December 13, 2018
Here's how to choose the right medical school based on recommendations from UMCAS

How to Choose the Right Medical School

There are 17 medical schools in Canada and over 170 medical schools in the USA. That includes both the traditional MD granting institutions as well as the DO schools. There are also close to 40 private medical schools in the Caribbean region. How do you apply to all these schools?

If you’re planning on trying your hand at Canadian schools, you’ll have to apply to each school individually except for the 5-6 that are in the province of Ontario. In this case, you can use their central online application portal – the Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS).

For US-based schools, there are a few options. There’s the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) for the vast majority of the MD-granting schools, and the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS) because Texas likes to do things differently, apparently. For the DO schools, you’ll use the AACOMAS or the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service. Yeah, we know….it’s a mouthful.

And finally, there’s us – the all-in-one application portal that connects you to medical schools in the Caribbean – UMCAS! The ‘U’ is for Univeral. By this point, we’re going to assume you can figure out what the rest stands for.

Regardless of where you go, at the end of the day, your patients don’t really care. A recent study proved that patients assume that their physician, who dons the white coat and stethoscope, is competent and skillful at their job, as mandated by their local/state medical licensing authority. Most patients don’t take the time to find the ‘wall of achievements’ that most physicians like to showcase, with their diplomas and degrees from their undergraduate studies, their medical degree, their residency diploma, their board certification and/or fellowship, etc…

Let’s face it; if you worked your butt off to become a physician – we say, FLAUNT IT! You deserve it. But just know that most of your patients really don’t care for any of that. So you’re really just doing it for yourself. So if that is true, then why not save yourself the added time, costs and stresses by planning out your roadmap from the very beginning?

If you’re thinking about applying to medical school, choose a school that works for you. Every medical school is essentially the same (see our blog on medical school curriculums) in their approach to training their students to become successful graduates and capable of completing any residency training program in the USA or Canada. Speaking of their curriculums, there may be slight differences in their syllabus, with some focusing more on primary care-related medicine, while others having a significant technology-driven involvement and so forth. Some schools, however, just choose to just parade their institution’s 300-year old name – figuring it would sell itself – and that’s partially true too.

But if you talk to most medical students, they’ll all tell you the same thing – at the end of the day, you need to learn and teach yourself this stuff on your own. Lecturers, labs, small groups, problem-based learning, and didactics are all employed across the board but if you aren’t diligent, focused, determined and hardworking, it doesn’t matter where you go to school – you’ll flunk out in a heartbeat, and if that happens, all you’ll have to show for it is a stack of hefty textbooks, your medical school sweatshirt, and school debt.

This is why UMCAS exists. Thousands of Americans, Canadians, and International students attend medical schools in the Caribbean, and the vast majority of them work towards residency training in North America. At UMCAS, we help simplify the application process by using one application form, shared by multiple schools that participate on our service, effectively putting the student in the driver’s seat when the acceptance offers start rolling in!

If you liked this article, check out our last feature on minorities in medical school.

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