Tips for Applying to Canadian Medical Schools

Applying to medical school can be an exciting and time consuming experience.

  • The admissions process for Canadian medical schools is very competitive.
    • The number of applications received each year far outweighs the number of spots available.
  • Admissions requirements and application processes for each medical school are different.
  • Start your search early - there are many options and a there is a lot of information to review.
  • Tuition fees for medical schools vary.
    • Fees for international students are more costly.
    • Take note of the total cost for the medical school program.
  • Pay attention to which schools accept applications from international students.
  • Find out which schools support students to gain Canadian clinical experience (through clinical electives in Canada).
    • Canadian clinical experience will help with the application for residency.

Read below to learn tips for applying to medical school at the University of British Columbia (UBC) based on the personal experience of successful UBC medical school graduate Dr. MA (General Practitioner in BC, and mentor to medical school applicants):

  1. Start with grades.
    • Good grades are the foundation to your application.
    • While strong grades don’t guarantee acceptance, they are the first thing assessed during the application process.
  2. Assess your life experience, volunteer experience. Why do you want to become a physician?
    • These are requirements for the personal statement part of the application and components of the interview.
    • This is to ensure candidates thoroughly explore/research and think through a career in family medicine and can confidently confirm they have a genuine passion for the career.
  3. Review the application and check whether you can complete each section. If not, take time to work on the gaps.
    • The application scoring system is based on points - have you: had a job, lived on your own, travelled, conducted research, published research? Extra points are given for published research.
    • Consider postponing your application, in order to gain and demonstrate self- sufficiency/reliance, rather than applying immediately after undergrad. As a mature student, Dr. MA was strong in this area because of a wealth of life experience. In contrast, many applicants live at home and haven’t travelled much.
    • Ask yourself, could you, as a medical student, take care of yourself and others?
  4. Practice using a critical skills/thinking approach – arriving at a conclusion after considering both sides. This advice is particularly appreciated by applicants.

Note: The tips above, do not guarantee acceptance into medical school.