All use the (OMSAS), an online centralized application service to accept and assess applications from thousands of students annually. This blog will cover all the sections of the OMSAS application, tips on how to create a strong application, and the unique application requirements of each medical school in Ontario.
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The Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS) is the centralized service for applicants to all 6 medical schools in Ontario. Through this service, students can create an application for an apply to any or all Ontario medical schools, although each school will have its own unique application components and requirements, too.
The 6 medical schools in Ontario are:
Ontario’s medical schools are highly regarded as some of the best in Canada and around the world, and they all receive thousands of applications per year. Therefore, these are also some of the most competitive . Just like , the acceptance rates for medical schools in Ontario vary, but on average accept under 10% of all applicants. So, if you are looking to apply to medical schools in Ontario, or medical schools in Canada in general, here’s some sage advice from our admissions expert Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD and graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine:
“In Canada, there are so few medical schools that it really is a numbers game... My official advice is to apply broadly, especially if you are applying within Canada.” – Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
Keeping this advice in mind, do not forget the amount of competition you are up against. For example, the acceptance rate for the University of Toronto medical school is 6%, whereas the acceptance rate for Queen’s University medical school is just 2.71%. Getting accepted to any of these medical schools is a great achievement, and to do so requires mastering the OMSAS and creating a stand-out application.
The first step will be to create an OMSAS profile and complete the registration. Students who attended university in Ontario will already have a account, which they can use to apply through OMSAS. If you already have an OUAC account, do not create a new one. Once you’ve created an account, fill in your personal and background information, including your school selection choices. This initial section can take some time to complete with the necessary accuracy and details, so gather the necessary documentation you’ll need, such as your government-issued ID or course information.
Through OMSAS, you will create one application, which will be sent to the Ontario medical schools you indicate. Double check you have completed the application in full, including the supplementary application components required by each individual school, such as the University of Toronto brief personal essays or the Northern Ontario School of Medicine supplementary questionnaire, since you will not be able to make changes or additions after the final deadline.
All applicants to Ontario medical schools may also be asked to submit to a criminal record check and be asked to complete a basic CPR course and submit their certification to OMSAS.
Indigenous and international applicants
Indigenous applicants can apply to Ontario medical schools through a separate Indigenous applicant stream. Applicants will need to provide proof of status, a letter of support and a personal statement and a as part of their application. More information on the application requirements for the different medical schools can be found on the OMSAS website.
International applicants can apply to medical schools in Ontario only if they are Canadian citizens or have permanent resident (landed immigrant) status. Currently, only McMaster University and the University of Toronto medical schools accept international students without these requirements, including students from the US. Keep in mind that if you are a Canadian citizen or Ontario resident who chooses a medical school outside of Canada, you will be considered an in Canada regardless of your citizenship status. This can impact your chances of matching to a residency program in Ontario or elsewhere in Canada.
It’s important to check the applicant responsibilities and guidelines on the before you begin. Creating an application takes time and should be done carefully to ensure your best chance of success. Here’s a list of materials you’ll need as you begin filling out your OMSAS application:
- University course list or unofficial transcripts
- Names and contact details for your references
- Proof of permanent resident (landed immigrant) status (not required if you are a Canadian citizen)
- Academic CV (University of Toronto MD/PhD applicants only)
- Disability-based Consideration documents (if applicable)
- Indigenous documents (proof of status, letter of support, personal statement, etc.)
- Certificate for CPR Basic Rescuer Course
Next, we’ll look at each section of the general OMSAS application and what you need to know.
Now, let’s go over each step in more detail.
Once you’ve started your OMSAS application, you’ll need to fill out your personal and background information in detail. This initial section includes your personal information, such as your date of birth and demographic information, and your contact information. In the “other information” section you can explain any discrepancies or hardships in your academic background. For instance, if you took a or you have a learning disability which affected your grades, you can discuss it here. Be honest and straightforward in your explanation and include it only if it is something significant the medical schools should consider as part of your application.
