The medical schools in Ontario are considered as some of the best medical schools in Canada. 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 application system, and provide tips to help you get into medical schools in Ontario.


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6 of Canada’s 17 medical schools are located in Ontario. It is an extremely diverse province, and 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 easiest medical schools to get into and attract students from all over Canada.

If you are an international applicant, Ontario might be the right province for you, as 2 of the 6 medical schools accept international and US applicants. Read on to learn more!

Medical Schools in Ontario: Admissions Statistics

The following table displays key details about each medical school in Ontario.

Tip: Now that you know the admissions statistics, use our MD Chance predictor to calculate your chances of getting into Ontario medical schools.

OMSAS Application System and Requirements

Medical schools in Ontario use the Ontario Medical School Application Service, or OMSAS, to process applications. This is an online, centralized application service, not unlike AMCAS, TMDSAS, and AACOMAS.

The OMSAS application fee is $220 and you also have to pay the following fees for each of the medical schools you apply to:

Would you rather have a quick recap of the OMSAS system?

The OMSAS application includes the following sections:

1. Address Information 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 Northern Ontario School of Medicine. 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. Questions

This section includes three important questions to determine a student’s academic background and previous history with medical school applications.

3. Choices

This is where you indicate which of the six medical schools in Ontario you would like to be considered for. 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 MD-PhD programs, which are typically harder to get into and combine high-level research with a medical training.

4. Sketch

Instead of a medical school personal statement, the OMSAS application process includes a autobiographical sketch (ABS) section. This is also similar to the AMCAS Work and Activities section. Basically, the OMSAS autobiographical sketch component provides a functional, standardized summary of your journey so far.  

You’re allowed to write 32 items in your Autobiographical Sketch, in the following seven categories: employment, formal education, volunteer activities, extracurricular activities, awards and accomplishments, research and other. You have a 100 characters to add the duration of each item, and 150 characters to add the description of each item.

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, they should be able to validate the experiences from your sketch.

You should prepare for this section in advance by keeping an updated log of all your extracurriculars for medical school, 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 you much longer to complete this section if you’re trying to recall the significant details of every extracurricular activity weeks, months, or years afterwards.

5. School Submissions and Referees

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 University of Toronto medical school requires Brief Personal Essays. Others, like the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, 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 AMCAS Most Meaningful Experiences section. Make sure you check the individual websites of each university to find out their specific requirements, including the character limits of each prompt. The goal of these prompts is to help the universities know you better as an applicant and judge if you’re well-suited to their program. Before answering the prompts, make sure you 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.

In the referee section, you enter the details of at least three referees in the Confidential Assessment form. This form includes the following specific questions for your referee to answer:

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 professors as a referee, others may require at least 1 character reference. So, make sure you check the admissions websites of each school you’re applying to well in advance so 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, refresh their memory of your key learnings and achievements with them, and so on. This will keep you fresh in their minds and 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 you are confident about your referees’ ability and willingness to write your medical school recommendation letters. Once the referee form is complete, it cannot be changed. You need to print this completed form and share it with your referee so 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 they have been received before the deadline; you won’t get any notification either way. 

6. MCAT and GPA

In this section, you provide your MCAT score and GPA. To standardize grades across different applications, OMSAS requires students to convert their grades as per specific requirements to get a final GPA. You can use our OMSAS GPA Conversion Calculator to make this easy. There are medical schools that don’t require the MCAT; however, adding the MCAT details in this section is mandatory. 

Note that the University of Toronto medical school does not use the MCAT competitively. They require MCAT scores so they can make sure you have the minimum 125 for each section, but they do not compare applicants’ MCAT scores as a factor for admissions.

7. 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. 

You also need to share your complete transcript so OMSAS can confirm your academic record. This has to be mailed to the following address:

OMSAS

170 Research Lane, 

Guelph

Ontario - N1G 5E

Want to watch a recap of how to ace your OMSAS application? Check out our video below:

How to Get Into Medical Schools in Ontario

Medical schools in Ontario generally require the same components as other US and Canadian medical schools for their admissions process. You might have to go through a different portal, but the essential admission criteria is still 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.

