Given the significant time commitment required for a successful application, the decision to pursue medicine is one of the biggest decisions many high school and undergraduate students face. However, many applicants do not look beyond gaining the coveted admission letter and are then left with an incomplete understanding of what medical school entails, and the diverse career paths they can take after obtaining their MD. One of the primary reasons for this is that despite significant progress made in recent years, medicine remains a “closed door” career. A large proportion of students in our medical class had at least one immediate relative within the profession, which is also reflected in the literature. The barriers created by such exclusivity make it difficult for those who have not been socialized into the profession from a young age to navigate the unspoken pitfalls of the admissions process.
This book attempts to break down some of those barriers. It focuses on every component of the medical school application process. It differs from the many other books written on this subject by taking an experiential approach. We believe that the best way to learn about medical school acceptance is to garner advice from those who have recently achieved that milestone, as well, as from individuals in related professions who can provide valuable insights.
This guide is divided into ten chapters, each of them covering an important step along a premed's journey. While this book has a focus on North America, we have written this guide with a global audience in mind, as many of the concepts discussed are relevant to any medical school application process. As such, although the key components of the application process to medical school remain the same across various training systems, not every chapter will be equally relevant to every reader. Typically, an application is composed of academic performance, volunteer activities, research projects, medical college admission test performance, and extracurricular activities.
We have combined the prescriptive style of most books of this type with detailed stories of how real people navigated their personal journeys to reach successful outcomes. This guide shares a broad range of perspectives on what it takes and means to be a physician. We are more convinced than ever that amongst applicants who have the academic credentials, those who seek mentors and network early within the profession, be it through family or friend circles, and those who learn from their mistakes are accepted earlier. This book will help you in that journey towards medical school acceptance and an exciting career in medicine!
Jiayi Hu, MD
Manveen Puri, MD, CCFP
Sameer Masood, MD
Aly Madhavji,CPA, CA, CMA, CIM
Jiayi received his HBSc with High Distinction in Biochemistry and Pharmacology (2009) from the University of Toronto. He then went on to complete his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) at the same institution in 2013. He is currently a resident in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at McMaster University.
Since the early stages of his undergraduate studies, Jiayi has been very passionate about research in both the basic sciences and clinical medicine. He was involved in numerous projects at the University of Toronto resulting in two publications in cancer research journals of high impact. One of his projects, which focused on re-purposing existing non-oncological medications for the treatment of leukemia, led to a patent. He has also worked at McGill University and the University of Cambridge to expand his knowledge and skillset in basic science research.
Jiayi has a strong interest in career counseling, particularly aimed at undergraduate life science and medical students. During his undergraduate years, he co-founded Magna est Veritas, a pre-medical club with a 90% success rate in medical school admissions. He is frequently invited to speak at various career events at the University of Toronto’s Career Centre. Jiayi is also a founding partner at MD Consultants (www.mdconsultants.ca), a Canadian educational consulting company focused on helping students pursue a career in healthcare and establish a professional collaborative network.
Jiayi’s current academic interests are focused on clinical research in the field of Plastic Surgery. Specifically, he is interested in understanding the psychological and economic forces that shape the decision-making process of both patients and physicians. Jiayi has presented his work at international conferences and published in several top tier journals.
Manveen received his HBSc with High Distinction (Human Biology, Anthropology) in 2009 and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) in 2013 from the University of Toronto. He then went on to complete residency training in Family Medicine at the same institution (CCFP, 2015). He is now pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree at the Royal Military College of Canada.
Manveen currently serves as a Medical Officer (Captain) with the Canadian Armed Forces and is a practicing Family Physician. He is posted to 2 Field Ambulance in Petawawa. He is also an attending Emergency Physician at Pembroke Regional Hospital and Deep River & District Hospital. In addition, he maintains a practice in Addictions Medicine in the Greater Toronto Area.