Next, you’ll fill out your academic history and course information. This will be a detailed timeline of your undergraduate studies, so it’s a good idea to have your course information on hand. You can typically access your course information online or contact the registrar’s office of your university for information on your transcripts. Remember that you can request an online transfer of your transcripts through your OMSAS application. This way, OMSAS will arrange to have your transcripts sent to the organization directly. If you are an Ontario university graduate, your transcripts may already be in the OMSAS system. If you attended a university outside of Ontario, you should request your transcripts be sent directly to OMSAS.
You can also request your university to mail a paper copy of your transcripts. They must be requested from your university registrar’s office, be printed on official paper and bear the school’s official seal and signatures. Photocopies and faxes will not be accepted.
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You’ll also want to indicate that you have completed the for specific medical schools. Here you will also select which schools you want to send your application to, as well as any combined programs you are interested in, such as an . Many students wonder whether they should apply to all 6 medical schools in Ontario or whether they should be more selective. Ultimately, the choice is up to you, but we strongly encourage you to spend some time reflecting on which schools fit your needs and goals the best. Here's Dr. Jaime Cazes again, sharing his reasons for applying to and attending the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine:
“The first thing I looked for in a medical school was location. During my premed years I developed a lot of connections with many people in the Toronto medical scene and so it was important for me to try to stay nearby to continue to foster those connections for a lifelong career in medicine. I also had most of my family in and around Toronto and so it was important for me to stay nearby so they could continue to have those supports close to me. After this, I looked at the resource is an academic structure/curriculum of the programs. Ultimately, you are going to be investing significant amounts of money, time, and energy into this program and so you want to make sure that it is best suited to how you learn. Lastly, I wanted to see if the school would support and foster my extracurricular activities and hobbies. Checking out the various school clubs was a great way to get an idea of this and to talk about these passions during my medical school interviews.” – Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
So do not take this step lightly. Take your time to review each medical school in Ontario, and only then choose which of the schools are the best fit for you.
Completing this first section of the application is time-consuming and requires attention-to-detail. It’s a great idea to write down all the important OMSAS deadlines and dates in your calendar, gather all the required documents and keep careful track of all the moving pieces of your application. You’ll need to dedicate several hours to filling out your application, and set aside time to write your admission essays, the and other application components required by the different schools.
Here's how we helped our students get into medical schools in Canada!
1. GPA and transcripts
OMSAS uses a 4.0 GPA scale to calculate your undergraduate academic record. All applicants will have their grades converted to the OMSAS scale so medical schools can evaluate students equitably. In the calculations, all your eligible courses, including any repeat courses and electives, will be considered to determine your cumulative OMSAS GPA score. OMSAS will only calculate scores from universities in the US or Canada, as it considers grades from international universities to be non-convertible. Still have time to boost your GPA? Here’s a tip from Dr. Cazes on how to choose your prerequisites and electives:
“You also need to think about which courses won’t hurt your GPA. If a school only requires you to have 1 credit in a life science or chemistry, there is no difference between a 1st year course and a 4th year course in their eyes – all they will see is a checkbox filling the requirement and your GPA.” – Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
Since most Canadian universities do not use the OMSAS scale, you can determine your cumulative GPA using our . This will tell you where you stand in terms of each medical school’s average GPA. While vary, you will want to achieve as high a GPA as possible to get into Ontario medical schools. If you want to know and are still an undergrad, start working now to boost your GPA! According to our admissions expert Dr. Jaime Cazes, the GPA will be a far more important aspect of your application than MCAT, for example:
“I do believe there is more emphasis on GPA, and in Canada it seems that competitive GPAs are only getting higher and higher each year. The thought here is that a GPA is a good assessment of your accomplishment over time as opposed to a one-time standardized test.” – Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
Average Accepted GPA at Ontario Medical Schools
- Queen’s University: 3.76
- NOSM: 3.78
- University of Toronto: 3.93
- McMaster University: 3.90
- University of Ottawa: 3.5
- Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry: 3.93
When choosing which medical schools to apply to, take these average GPA scores into consideration, calculate your OMSAS GPA and evaluate where you are the best candidate based on your academic performance. For instance, both the University of Ottawa and Queen’s consider your cumulative GPA score. While the University of Toronto has a very high minimum required GPA of 3.6 on the OMSAS 4.0 scale.
