Preparing for Medical School

Are you a rural high school student, wondering what you should be doing now to get into medical school? Check out our resources below for more helpful information!

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Preparing for Medical School Presentation

To the left you will find a video of our guide for rural high school students looking to apply to medical school! It has a lot of useful information about what the application process involves and what you can start focusing on now. 

 

To download a PDF version of this presentation,

Frequently Asked Questions

Bellow you will find a selection of some of the questions we have received from rural Alberta high school students interested in medical school. 

Becoming a doctor is a long term commitment. 

The first step is go and get your undergraduate degree, which typically takes about 4 years. But the route from there can look different for each student. Some learners go out into the working world for a few years before they apply to medical school, others will go on to get their masters degree or their PhD before applying. 

The next step in the process is attending medical school, which at the Cuming School of Medicine is 3 years (many other medical schools take 4 years). At the end of medical school you will receive your MD and will technically be a doctor. However, in order to be able to practice medicine, you will need to complete several years of on the job training first, called a residency. How long your residency takes depends on what you wind up specializing in and can take anywhere from 2-6 years. For example if you specialize in family medicine, you will need to complete a 2 year residency, whereas if you specialize in anesthesiology, it will take you 5 years. 

At the end of your residency, you will be eligible to practice medicine in Canada, however many doctors choose to complete a fellowship. A fellowship allows you to specialize even further in your chosen specialty (for example a neurologist could choose to specialize in neuro-oncology) and this will add another few years to your on the job learning.  

If you are looking for an undergraduate degree before applying to medical school, nursing is one of many excellent options. It is a difficult and competitive program that requires a lot of hard work to complete and at the end provides you with a stable career option should you decide not to go on to medical school. 

However, we recommend that you choose whatever undergraduate degree you are passionate about. The Cumming School of Medicine takes students from all kinds of disciplines, from English majors, to BioChem, to Nursing and more. It's more important to pick something that you will enjoy. 

The MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) is a standardized test that all prospective medical students must take to apply to medical school. At the Cumming School of Medicine it is weighted at 10% of all your other requirements during the application process. 

When studying for the MCAT, there are several MCAT prep courses you can take, however, they are often quite expensive. Many of our students find alternate routes to study for the exam, including getting previous tips and study books from students who have taken it before.

There are Khan Academy lectures on YouTube, where they have a whole section on the MCAT, free of charge, that have been recommended by some of our students. Most students take 2-3 dedicated months to study for the exam. 

No, when your application is being reviewed, only your post secondary grades are considered. 

Medical school does take a lot of your time and energy and can be very overwhelming. A big key to success in for both medical school and your undergraduate degree for that matter, is learning time management! It is important to learn how to manage your schedule and be discipled about it. This includes scheduling in time for selfcare. It is important to learn how to work hard and study hard, but it also important to learn when and how to prioritize time for things like hobbies, exercise and family so that you don't burn out.  

Many of our med students balance med school, volunteering and having families, it’s hard work, but still doable if you manage your time well! High school is a good time to start setting up those habits, so you can be successful in your post secondary career!

When picking out volunteer experience, we are not looking for a one size fits all, cookie cutter type of student.

The best type of volunteer experience is an experience that matters to you! Are you passionate about animals? Mental health? Food insecurity? The best volunteer experience is something that matters to you and is personal to you, your life and your personal experience. If you care about a certain cause, that passion will come through on your application and that's what will serve you the best.

Rural Connect - How Do I Get There? A Conversation with UofC Med Students

This last February, The Department of Distributed Learning & Rural Initiatives was proud to partner with the Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP) on their high school  "How Do I Get There?" webinar series.

 

Through this webinar, we were able to virtually meet with rural high school students across Alberta and connect them directly to current students at the Cumming School of Medicine who also came from rural communities! We also were happy to welcome the Assistant Dean of MD Admissions, Dr. Remo Panaccione, and the Associate Dean of DLRI, Dr. Aaron Johnston, to discuss with the students what they can start doing in their high school careers, to prepare for medical school.

 

This webinar was recorded and you have the opportunity to view the full session below!

 

RhPAP

We want to thank RhPAP for hosting such a wonderful event! We are proud to be partners with them on their great work helping rural Albertans keep health care close to home as they organize events like this one, helping students to discover the careers and education opportunities available in rural communities.

To learn more about RhPAP and their important work,