Medical schools in Ontario are considered some of the best . This blog provides detailed information about each of these schools, including admission statistics, language of instruction, and location. We also outline the admission requirements and unique features of the Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS) and provide tips to help you get into medical school in Ontario.
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Six of Canada’s 17 medical schools are located in Ontario. It is an extremely diverse province that allows physicians to practice in a variety of settings, with access to specialized care, the newest technologies, and a large network of health care professionals and educational institutions to rely on. That is why medical schools in Ontario aren’t the and attract students from all over Canada.
Before we jump into admissions stats and tips for how to get into medical schools in Ontario, check out your chances using our
Medical schools in Ontario use the Ontario Medical School Application Service, or , to process applications. This is an online, centralized application service, not unlike AMCAS, , and AACOMAS. All medical schools in Ontario accept applications through this service.
1. Address and Personal Information
This is where you add all your important personal information such as name and address. The “Rural Origins” section is mandatory if you want admission to the (NOSM). If you’re eligible for the Aboriginal Applicants stream, you can add the important details related to your status here. The criteria to assess ancestry varies from school to school.
2. Background Questions
This section includes three important questions to determine a student’s academic background and previous history with medical school applications.
3. Medical School Choices
This is where you indicate which of the six medical schools in Ontario you would like to apply to. You can also select a language preference here, although as of now, only the University of Ottawa offers French-language instruction. You can also select your MD-PhD course preferences here, if applicable. Five medical schools in Ontario offer , which are typically harder to get into and combine high-level research with medical training.
4. Autobiographical Sketch
Instead of a , the OMSAS application process includes an autobiographical sketch (ABS) section. This is similar to the section if you are applying to medical schools in the US. Basically, the component provides a functional, standardized summary of your journey so far. It includes a comprehensive list of your structured and unstructured activities from the age of 16.
You’re allowed to write up to 32 items in your ABS, in the following six categories: employment, volunteer activities, extracurricular activities, awards and accomplishments, research, and other. You have 100 characters to add the duration of each item, and 150 characters to add the description of each item. You can add information in point form, but you cannot make any changes to your sketch once you’ve submitted it. Below is a sample of an OMSAS Autobiographical Sketch:
One unique feature of this section is that you need to assign a verifier to each item of your autobiographical sketch. You can repeat the same verifier for multiple activities. These verifiers are not “referees”; the most important thing is for them to be able to validate the experiences from your sketch. You will need to provide the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of all your verifiers to OMSAS. You should prepare for this section in advance by keeping an updated log of all your , along with the key dates, hours completed, and names of verifiers. Maintaining this log in advance will help you easily fill out this section during application season. It will take much longer to complete this section if you’re trying to recall the significant details of every extracurricular activity weeks, months, or years later.
Once you submit your completed sketch, OMSAS will receive all your information and organize it per each school’s requirements.
Would you rather have a quick recap of the OMSAS system?
5. Admissions Essays and Personal Essays
In this section, you can upload your med school application essay requirements as well as referee information. The essay requirements vary depending on the school, for example, the requires . Others, like the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), may ask supplemental questions about specific characteristics they are looking for in alignment with their values and mission, or your top experiences related to the study of medicine, similar to the section.
Make sure you check the individual websites of each medical school to find out their specific requirements, including the character limits of each essay or response. The goal of essay prompts is to help medical schools get to know you better as an applicant and assess whether you’re well suited to their program. Before answering, be sure to carefully study the prompt, research the mission statement of the school, and check CanMED roles to see which ones you can highlight in your answer.
6. Medical School References
In the section, you’ll need to select one academic or employment-based referee, one non-academic referee, and a final referee of your choosing. Each of your referees will need to fill out the Confidential Assessment Form (CAF). This form includes the following specific questions for your referee to answer:
Your referees should all be notified that they will need to fill out the CAF and will not be able to submit additional letters of reference. All your referees should know you very well and be willing to write strong recommendations that appraise your accomplishments and abilities.
Here’s the step-by-step process you’ll need to follow for the OMSAS references section:
- Confirm your referee is willing to complete the CAF. On your OMSAS application, you can enter their business or school email address.
