Medical school acceptance rates in Canada are pretty competitive. It is important to understand your chances of admission while you still have time to strengthen your application and make yourself a more attractive candidate. If you want to get into medical school in Canada, then this blog will have some very useful information for you. We will go over Canada's medical school acceptance rates and their other admission statistics. We'll also share some proven strategies to make your application more competitive, thus improving your chances of getting into medical schools in Canada.

Please note: although we have made every effort to provide the most accurate information, admissions information changes frequently. Therefore, we encourage you to verify these details with the official university admissions office. You are responsible for your own results. BeMo does not endorse nor affiliate with any official universities, colleges, or test administrators and vice versa. If you see an error here, please notify us with the updated information, and we’ll send you a FREE copy of a BeMo ebook of your choosing! You can receive our Ultimate Guide to Med School Admissions, our Ultimate Guide to MMI Prep, our Ultimate Guide to Medical School Personal Statements & Secondary Essays or our Ultimate Guide to CASPer Prep! Please email us at content [at] bemoacademicconsulting.com with any corrections, and we’ll arrange to send you your free ebook upon confirming the information. 


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Medical school acceptance rates in Canada

There are seventeen universities in Canada that have a faculty or school of medicine, and all of them are incredibly selective. The country's average medical school acceptance rates are lower than 20%, which means that for every 100 applications that Canadian medical schools receive, less than 20 students get offered admission. Furthermore, because the medical schools are under provincial jurisdiction, most of the places are allocated to permanent residents of the province in which the medical school is located. That is why the acceptance rates are even lower for out-of-province applicants and international students who are only accepted at specific universities.

 

Most medical schools in Canada have a minimum GPA requirement, as well as MCAT and CASPer requirements. For example, the University of Ottawa medical school requires a cumulative GPA of at least 3.50/4.0. It is also worth noting that even the institutions that do not have a minimum requirement still have expectations that applicants need to meet if they want to be considered for admission. We recommend using the average statistics of the entering class as a guiding point. You should aim to have a GPA and MCAT score that is higher, or that at least matches the average of the school’s recently admitted class.

Take a look at the table below to find out the acceptance rates of the school that you might be interested in, as well as the average admission statistics of the current entering classes at Canadian medical schools:

*Not required by the school 

Picking the right medical schools: In-province vs Out-of-province

There is a common assumption that medical schools in Canada only care about applicants' academic backgrounds. While this is not entirely true, it is worth noting that Canadian medical schools do have very high expectations when it comes to academics, as evidenced by the average GPA and MCAT scores in the table above. That said, there are hundreds of applicants with good grades who face med school rejection from Canadian universities, and one of the main reasons for this is their province of residence. 

The number of places available for each of the seventeen medical schools in Canada is determined by provincial governments. It is based on the province's financial and educational resources, as well as their needs for the physician workforce. Currently, most of the country is experiencing a doctor shortage, and so the provinces want to encourage medical students to study, train and practice in their home provinces.

All this means is that you should remember that your location is one of the factors that admission committees will consider, so you need to think about what it means to be an in-province or out-of-province applicant. Applying to a medical school in your current province of residence can significantly increase your chances of admission. The provinces of Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta, are the only ones in the country with several universities that offer medical programs, giving residents of those provinces a few more options for applying to medical school.

Check out this infographic for a quick summary of the tips we will go over later:

Additionally, if you are going to be an out-of-province applicant, then you need to consider the admission statistics of the province that you have in mind. For example, out-of-province applicants have a very slim chance of getting into medical schools in Quebec. The prairie provinces also heavily favour in-province applicants, so schools like the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine, for example, can be quite difficult to get into if you are not a Saskatchewan resident.

If you are looking for out-of-province friendly schools, then you may want to consider the province of Ontario as it has quite a few institutions, like the University of Toronto medical school for example, that do not have such a high preference for in-province applicants. That said, not all medical schools in Ontario operate this way. Some prioritize applicants in a different way. For example, the Schulich school of medicine at Western University gives preference to applicants from Southwestern Ontario, and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) gives preference to applicants from francophone areas or rural Ontario. So if you are a French-speaking applicant from a different province, you still have a pretty good chance of getting into NOSM.

