Non-academic requirements

Students & staff walking out the doorIn addition to academic requirements, brief personal essays, autobiographical sketches, and letters of reference are used in assessing your non-academic qualifications.

Throughout the admissions process, we assess your non-academic attributes, activities and achievements in terms of the Faculty’s mission and values, as well as the MD Program competencies. Our aim is to select students who we believe will make the most empathetic and highly-skilled physicians.

Specifically, we evaluate materials according to the following four clusters:

Cluster Attributes, activities and achievements

Professional

maturity, reliability, perseverance and responsibility

Communicator/collaborator/ 
manager

communication, collaboration, teamwork, time management and leadership

Advocate

advocacy, community service and social responsibility

Scholar

academic standing, achievements in leadership, research and social responsibility as demonstrated by (but not limited to) awards, conference presentations, publications and scholarships

Your ability to use the English language will be taken into consideration and you may be requested to submit additional information to supplement the application form.

Specific requirements

The following non-academic requirements are essential for all applications:

Brief personal essays

You are required to submit four original brief personal essays, with each essay answering a specific question related to the Faculty’s mission and values. The Faculty of Medicine’s mission statement embodies social responsibility, and the Faculty’s values are reflective of this responsibility. Each brief personal essay must be 250 words or less. We evaluate brief personal essays independently of all other materials submitted within your application.

The four questions to be answered for the 2016-2017 application cycle are:

Question 1

Physician and author Abraham Verghese argues that the most important innovation to come in medicine in the next 10 years is human touch. Discuss.

Question 2

How does technology impact interactions and/or collaborative relationships among healthcare professionals?

Question 3 Describe an example of injustice that matters to you. How would a career in medicine allow you to better advocate in similar circumstances?
Question 4 What is your preferred style of learning? How has this impacted your educational development?

Brief personal essay questions change every year. The questions listed above are for the current admissions cycle (2016-2017) only.

We will perform random checks of your brief personal essays through Turnitin for detection of possible plagiarism. You will not be informed that your essay has been submitted for comparison. Essays submitted to Turnitin will be included as source documents in the Turnitin reference database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. The terms that apply to our use of the Turnitin service are described on the Turnitin website. If you do not consent to your essays being submitted to Turnitin, you must e-mail us. We will honour this request.

Autobiographical sketch & statements

The autobiographical sketch (ABS) is a comprehensive list of your activities and achievements since age 16 which provide insight into who you are. These can include your:

  • formal education
  • employment
  • hobbies
  • clubs
  • volunteer activities
  • awards and accomplishments
  • research, and,
  • other activities and achievements.

You are not required to have undertaken a specific number of activities or completed a set number of hours. There are also no specific activities that will give you an ‘edge’. We do not believe there is a specific medical student ‘profile’. We are looking for students:

  • with diverse backgrounds and interests
  • who are well-rounded
  • who are community-minded
  • who have gained skills and maturity from their experiences
  • who can demonstrate time management skills  

Please see the Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS) Application Guide for more information on the ABS.

In addition, you are required to write and submit three brief ABS statements outlining the three activities and/or achievements from your sketch that you believe best exemplify the attributes that align with the four clusters. Each ABS statement must be 250 words or less.

The ABS and three additional ABS statements will be evaluated as a whole. We evaluate ABS materials independently of all other materials submitted within your application.

Verifiers

  • In some cases, we may wish to verify additional information about activities that are described in either your brief personal essays or the ABS. Therefore, you must provide the name, address and phone number of at least one contact person (verifier) for each activity that you consider to be of major importance. We perform random checks of applicants’ verifiers. Please notify your verifiers in case they are contacted by us.

Letters of reference

You are required to arrange for three references to be sent to OMSAS as part of your application. Each reference includes a Confidential Assessment Form and a narrative letter. These references will be evaluated according to the same four clusters previously listed.

We encourage you to do the following:

  • share these attributes, activities and achievements clusters with potential referees to ensure that they can speak to some or all of them; and,
  • ensure that the whole range of clusters is represented among the three letters as a whole (individual letters may speak to a specific cluster or clusters of attributes, activities and achievements).

Note: References must not be provided by family members, family friends, colleagues of family members, neighbours, or someone who may be perceived as your peer, as we do not consider them to be objective. Letters written by a spiritual advisor are acceptable, provided they are not also family members or close friends.

Applications from candidates with non-objective references will not be considered.

Referees may submit their confidential reference online. If the referee does not have an e-mail address, the Confidential Assessment Form must be forwarded to them, to be completed and mailed to OMSAS together with an accompanying narrative letter:

OMSAS
Ontario Universities’ Application Centre
170 Research Lane
Guelph, ON  N1G 5E2

The deadline for receiving references is October 1, 2016. If OMSAS does not receive your reference by this date, your application to the University of Toronto’s MD Program will be incomplete and will not be considered. It is your responsibility to ensure that OMSAS receives your references (narrative letters and Confidential Assessment Forms) by the deadline.

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