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A Guide to OMSAS Application

ACAlpina ChariFeb 2, 2024

What is OMSAS? 

OMSAS stands for Ontario Medical School Application Service, a centralized online system allowing prospective medical students to apply to any of the six medical schools in Ontario, Canada. OMSAS was established in 1975 by the Council of Ontario Faculties of Medicine (COFM) to streamline the application process for medical schools in Ontario, as each school had its separate application and requirements before that. By using OMSAS, applicants only need to submit one online application and one set of supporting documents, such as transcripts, letters of reference, and autobiographical sketches, to be considered by multiple medical schools. OMSAS also coordinates the interview invitations and offers of admission for the participating medical schools, ensuring a fair and transparent process for all applicants. OMSAS is beneficial for both applicants and medical schools, as it reduces the administrative burden, saves time and money, and provides a common platform for evaluating candidates based on standardized criteria. OMSAS is one of the largest and most competitive medical school application services in Canada, receiving over 20,000 applications annually for about 1,000 spots. OMSAS is also a gateway to other medical school application services in Canada, such as the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) Portal and the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS). OMSAS is an important resource for aspiring medical students in Ontario, as it simplifies the application process and provides information and guidance on the admission requirements and procedures of medical schools. OMSAS also ensures fairness and transparency in the evaluation and selection of applicants.

In this article, we will look into the OMSAS in detail along with the eligibility for application, application process, fees, and more. 

List of Universities Under OMSAS

Here are the six medical schools that accept applications through OMSAS: 

University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine:  The University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine is one of the oldest and most prestigious medical schools in Canada. It offers a variety of programs including the Doctor of Medicine (MD) program, as well as combined degree programs such as MD/PhD and MD/Master’s. 

McMaster University Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine:  McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine is known for its innovative approach to medical education, including problem-based learning. The MD program at McMaster emphasizes small-group learning and early exposure to clinical experiences. 

Queen’s University Faculty of Health Sciences:  Queen’s University’s Faculty of Health Sciences offers the MD program along with several combined degree options. The medical program at Queen’s emphasizes a balance between academic excellence, clinical skills, and professionalism. 

University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine:  The University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine offers the MD program in both English and French. With its location in the bilingual capital city of Canada, the University of Ottawa provides unique opportunities for students interested in practicing medicine in a bilingual setting. The medical program at the University of Ottawa incorporates early clinical exposure and a focus on primary care. 

Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM):  NOSM is a unique medical school with a mandate to train physicians for practice in Northern Ontario. It offers the MD program across multiple campuses, including Sudbury and Thunder Bay.

Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry (Western University):  The Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University is known for its comprehensive medical and dental programs. The MD program at Schulich offers a curriculum that integrates basic science, clinical skills, and professionalism.

Prospective medical students interested in applying to any of these universities in Ontario can do so through the OMSAS portal. Each university may have its own specific requirements and deadlines, so applicants should carefully review the instructions provided by OMSAS and the respective medical schools. Additionally, it’s advisable for applicants to thoroughly research each medical school to determine which programs align with their academic and career goals.

Suggested Reading: A Guide to Getting into Canadian Medical Schools

OMSAS Eligibility 

OMSAS eligibility criteria are as follows:  

  • You must have completed a minimum of 15 full courses or 30 half courses of undergraduate university coursework by May of the year of entry. 
  • Your Canadian university academic credentials must be from an institution with academic standards and performance that is consistent with the member institutions of the Council of Ontario Universities. 
  • You must have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on the OMSAS 4.0 scale. 
  • You must have taken the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) within five years of the application deadline and have a minimum score of 125 in each section. 
  • You must complete the Casper test, which is an online situational judgment test that assesses your personal and professional characteristics.
  • OMSAS eligibility for international students is more restrictive than for Canadian applicants. Only two of the six Ontario medical schools accept international students without Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status: McMaster University and University of Toronto. These schools have a limited number of supernumerary seats for international applicants, which are non-funded and require higher tuition fees. 
  • For McMaster University, international applicants must meet the same eligibility criteria as Canadian applicants, such as undergraduate coursework, GPA, MCAT, and Casper. However, they must also submit a Supplementary Application Form and a Confidential Assessment Form by the application deadline. 
  • For the University of Toronto, international applicants must also meet the same eligibility criteria as Canadian applicants, except for the MCAT requirement. International applicants must have a minimum score of 129 in each section of the MCAT, which is higher than the Canadian minimum of 125. They must also complete the Brief Personal Essays and the Autobiographical Sketch as part of the application.

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OMSAS Application Process

Research your university options and the application process. You should review the admission requirements, deadlines, and policies of each medical school you are interested in, as well as the OMSAS Application Guide. You can also visit the websites of the Ontario medical schools for more information. Some factors to consider when choosing your university options are your GPA, your MCAT score, your location preference, your program interest, and your interview style.

Send requests for references. You will need to provide three confidential assessment forms (CAFs) from referees who can attest to your academic, personal, and professional qualities. You can send requests for references through the OMSAS online application system, and your referees will be able to submit their forms electronically. Select people who know you well and can speak to your strengths and achievements, avoid asking family members or friends, give them enough time and information to complete the forms, and follow up with them to confirm their submission. 

