Canadian applying to US schools

Hello all! I am a Canadian RN (BScN) 2010 starting her journey to Medicine. I have decided to target US medical or US DO schools. I am in my middle 30s with family. I am trying to decide on schools and prerequisites. I have taken so far 1 semester of Organic and Biochem (combined), one semester of Anatomy, one semester of Physiology, one semester of Microbiology as part of my nursing program. I am trying to short-list schools based on 1. Canadian friendly and 2. # of prerequisites I need. Also I do really need to apply to statistics (GPA and MSAT) based schools, as my life so far has been hectic and I did not have many opportunities for extracurricular activities, I can list only some minimal volunteer experience. If anybody has an advice as to how to approach this situation without spending an enormous amount of time, pls. advise. I know I will have to email or call schools, but I am trying to figure out how to short list from let’s say 30 to 10 schools. I have already found numerous lists of Canadian friendly schools, but I would love to hear from you. Thank you in advance:)

Hello Wiimed. Congrats on your decision to become a physician! Here is some advice on how to approach US medicine as a Canadian:

  1. Focus on mid-tier private schools.

  2. Try to take your pre-reqs in the US. Many US-based schools don’t know what to make of the Canadian grading system, which is much harsher than in the US

  3. There are very few, if any, “statistics-based schools.” Even the least competitive schools want to see research, community service, extracurricular, and clinical experience. Seems like you have the clinical experience down given your RN background. But be sure to have clinical experience from the MD side as well.

  4. Coming from Canada and as a non-trad, you will want to cast a wide net. I suggest the opposite of going from 30 to 10. Increase to 40!

  5. DOs will be a really interesting option, as they do tend to be less competitive and more lenient on requirements. But be sure to approach them not as a back-up to MD, but as your first choice. And do know that US DO schools want recs from DOs.

    Good luck!

    –Dr. Miller
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Hello Dr. Miller and thank you for your reply! I really appreciate your suggestions. I thought about what you wrote here and it makes perfect sense. Your observation that the Canadian grading system is much harsher than the US sounds interesting to me, as I never took courses in the US. Again, thank you for your advice.

Hi wiimed,

First off, welcome. Second, I’m a Canadian non-trad in my second year at a DO school in Kansas City, MO (KCUMB), so it is definitely possible for us Canadians to get into DO schools (and MD schools). I don’t have a family though.

Also, I’d have to agree with Dr. Miller - apply to more schools. I applied to about 3 Canadian schools because I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get any love in Canada. Then I applied to 4 or 5 Irish schools as my absolute back up. My focus though was MD and DO schools in the US. I applied to 10-12 MD and 15+ DO schools. I had done a fair bit of research on Osteopathic medicine and the philosophy and extra manual modality really resonated with me, so I was somewhat biased to DO schools, even though I knew there would be more hurdles to potentially get back to Canada as a practicing physician with a DO degree. Not impossible by any means, but probably a bit more work. As it turned out, I was accepted by 1 Irish school, no Canadian schools, no MD schools, and was accepted at 2 DO schools (I turned down an interview at another DO school). I am very happy with my decision and am looking forward to my 3rd and 4th year clerkships. I’m hoping to do 1-2 rotations in Ontario with hopes of landing a residency position there. However, if that doesn’t work out, I will be happy to do my residency in the US and consider my options after that.

You may want to check out the Canadian Osteopathic Medical Student Association website (COMSA) which is the student arm of the Canadian Osteopathic Association (COA). Here’s their website ( ). I am one of the founding members and we are really trying to lay the ground work so other Canadians who want to pursue an Osteopathic medical degree in the US can access information and people to help them through the process.

Feel free to post any questions you may have or send me a PM and we can connect via email.


Lynda, I received your message and sincerely thank you for your reply. I will post more in-depth questions soon, I am still doing some serious research. I always think a lot and consider all options before making a final decision. At this stage I am still in the process of discussions with my spouse and still drawing algorithms, but I am definitely very interested in studying in the US, not only for the admission part phase. I think I want to practise there and I might be more interested in DO than the traditional MD. I will keep in touch, thank you again.

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