Manveen has taken on various leadership roles over the years. He has served on the University of Toronto’s Governing Council where he was a member of the Business Board and the Planning & Budget Committee. During residency, Manveen was Chief Resident (Family Medicine) at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga. He has received both the Gordon Cressy Award and the Arbor Award for his continued contribution to the University of Toronto community.
Mentorship has always been important to Manveen who has benefited from the generosity of his mentors. Since 2009, he has been an active mentor to pre-medical students at his alma mater New College. His mentees have gone on to attend prestigious medical schools from McGill to Stanford. Manveen speaks regularly about his experiences in medicine with high school and undergraduate audiences. In addition, Manveen is the co-founder of MD Consultants (www.mdconsultants.ca), a professional network of medical students, residents, and attending physicians who provide consultancy services in areas ranging from professional school admissions to second opinions.
Sameer received his HBSc with High Distinction in Human Biology in 2009 from the University of Toronto. He subsequently went on to complete his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) in 2013 as the only international student in his class and one of the few in the history of the Faculty of Medicine. Sameer is currently a Royal College Emergency Medicine Resident Physician at the University of Toronto and is scheduled to complete his specialty training in 2018. He is currently a graduate student at Harvard University where he is pursuing a Master’s in Public Health with an emphasis on Innovation and Quality improvement. Given his dual clinical and academic roles, Sameer splits his time between Canada and the United States.
During his many years at the University of Toronto, Sameer has also been extensively involved in student mentorship and community building. Sameer spent three years as a residence student counselor at the university and has been a recipient of numerous awards including the Jon. S. Dellandrea award for academic excellence and the New College Centennial Award for student leadership.
As an Emergency Medicine resident physician at the University of Toronto, Sameer has been extensively involved in medical education and research. He has served multiple terms as an interviewer on both the Undergraduate Medical Admissions Committee and the post-graduate Emergency Medicine Residency Training Committee. Sameer is also a founding partner at MD Consultants (www.mdconsultants.ca), a Canadian consulting company geared towards helping high school and undergraduate students pursue a career in healthcare.
Sameer’s current professional interests include clinical research within Emergency Medicine and using digital technology based innovation to solve the growing needs of the Canadian Healthcare System. He has won national research awards in Emergency Medicine and has published in several top-tier journals.
Aly received his BComm with Distinction from the University of Toronto in 2012. He is a December 2016 Masters in Business Administration (MBA) Candidate at INSEAD based in France and Singapore. As the author of the #1 College book on Amazon, Aly continues to energize and develop tens of thousands of current and aspiring University and College students through speaking book, “Your Guide to Succeed in University”, is an Award-Winner of the 2015 International Book Awards. He has worked with organizations and educational institutions across Canada and globally and makes his book fully accessible to students at no cost.
Aly served as a Governor of the University of Toronto where he was a member of the Executive Committee and Academic Board of the institution. He has been very active in community building, having served on numerous boards. He expanded the Books with Wings initiative for the University of Toronto International Health Program (UTIHP) raising an estimated $15,000 for students in need around the world.
Aly spent two and a half years in the Assurance practice for PwC in Toronto and New York, where he led audits of multinational Canadian and US clients. Aly then joined the Management Consulting practice with PwC as a Senior Consultant working in Canada, the United States, Brazil, and the Caribbean. He worked closely on the strategic investments of large private equity firms, the creations of centers of excellence, turnarounds of emerging market companies, and role re-engineering to create efficiencies.
He holds the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and the Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) Designations. Aly has been featured in The Medium and The Varsity newspapers, the Ismaili Magazine, Mississauga Magazine, and University of Toronto Press.
The goal of this guide - Your Guide to Succeed in University - is to help students in university and college to become confident, well-rounded and successful in their overall education experience. This guide aims to equip you - the students - with the necessary tools for success in university and college.
This guide will help students with topics such as building a solid foundation in the first few weeks, efficient techniques for studying and preparing for exams, getting involved, finding the right mentors, networking, job searching with potential employers and preparing for a successful career.
