MD Program Admissions

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

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Two Weeks to Interviews

February 5th, 2017 by Dr Ian Walker
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Interviews will be in full swing in two weeks.

All told, we invited 537 people to interview, or about 37% of our applicant pool.  Once again, this is a new record low percentage for us, and underscores the competitive nature of this process.  Basically, as an applicant, you have a one in three chance of getting interviewed, which are not great odds, and I am quite certain we turn down hundreds and hundreds of people for interview who would be outstanding physicians.  I hope that those of you who did not secure an interview spot this year keep that in mind.  For those of you who have interviews elsewhere, congratulations, and good luck.

We continue to have staffing challenges in our office, and may not be able to respond to emails and phone calls as promptly as we would like.  Thankfully, there have not been two many, and other than a couple of people registering for the last MMI spot in a certain circuit at the exact same millisecond, the scheduler worked like a charge.

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Update for Applicants

January 9th, 2017 by Dr Ian Walker
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So, recognizing that I have been uncharacteristically quiet this cycle, we do have a few updates for people.

  1. We are still finishing off the file reviews.  Some applicants are done, some are not.  When your four file reviews are complete, your status will change automatically in UCAN.  Whether your status changes early or late in the process means exactly nothing.  It all depends on who your reviewers were and when they did their work.  There are still several hundred reviews that have not been completed.
  2. We anticipate having all the reviews done within about 10 days, and making interview offers by the end of the month.  Can’t be more precise about that.  Due to some staffing challenges (see below) we are running a little later than usual.  We are sorry about that, but it is largely outside of our control.
  3. Applicants invited to interview will be sent information on the interview format so that they know what to expect when they arrive.  The interview process takes 4.5 hours, and we do three groups a day.  There is no advantage to being in any one group over another.
  4. We have a very small office.  Myself and two full time staff people.  Sadly, our Admissions Coordinator is off on an extended sick leave for now, so we are making do with skeleton staff.  This is why we may not be able to respond to emails in a timely fashion or return phone calls.  Bear with us.  We are hoping things will improve when we can get some temp help in to the office.

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Reference Stats for Last Cycle (finally)

September 9th, 2016 by Dr Ian Walker
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My apologies that this has taken so long to get finished.

Will be available on our website next week, but for now, here is copy.

reference-stats-2016

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Some Interesting Numbers from the Canadian Residency Matching Service

September 8th, 2016 by Dr Ian Walker
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Those of you considering a career in medicine, or pursuing one, should have a look at these data charts.

R-1 match trends

Although CaRMS data is usually presented on annual basis, these data show trends over time, and generally they seem to show the post grad applications becoming more competitive, not less, both for Canadian medical grads and for IMG’s.  We could discuss all day whether it should or should not be this way, but I think it is important to enter the process with eyes wide open.

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One more Quick Update

June 2nd, 2016 by Dr Ian Walker
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Had someone withdraw after accepting earlier today, who happened to be a non-Albertan.  Thus we just made another waitlist offer to a non-Albertan.  Currently we have 4 Albertan and 1 non-Albertan positions that are still unspoken for, and an equal number of offers pending.

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Update for Waitlisters, May 31st 2016

May 31st, 2016 by Dr Ian Walker
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The deadline for accepting or rejecting our initial offers of admission has come and gone.  We had sufficient room to begin making offers off the waitlist late last week, and made a few more yesterday.  In total we have made between 15 and 20 waitlist offers.

Here is the current “state of the union”.  For the first time in my tenure of 8 years, all our non-Albertan spots are spoken for.  We may yet have someone who changes their minds and declines after having accepted, but in the meantime, there will be no more offers off the waitlist for Non-Albertan residents.  For Albertans, we have 6 unfilled spots, and 6 outstanding offers.  As most people who are going to accept do so very quickly when they get their offer, I suspect that most if not all of those 6 are ultimately going to decline their offers.  Between those 6 spots and a handful of people who I suspect will yet change their minds, I suspect we will be looking at a total of 10-15 further offers off the waitlist.

