Looooots of questions from the newbie :)

I know you’ve heard this before but I am thrilled to find you guys smile.gif
I tried to breeze through lots of postings and most of it is sooo helpful and interesting. I am sure there are lots of answeres to my questions already but I can’t wait and want to ask asap.
In a nutshell:
I’d be applying in Canada and I don’t have a previous University Degree. I was a final year student of Veterinary Medicine in Europe but I never graduated due to the war. That was 10y ago though. Now I am considering going back but I’ve changed interest. I am 36 y old. Well, I am sure I’ll filter my questions in time and be more specific but at the moment I am so excited to find you that I can’t wait and have to ask (might sound rather superficial): WHERE TO START?? smile.gif I am sure you know what I mean. I am just feeling lost and hopeless.
Thanks you all! smile.gif

Welcome! I’m 39, so don’t feel you’re old!!! biggrin.gif
I don’t know anything about schools in Canada, so take this with a grain of salt:
I would start by looking at the med schools you’d like to apply to, and see what the requirements are. You can usually find that on their Web sites, under Admissions. Then look at your transcripts, and see how you measure up so far. Do you need to take more prerequisite coursework? Are your grades okay? Do you need to re-take anything? Do you need to complete a degree?
Then decide where you’ll complete whatever undergraduate coursework you think you need to take. At that point, you can contact that school, try to get set up with an advisor there, and start making plans.
Other things to think about are volunteer experience and preparing for the MCAT if you have to take that. And hang around here; there’s a wealth of information! I’m sure the old hands will be around soon to welcome you, as well.
I’m starting my first prereq. class next week, and I’m so excited!

A good place to start would be your local university. Get all of you transcripts, and let the academic counselor review them. They will tell you where to start.
Hope this helped you.
I wish you the best.

Thank you all! This place really is a sanctuary smile.gif
I realized that I have to go and speak with someone at the school (admission office). I was just curious if in the States the rule is that med students have to have another degree or just certain courses. Also, I understand you have to do well on MCAT but I am wondering if they can decide based on other factors that you are a good candidate even if your MCAT score isn’t the best. I am thinking that admission office (or whoever is making the final decision) might have a (descrete) right to accept a person because of overall personality/grades,MACAT/experience package so to say even though there is someone else with better grades or MCAT score or whatever else…What do you think?
Then when we talk about volunteering…how did you go about that? Would someone allow you to the clinic just because ‘you’d like to get into med school’ or…?
Thank you! smile.gif

OK, this is what have I found on University Of Toronto Faculty Of Medicine site. Sounds pretty 'open to interpretation to me':
Prerequisite Courses:
Applicants will be required to have completed at least two full course equivalents in Life Sciences and at least one full course equivalent in Humanities or Social Sciences or Languages. Applicants should check with the Admissions Office if they are unsure of the acceptability of a particular prerequisite. (Please note: Chemistry and Organic Chemistry are not considered Life Sciences and are not required prerequisite courses for the University of Toronto.)
Students are expected to understand the basic principles and vocabulary of physics, chemistry and biology. It is recommended, although not required that applicants complete a university level course in Biometrics or Statistics and at least two full equivalents in courses that require expository writing. Demonstrated high-level proficiency in oral and written English is essential for success in the medical curriculum and in medical practice. Official communications and significant portions of the curriculum rely on electronic communication; therefore, computer literacy is essential.

biggrin.gif HI Aleksa and Welsome to OPM.
I can safely say that I don't know the first thing about anything when it comes to how Canada works things...but I can atleast give you some insight into how things in general work.
As far as not doing exceptionally well on the MCAT--but having sound grades and a strong transcript---I'm not sure how most of the med school ADCOMS think about it. Some schools here will rule a pre med out just by mediocre MCAT scores in spite of a good GPA--and vice versa. I would say that it really depends on the particular school. My advice to you is that once things are in place for you, investigate all there is to know about EACH MEDICAL SCHOOL you wish to apply. Each school is different---so know what your potential schools wants and look for. Here in the states, Osteopathic Medical Schools are known for looking past the "numbers" and taking into consideration the "whole applicant."
As for volunteering.....you can literally start anywhere!!! Your volunteer work does not necessarily have to be medically related (although some exposure to doctors and/or hospitals/clinics etc. is advisable). Your volunteer work can be anything that means something to you (like Big brothers/big sisters, volunteering with homeless people, time with the elderly, or volunteering with at-risk children for example). Open up your phone book and see what's in there. Or....network with others to see what's out there. SOme colleges (like mine) have a volunteer office on campus. Maybe you can start there.
I hope some of this helps. Keep reading the posts here on the forums---I'm not sure about anyone else, but OPM has been a blessing for me. It's so nice to see others out there like me (not 19 or 20 years old)--who are pursuing medicine along with juggling work, spouses, children, jobs yada yada yada.
Best of luck to you, Anna

