Every year, aspiring medical students across Canada spend countless hours preparing their medical school applications, hoping that their qualifications and academic records meet the bar for admission. Thousands of applicants each year go through the medical school admissions process, with only a very small percentage of them actually being accepted. 

This article will outline the various ways you can increase your chances of acceptance and even provide insider knowledge of why it’s hard to get into medical school in Canada.

For those aspiring doctors who have been unable to access the Canadian medical school system, medical schools abroad, such as the American University of Antigua College of Medicine (AUAMED), offer an accessible pathway to a career in medicine. 

As a top-tier Caribbean medical school, AUAMED offers a quality of education and accreditation status comparable to Canadian medical schools, and graduates from AUAMED are eligible for Canadian residency programs, licensure and clinical rotations.

nurse and doctor speaking with patient

What Are the Requirements for Getting into a Canadian Medical School?

The first requirement to get into med school you must meet is to complete an undergraduate program and earn your bachelor’s degree, while collecting the necessary science prerequisite from an accredited university. Medical schools list prerequisite courses for their programs, which gives you a bit of an edge when choosing your university courses.

Note: When applying in your final year of your undergraduate degree, you will need to submit proof of completion prior to the date of enrolment in the medical program.

GPA and MCAT Scores

There are 17 medical schools in Canada. The med school admissions process requires that applicants have GPA and MCAT scores that meet a minimum threshold in order to be considered. In general, the minimum GPA requirements in Canada are higher than those in other countries, and it figures largely in the medical school admission process, which is part of the reason why very few Canadian schools emphasize personal qualities and cultural factors, as is commonly found in the American medical school system. 

Activities and Experiences

Canadian medical schools don’t use a standardized application service. Every province, with the exception of Ontario, uses school-specific application services. This means that applicants must be sure about their application timelines and requirements since they will differ from school to school.

The medical school application process has an “Activities and Experiences” section. Applicants will have a limited number of characters or words to describe their volunteer and/or work experiences, such as:

  • Jobs 
  • Leadership Roles
  • Community Service


Applicants will also need to submit short essays that provide answers to specific questions about CanMED roles, your personal experiences, and medical aspirations, demonstrating that they have a firm grasp on the aptitudes the admissions committee is looking for in their review. You want to show that you are a viable candidate for a medical education.


The final step of the medical school application procedure is the interview. Up until this point, the focus has been on all of the applicant’s past work: GPA and MCAT scores, essays, letters of recommendation, etc. Medical school interviews focus on the applicant’s personality, social and communication skills, and presentation.

stressed woman looking at laptop

How Hard Is it to Get into Canadian Medical Schools?

Despite the shortage of doctors, it can be hard to get into Canadian medical schools. Most medical schools in Canada have admission rates of around 20%, whereas those in the United States are in the 40s. Additionally, the “easiest” medical schools to get into have admission rates that are lower than 20%, so only 20 or fewer out of 100 students are admitted.

If there’s a doctor shortage, why haven’t admissions increased? Class sizes are part of the problem, even during the pandemic. And there are few medical schools and hospitals across the country, many of which have limited resources and staff.

It is for these reasons that Canadian medical schools favor candidates residing in the same province. It provides a strong guarantee that the students will remain in the area to practice once they’ve graduated.

happy young man holding papers with laptop on lap

Attend Medical School in Canada and the Caribbean

Increase your chances of getting into medical school by applying to the American University of Antigua. AUAMED is an accredited medical school that offers Pre-med, Clinical Science, and other medical school programs. Graduates can secure competitive specialties through our Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) and the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). 

Contact us for more information, or apply today!

 Do you have what it takes to get into Canadian medical schools? The American University of Antigua (AUA) offers accessible medical education. Apply today!