Just like GPA requirements, MCAT requirements and minimum scores vary by school. For example, McMaster University considers only your MCAT CARS score, which must be 129 or above, so you may consider an . The University of Toronto asks for a minimum MCAT score of 500, with a 125 minimum score in each section. The average accepted MCAT score at Schulich Medical School is 506. NOSM and the University of Ottawa medical school are among those . Queen’s University medical school does not release MCAT scores.
While the MCAT scores at Ontario medical schools do not seem as competitive, submitting a high score can boost your chances of acceptance. Here’s what Dr. Jaime Cazes observed about the MCAT while he was applying to medical schools in Ontario and other parts of Canada:
“From what I have observed, MCAT matters only to an extent at most schools. It serves as a flag and a baseline cutoff for most people. I really only think the students who score in the top 90+ percentile across all categories have this as an advantage. If you meet the cutoffs for most schools in Canada, it falls more to the wayside.” – Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
It’s best to create your ideal and get started early. You should think about finding the to help you study so you can achieve the best score possible. And don’t forget to check in Canada so you can determine when the best time is to take the test.
Once you’ve written the MCAT, you must arrange for the AAMC to release your scores to OMSAS at least 3 days before the final deadline. You can send your scores to OMSAS by logging in to your AAMC account and clicking on “Send Scores Electronically.” Check that your scores were received in your document tracking.
3. Autobiographical Sketch (ABS)
Your OMSAS Autobiographical Sketch (ABS) is a compilation of all your extracurricular, non-academic activities since the age of 16. This list of activities will give the admissions committees at your chosen medical schools insight into who you are, how you fit with the school’s mission and core values, and what skills you possess that are complementary to the study of medicine.
There are 6 categories for your Sketch:
- Volunteer Activities
- Extracurricular Activities
- Awards and Accomplishments
The activities you choose are up to you but remember to focus on quality over quantity. When writing his sketch, Dr. Mistry “reflected on my core values and interests and tied that into why medicine is the best fit.” Select the that best demonstrate your leadership, community service, communication skills, altruism and cooperative skills. Research, clinical experience or healthcare-related experience are especially good choices to include, although these are not required. Volunteering at a medical clinic, participating in medical research or taking a job as a medical assistant or similar role are all great ways to gain some experience. But volunteering at your local animal shelter or helping with a local seniors’ club are also ways to show you have made a commitment in your community. It’s a good idea to read the mission statement and values of the schools you plan to apply to, so you can emphasize how you embody those values and how you will contribute to the school’s mission.
It’s best to choose activities that you have dedicated a significant amount of time to, that you are passionate about, and that have taught you important skills or life lessons. Keep the framework in mind when choosing activities for your sketch so you can explain how your extracurriculars demonstrate your alignment with these values. This way, admission committees will see that you are committed to the study of medicine and possess the traits and qualities of an ideal physician. Dr. Jaime Cazes, who was a member of the admissions committee at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, shares his view of which activities and experiences are valuable when the committee review the sketch:
“We love to see people who are passionate about medicine as well as things outside of medicine! Finding things that you are truly passionate about is great. It can be easy for people to look through your application and spot the “CV stuffers”. And these things are activities that you don’t have a long commitment with, aren’t passionate about, or that seem like things you just do to pad your CV with. I would highly recommend participating in activities OUTSIDE of academics or medicine as these truly do make you seem well rounded and are amazing opportunities for you to look to for stories, or lessons learned that you can talk about on your application or interviews.” - Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD, former admissions committee member at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
Your sketch should include both structured and non-structured activities, and at least one entry for each category. Unstructured activities can include any experiences you have which were informal or not coordinated by an organization, for example, volunteering to assist a neighbor with errands. For each entry, you’ll need to provide a verifier’s name and contact information.