Check the regional preferences of med schools

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. Some medical schools also give preference to students from a specific Ontario region. For example, Schulich medical school gives preference to Southwestern Ontarians and Northern Ontario School of Medicine prefers Northern Ontario applicants and applicants from other northern regions of Canada. 

While officially, the admissions requirements for in-province and out-of-province students are 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.

It makes sense to consider these location preferences before applying to medical schools in Ontario. You can maximize your chances of receiving an acceptance by prioritizing schools that give preference to you because of 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 average requirements for out-of-province applicants.

Tip: if you are an out-of-province candidate looking to apply to schools with very specific missions, such as Schulich or NOSM, make sure you have a point of contact or reference with their mission. What do we mean by that? Brainstorm what kind of activities and experiences in your life would connect you with Southwestern Ontario or the Canadian north. Maybe you lived in a similar geographical location somewhere else in Canada? Maybe you have experience working with indigenous populations outside of Ontario? Maybe you went on a trip in your childhood to lake Erie and this event left an unprecedented impression on you. Be creative. You can use these points of reference in your OMSAS ABS and supplementary questions. With these points of reference, you can demonstrate that you are not simply applying to any medical school, but that you have made a conscious and calculated decision to attend this specific school.

Check the language of instruction

Ontario is a great option for francophone students applying from all over Canada. The University of Ottawa provides French language instruction and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine encourages francophone applicants. If you’re a French speaking applicant, you can consider applying to these two universities to maximize your chances of acceptance.

Tip: If you are a Francophone applicant to medical schools in Ontario, make sure to also check out medical schools in Quebec. While it's difficult to get accepted if you are not a resident of Quebec, some of the medical schools reserve spots for Francophone applicants from outside of Quebec.

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 medicla 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 admissions thresholds. If the gap between your test scores and the average test scores of matriculants is too large, your chances of getting an acceptance drastically reduce.

Another important consideration to keep in mind is the kind of activities and experiences are 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, Northern Ontario School of Medicine might be a good fit for you as they promote health and well-being of rural populations. On the other hand, if you can speak French fluently and eventually want to move to a francophone area such as Quebec, 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 CanMEDS roles, 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.

Tip: to learn this important information about each of the medical schools in Ontario, visit their official admissions websites. Most schools post class profiles of the most recent matriculants. MSAR can be another source of this information.

Keep in mind how much medical school costs

Another factor you should consider before applying to medical schools in Ontario is the tuition. The following tabs show the tuition for each of the Ontario medical schools. 

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 medical school tuition in mind before deciding which universities to apply to, so you can create your financial plan accordingly. 

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 and invite them for an interview. They will share the details of the interview format; however, you should check the details of the interview format in advance so you will know how to prepare for the medical school interviews that lie ahead of you. The following list describes the different interview types used by Ontario medical schools:

  • McMaster: MMI
  • Toronto: MPI or virtual MPI
  • Northern Ontario School of Medicine: MMI or virtual MMI
  • Ottawa: MMI
  • Schulich: Panel Interview
  • Queen’s: MMI/Panel

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 out your answer for common med school interview questions. 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 the students’ ability to think on their feet. Its very hard to predict exactly what questions you’ll be asked in the MMI. Instead, during your MMI interview prep, you should focus on developing your 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 Why do you want to be a doctor? and Tell me about yourself. 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 set up as possible and practice many times until you feel really 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

With the proper preparation and focus, getting an acceptance to a medical school in Ontario won’t be difficult for you! 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.

Check out some tips for international applicants:

FAQs

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 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?

The University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine both do not require MCAT scores from their medical school applicants. All the other medical schools do ask applicants to submit their MCAT score.

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 Canadian medical schools that accept US students and international applicants. 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 do not accept international students. The Ontario medical schools that do accept international students are: 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. So you have to be brief, economical, and precise, capturing 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, for example, 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 change only specific parts of your OMSAS application after submitting it, such as some personal data. After submitting, you cannot 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.

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1 Comments

Steven Hull

You have described this post in a user friendly way. Thanks for sharing the information.

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BeMo Academic Consulting

Hello Steven! Thanks so much for your comment. Glad you enjoyed the article!

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