Why Being Rejected from McMaster Health Sciences is Good for You
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 roughly 150 spots, getting into McMaster’s Health Sci program is as competitive as getting into medical school.
This is a program where on average, more than 40% of their graduates will go on to pursue medicine. When the average Canadian medical school acceptance rate hovers around 10%, McMaster’s BHSc stands out.
In high school, I had really wanted to go to McMaster’s program. I tried my best to get high grades and spent lots of time writing my supplementary applications. It was the only program I knew I really wanted to get into. It was the hottest ticket, with it’s problem based learning and inquiry courses, I thought it would be a great fit for me.
Unfortunately when the acceptances rolled out later that year, I found out I had been rejected from their program. With a program that rejects applicants with average of 95+%, being rejected was the norm. [Medhopeful writes a very good post about the program here.] I was initially 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 for me in the long run. I was humbled by the experience. It taught me many lessons of life that were more important for me to mature.
Being rejected taught me humility, something I lacked before. I went to a high school with an enriched learning curriculum. I was went to classes with other “gifted” students who were to complete a more rigorous curriculum. I felt proud that our program was considered better than others.
I now know that if I had been accepted into Health Sci, I would have been too proud. I would have felt entitled or 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 are graduates, but I also know of many arrogant students who were in Health Sci who had that same sense of entitlement.
Instead, being in 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 was just happy to attend university. And I found out that many undergrad programs are just as rigorous and adequate for gaining an 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 all the programs that I truly 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 before many of my peers who went into Health Science too!). Along the way, I laid down a foundation of work ethic and study habits I would carry on to my future career.
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.