- Once you add a referee, click “Send Email.” The CAF form will be sent to your referee so that they can complete it online.
- Check the status of your CAF form through the OMSAS system. Confirm that the form for each referee has been marked “Received” before the application deadline.
- Different schools may have specific requirements about who can be your referee. For example, some schools may ask for 1 or 2 science professors as referees, some may ask for at least 1 non-science professor as a referee, others may require at least 1 character reference, and so on. Consequently, it’s important to check the admissions websites of each school you’re applying to well in advance so that you can arrange for the required referrals in time.
- When approaching your referees, don’t just ask them to recommend you and run away. Chat with them to refresh their memory of your key learning and achievements with them. With these details fresh in their minds, they’ll be able to write a better reference for you. It’s also good to arrange for your references as early as you can, giving your referees at least a month to complete and share the final form.
- Before entering this information in the OMSAS portal, ensure that you are confident of your referees’ ability and willingness to write strong . Once the referee form is complete, it cannot be changed. You need to print this completed form and share it with your referee so that they can take the next steps for your letter of recommendation.
- Be proactive and keep tracking the status of your letters of recommendation in OMSAS to ensure that they have been received before the deadline; you won’t get any notification either way. If you need to replace a referee, you can do so if your original referee has not started the confidential assessment form.
Want our help applying to Ontario medical schools? Listen to what our students have to say about us:
7. MCAT and GPA
In this section, you provide your and GPA. To standardize grades across different applications, OMSAS requires that students convert their grades based on specific requirements to get a final GPA. Don’t worry, our makes this easy!
There are , such at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine; however, adding the MCAT details in this section is mandatory. It is your responsibility to ensure that the AAMC releases your MCAT scores to OMSAS and to check that your scores were received. You can release your scores by logging into your AAMC account, navigating to the “My Reports” tab and clicking on “Send Scores Electronically.” From there, select the Ontario Medical School Application Service from the list. Keep in mind that it takes 2–3 business days for OMSAS to receive scores after they are received from the AAMC.
8. Postsecondary Education and Transcripts
In this section, you add your complete academic history after high school. You need to add details such as year summary, year details, course summary, and course details. OMSAS automatically calculates your GPA as you enter each item. Make sure you add any summer programs you attended, as well as any schools you enrolled in but did not attend. These will also include transfer credits and exchange program credits. Depending on the school(s) you’re applying to, you will have to either order the transcript within the application or directly from the institution.
You also need to share your complete transcript so that OMSAS can confirm your academic record. For transcripts that are not requested using an online service, you should arrange with the registrar’s office of the institution to send them to the following address:
Ontario Universities’ Application Centre
170 Research Lane,
9. Application Fees
The OMSAS application fee is $220, and you must also pay the following fees for each of the medical schools you apply to:
Medical schools in Ontario generally require the same components as other US and Canadian medical schools for their admissions process. Although the application service is different in some respects, the essential admission criteria remain the same: good GPA and MCAT score (if applicable), impressive extracurriculars, glowing recommendations, meaningful essays, memorable interview performance, and so on.
So, what are some of the distinguishing factors for getting into medical schools in Ontario? Is there anything extra you should keep in mind? Read on to find out.
#1: Check the school’s regional preferences
Most medical schools in Ontario do not have strict requirements about applicants' residence status and accept applications from students all over Canada. However, a comparison of in-province and out-of-province acceptance rates for most of the med schools in Ontario shows that there seems to be a preference for Ontario residents. While the admissions requirements for in-province and out-of-province students are officially the same, due to the general preference given to in-province students, the average MCAT or GPA for accepted out-of-province students is likely to be higher than for their in-province counterparts.
Some medical schools also give preference to students from a specific Ontario region. For example, prefers Southwestern Ontarians, and NOSM prefers Northern Ontario applicants and applicants from other northern regions of Canada.
It makes sense to consider these location preferences before applying to medical schools in Ontario, as you can maximize your chances of acceptance by prioritizing schools that give preference to you due to your location or identity. On the other hand, if you’re an out-of-province student, you can strategically skip applying to schools that show extremely selective requirements for out-of-province applicants.
