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Is Pre-Med right for you?

Students applying to medical school after obtaining their DEC (diplome d’Étude collegiale) apply to a program called Pre-Med. Pre-Med (Med-P Preparatory program) is a program designed exclusively for CEGEP students wishing to prepare and train for their school of choice’s rigorous four-year medical education program. Pre-Med students are exposed to challenging courses such as molecular biology, physiology, and cell biology. These courses ensure they are well-prepared for the medical school curriculum. They must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 and above, and they must score higher than a “B” grade in all compulsory classes to be eligible for the medical program.

There are several factors to keep in mind when considering applying to Pre-Med. Some medical schools tend to admit a greater number of CEGEP students than university students. 2020 applicant statistics reveal that 80% of newly admitted medical students at the University of Sherbrooke and 70% at Laval were CEGEP-level students.

Among several applicant categories, the CEGEP cohort tends to be the smallest. A smaller applicant pool makes it easier for applicants to stand out amongst their peers. For example, McGill’s most recent 2021 applicant statistics reveal they received 1283 university applications vs. 1039 CEGEP applications.

Medical school websites will state that CEGEP students must have an R-score above 34. However, recent statistics will show this is just the average R-score students apply with and that those invited for interviews had R-scores of at least 36.8. An R-score of that calibre means a student must score above 90% in every class. This is no easy task considering CEGEP students are fresh out of high school. Unless students are supported and guided through this transition, it might be challenging to excel right from the start.

Certain medical schools will frown upon applicants taking longer than two years to obtain their DEC. This means that CEGEP students only have two years to enrich their application profile. Two years to excel academically, acquire meaningful volunteer experiences, and develop a unique passion project. Your time in CEGEP passes very quickly. Given everything students need to accomplish within this short time frame, it is not uncommon for their stress and anxiety to get the best of them.

Students should take their time deciding whether to apply to medical school from CEGEP or university. The pros and cons of each option should be weighed and discussed, as what might work best for one student may not work for another. Both options are great; you just need to find what works for you!

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