An Exaggerated and Unfaithful Story About my University Applications.
This semester has been a wreck. No, it’s not because of extracurriculars. No, it’s not because of work. And NO, it’s not because of some random personal drama. Who cares about those things when university is on the line?! That’s right. This semester’s destruction wasn’t caused by the usual stress we go through; it was actually caused by the dreaded university applications that most of us graduating students have been going through for the past few months – weeks, for those of you who are real procrastinators, like me (nahhh, I’m kidding). They’ve been taking up all my time, and the time of most of the people around me. People made it sound so easy at first. “Just do it in advance,” they said. But who do they think we are? We’re procrastinators. We don’t do things in advance, because it will make things easier; rather, we enjoy the pressure, the feeling of not doing anything, and then all of a sudden being hit with a tsunami of work. So then, what’s the application process like for people like us, and for those who don’t take the easy way? Let me tell you, it isn’t a breeze in the park, especially when applying to medicine.
Now, you might be thinking, what kind of person procrastinates this much and still applies for medicine? For those of you who know me, you guys know that, despite my ways, I always do my best and genuinely love helping people: two things that drive my will to wanting to be a doctor. Just because I do things later doesn’t mean that the stuff I produce isn’t good. With that out of the way, here’s my experience with applications.
For starters, read EVERYTHING. I know that, to most of you, this is a given. But, I can’t emphasize it enough. If you’re trying to figure out what program to apply for, make sure that you do a basic overview of what types of programs interest you, and then check out ALL the courses that those programs offer. See whether you actually like them and if you think you can handle them. I can’t even begin to go over the amount of people who applied to programs that they realized had courses that they hated, and now they don’t know what to do. However, if you dislike a few of the courses in all the programs that you are interested in (which I totally get), then, as with utilitarian ethics, going for the majority is best. If you like most of the program, chances are that you should be happy with your decision at the end of the day.
Another time reading becomes important is when looking at the requirements of the programs you apply to, and, just in general, reading through the emails universities will send to you. There’s no point in applying to a program that you will be automatically rejected for because you’re missing something from the criteria, and the emails universities send generally have a lot of important information (except the promotional conference ones, unless you are into that).
Something else to do is just to talk with the people around you to find out details on programs and universities that you’re applying to and that you might not have known. As always, the people around you can be extremely helpful, and obviously supportive.
After you’ve applied, keep up to date by checking your emails and portals like you would with Facebook. I’m not joking; those sites will be your new most visited sites if you are anything like the people I hang out with. Once you find out (congrats, by the way!), then either confirm right away or wait to hear from other places. The down payment to save your spot is a lot of money (about $400 for Mcgill), so don’t waste your money if you are hoping to get into something else. That being said, you might have no other choice but to accept because different universities and programs reply at different times, so let the money rain (seriously, I haven’t even begun to talk about medicine).
Now, let’s zoom into medicine! One thing I should warn you, future applicants: get your wallet ready, or start selling your kidneys, because the applications aren’t cheap. First of all, we all want to apply to as many schools as possible to increase our odds. This translates to $100 per school, and, in Montreal, there’s 4 universities you can apply to for medicine. That’s $400. FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS. That’s not all. For you anglophones, you’ll need to take a french test to apply to the french schools, which costs about $100 (no prep kit included). Plus, if you are applying to McGill, you need to do the CASPER test, which costs about $60 (varies depending on school applications). This is just to get an interview, and it all adds up to $560. Now, say you get an interview. Though McGill charges nothing, all French schools ask that you pay $125 to be considered during your interview. If you won the lottery and got an interview for all four schools, that would add $375 to your previous total. Reminder: this is all before putting that $400 down payment, so it’s pretty expensive to go into medicine. Also, you might have noticed from my list of payments that there is also a list of things to do, and I didn’t even mention the CV McGill requires you to submit. All of this takes time, and the wait causes enough stress already, so you can imagine how school might become the least of your worries. So, because of this, a lot of my time has been invested into university before even going! I don’t mind actually; it’s just causing a few issues with an enemy of mine called time management.
So, my overall message here is to learn from my mistakes as a procrastinator and do this stuff during the break (stuff as in APPLYING and GETTING MONEY- you’re going to need it).
Image Source: Flickr
Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol. 47 Issue 12 on April 11, 2018