you should go for it, no matter what others say.
07-30-2001, 08:49 PM
There's a couple students at UBC who just graduated this past year who were in their early to mid forties. By comparison, in our class, the oldest student was 31 on his acceptance.
I think there's a fair bit of variability in the med school admissions system, and I don't think that it would be completely accurate to say that the medical admissions process is completely blind to age. I once had an e-mail conversation with someone who wished to apply to medical school at age 60. Clearly, that was a situation where the individual was facing a huge uphill fight. I wouldn't be surprised at all if that applicant received outright rejection letters on receipt of her applications.
From the medical school's perspective, they are looking to graduate physicians for the future. It's no secret then that on average, a doctor who graduates when he/she is 30 has many more potential years of productivity than one who is 45. However, as you've pointed out, your background brings additional qualities to the medical school class, and in doing so, perhaps leads to a stronger medical class as a whole.
My best suggestion is to contact the medical schools that you are interested in attending, and ask them what their take is on the admissions process with respect to your age. Ask them for their honest opinion. I have no doubt that your maturity and previous experiences would make you a great asset to any medical school class. However, you still need to get your foot through the door, and this will be easier if you can focus your application attempts on schools that vocally inform you that someone of your age will be on a level playing field with the other applicants.
I've spent some time working with one of the two recently graduated medical students I've mentioned above, and I think he will be one hell of a good doctor. Getting in is definitely possible, but you need to know which medical schools will treat your application with respect.
UBC, Med 3
08-01-2001, 01:37 PM
Thanks for your input, Ian. It is reassuring to think that there is light at the end of the tunnel. My main fear has been the "silent" rejection, ie. when in conversation with the Medical Colleges in question, they all state that they do not discriminate on the basis of age. (Or else they may find themselves facing a law suit!) But once the application arrives, it is carefully dismissed with another reason duly notated, when the real reason was in fact that of age. I know that there is less of an evident barrier in the States, and it is very reassuring to find that the same situation does exist in Canadian schools. I hope to make one heck of a doctor myself. And it sounds like you already are. Thanks again.
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