Medical School Information

Getting Into Medical School

Getting into medical school can be a very tough journey as the average acceptance rate is approximately 15% as of 2016. This guide is designed to improve your chances of succeeding in getting into medical school!

The Health Care Team at the SSSC is also here to help you prepare for medical school applications and admission. You can schedule a one-on-one appointment with a Health Care Team member, who can walk you through the process of getting into medical school. The Team also has a variety of workshops and activities planned throughout the year to help you get ready for medical school, so make sure to check the SSSC's Upcoming Events.

Medical schools commonly consider a combination of grades, extracurricular activities, the MCAT and interviews when assessing admission to their programs.


Grades for Medical School Admission

Ontario uses a 4.0 grading scale to consider students for admission to medical school. The undergraduate grading system conversion table is used to convert Carleton grades to a this scale. As you can see on the conversion table, the OMSAS value for each Carleton grade drops significantly as the grades get lower. Because of this, it is difficult to pinpoint an exact grade on the Carleton scale to shoot for to be considered for admission to medical school in Ontario. As an estimate, students should aim for at least a 3.85 GPA on a 4.0 scale, which is equivalent to approximately 10.8 on Carleton’s 12.0 scale. The marks students obtain in the prerequisite courses for medical schools are often the most important. 

Each school has different requirements and pre-requisite courses so its important to do your research.


Extracurricular Activities

The Autobiographical or Character sketch is an important part of the medical school application process. It covers work, research, volunteering, awards, and extracurriculars. Volunteering and staying involved in your favorite hobbies is a great way to fill out the openings in your sketch. Be sure to keep information of all your contacts in order to complete your sketch quickly and efficiently.

When Should I Start?

As soon as possible. Medical schools love to see continuity. If you enjoy certain activities, continue to be involved in them throughout your university career. If you used to play soccer in high school, try intramurals in University.

What Should I Do?

Do what you love to do and do lots of it. Make time for the things you enjoy and integrate them into your schedule. The activities you pursue should reflect leadership and contribution to society. Doctors are the leaders in the medical community, so admissions committees like students that prove their leadership skills such as being a teaching assistant or taking on a supervisory role.

Sports facilities, hospitals, research centers, schools, old age homes - anywhere that grabs your interest will be perfect. While volunteering at a health-related facility is not absolutely necessary, it can help you determine if you are comfortable in that type of setting and can be an asset when applying to medical school.

Many medical schools also like to see that students have research experience, as it shows that you like to learn new things. Being able to work part-time while attending school is another positive attribute to show that you can handle multiple activities at once.

See Get Involved in Science for more information about clubs, societies, and volunteer opportunities.


Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

It is recommended that students take the MCAT during the summer of their second or third year because the test covers material often covered during first or second year courses. The MCAT Exam Website is a great resource about the test. 

Students can either take a prep course or self study for the MCAT. Depending on how you choose to study, MCAT preparation can cost anywhere from $300 to $2,000.

MCAT Self-Study Options

Self study is the cheaper of the two options though you need the discipline to study and there is quite a lot of material (7 books from Kaplan) that could be daunting. But if you prefer self study and have the discipline then it may be a better option since the course sometimes feels slow and will make you want to study less. If you are highly self-motivated, you may choose to prepare for the MCAT on your own. While there are many ways to guide your study, here are a few of the most popular guides:

MCAT Preparation Course Companies

Most companies that offer courses also offer book sets for self study that will come with online small lessons on the harder concepts and (usually) 4-5 full length practice MCATS.If you prefer structure when you study and would like the benefit of having someone guide you through the studying process, there are numerous MCAT prep courses to choose from. Some of the largest companies include:

The course is expensive and that is the major con. The pros are that the people taking the course will have insider information and tips about writing while also keeping you on track. It will also be helpful if you write the MCAT after you took the class (so if you are writing the MCAT after 3rd or 4th year but need to know first year bio information) the presence of a teacher type person will help. 


Medical School Interviews

Med school interviews follow the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI). This format uses many short independent assessments to get a total score for each candidate. When you arrive at the interview, you will be asked to stand in front of a door with a scenario or question taped to it. You will be given a specific amount of time to review the question and then will walk into the room. For the next ten minutes, you will answer the question or solve the problem to the best of your ability.

The questions in the MMI are created to learn about your ethics, problem solving abilities, passion, and leadership skills. Many of the questions do not have correct or incorrect answers. For example:

You live in a condo with a swimming pool and gym. Your best friend asks for your key so she can use the gym and pool because she can't afford the monthly gym pass at the public gym. But regulations state that non-tenants are not allowed to use the pool and gym. What do you do?

