Aug 9, 2022

Getting Yourself Organized

Apply, Domestic Applicants, Resources, Top Application Tips
Organized desk
By Twanna Lewis

It is the beginning of a new application cycle, and you may be wondering how to prepare a strong application package. This process can quickly become overwhelming considering all the components that are needed to put together an application and stand out amongst 4000+ applicants. A tried and tested approach is by organizing your application to ensure nothing is missed.


If you plan to apply this admission cycle and are unsure if you have met the prerequisite requirements, email our team a brief list of courses you have completed or plan on completing this year. The list should entail no more than 3 courses and links to calendar descriptions. If you can attach course outlines from the term you have taken the course, even better. Upon receipt, our team can confirm if any of these courses satisfy our requirements.

Autobiographical Sketch (ABS)

Consider all your accomplishments, employment/volunteer experiences, and extracurricular activities to date. Select an accomplishment/activity/experience you wish to expand on via our ABS Statement. If you are further along in your academic and/or professional careers, you may need to reflect on your career and select an accomplishment/activity/experience that has impacted your personal and professional growth the most. We also strongly recommend selecting a more recent accomplishment/activity/experience.

If you have close second and third accomplishments/activities/experiences, don’t forget that you are welcome to refer to these as you respond to the Brief Personal Essays, where it makes sense. As you write your ABS Statement, also keep in mind how it will be evaluated against the  four attribute clusters. Therefore, if your particular accomplishment/activity/experience does not address one or more of the attribute clusters, ensure that your ABS lists then feature accomplishments/activities/experiences addressing these gap areas and do not worry. We recognize that not all accomplishment/activity/experience is designed to allow you to experience all four attribute clusters, and, in such cases, we will refer to your ABS lists to supplement our evaluation.  


Reach out to your referees well in advance of the application deadline to determine if they can act as a referee. Referees may sometimes be difficult to get hold of; they may no longer be with an organization you volunteered or worked with or are unable to provide a reference for your application. In considering who to select, we recommend that you have an academic/professional, non-academic and third referee of your choosing. Opt for individuals who know you well enough to provide an objective assessment of your readiness for medical school.

Each referee will fill out a standardised Confidential Assessment Form (CAF) where they are expected to score applicants across several key attributes, considered to be predictors of success for students entering medical school.

Brief Personal Essays

These essays provide the raters with insight on several things –

  1. How have you prepared for medical school through the various experiences?
  2. Do these experiences align with the Faculty’s mission and values and the MD Program competencies?
  3. Are applicants able to successfully articulate how their experiences address the CanMEDS Framework?

When communicating your ideas, are you considering multiple perspectives including the voices of those who are equity-deserving members? How clear do you communicate?

Members of the community, as well as faculty, residents, clinical fellows, medical students, and allied health professionals, will review your application. So, if possible, we strongly recommend that you enlist both academic and non-academic contacts to review your essays and provide feedback on clarity, not content, of your responses. Consider enlisting the help of your family and friends and take advantage of resources such as Community of Support and Career Services to aid you in reviewing this component of the application.


It is recommended that applicants sit the MCAT test after the second year of your undergraduate study but if you have not done so, it is not late. The latest that applicants can write the test is the September before the application deadline. The release of MCAT scores by AAMC take 30 days so you should plan your testing accordingly to avoid any unforeseen delays.

This initial planning will set you up to be successful in assembling the material needed for a complete application to OMSAS. By organizing the various elements of the application requirements and creating a thorough checklist you can ensure that nothing is overlooked.