Each Ontario medical school will have its own requirements for your sketch and may have additional questions. For instance, the Schulich ABS includes the Abbreviated Autobiographical Sketch, wherein you will identify 8 entries from your sketch which embody Schulich’s core values. The NOSM sketch includes supplementary questions students must answer in regards to their application. OMSAS will organize the information provided in your sketch as per each school’s requirements, so provide as complete and detailed information as possible. We will explore each school’s application components in detail later on.
For your application, you’ll need to contact 3 individual references. These referees will not need to submit traditional medical school recommendation letters, since these will not be accepted. Instead, your referees will need to complete a Confidential Assessment Form (CAF) through OSMAS. Your 3 referees must be:
- 1 academic- or employment-related referee
- 1 non-academic referee
- 1 referee of your choosing
When asking your referees for a reference, students must explain that additional letters of reference will not be accepted and that the referee will need to fill out the CAF. But along with being strategic in who you pick to be your reference, you also have to remember to ask correctly. Dr. Neel Mistry, a graduate of the University of Ottawa, says that he “would like to be approached in a polite and friendly manner.” This means taking the time to write a thoughtful note or email, but also a substantive one; meaning you have to describe, as Dr. Mistry’s said, “why I would make a good referee.” Another important thing to remember about how to ask for a letter of reference, according to Dr. Mistry, is to include in the ask “tangible examples”, which are where students are supposed to show “where they went above and beyond in a patient’s care.”
Once your referees have confirmed they will fill out the CAF, you can then enter their email address in the proper section of your OMSAS application. The form will be sent to your referees to fill out electronically. They can then submit the CAF directly to OMSAS. Students are able to check the status of their references through their OMSAS account. Referees may be changed only if the CAF has not been started yet.
5. CASPer Test
McMaster University, Queen’s University and the University of Ottawa are the 3 These schools evaluate your CASPer score as part of the initial screening of applicants before interviews take place. Your CASPer score is considered along with the rest of your application when decisions are made about interview invitations. So while your CASPer score isn’t the single most important piece of your application, it can help secure you an interview, which can boost your shot of getting accepted.
But a lot students struggle with it. Christopher Czarnecki, a Canadian applicant to medical schools in Canada and , said that “I've been stuck at the bottom for the CASPer test due to my slow typing speed for years now.” Many students are still adjusting to the content and format of the CASPer test, and it hasn’t been easy for everyone.
So, you’ll need to know and study up with some practice . Being ready for this particular challenge will not only increase your chances of acceptance but it will make the test day much easier, just like the MCAT. With practice, you can get ready ahead of your .
6. Personal Statement and Essays
The last piece of your OMSAS application will depend on which schools you choose to apply to. These include any written sections of your application, such as admission essays, personal statements, letters of intent and secondary essays like the . Again, each school may have a different ask of its applicants. But whatever requirements your school has, it’s never easy writing a personal statement. One of the hardest things? Making it personal.
Melissa, our student, found that she “struggled making my personal statement personal,” which, as a reapplicant, affected her admission decisions. Eventually, she realized that her personal statements failed to “incorporate my feelings, motives, and life stories that inspired me to pursue medicine,” which are all things that you should remember to talk about in your statement. This advice is seconded by Dr. Mistry, a graduate of the University of Ottawa, who says that you should “remember to use specific personal examples throughout your statement to make it more impactful and memorable for the readers.” Of course, this advice won’t matter if your school has a different standard. For example, it might be good advice if you’re applying to U of T, since it asks students to write . Whereas the NOSM requires you to provides short, supplementary questions to answer. We’ll look at the specifics of each school’s unique application components next.
1. McMaster University Medical School
Applicants to the McMaster University MD program must complete 15 full or 30 half courses of undergraduate university coursework. The minimum GPA requirement at McMaster is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and the minimum cutoff for the section is 123, so if you’re score is below this score your application will not go forward. Students who obtained a diploma from a CEGEP must complete an additional two years of university coursework before the application deadline. All applicants must also complete the MCAT and CASPer test before the application deadline.