Prepare and submit your application. You will need to complete the following sections of the OMSAS application: personal information, academic background, autobiographical sketch, verifiers, MCAT scores, transcripts, and supplementary documentation. You will also need to pay the application fees, which are 220 USD for the base fee in addition to the university fees for each university you apply to, this fee can vary from 100-130 USD. You can submit your application online through the OMSAS website. 

Check document tracking. After you submit your application, you can log in to your OMSAS account to check the status of your application and the receipt of your documents, such as references, transcripts, and MCAT scores. You should also monitor your email for any communication from OMSAS or the medical schools. Ensure that your documents are received by the deadlines, contact OMSAS or the medical schools if you encounter any issues or errors, and keep copies of your documents for your records. 

Accept your offers of admission. If you receive an offer of admission from one or more medical schools, you will need to respond to the offer by the deadline specified by the school. You can accept only one offer at a time, and you can change your acceptance until the final date for response. You will also need to pay a deposit fee to secure your spot. 

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OMSAS Fee Waiver Program 

The Ontario Medical School Application Fee Waiver Program is a program that helps eligible applicants reduce the cost of applying to medical schools in Ontario. The program waives the 220 USD OMSAS processing fee and provides free applications for up to three Ontario medical schools of their choice (ranging from 100 – 380 USD total) for the 2024-2025 application cycle. The program is administered by the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) through the AFMC Student Portal2 The deadline to apply for the program was August 22, 2023. The program aims to increase access and diversity in medical education by removing financial barriers for applicants from low-income backgrounds.

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OMSAS Documents to be Submitted 

To apply through OMSAS, you need to submit the following documents:  

Transcripts: You need to provide official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions you have attended, including exchange programs and summer courses. You can order transcripts from Ontario institutions through OMSAS, but you need to arrange for transcripts from outside Ontario to be sent directly to OMSAS. 

References: You need to provide three letters of reference from individuals who can attest to your academic, personal, and professional qualities. You need to enter the names and contact details of your referees in the OMSAS application, and they will receive an email with instructions on how to submit their letters electronically. 

MCAT score: You need to release your MCAT score to OMSAS through the AAMC website. The MCAT is required by all Ontario medical schools except for the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Each school has its own MCAT cutoffs and validity periods, so you should check their websites for the latest information. 

Autobiographical Sketch: You need to complete an autobiographical sketch (ABS) that summarizes your activities and achievements in various categories, such as education, employment, awards, research, volunteer work, extracurriculars, etc. You need to provide verifiers for each entry, who can confirm your involvement and role. You also need to select up to three entries from each category that you consider the most meaningful and explain why in 150 characters or less. 

Personal Essays: You need to write personal essays that address specific questions or topics provided by each medical school. The number and length of the essays vary by school, but they are usually around 250-500 words each. The essays are an opportunity for you to demonstrate your motivation, values, experiences, and suitability for medicine. 

Supplementary Documents: Depending on the medical school and your personal circumstances, you may need to submit additional documents, such as: 

  • Academic CV: If you apply to the MD/PhD program at the University of Toronto, you need to submit an academic CV that highlights your research background and potential. 
  • Proof of Permanent Resident Status: If you are not a Canadian citizen, but a permanent resident of Canada, you need to submit a copy of your permanent resident card or confirmation of permanent residence document. 
  • Disability-based Consideration Documents: If you are applying under the disability-based consideration category, you need to submit a personal statement and supporting documentation that describes the nature and impact of your disability, and the accommodations you have received or require. 

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Key Dates 

Applications for fall 2024 admissions are closed. But usually, the application process starts during the fall. Here are some of the key dates from the last application cycle to get an idea of the key dates:  

August 22, 2023: Deadline to submit an application for the Ontario Medical School Application Fee Waiver Program, which can reduce or eliminate the application fees for eligible applicants. 

September 15, 2023: Recommended date to send references to referees, to allow enough time for them to submit their references by the deadline. 

October 2, 2023: Deadline to submit OMSAS application, along with transcripts, references, payments, and MCAT scores. This is a strict deadline and there are no exceptions. 

May 14, 2024: First-round offers of admission are sent out by the medical schools. 

June 30, 2024: Deadline for OMSAS to receive applicants’ final transcripts, showing that they have met the academic requirements for admission. 

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Conclusion 

In conclusion, applying to medical school in Ontario, through OMSAS can be a daunting and complex process. However, with careful planning, research, and guidance, you can increase your chances of success. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for getting into medical school. You need to evaluate your own strengths, weaknesses, goals, and preferences, and choose the schools that best match your profile and interests. You also need to seek guidance and feedback from mentors, advisors, peers, and professionals who can help you improve your application and interview skills. For more information and guidance regarding applying through OMSAS and to other medical schools in Canada, reach out to our admission experts at Gyanberry. Book your free video call appointment now!  

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Frequently Asked Questions

Applicants must submit official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, letters of reference, a personal statement, and standardized test scores such as the MCAT. Additionally, applicants may need to provide supplemental information specific to each medical school they apply to through OMSAS.

The application deadline for OMSAS typically falls in the fall of each year, usually in early October. Applicants must check the exact deadline for the year they plan to apply, as missing the deadline can result in their application not being considered.

Applicants create an online account on the OMSAS website, where they can input their personal information, academic history, and extracurricular activities. They then select the Ontario medical schools they wish to apply to and submit all required documents through the OMSAS portal. After the application deadline, medical schools review applications and invite selected candidates for interviews.

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