Refer to the following information demonstrating the admissions behavior of medical schools in Ontario based on domestic and international applicants:
Check out some tips for international applicants:
#2: Check the language of instruction
Ontario is a great option for francophone students applying from all over Canada. The provides French-language instruction, and NOSM encourages francophone applicants. If you’re a French-speaking applicant, you can consider applying to these two universities to maximize your chances of acceptance. Also, you should know that you can’t apply to both the English and French programs at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine; if you speak both languages, you must choose one stream.
Interested in seeing a summary of some of our top tips to get into medical school in Ontario? This infographic will help:
#3: Choose your schools strategically
In general, it’s extremely important to be strategic when you’re applying to medical schools. There’s no need to haphazardly apply to all 6 medical schools in Ontario. In this case, quantity does not win over quality. Instead, do your research about the requirements for different schools and try to prioritize the ones where your GPA and MCAT meet the admission thresholds. If the gap between your test scores and the average test scores of matriculants is too large, your chances of acceptance are drastically reduced.
Also consider the kind of activities and experiences preferred by your chosen medical schools. Check the values, mission statements, and matriculant profiles of each school you’re applying to and target the ones where your experiences and activities will be valued. For example, if you have a lot of clinical experience working in rural areas, NOSM might be a good fit for you, as they promote the health and well-being of rural populations. On the other hand, if you speak French fluently and eventually want to move to a francophone area, such as Québec, you might be better off applying to the University of Ottawa’s French stream.
Undoubtedly, all 6 medical schools in Ontario care whether you possess the qualities described by the , but each school has its own values and mission. To have the best chance of getting accepted at your desired school, emphasize the experiences and skills that make you the right fit.
Another factor you should consider before applying to medical schools in Ontario is tuition. The following tabs show the tuition for each of the Ontario medical schools, in year 1, in CAD.
As you can see, medical schools in Ontario ask for the same tuition for all Canadian residents, so out-of-province students don’t need to worry about paying more. However, the tuition for international students is much higher than for Canadian residents. Keep in mind before deciding which universities to apply to, so you can create your financial plan accordingly.
#5: Ace Your Interview
One of the key considerations in the medical school application process is the medical school interview. For medical schools in Ontario, the format differs from one school to the next. Typically, each school will reach out to successful applicants, invite them for an interview, and share the details of the interview format. However, you should also check these details in advance to know . The following table describes the different interview types used by Ontario medical schools:
Would you like to learn more details about the interview formats used by medical schools in Ontario? Check out this video:
Preparing for these interviews isn’t just about thinking up an answer for . You need to complete many mock interviews in the format of the final interview to really get comfortable with the interview style and improve your verbal communication skills. For example, the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) is a tricky type of interview that utilizes multiple stations and is designed to test students’ ability to think on their feet. It’s very hard to predict exactly what questions you’ll be asked in the MMI. Instead, during your , you should focus on developing strategies to handle the different types of questions, improve your on-the-spot problem-solving skills, and manage your nerves.
On the other hand, a traditional panel interview requires a slightly different kind of prep. Here, you can expect the typical questions, such as “” and “.” You’ll need to think through your entire academic and professional career so far, identify key talking points about yourself and your ambitions, and practice answering questions without sounding too rehearsed.
To ensure you deliver a memorable interview performance, make sure you research the exact interview format for the medical schools you’re applying to. Try to create mock interview set-ups as close to the final conditions as possible and practice many times until you feel comfortable with the format. Finally, make sure you take the time to think through the key talking points, experiences, personal strengths, and ambitions that you want to highlight during your interview.
#6 CASPer Preparation
Some medical schools in Ontario use the CASPer assessment to make decisions for interviews and acceptances. CASPer is a situational judgment test that presents you with various situations and asks what you would do in those situations. To prepare, you should know the as well as . This test helps schools determine your behavioral tendencies and skills that are important for a prospective doctor, such as critical thinking and empathy. Here are a few tips that can help you succeed on this test:
With the proper preparation and focus, getting accepted to a medical school in Ontario won’t be difficult! Just make sure you do the research into the admissions requirements of every university you’re applying to, stay organized and don’t miss key deadlines, and prepare adequately for each stage of your application.