Do you ever wonder why most alumni or adults say, “University was the best years of my life”? Regardless of what age you start university, when you finish, you should look back and share that similar feeling. University is about learning to explore, discovering who you are and who you want to be and creating the foundation for a lifetime of successes. University is the place where I learnt to make the most of opportunities and became who I wanted to be. It made me aware that just attending university isn’t a silver bullet to success, not unless you take control. The university experience will provide endless possibilities and opportunities, but it’s up to you to take the first step. You will face a roller coaster of emotions. You’ll feel excited and scared, challenged and stimulated, but when all is said and done, YOU determine how you want to look back on this experience.
Starting university can be the most sensational experience of your life, but it can also be the most overwhelming. In fact, it can be downright scary if you do not equip yourself with a plan on how to navigate through university. That is why I wrote this guide. My goal is to not only share my experience and lessons learned, but, to channel this into a helpful guide that may help you adapt rapidly and efficiently to ensure that you make the most of your higher education experience.
This guide will not define success for you. You define success and you can start by creating personal goals. Take some time and think about where you want to be in a couple of years, when you graduate, and 10 years from now. You could have educational goals, career goals, salary aspirations, a list of activities to learn, family and other types of goals. Try writing these goals down and revisit them every couple months to see how you’re doing. By taking the first step of writing them down, it shows that you are committed to making these goals a reality. This guide will discuss topics ranging from what you’ll experience in your first few weeks of university, finding a mentor, networking, and post-graduation. At the end, there is a summary of the main takeaways and the top 10 themes. This guide will help you get through the tough times and excel in the good times of university to achieve your definition of success; it may even become your survival guide.
Features of Your Guide to Succeed After Graduation includes:
Expert advice from professionals such as career coaches, leaders in career development at the University of Toronto and others
Step-by-step guidance to tackle complicated topics such as tapping into the unknown job network, developing a career strategy, personal branding, balanced living, becoming debt-free, and pursuing your passion
Personal experiences to illustrate the ups, downs, trials and errors
Top 12 Things to Remember from Your Guide to Succeed After University
1) Define your personal brand before someone else does it for you.
Your personal brand is about showcasing who you are, what you stand for, the skill set that you possess, and the promises you make and deliver on.
2) Networking is a vital part of success, where anyone can open a door.
People make a difference, so value those two-way relationships
3) Guidance is just a mentorship request away.
Mentors come in many forms and can provide guidance and feedback along your career path.
4) Job searching is a discovery process.
The process, including rejection, is a continuous opportunity to learn about yourself.
5) You define your own success.
You can succeed in any career you choose at any time. Consider a career direction that excites you most and you will inevitably gain value in that direction.
6) Know where you want to go, and that there are many paths to get there.
Your career strategy acts as a compass to an engaging and meaningful career.
7) Discover your passions; find the right time to pursue them.
Keep your passions in mind as you grow your career and develop - seize opportunities, no matter how unconventional.
8) Set S.M.A.R.T. goals to reach smart outcomes
Achieving effective outcomes is a combination of S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) goals, self-motivation, and a personal reward system.
9) Take time to take care of yourself and your community.
To maintain your physical, mental, and social well-being, be sure to balance your career and job duties with activities that support yourself and your community.
10) Open your mind to a world of perspective.
Living and traveling outside of your community is a great way to expose yourself to new experiences and perspectives, and a great way to build your network.
11) Implement creative and practical ways to manage your budget.
Having a plan to manage your money and pay down your debt will ensure that you are on a solid path to a rewarding career.
12) Learning does not end when school does.
After school, actively seek out either formal or informal means of learning to enhance your skill set and to continue your personal development.
Practical advice that anyone can use, the goal of Your Guide to Succeed After Graduation is to help new graduates become confident in developing successful careers, addressing work-life balance, and other next steps after graduation.