The Science Student Success Centre holds a MMI practice session each winter term. Spots fill up quickly, so make sure to check the Upcoming Events Calendar and then sign up to attend on Carleton Central by clicking on the Science Student Success Centre link under mySuccess.

Carleton Interview Resources

Co-op provides one-on-one interview practice to prepare for medical school entrance interviews.

Co-operative Education
1400 CTTC
Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30
(613) 520-4331
co-opprogram [at] carleton.ca


Admission Requirements for Medical Schools in Canada

Medical school admission requirements change frequently, so please check the school's website for the most up to date information. Here are the basic admission requirements for each school in Canada as of fall 2015.

Medical Schools in Ontario

  • No required courses
  • MCAT required: only verbal reasoning
  • No required courses
  • MCAT not required
  • 2 semesters of humanities or social sciences
  • 4 semesters of courses from:
    • Biochemistry (without lab)
    • General chemistry (with lab)
    • Organic chemistry (with lab)
  • 2 semesters of biology/zoology with lab
  • MCAT not required
  • No required courses
  • MCAT required
  • 4 semesters of life sciences (example: biology, biochemistry)
  • 2 semesters of humanities or social sciences
  • MCAT required: as a cutoff for interviews
  • No required courses
  • MCAT required

Medical Schools Outside of Ontario

  • 2 semesters of chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, physics and English
  • 1 semester of statistics and biochemistry
  • MCAT required
  • 2 semesters of English, biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry
  • MCAT required
  • No required courses
  • MCAT required
  • No required courses
  • MCAT required
  • 2 semesters of biochemistry
  • MCAT required
  • 2 semesters with lab of biology, physics and chemistry
  • 1 semester of organic chemistry with labs
  • recommended: biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology and statistics
  • MCAT is optional
  • 2 semesters of English
  • MCAT required
  • No required courses
  • MCAT required

UMHS St. Kitts Agreement

Carleton University has signed an agreement with the University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts, which reserves seats in their medical school for Carleton students who meet the terms of the agreement. There are two options for admission to UMHS through the agreement. One is designed for students who are currently attending Carleton, while the second is designed for students who are completing high school:

Honours BSc – MD Final Year Direct Entry Program

Students applying for admission must declare their intent to apply to this program between May and September preceding their final year of study at Carleton. Students must complete the following prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA of 10.0 with no grade below B-:

  • BIOL 1103
  • BIOL 1104
  • CHEM 1001
  • CHEM 1002
  • CHEM 2203
  • CHEM 2204
  • BIOC/BIOL 2200
  • PHYS 1007
  • One semester of Math (Calculus or Statistics recommended)
  • Two semesters of English or a related writing-intensive course

Students must also:

  • Maintain a minimum CGPA of 10.0 at the time of application
  • Submit an essay detailing your leadership roles and extracurricular activities during high school, your reasons for choosing to pursue a career in medicine, and reasons why the selection committee should select you for the Honours BSc – MD Final Year Direct Entry Program
  • Complete a successful interview with a UMHS admission officer
  • Receive a recommendation from the Science Student Success Officer or person in a similar role at Carleton
  • Complete an Honours BSc degree at Carleton

BSc – MD High School Direct Entry Program

Students applying for admission must declare their intent to apply to this program between May and September preceding their first year of study at Carleton. We then recommend enrolling in a four-year honours degree program at Carleton. If admitted to UMHS during winter of your third year, you can then switch to a General BSc degree to graduate at the end of three years of study and attend UMHS the following September.

High school requirements:

  • Have an admission average about 80%
  • Enrol in a four-year honours degree program at Carleton University
  • Submit an essay detailing your leadership roles and extracurricular activities during high school, your reasons for choosing to pursue a career in medicine, and reasons why the selection committee should select you for the BSc – MD High School Direct Entry Program
  • Complete a successful interview with a UMHS admission officer

Students must complete the following prerequisite Carleton courses with a minimum GPA of 10.0 with no grade below B-:

  • BIOL 1103
  • BIOL 1104
  • CHEM 1001
  • CHEM 1002
  • CHEM 2203
  • CHEM 2204
  • BIOC 2200
  • PHYS 1007
  • One semester of Math (Calculus or Statistics recommended)
  • Two semesters of English or a related writing intensive course

Students must also:

  • Maintain a minimum CGPA of 10.5 at the end of the summer preceding third year
  • Actively participate in extracurricular activities while attending Carleton
  • Receive a recommendation from the Science Student Success Officer or person in a similar role at Carleton
  • Complete a General BSc degree at Carleton

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