MD Program Admissions

A leading edge 3-year MD program at the University of Calgary

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Re: Admissions Blog-Rules of Engagement 2020-21

July 1st, 2020 by Dr. Remo Panaccione

I like to use the blog to update applicants and answer frequently asked questions that may be coming to the office. I will also post to dispel misconceptions that we become aware of so applicants are not harmed by listening to those outside of the admissions team.

This past cycle there was significant activity because of COVID-19 and a variety of changes associated with the admissions process.

A few comments:

1. General Questions regarding admissions should go to the email of the student advisor at So please do not ask specific questions related to your application here. If you believe you are not getting a timely response it is likely that the answer is in the Applicant Manual.

2. Although, we appreciate comments and opinions from applicants this is not the place to share opinion regarding how the admissions process should be run, what your suggestions are etc…The policies and procedures are outlined in the Applicant Manual and do not change. Unfortunately, some applicants get misinformation when reading these types of posts and there are times that debates erupt that are not professional or respectful. These are likely better left for other forums out there such as premed 101 or reddit.

3. Although you may post anonymously, we can see your IP address. There are a number of you who post under different aliases from the same IP address on the same topic as if you are having conversations with others to strengthen your point/position. This has happened with three different individuals in the past two weeks. Please refrain from this. Please be professional in your posts and always consider if the office of admissions knew who I was when I post would I still post the same thing, in the same manner.

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Re: Release of Scores from Previous Cycle-Late July

July 1st, 2020 by Dr. Remo Panaccione

Dear Applicants,

There have been a few questions regarding the release of scores from the previous cycle. This is a somewhat more difficult than previous years with the two different cohorts. We are having internal discussions on what to release and external discussions with our vendor on allowing a mass release.

I have posted previously on this and the earliest I can see them being released is late July.

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Re: Welcome-The 2020-21 Application Cycle will open July 8/2020

June 28th, 2020 by Dr. Remo Panaccione

Dear “Future” applicants,

Welcome to the 2020-21 Application Cycle.

The 2020-21 Application Cycle will officially open on July 8, 2020. The 2020-21 Applicant Manual will also be released at the same time.

A few important remarks:

1. As a school and as an admissions office we pride ourselves in being transparent with our process and policies.  The most relevant material can be found in our application manual.  It details the admission policies and procedures and answers many of the questions that applicants may have.  I would encourage you to read it thoroughly to familiarize yourself with the way we do things.  Each year, including this year there are slight changes; so even if you have applied to our school before, please reread the manual.

2. Our office is here to help. We are a small office and we receive thousands of email requests. These emails are prioritized. We humbly request that you respect this through the process. We put as much detail as possible into the Applicant Manual as possible in order to answer common questions. Given that you are applying to a professional school we do have an expectation that you have read the manual before applying. If you email us a question, that is easily answered within the manual it will receive a lower priority and/or may not be answered.

3.If you have specific questions, we encourage you to first refer to the manual before reaching out to the office.  We are more than happy to provide clarification on specific points in the manual but our expectation is  that you have used the manual as a reference prior to calling the office.  Some applicants have a false belief that by calling the office that they will gain information that will help them in the application process. This is a not true.

4. We recognize that for many of you, especially if this is your first time applying that the process can provoke both stress and anxiety.  However, we would encourage you to relax, get organized and use the remainder of the summer to prepare your application.  This will alleviate much of the stress and anxiety that can escalate if you wait until the last minute to apply after the summer is over.

You should start with the following:

1. If you have written the MCAT please release your scores to the University of Calgary. however, do not release your scores before July 10, 2020

2. Request your transcripts from every post secondary institution you have attended and have them sent to our office (address listed in the Applicant Manual)

3. As soon as the cycle opens, please start reaching out to your three referees.

4. Begin thinking about and organizing your Top 10 experiences. If there is one thing that separates a good application from a more average one is the way the applicant reflects on and writes the top 10. I will comment on this early in the cycle but it’s not the list that matters but how the applicant reflects on the item and how it has impacted or shaped them as an applicant.

We wish you the best of luck during this application cycle and look forward to meeting many of you along your journey.

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RE: Update June 11/2020-Class of 2023 is now full

June 11th, 2020 by Dr. Remo Panaccione

I am writing today to inform you all the seats for the Class of 2023 have been spoken for. With that in mind, I feel that it is important to let you know that although we never technically “close” our wait-list (there are occasional last minute changes) that if you occupy a spot on the waitlist, the chance of you receiving an offer for the current cycle is remote.