McMaster uses the multiple mini-interview () format for its applicants. Interviews are held in March and April of the application cycle, and all final decisions (admission, waitlist, or admission declined) are sent out on the second Tuesday in May. Around 90% of interview invitations are awarded to Ontario residents, with the remaining 10% being awarded to all other applicants.
McMaster accepts international students who are eligible to attend university in Canada and evaluates them through the regular applicant stream. If English is not your first language, you will need to submit proof of English Language Proficiency.
2. Queen’s University Medical School
Queen’s Medical School requires students to complete 15 full or 30 half university courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. All applicants are required to complete the MCAT and CASPer test for admission.
Queen’s uses both the and panel interview when evaluating students. Of the applicant pool, around 100-130 students are admitted each year, with 9 seats reserved for members of the Canadian Armed Forces. If your goal is to become a in Canada, Queen’s medical school might be a top choice for you.
Queen’s medical school also offers the combined MD/PhD and MD/MSc programs, which have separate application requirements. For these programs you’ll need to submit:
- A current Curriculum Vitae or
- A letter of intent indicating your research interests and accomplishments and a
- Abstracts of any publications
- 2 additional confidential letters of recommendation focusing on your research accomplishments and potential to become a physician-scientist
Queen’s accepts students from all Canadian provinces with citizenship or permanent resident status and does not give preference to students from Ontario. Indigenous and Black applicants can apply through separate admission streams. There are 4 seats reserved for Indigenous students and 10 seats reserved for Black applicants through the Queen’s Accelerated Route to Medical School program.
Interested in applying to QuARMS? Watch this video for our complete guide!
3. University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
There are two unique additions to the University of Toronto medical school application: the brief personal essays and the personal statement.
Along with meeting the GPA minimum of 3.6 (3.3 for graduate training), applicants will need to complete two brief personal essays which answer the following questions in 250 words or less:
- The use of artificial intelligence is increasingly being used to replace or assist humans in our daily lives. The basis of artificial intelligence are the complex algorithms that drive the technology. In your opinion, what values, ethical and societal implications should be considered when developing such algorithms for assessing applicants to medical school?
- The Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva said: “it isn't that you need time to think, you need time to feel.” How does this statement connect with your future career in the field of medicine?
As part of the ABS, students will need to add a brief personal statement which answers this question in 500 words or less:
- Write about an impactful experience from your Autobiographical Sketch that demonstrates your personal growth, character and values. How did this experience prepare you for medical school?
All three of these supplemental admissions essays will be evaluated by the University of Toronto medical school admissions committee. This evaluation is based on the following values and criteria:
To learn how to make your U of T essays stand out in your medical school application, keep these values in mind when writing your essays and compiling your sketch. You are encouraged to share these criteria with your referees, too, so they can better answer the questions on the Confidential Assessment Form and present the best possible recommendation for you.
4. Schulich School of Medicine
Admission to Schulich is highly competitive, so it is recommended that applicants have a GPA and MCAT score above the average and strong references for their application. Interviews at Schulich consist of a 3-person panel interview for chosen applicants. Interviews can greatly impact admission decisions, so performing well in this interview is an absolute must.
Aside from the interview, Schulich also employs the Western Abbreviated Autobiographical Sketch (AABS) in addition to your regular OMSAS Sketch. The AABS asks you to identify activities from your Sketch and link them to Schulich’s core values:
- Teamwork and Leadership
- Respect for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- Social Accountability and Responsibility
- Self-directed Learning, Problem-Solving and Critical Inquiry
You can submit a total of 8 AABS entries. Each entry can have a description of the activity and how it relates to Schulich’s values, of no more than 600 characters. You will need to provide a verifier for each activity.
5. Northern Ontario School of Medicine
The Northern Ontario School of Medicine considers all applicants regardless of their province of residency. All applicants are evaluated based on their cumulative GPA, their ABS and supplementary questions, and context. “Context” refers to a context score the school assigns to applicants who are either from Northern Ontario or have lived in Northern Ontario and other Northern regions in Canada for a long time, Francophone, or Indigenous backgrounds, as the school has a mission to recruit students from these communities. The scoring weigh of each of these components is approximately 1/3. The admissions committee then weights each applicant’s candidacy based on their application score (50%) and their interview score (50%).