 

Tips to improve your chances of getting accepted to medical school in Canada

Even if you only apply to medical programs in your home province, the medical school acceptance rates in Canada for in-province applicants still suggest that there is a lot of competition. This is especially true for prestigious institutions like McGill and the University of British Colombia (UBC). So if you want to get admission to a medical school in Canada, you need to do more than just meet the requirements.

To stand out and beat the competition, you need to exceed the GPA and MCAT expectations. Medical schools use these numbers to assess your intellectual ability and readiness for medical school. You need to remember that most medical schools in Canada have a cut-off for GPAs and MCAT scores, which means that the other applicants that you are competing against have also met this minimum requirement. If you want the admissions committee to pay attention to you, you need to go above and beyond. 

So during undergrad, pay attention to your cumulative GPA and use high-yield study techniques to make sure it is as competitive as possible. It is also imperative that you give yourself enough time to study for the MCAT. We recommend that you verify the current MCAT test dates and release dates to determine when you should take the MCAT and create an MCAT study schedule at least six months ahead of your chosen test day. To maximize your chances of acing this challenging test, you should also consider investing in MCAT private tutoring.

Do you still have questions about the MCAT? This video is for you:

Exceeding the minimum GPA and MCAT requirements is a great start, but here are five more things that you can do to improve your chances of getting admitted to a medical school in Canada:

1. Ace the CASPer test

The Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics ( CASPer) is a 90-minute online situational judgment test required by 12 of the 17 medical programs in Canada, including the McMaster and Memorial medical schools. This situational judgment test is part of a multi-level assessment called Altus Suite, and it is supposed to assess applicants' soft skills, including empathy, professionalism, motivation, communication, and ethics. 

Several medical schools that require CASPer use it alongside other metrics such as MCAT scores as a screening tool to help determine which applicants can move on to medical school interviews, but its weight depends on each specific school. Some schools only use CASPer to help facilitate decisions on candidates who are on the cusp of being admitted, while others have a specific cut-off score for CASPer. Certain programs, like the Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine for example, actually pay special attention to candidates to score exceptionally high on the CASPer test. 

Contrary to popular belief, studies have shown that it is possible to prepare for situational judgment tests like CASPer. Do not fall prey to the common myth that you do not need to prepare for it. If you're not sure how to prepare for CASPer, you should start by reviewing CASPer test questions to have a better idea of what to expect. Our CASPer prep program at BeMo has helped students improve their CASPer score on practice tests by over 20%. So, if you want to improve your chances of getting into one of the medical schools that require CASPer, then you should consider working with one of our advisors to prepare for this judgment test. 

2. Use the CANmeds framework

It is important that you familiarize yourself with the skills and competencies that are identified in the CANmeds framework. Although you are not expected to show complete mastery of the  CANmeds roles as a medical school applicant, your medical school resume (or OMSAS Autobiographical Sketch for Ontario applicants) should include experiences that show that you already have a solid understanding of at least a few competencies. 

Not sure what the seven CANmeds roles are? check out this infographic:

Look for opportunities to increase your shadowing hours through virtual shadowing or clinical research opportunities for premedical students. These types of experiences will show a commitment to the field of medicine while also highlighting the fact that you are a scholar, which is one of the roles identified by the framework. 

3. Get the right referees

 Medical schools in Canada typically require applicants to submit two or three medical school recommendation letters. Some institutions will provide specific instructions on choosing your referees. For example, a school might indicate that they want two academic references and one personal reference or vice versa. Furthermore, some schools require letters of recommendation from all applicants, while others may ask for them at a later stage. For example, the University of Manitoba Max Rady College of Medicine only asks candidates who have been called for interviews to submit references. 