I realize that it is not the news you had hoped to receive, and I hope you will take some small solace in the fact that you did very well in a very competitive process.

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COVID-19 FAQs-Applicants for the 2020-21 Admissions Cycle

June 9th, 2020 by Dr. Remo Panaccione

Dear Current and Future Applicants of the 2020-21 Cycle,

There are many questions on how the pandemic will affect this cycle. We have posted this on our website to help applicants.

How is the MD Admissions office addressing COVID?

The MD admissions office is currently working as per usual however in a predominantly virtual format. The physical office space is currently closed. Please do not stop by the MD Admissions office to ask questions or say hello at this time!

I was recently accepted into the 2020 incoming class but am experiencing some delays in completing the required admission documents. What should I do?

Do not panic, we recognize that due to the pandemic there may be some delays for various reasons. Please email our office if you are experiencing such issues and we will work with you to accommodate the delays.

Can I still meet with someone from the admissions office?

The MD admissions office prefers that you communicate virtually where possible. We are answering emails and blog questions in a timely manner. Those that require special individual application considerations can still set up met with in a virtual meeting if required.

Is the application deadline for the 2021 incoming class still October 1st, 2020?

Yes for this cycle the application deadline is still October 1, 2020 @ 4pm. It is imperative that you have your application and documents submitted by this time. No exceptions will be made to this date or time.

What is the latest date I can write my MCAT for the 2021 cycle?

Given the pandemic and closures that resulted the MD Admissions office has extended the MCAT to a last possible sitting date of September 12, 2020.

Will you still require transcripts for the 2021 cycle?

Yes, the MD Admissions office will still require your official transcripts. It is best to start requesting these be sent to our office in early July.

Due to the pandemic I came back to my out of province home early for winter semester to quarantine with my family for a month. How will that affect my Alberta residency status?

The MD Admissions office recognizes that the pandemic may have affected some applicants with regards to their ability to claim Alberta residency status. If you believe your residency status has been impacted by the pandemic please email the office so that we can review your circumstances.

My university changed all winter 2020 semester courses to mandatory pass/fail. How will that affect my GPA calculation?

Students whose winter semester changed to pass/fail or credit/non-credit may still use that year towards their GPA calculation so long as the criteria for full-time studies is met between September-April (24 credits/units) and there are a minimum of 9 graded units in the fall semester. We will not be accepting letters from individual professors regarding grades. The official transcript is what we will go by for GPA calculation

My university allowed the option of changing a numeric or letter grade to pass/fail for courses taken in the winter 2020 semester. I chose to take pass/fail on some of these courses. How will that affect my GPA calculation?

If you had the option of taking a grade or choosing pass/fail and you chose any courses in winter 2020 as pass/fail then that semester will be credited towards your course load but will not be used in the GPA calculation. In order for an applicant to use winter course in the GPA, all eligible course need to be associated with a grade. In other words you can not pick and choose.

Some of the courses I took in the winter 2020 semester were changed to pass/fail instead of a letter or numeric grade by the professor/department. How will that affect my GPA calculation?

If you had to take a pass/fail in a course (i.e. it was not optional), then the rest of the graded winter 2020 semester can still be used in your GPA calculation so long as you have a minimum of 18 graded credits for the year. The MD Admissions office will require proof that the pass/fail in such winter courses was mandatory. This may come in the form of a transcript or letter from a department/professor, depending on your institution.

Can I drop the 2019 fall/2020 winter semester from my GPA calculation?

So long as the lowest GPA year has a minimum of 18 graded credits it may be dropped.

How will the file review process for applications be affected by the pandemic?

At this time there are no changes anticipated to the file review process. Please complete your application, top ten list, and submit your transcripts and MCAT scores as you normally would.

I had my in person MMI cancelled last year on March 14th, 2020. Will I get an interview in 2021?

Yes. For those who were not granted an in person interview last year and are applying again this year, you will automatically be granted an interview for the 2021 cycle. You will be required to submit a complete admissions application. Your pre-MMI score you will be based on the score of this year’s application.

What will the interviews look like this upcoming year?