A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required. NOSM uses the OMSAS GPA conversion calculator to determine your cumulative GPA. There are no prerequisite courses, but students must have completed a 4-year undergraduate degree from a recognized institution. Students with graduate degrees are considered in a separate application pool.
ABS and supplementary questions
Your NOSM Autobiographical Sketch and supplementary questions section is an opportunity to align your background, experiences and values with the core values of this medical school. All categories of your sketch are equally valued, but experiences which demonstrate your community service, interest or background in working in remote or rural areas, serving underserviced populations or cross-cultural experiences will be especially important to highlight. Review the NOSM mission statement and values and reflect on which experiences you have which demonstrate these values.
In your Autobiographical Sketch, aim to answer the following questions:
- Considering NOSM University’s self-directed, small group, distributed learning environment, select 1 entry from your ABS and describe how it has specifically prepared you for being a medical student at NOSM University.
- Select 1 entry from your ABS that has had a significant impact on your personal growth and describe how this experience has influenced your development and prepared you to be a medical student at NOSM University.
- Considering NOSM University’s social accountability mandate, select 1 entry from your ABS and describe how this experience has prepared you to learn and work in Northern Ontario and/or rural/remote settings.
In your OMSAS application to NOSM, you’ll also be asked to answer these supplementary questions:
- Describe how you have developed resilience and coping mechanisms. How will you use these skills to support yourself during your medical training in making informed and rational decisions when faced with difficult circumstances?
- Describe an experience you have had interacting with individuals from backgrounds different from yours. How would this experience translate to working within a health care environment and/or with patients?
- Provide a specific example of when your work or performance was criticized. Explain how you responded to the criticism and how this experience contributed to your personal development/growth.
- NOSM University’s Social Accountability mandate is to improve the health of the people and the communities of Northern Ontario. Describe how you plan to embody this mandate as a medical student and future physician, and how this has factored into your decision to apply to NOSM University.
An applicant’s context is reviewed based on the following geographic criteria:
6. University of Ottawa Med School
The University of Ottawa med school is one of two Ontario medical schools which offers both English and French language MD programs. Students can indicate their choice in their OMSAS application.
Indigenous, Inuit, Métis and Black applicants, as well as Canadian Armed Forces members can apply to the UOttawa med school through separate admission streams. The medical school also reserves two seats for students of low socioeconomic status through the Social Accountability Initiative. Full information on the University of Ottawa medical school’s diversity and inclusion, and alternate admission pathways is available on the school’s website.
For all applicants, a cumulative GPA of 3.5 must be presented. Applicants are also required to take the CASPer test. The MCAT is not an admission requirement.
As part of your Autobiographical Sketch for the University of Ottawa med school, you will be asked to identify your top 3 activities in each category that you feel have best prepared you for a career in medicine.
When writing his application, Dr. Mistry focused on three main themes, which were, “lifelong learning, intellectual complexity, and ability to lead.” Of course, everyone’s autobiographical sketch will include something different, but you should follow a narrative line, or establish “themes” similar to Dr. Mistry and then provide examples of where you embodied them.
It’s important to note that any candidates who previously enrolled in and withdrew or were excluded from an MD program will not be considered eligible by the admissions committee at UOttawa med school.
Although it’s a unified application system, you can still find ways to make your OMSAS application stand out and employ strategies to increase your likelihood of acceptance. There’s some key ways to improve the process of preparing a medical school application for yourself, too. Here are our top 5 tips when filling out your OMSAS application:
1. Start early
Dr. Neel Mistry, MD and graduate of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine, shares his most important advice when it comes to medical school applications:
“It is advisable to start as early as possible (possibly months from due date) so that you can extensively revise the statements, have others review it and provide feedback.” – Dr. Neel Mistry, MD, University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine
Starting your medical school applications as early as possible is the best way to give yourself plenty of time to gather documents, ask for references, write essays and study for the MCAT. Most premeds start their applications the year before they plan to matriculate, and OMSAS recommends taking anywhere from 5 to 25 hours to fill out your application. Since the OMSAS application deadline is in early October and applicants may need to write supplementary essays and so on, give yourself at least 6 months to a year before the deadline to prepare. This will give you enough time to study for and write the MCAT, ensure you have all the necessary prerequisite courses, required documentation and time to compile your references, extracurriculars and admission essays. Once your application is submitted and the deadline has passed, you’ll have several weeks to dedicate to interview preparation, hunting for and final arrangements.