Whether you have been asked to submit your reference letter early or not, you should always secure your referees as early as possible. This not only gives them time to write a more compelling letter about your candidacy, but it gives you enough time to look for a different writer if any of your chosen writers are unable to write a recommendation for you. Additionally, the earlier you ask for your letter, the earlier you are likely to get it, thus ensuring that it will be submitted before the deadline. 

 If you are not sure how to select the best referees and ask for reference letters for your med school applications, then here are three tips for you: 

4. Be proficient in English & French

While not speaking both of Canada's official languages cannot result in your application being rejected, speaking both languages can help you gain some bonus points. Being bilingual can be especially beneficial for applicants in Quebec, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick, where there is a sizeable French-speaking population. So, even if you intend on studying in English, demonstrating that you are bilingual, or multilingual can help you stand out from the crowded pool of applicants. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, it may give you an edge with specific schools like NOSM, which favours francophone applicants.

5. Prepare for your interviews

Medical schools in Canada use a variety of different interview formats. You may be called for a traditional in-person interview, a video interview, or an MMI. Regardless of the format, you must prepare for medical school interviews as they are an important step of the admissions process. Most schools will provide information about their interviewing format on their website, so make sure you verify this information while preparing your medical school application so that you can prepare for your interviews well in advance. 

For applicants, the interview is your only chance to show the admissions committee that you are the same strong candidate they liked on paper and convince them that you have the soft skills needed to succeed in medical school and as a physician. For the school's admissions committee, this is their chance to conduct a more in-depth evaluation of your aptitude in the CanMEDS roles. They will be asking questions to help them determine that, but they will also be assessing communication skills and professionalism during the interview. 

If you want to do well in your interview, you should take the time to review common medical school interview questions, structure your answers in advance and participate in mock medical school interviews. If you are not sure where to start, you may want to invest in the services of a medical school admissions tutor, as they can provide guidance, tips, and interview answering strategies that can really boost your performance. 

Not sure how to prepare for your medical school interviews? This video can help:

 

Conclusion 

Getting into medical school in Canada is not easy. Still, if you give yourself enough time to prepare your application and seek help from experts when you need guidance, you can be of the few who get an offer of admission to a Canadian medical school. Make sure you take the time to research the schools you're applying to, prepare for CASPer, and get extracurricular, clinical, and volunteer experiences that showcase the competencies listed in the CANMeds framework. If you do that and follow the other tips outlined above, you are well on your way to getting into medical school in Canada.

FAQs

1. How many medical schools are there in Canada?

There are currently 17 medical schools across Canada. 

2. How hard is it to get into medical school in Canada?

Getting into medical school in Canada is not easy. Medical school acceptance rates in Canada are below 20% for all of the seventeen schools. Meaning that you need be a competitive applicant if you want to offered admission.

3. How hard is it for international students to get into medical school in Canada?

There are only seven medical schools in Canada that accept international students, and the level of competition to get into them is quite high. 

4. What can I do to strengthen my medical school application?

You can strengthen your application by preparing early, getting clinical and research experience, requesting reference letters from your mentors, professors and supervisors instead of friends and family, and improving your proficiency in the country’s other national language- French. 

5. Why is CASPer important for medical school in Canada?

Out of the seventeen medical schools in the country, 12 require applicants to take the CASPer exam. Some schools, especially in the province of Quebec, even pay special attention to this test’s results so if you want to get into medical school in Canada, you should prepare o that you can ace the exam.

6. Can I actually prepare for CASPer?

Yes, you can! Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to prepare and improve your score on this exam. The students who use our CASPer prep service have seen a clear increase in their scores, so make sure you check out the many blogs that we have on the subject or better yet, speak with one of our consultants about it if you’re not sure where to start.

7. Who should I ask for a letter of recommendation for medical school?

Do not ask friends, or family members. Ask professors, supervisors or mentors who know you well, can speak about your abilities in detail, and who are excited about your candidacy. 

8. What is a medical school admission tutor?

Medical school admission tutors are admission experts who can help you plan and prepare your application to medical school, and help you prepare for your interviews. Their job is to make the application process easier for you, while maximizing your chances of admission.

 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting 


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