The MD Admissions office will strive to have live interviews for 2021 however due to the unknown situation with the pandemic a virtual format may be required. At this time we ask that you continue to make yourselves available for interviews in person February 20th, February 21st, March 6th, and March 7th.

If accepted into medical school, what changes can be expected due to the pandemic?

The U of C medical school is currently operating on its usual start date of first week of July, 2020. The medical school will commence this year in a virtual format. Going forward, during the pandemic, students can expect that more learning will occur virtually. Please see the Undergraduate Medical Education website for the most up to date information on curriculum.

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Re: Update on Wait List June 4, 2020

June 4th, 2020 by Dr. Remo Panaccione

Dear applicants still on the waitlist,

I recognize if you are in this position that it is one of the most difficult situations to be in.

The third round of offers went out June 3rd in the afternoon. It was a very small number as the class has been filling up quickly.

There are approximately five spots left to fill (this may always change slightly if someone who has accepted decides to withdraw).

Therefore, we will be sending the remaining offers out one at a time as applicants make decisions. Those with present offers have until June 8th to respond so the next offers will be likely sent out early next week.

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Re: Admissions update May 26, 2020-First round of Waitlist offers out

May 26th, 2020 by Dr. Remo Panaccione

Dear applicants,

After receiving the acceptances, deposits with acceptances, requests for deferrals, and regrets we have sent out the first round of offers to those on the waitlist. This will represent the largest move on the waitlist.

These offers need to be accepted with the conditions outlined by June 2nd.

The class was approximately 75% full when the waitlist offers went out.

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Re: Deadline for travel reimbursement for Cohort 2

May 21st, 2020 by Dr. Remo Panaccione


If you have travel related expenses related to the cancelled MMI we are willing to reimburse you. We have set out criteria which are consistent with University policy. We will cover airfare (need invoice, proof of payment, copy of boarding pass), one night hotel accommodation (need invoice, proof of payment). If you did not travel, we need proof that there was an attempt at getting a refund and that it was denied. We have a letter that you can forward to try again as there have been reversal of decisions based on the COVID pandemic.

We will not be processing any expenses after this date

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Re: Deposit Due May 25th to hold your spot for the Class of 2023

May 20th, 2020 by Dr. Remo Panaccione

To everyone who received an offer,

The deadline for deposits to be in the office is May 25th. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we are not in the office every day to retrieve the mail. We understand that some of you may be concerned that the deposit paid notification confirming the receipt from the office is not showing up on UCAN.


1. Please remember to send your deposit by registered mail.

2. Please send us a copy of the tracking number if you are concerned about it not being physically in the office by May 25th.

To secure your spot for the Class of 2023, the deposit needs to be physically in the office by May 25th or you need to send us an email with the tracking number which shows it was mailed on or before May 25th. (postmarked).

Please understand if you do not meet these criteria, we will assume you are declining the offer. We will not be revisiting the offer list for any reason.

We need to follow this protocol in order to be fair to your fellow applicants who are presently on the waitlist.

Thank you for your attention and understanding

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Re: Class of 2023 FAQs

May 19th, 2020 by Dr. Remo Panaccione

As we work on onboarding the Class of 2023 there are several recurring questions:

1. What will instructions/classes look like for the Class of 2023?

The first couple of months for the Class of 2023 will be delivered online. This will consist of a variety of learning events including podcasts, small group case-based sessions over Zoom, live lectures over Zoom as well as virtual office hours with faculty.

Our learning platform is called OSLER and it houses the learning materials and class schedule. We will be starting in person, small groups sessions in September (assuming the pandemic situation is “stable”). Hands on clinical learning will not start until September; however clinical learning time has not decreased. The Class of 2022 has transitioned to online learning and is actively planning online orientation sessions for July.

2. I’m concerned my transcripts won’t arrive on time, what should I do?

We recognize that official hard copies of transcripts may not be received by our office by the deadline. We will be accepting electronic verification of grades (e-transcripts) for now but we will need your official hard copy transcripts when they become available.

3.I am finding it difficult to get my BCLS training done? What can I do?

eBCLS will not be required prior to starting in July. We will work to ensure there is opportunity for students to fulfill this need

4. When should I arrive in Calgary?

Students in the Class of 2023 will need to be in Calgary for September 1st (assuming stability with respect to the COVID pandemic) at the latest. However, arriving August 1st may allow you to settle in and perhaps meet your classmates as restrictions are eased.

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