Thank you Anna! I remember reading 2-3y ago about a man who was a miner and decided to go through necessary schooling so he could apply to the med school which he eventually did and successfully graduated even though he had to move his family (wife and three kids) from Northern Ontario to Toronto which is a major lifestyle change for us here. yadda yadda yadda reading that article I totally had a feeling that he was admitted to the med school simply because he had shown the right attitude and efforts rather than GPA and whatever else not. I don’t think MCAT was ‘invented’ back then. Anyway, I know I have to do major research… smile.gif

Do not start this project by trying to figure out how you can get in even if you don’t do well on the MCAT! You absolutely CAN do well on it, and should set that as an expectation for yourself. You are selling yourself short otherwise. It’s a bear of a test, yeah, but it is a mountain to climb and it can be done. It should be part of your positive thinking as you start on this adventure.
Similarly, while there are people who attend med school without having attained a bachelor’s degree, my understanding is that they are few and far between, and their academic achievements were extraordinary. It’s probably best to assume that you’ll need the degree, but you are right to contact your local schools and talk to them.
The thing is, if you are worried about whether your age will be an impediment to getting in, you won’t want to provide any other “impediments.” Take charge of the stuff you have control over - future coursework, letters of recommendation still to be solicited, volunteer experience, and the MCAT - and make sure it’s great. You can’t do anything about the stuff in the past except make it recede into the shadows created by the brilliance of your new work!

Mary, thanks for your response. I couldn't agree more with you. However, I beleive that we might have options in life where hardship doesn't necessarily brings us excellence. Where I come from we go 8 years to Elementary School, 4 years to High School and then to University. If you chose Med School you go there straight from the high school. And guess what, we produced one of the most famous names in the contemporary medicine, many of them are professors in the USA. My sister graduated Med School going through the same schooling and she's a very successful physician in Switzerland now (also 'abroad' for us). My best friend came from Europe after finishing one year of the Vet School (straight from high school), they accepted her to the first year in Guelph, Ontario (totally unfair, she didn't have all the prerequisits, I'll never understand why they accepted her in the first place. Even her high school grades were only average). She's a very successful Veteriarian here in Toronto. I just found out that Med School in Hamilton, Ontario doesn't require MCAT. Why am I trying to bypass MCAT? I don't know exactly, I guess my father beign a doctor, my sister and many others around me proved me that you can be the one, even the very good one, without competing with 20 years younger than you in physics, chemistry and biology. I took those three classes on my first year of University 10 years ago and I am not too eager to repeat.
Btw, your life story is a real inspiration.
I hope I didn't sound arrogant. I really didn't mean to be. I admire all of you for going through undergraduate studies prior to the med school. Education is never a loss. I just don't think it makes anyone a better doctor. It's a requirement just so that med schools can be as elite as possible. Speaking of which, I think that public elementary and high schools are pathetic comparing to the private ones but hey very few of us could afford them.

Education is never a loss. I just don't think it makes anyone a better doctor. It's a requirement just so that med schools can be as elite as possible.

Well, I'd have to disagree pretty strongly with you on that point. First of all, you describe the European tradition of going to medical school from high school. That has not been the tradition in the USA for well over fifty years. So part of the bachelor's degree 'requirement' is simply the American tradition - not better, not worse than another tradition, just the way things are done. I am quite sure that schools aren't doing it to be "elite," it's just the model for professional schools in the US.
But I think education in things other than medicine is a VERY important part of being a good doctor. It is good to be exposed to different ways of critical thinking and problem solving. Medical schools don't spend any time teaching you how to evaluate what you read critically - but that's something you might very well learn in a good literature course in college, for example.
I think that the European educational system is more rigorous for students in high school than the American system, so they may have gotten a bachelor's level well-rounded education before they start college. That's certainly not the case in the States. sad.gif
You can, of course, pursue your path in the way that seems best to you. My point was that you are limiting yourself if you search for schools that don't use or put much stock in the MCAT, or that don't require a bachelor's degree. You are going to find that you have very few choices, unfortunately. While you may disagree with their requirements, the schools are the ones who'll be evaluating you. I know folks who've been on this forum for a long time have heard me say this before: It's their field, their ball, and their rules.

Hi Aleksa!
I am the resident Canuck on the board-- if I can be of any help, just let me know.
I’m somewhat of an expert on the Canadian system of admissions-- I applied three times. First two times, I got nothing. Not even an interview. The third time I had learned the system the hard way, and was accepted to three of the four schools to which I applied.
Damn McMaster Med! Who knows what they’re looking for, anyway? wink.gif
Plus, a good friend of mine is currently attending medical school in Switzerland, so I’m somewhat familiar with the European system as well. And personally, I think that any system that forces you to choose a career path as young as the European system does has definite room for improvement! rolleyes.gif