In the coming days, those on the bottom of the waitlist, who have virtually no chance of getting an offer this year, will be advised of that fact so that they can proceed with making other plans.  If you don’t hear from us, it is because we think you are still within the potentially “live” part of the waitlist.

On a related note, if you are on the waitlist, and have already made the decision to go elsewhere, please let us know so that we may remove you and increase the efficiency of the process for others.

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Admissions Offers Are Out

May 4th, 2016 by Dr Ian Walker
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This is always an exciting and somewhat bittersweet time for us.  It is a pleasure to be able to share good news, and difficult to share bad news, particularly knowing that the vast majority of applicants we reject would make perfectly good physicians.

We send out a few more offers than we have available positions, because we know that a certain number of people will, in a moment of temporary insanity, chose to go elsewhere (yes, that was a joke).  The deadline for responding to the original offer is May 27th.  We will start making offers off the waitlist when we have available positions to offer up, but it is unlikely to start much before the 27th.  Turn around time on the waitlist offers will be short – likely 5 days, given our need to move quickly in time for our early start in early July.

Unsuccessful applicants will be able to access their scores after the first day of classes, and I hope to have overall statistics prepared for the cycle shortly after that (recognizing that I still have not found time to complete the ones for last cycle.)

For those on the waitlist, we do not disclose where you sit on the waitlist under any circumstances.

Congrats to the successful, and best of luck on other applications to everyone else.

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New MMI Video Available Next Week

February 12th, 2016 by Dr Ian Walker
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Recognizing that the MMI sample videos we have posted on our website all feature fairly traditional MMI scenarios, we just finished producing one using one of our more recent “unusual” ones.  Unfortunately it is too big to upload here, but it will be available on our website sometime early next week.

Enjoy, and thanks to the volunteers who agreed to appear in the video.

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MMI Information

February 9th, 2016 by Dr Ian Walker
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Seems I caused a minor tremor in the pre-med pscyhe with my earlier comment that our MMI was evolving a bit, and might not look entirely like the old stations we have posted on line.  Attached is a document that is going out to all interviewees today, and which discusses this evolution (amongst other more banal details).  The bottom line is that though the MMI content may not be predictable, it is certainly not random, and we are explicitly trying to limit the number of opportunities we provide applicants to provide us with formulaic responses.  Best of luck to all the interviewees.  Please kick back, be yourselves, and enjoy the process.

MMI Info Sheet for Applicants

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Update for Applicants

January 18th, 2016 by Dr Ian Walker
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All of our file reviews were complete as of this morning.  We had 1214 applicants in the final analysis that went for full file review.  We should be ready to make interview offers later this week.

If and when you get an interview offer, you will receive instructions on how to schedule your interview on line using UCAN.  That system will open a day or two after you get your letter.  You should go and look around before that, as well as sign off on the technical standards required of MD students prior to the scheduler openning.  When it does open, it is first come, first served, and it is a bit of a free for all.  80-90% of spots are taken within 2 minutes, and if you miss out on the spot you want, there is nothing we can do about it.

This year, there will be 522 interview spots, meaning that we will interview 43% of applicants.  That works out to 80 spots for non-Albertans, and the balance for Albertans.  There will be three interview times each day, but variable numbers of spots.

The MMI circuit stations are pretty much done as well.  This is going to be an interesting, and hopefully fun experience for the candidates, but I will go on record right now and say that the stations are mostly NOT of the traditional “explore and issue, take a position, blah blah blah” type, and I suspect that people will not feel that they were able to prepare in any meaningful way for the experience.  That is, of course, our goal.

For those who do not ultimately get offers, all I can say is that persistence pays off.  There is an undeniably subjective component to this process, and with that comes a certain amount of luck.  Just as having gotten an interview one year is no guarantee of getting one again the following, neither is not getting one a guarantee of not being successful next time.

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