Planning Ahead for Highschool Students: Is Medicine Right for You?

Are you currently in high school? Don’t know what you can do to increase your chances for medical school? Here are some ways you can get involved to see if medicine is the right fit for you, and to optimize you chances for medical school applications:

1. Challenge yourself

A common misconception is that universities only look at your grades. Students often think that in order to get into their first-choice post-secondary program, numbers are what matter. While that may be somewhat true, being a physician involves much more than acing your courses. In fact, high school is the perfect time to explore what you like and dislike. Challenge yourself by taking difficult courses; see where your weaknesses lie and how you can resolve them. Take courses that will be relevant down the road (e.g., Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Sociology) but also don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and try new things.

2. Get involved

High school is an ideal time to explore your interests. If you feel that medicine may be the right fit, try it out by volunteering at the hospital, shadowing your family doctor, serving at the long-term care centre, or even by visiting the rehab centre. While you don’t need to do everything at once, having clinical experience does go a long way. Moreover, it also helps you decide if, as a doctor, you would enjoy working in these settings. Time management is an essential skill in medical school and what better way to start than in high school!

3. Lead by example

Physicians are proven leaders not just among their patients, but also in their community. Medical schools highly value any leadership experience that an applicant has, whether that include being the president of the student council, captain of the sports team, an executive for a club, or even the organizer of a bake sale. It is important to have your voice heard, and what better way to do so than by leading a committee. High school is a wonderful opportunity to develop those leadership skills so that you can talk about them in your medical school applications!

4. Network and seek answers

Students often cringe upon hearing the word “networking”. It means you have to go out, talk to people and be interested in what they have to say – too much work, right? The truth is, networking can be anything you want it to be, from attending conferences to meeting your research supervisor over coffee. It’s important to talk to as many people as possible, and find out what they have to teach. Admission committees require strong reference letters and one way to ensure this is building a strong rapport with your referee(s). Start building connections now and you won’t have to think twice when it comes to choosing referees for medical school (and beyond)! 

5. See for yourself

Still unsure if medicine is the right fit for you? Or, perhaps you just need one last confirmation? Whatever the case, try it out for yourself! There are many summer programs where high school students can work with medical researchers and see what it is like to be a student in the Faculty of Medicine. Some of the well-known ones include: University of Toronto’s Med Youth Summer Program (YSP), McMaster’s Mini Med School, and Schulich School of Medicine’s Summer Research for high school students.

University of Toronto Med YSP:

McMaster Mini Med School:

Schulich School of Medicine:

We hope that these pointers help students who are in high-school navigate through the pre-medical experience and work towards their dream of becoming future Canadian physicians.

Check out more of MDconsultants free resources for high school students interested in medicine. We work with students as early as Grade 9 in our Medical School Admissions Guarantee Program. Contact us today to find out more!