2. Apply selectively
Although there are only 6 medical schools in Ontario and it is tempting to apply to all of them at once, you will still need to be selective and careful in preparing your applications. You can certainly apply to all 6 medical schools in Ontario and follow the advice of Dr. Cazes that we bring up earlier in the article, but make sure to cCheck the minimum required GPA and MCAT scores for each school to determine if you are eligible, and that you’ve completed all theany prerequisite courses for each school you’re applying to:
“Check EACH school’s requirements and see if you have courses or pre-reqs that fill those. You should regularly touch base with admissions at each school to verify that a course you are completing actually fills a pre-req before you do it – otherwise you may be stuck wasting time on a course that doesn’t even fill the reqs.” – Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine.
One thing to consider is whether you are applying through OMSAS as an Ontario resident or out-of-province applicant. Some medical schools will give preference to in-province applicants or special consideration for Indigenous applicants. If you are a Francophone applicant, you have the option of applying through the French language admissions stream at the University of Ottawa or NOSM.
At some medical schools in Canada, there are application streams for both English and French language instruction. French-speaking or Francophone applicants can pursue an MD degree from the University of Ottawa or the NOSM with French language instruction.
With these factors in mind, determine which of the 6 schools are the best fit for your career goals, applicant candidacy and values.
3. Review and proofread your application
Before you hit submit on your OMSAS application, review your document tracker, your SAM system and the entirety of your application. Check that the information is correct, that you are not missing any important documents and that OMSAS has received your references, MCAT scores and transcripts. Proofread your essays and Sketch for errors. If you have time, ask someone to proofread your written sections for you, as it doesn’t hurt to have another set of eyes. If you can, ask a or admissions consultant to review your application for you.
This option is what Brian Blair went with when he was preparing his essays. Brian remembers that “I'm kind of a slow writer and whatever I do read I don't feel very strongly about.” He worked with us to “make my messages impactful; and my sentences more coherent,” while his advisors also “made suggestions that really helped me sell myself.” So you don’t only want to proofread for errors, but also to make sure you’re “selling yourself” in an interesting way.
Once you submit your application, you won’t be able to make any changes before it is sent to your selected medical schools. If you do have any questions about your application, you can email OMSAS through the SAM system.
4. Weigh offers of acceptance
OMSAS applicants can only accept one offer of admission to any of the 6 medical schools at one time. If you accept an offer from a medical school, OMSAS will remove you from the of all other schools. This means that if you decide to take an offer of acceptance, be certain that you will enroll in that program, as any other offers you might receive will be automatically declined. It’s best to wait until offers of acceptance have all been sent out and evaluate your options before making a final decision. If you have an offer of acceptance but are on the waitlist for another school you prefer, check what the deadlines for acceptance and waitlist information for these schools so you don’t inadvertently deal with .
Each school manages their own waitlist, so consult individual school websites for further information on waitlists and offers of acceptance. For deferment requests, applicants need to contact individual schools directly.
5. Don’t forget interview prep
After your OMSAS application is submitted, congratulations! There is a waiting period before offers of acceptance are sent out in May, but interviews of med school candidates are typically held between February and April. This means you’ll have several weeks of . To get ready for your interview, use or hire a who can walk you through the process and coach you on your interview performance. Alexa Viniotis, who received multiple acceptances but eventually accepted an offer from , found that mock interviews “simulated the actual nerves that I would experience on interview day,” which eventually helped give her that “extra boost of confidence I needed.” Many medical schools in Canada use the multiple mini-interview (MMI) format developed at McMaster University. And similar to CASPer, many students are unfamiliar with how MMI works, and the different types of scenarios and question types you encounter in an MMI. Brush up on some MMI practice questions to get comfortable with this interview format or take a look at some multiple mini-interview tips and tricks to learn how to ace it.