1. Are medical schools in Ontario easy to get into?
Ontario has 6 medical schools, all of which offer competitive MD programs that are not easy to gain admission into. All of them have overall acceptance rates of less than 10%, which means out of 100 students who apply, 10 or fewer students actually matriculate every year.
2. How can I get into medical schools in Ontario?
To apply for medical school in Ontario, you need to submit an application via the Ontario Medical School Application Service, also called OMSAS. OMSAS applications involve many similar components to the US med school application portals such as AMCAS, TMDSAS, and AACOMAS. You will have to submit all your personal details, an autobiographical sketch similar to a personal statement, academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, MCAT scores (not applicable for all universities), essays (requirements vary depending on the med schools you’re applying to), and other important details. Some schools may have specific pre-med coursework requirements.
Make sure you check the website of the universities you’re applying to so that you can understand all the requirements and make sure you don’t miss out on anything in your applications. Ontario medical schools are incredibly competitive, and if you want to gain admission into any of them, besides having impressive academic and test results, you will also have to submit a well-crafted sketch, impactful essays, and glowing letters of recommendation.
3. Do medical schools in Ontario require an MCAT score admissions?
Neither the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine nor the Northern Ontario School of Medicine require MCAT scores from their medical school applicants, but the others do.
4. Do Ontario medical schools accept out-of-province or international students (including US)?
This depends on the medical school in question. There are very few and international applicants. Among those that do not accept international students are the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine, the University of Western Ontario - Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Queen's University School of Medicine, and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Ontario medical schools that do accept international students include the McMaster University Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and University of Toronto Temerty Faculty of Medicine. All these schools allow out-of-province applicants, but some may have specific regional quotas or requirements to encourage local talent.
5. How should I write my OMSAS autobiographical sketch?
The OMSAS autobiographical sketch component is the equivalent of the medical school personal statement or AMCAS Work and Activities section. Yet unlike these, the sketch does not provide a lot of space for you to write an in-depth story about your extracurricular experiences. For each item, you only get a total of 250 characters. Therefore, you must be brief, economical, and precise to capture a functional summary of your key extracurricular activities and meaningful experiences.
You can add up to 32 items, organized into the following categories: employment, formal education, volunteer activities, extracurricular activities, awards and accomplishments, research, and other. For each entry, you should clearly indicate your level of education (at the time of the experience), the key dates, the duration, the type of activity, the level at which you performed (if applicable), and the impact the activity had on you, your academic performance, or medical school dreams.
6. What is the role of the verifier in my OMSAS autobiographical sketch?
For each entry in your OMSAS sketch section, you need to provide the name and contact details of a “verifier.” This is not the same as your referees who will need to provide letters of recommendation. That is a different part of the application. Nevertheless, there may be an overlap between your referees and verifiers, which is fine. You can also submit the same verifier for multiple activities. Just remember that verifiers do not have to provide letters of recommendation. Rather, they will be contacted via phone or email to provide a confirmation of the activity details provided in your application. For some extracurricular activities, it’s clear who to add as a verifier. For example, for research projects and volunteer experiences, you can easily list the name of your supervisor. For athletic experiences, you name your coach or trainer as your verifier. However, there may be some instances, such as self-started creative projects or exceptional hobbies, for which you can’t think of any verifier. In that case, you can use the “Other” category and select yourself as the verifier. Remember that if you choose to do this, you may be asked about it in your interview and will have to provide a credible answer.
7. How should I select referees for my OMSAS application?
The OMSAS letter of recommendation process involves you submitting the referee details first in the system, generating and printing a form, and then giving that form to the referees to complete. This means that at an early stage of the process, the details of the referees are locked in the system and cannot be edited. So, it’s crucial that you are 100% confident about your referees being able and willing to write a letter of recommendation for you. Make sure you first confirm with them that they can write a letter of recommendation and only then add the details in the system.
8. Can I make changes to my submitted OMSAS application?
You can only change specific parts of your OMSAS application, such as some personal data, after submitting it. You will not be able to make any changes in the following sections: academic record and transcripts requests (except to add institutions or requests), prerequisites, school submissions, sketch, verifiers, and status in Canada.
To your success,
Your friends at BeMo
BeMo Academic Consulting
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.