Today, I have an awesome guest and the first Canadian premed student to be interviewed on The Premed Years.
I got an email from a listener who got two acceptances in Canada and an interview at a U.S. school. A Canadian native, Darby shares with us his experience applying for medical school both in the U.S. and in Canada.
If you’re planning to apply to medical school in Canada or if you’re an international student planning to apply at U.S. medical schools, this episode will give you great insights for your med school journey.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
When Darby knew he wanted to go to med school:
- Hands-on experience in biology in 10th grade
- Started undergrad taking a B.S. in pharmacology
Being Premed in Canada:
- Most students not knowing what to do right after high school
- From 90% down to 10-15% staying at med school
- The difference for in-province and out-of-province students
What premed advising is like in Canada:
- No resources
- No premed programs
- The difficult of finding shadowing opportunities in Canada
[Related episode: How Can I Find Shadowing Experiences in Canada?]
What to do when you lack resources as a premed:
- Look at the qualifications of the schools you’re applying to, as well as their statistics.
- Visit the school and get the feel of it. Assess the mindset and values at the school.
- Reach out to current medical students or those who are 3-4 steps ahead of where you are.
- Go to the medical admissions office to ask for some advice or help.
Online resources for Canadian premeds:
- MedEd Media podcasts
- Student Doctor Network: Take the facts but leave the opinions
- School’s websites
Darby’s biggest struggles as a Canadian premed:
- Having the GPA to get in
Darby’s advice for premed volunteering:
- Volunteer where your passion is
- Quality over quantity
- Commitment shows more than anything
- Hospital vs. non-hospital
[Related post: The Ultimate Guide to Volunteering for Premeds.]
The story behind Darby’s gap years before medical school:
- Initially not knowing what to do
- Joining the corporate world
- Reaching maturity
Applying at U.S. medical schools as an international student:
- MSAR as his lifeline
- Creating a giant spreadsheet for all U.S. medical schools comparing everything
- Apply early
Some pieces of advice for premed students:
- Focus, focus, focus. Do not have a backup plan.
- Apply early, and do not procrastinate.
- Talk to people already there, and look at their mindset.
- Don’t worry. Don’t compare yourself with others.
- Instead of focusing on becoming a physician, focus on becoming the best you! Do what makes you happy.
Links and Other Resources
- Check out my Premed Playbook series of books (available on Amazon), with installments on the personal statement, the medical school interview, and the MCAT.
- Related episode: From Canada to the Caribbean: This Doctor’s Journey.
- Related episode: Two Canadian Medical School Acceptances for This Premed.
- Need MCAT Prep? Save on tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests by using promo code “MSHQ” at Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)!