Interview prep is critical at this stage since your interview may very well determine if you get an offer of acceptance or not. Sophie, who got into McGill, was not doing well in her interviews. Despite her high GPA and MCAT, she admits that her interview performance was “holding me back.” She says that she needed help “because most medical schools in Canada don’t give you feedback,” which can be frustrating, especially if you don’t get in. But getting no feedback also means that you end up repeating your mistakes, since, as Sophie found “you really don't know what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong.”
So, what helped Sophie? She says that “personalized feedback” was the key for her, as participating in mock interviews with admissions consultants “provided me with good structures to answer different types of questions.” Sophie says that this type of preparation gave her “a clear strategy in mind” for her actual test day along with that much-needed boost of “confidence I needed on interview day.” Many medical schools in Canada use the multiple mini interview () format developed at McMaster University. Brush up on some to get comfortable with this interview format or take a look at some and tricks to learn how to ace it.
Interview prep is critical at this stage since your interview may very well determine if you get an offer of acceptance or not. After reviewing your application package, admission committees will use your interview to get to know you as an individual, so this is the time to stand out and make an impression.
Check out these hardest MMI questions you MUST know!
The application deadlines and important dates for OMSAS apply to all applicants to Ontario medical schools. Note that some medical schools will have additional important dates, so consult individual school websites for the most current deadlines. Also check the official OMSAS website for the most up to date deadlines.
Getting into and preparing an application is no easy feat, but for those applying to medical schools in Ontario, the OMSAS service is there to streamline and unify the process. Students applying through OMSAS should remember to read instructions carefully, complete the application as thoroughly as possible, and give themselves plenty of time to complete each section. When selecting which schools to apply to, keep in mind the additional application components you’ll need to fill out, and research the values, mission and curriculum of the medical program you want to attend. If you decide you want assistance in your medical application journey, consider hiring a , who can guide you on applying specifically to Canadian medical schools.
1. What is OMSAS?
OMSAS, or the Ontario Medical School Application Service, is a centralized application portal for all 6 medical schools in Ontario. Applicants to all Ontario medical school programs in the province must submit their application through OMSAS.
2. What is the OMSAS GPA?
OMSAS uses a 4.0 GPA scale for all applicants. Since OMSAS receives applications from Canada, US and international schools, applicants’ grades are converted to the OMSAS GPA scale for fairness and clarity.
3. What is the lowest GPA for medical school in Canada?
For most OMSAS medical schools, there is a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0 on the 4.0 scale. At the University of Toronto, the minimum GPA is 3.6 on the OMSAS scale.
4. Can I use the same verifier for multiple sketch entries?
Yes, this is acceptable.
5. I've received an offer of admission, how do I respond to it?
Log in to your application and select “Choices/Offers” in the “Applicant Links” menu. You should see your offer of admission displayed on this screen. Click on the offer and you'll be taken to the “Response to Offer” screen where you'll be able to respond.
6. I wasn't accepted this year, is there any way I can keep a copy of my application?
Yes, you can log into your account and then print off a copy of your application. Keep in mind that OMSAS will delete your account at the end of June, so make sure you do this beforehand.
7. I haven't received all of my references, can I still submit my application?
Yes, you can still submit your application if you haven't received all of your references. Keep in mind that OMSAS won't notify you when your references come in, so it's up to you to check your application and make sure all documents are received by the deadline. You'll be able to check that your references are received 1-3 business days after submitting your application.
8. Can I make changes to my application once it's submitted?
Once your application is submitted, you can make some changes (address, transcript request, etc.), but keep in mind you will not be able to make changes to the following areas once submitted:
- Academic record (except to add an institution)
- School submissions
- Autobiographical Sketch
- Status in Canada