If you’re never heard of McMaster University’s Bachelor of Health Sciences Program, you should know it is one of the “elite” undergraduate programs in Canada. With an applicant pool of over 2000 students for 150 spots, getting into McMaster’s Health Sci program is as competitive as getting into medical school.
This is a program where more than 40% of their graduates go on to pursue medicine. When the average Canadian medical school acceptance rate is around 10%, McMaster’s BHSc stands out.
During high school, it was my goal to be accepted into Mac Health Sci. I did my best to get high grades and spent a lot of time on the supplementary application. It was the program I wanted to get into, with it’s problem based learning and inquiry courses, I thought ii would be a great fit for me.
Unfortunately when the acceptances rolled out, I found out I had been rejected. Being rejected is the norm, applicants with 95+% grades often get rejected. [Medhopeful writes a very good post about it here.] I was devastated and felt like I had failed. I ended up choosing to do a life science program at another university.
You Learn More from Your Failures than Your Successes
In hindsight, being rejected from McMaster’s Health Science (and several other programs) turned out to be one of the best things to happen to me. I was humbled by the experience. I learned many hard lessons that helped me mature.
Being rejected taught me humility, something I lacked before. I went to a high school with an enriched learning curriculum. I was labeled a “gifted” students who was suppose to do better than others.
I now know that if I had been accepted into Health Sci, I would have been too proud. I would have been entitled or felt superior to my peers just because I had gotten into the most selective program in the country. I have nothing against the program, I know lots of friends who have graduated from it. But I also know of other health sci students who have that sense of entitlement.
Instead, I attended a university with a large science program. I got to interact with lots of classmates from all types of background. I met many exceptionally bright peers in Biology 101 and General Chemistry. I was lab partners with students who struggeld in high school and were just happy to attend university. And I found that many undergrad programs are just as rigorous and adequate for your education.
It Doesn’t Matter Where You Go for Your Education, It’s What You Do There that Matters
I entered my university degree with a chip on my shoulder. I had been rejected from the programs that I wanted to be in. I decided that I wouldn’t let my failures dictate my future successes.
I was motivated to be the best student I could be. I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn’t going to let an institution define who I am. In the process, I learned to value hard work and persistence. I didn’t take my education for granted, instead I set out to improve myself.
In the end, I achieved my goal of gaining an acceptance into medical school and ironically before many of my peers who were in health sci. Along the way, I created a foundation of study habits that I still use today.
Medical schools don’t care about where you did your undergrad degree, they care about what you did there.
Looking back, being rejected from Health Science helped me mature as a person. You learn more from your struggles than your successes. Let me know if you have had similar stories, would love to hear them.