ACCESS Pathway Applicants

Photograph of a pathway on campusSchulich Medicine recognizes that some applicants may have faced barriers on their path to applying to medicine. As part of our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), we wish to mitigate barriers for these applicants, where possible, while ensuring equitable access for all applicants.

We value selecting and promoting a community of health care professionals that reflects the diversity of the Canadian population and the communities we serve. We commit to having a diverse interview panel that represents the communities we serve and has undergone EDI training including implicit bias training.

Our commitment to EDI continues with support by the Learner Equity & Wellness (LEW) Office once admitted into the Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program. The LEW Office provides a welcoming and supportive learning environment for all students enrolled in the MD Program, targeting support to the needs of the learner through provision of resources, mentoring and advice, as well as networking and referral to specialists to help promote each learner’s success throughout their journey in medical school.

ACCESS Pathway

In 2019, the ACCESS pathway was introduced to encourage and support applicants who are under-represented within medicine.  In particular, these applicants may have been potentially adversely impacted by circumstances that created a disadvantage due to financial, medical, and/or socio-cultural barriers.

Eligible applicants may include, but are not limited to:
  • Individuals of under-represented ethnicities (such as Black, Latin American, and Filipino)**
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Individuals with socio-economic challenges
  • Individuals who have faced other familial and/or socio-cultural barriers such as loss of both parents, being ward of Children’s Aid, living in a homeless shelter.

**Since the 2018-19 application cycle, we have asked applicants to complete a voluntary applicant diversity survey. Compared to our local data based on Statistics Canada, Black, Latin American, and Filipino populations are underrepresented at Schulich Medicine. Schulich Medicine wishes to create a welcoming environment to all our applicants which includes applicants from under-represented ethnicities.

Applicants from all ethnicities are welcome to apply through the ACCESS pathway if they have encountered any financial, medical and/or socio-cultural barriers. In order to ensure a holistic assessment valuing the intersectionality of barrier(s) that may occur for a single individual, applicants through the ACCESS pathway are reviewed and interviewed by a diversity and equity panel enriched with physicians, community members, and students concordant with the barrier(s) presented and are trained in EDI practices including implicit bias training.

Applicants through the ACCESS Pathway may be considered for MCAT flexibility using the same criteria as for Southwestern Ontario applicants. The MCAT criteria are reset annually based on the competitiveness of the applicant pool. All other admission requirements are the same as for applicants in the general stream.

How to Apply

All applicants through the ACCESS Pathway must provide:
  1. A brief personal statement describing:
    1. Why they are applying through this pathway, including which barrier(s) are applicable to their situation (medical, financial, socio-cultural).
    2. How they have adapted to and/or overcome their barrier, as well as their potential for success in medical school.
  2. Supporting documentation, as outlined below under Financial Barrier, Medical Barrier or Socio-cultural Barrier.

 

Applicants with a Financial Barrier

We recognize that many students face financial barriers that may require them to work part-time during their undergraduate education. To be considered as having a financial barrier:
  • You must have worked at least 20 hours/week during the academic year (September to April) for at least two academic years.
  • During at least one of these two years, you must also have been engaged in full-time studies with the appropriate course loads and course levels as outlined in our GPA requirements.
Applicants with a financial barrier must provide the following additional documentation:
  • In your description within the ACCESS pathway, clearly outline how your circumstances meet the definition of a financial barrier as described above, including a relevant timeline. E.g.: "I worked a minimum of 20 hours/week during the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 academic years."
  • an official letter from your employer(s) clearly outlining the hours worked and dates employed, as they relate to the above definition of financial barrier.

If you are unable to meet the employment hours listed and believe that you have faced a socio-economic barrier in your journey to medical school, please consider applying through the Socio-cultural Barrier and its required documentation.

Applicants with a Medical Barrier

A medical barrier is defined as a disability and/or life-threatening illness affecting you during your university education.

Individuals with a medical barrier(s) are encouraged to apply if they have the Essential Skills and Abilities Required for the Study of Medicine (as per the Council of Ontario Faculties of Medicine) in order to ensure their own safety and the safety of the patients they interact with and care for during their medical training.

Applicants with a medical barrier must provide the following additional documentation:
  • official documentation on whether accommodations were provided, and the nature of these accommodations, for writing the MCAT. If no accommodations were provided for writing the MCAT, please state this.
  • official documentation on whether accommodations were provided, and the nature of these accommodations, for university learning. If no accommodations were provided, please state this.
  • official documentation by a licensed professional on how the illness and/or disability impacts/impacted your learning and/or the learning of others. (Although disclosing the name of a diagnosis is not required, the committee will require sufficient information about the impact of the illness and/or disability on your educational experience.)

Applicants with a Socio-cultural Barrier

A socio-cultural barrier is related to societal, cultural, familial or environmental factors that may potentially have had an adverse impact on an applicant’s abilities to adequately prepare for a path to medical school.

Given the wide variety of activities and achievements that are considered acceptable in the application to Schulich Medicine (i.e. the Western Abbreviated Autobiographical Sketch), the impact of the barrier(s) must be beyond stating the lack of appropriate role models to guide an individual.

Applicants with a socio-cultural barrier must provide documentation that best supports their personal statement for the ACCESS pathway:
  • Since socio-cultural barriers can be very personal and quite diverse in circumstances, we will not be able to provide prescribed sets of acceptable documentation for your circumstances.
  • Documentation from family members, relatives or friends will not be acceptable.
Black Canadian Applicants
We recognize that specific pathways for Black applicants have been introduced.  We created the ACCESS pathway to nurture a welcoming and inclusive environment for all applicants under-represented within medicine, including Black applicants. Black Canadian applicants are encouraged to apply through the ACCESS pathway, which deliberately takes steps to address the unique experience of Black applicants to the MD Program in the following ways:
  • Applicants must self-identify as Black African, Black Caribbean, Black North American, or as multi-racial.
  • Applicants may apply through the socio-cultural barrier of the ACCESS pathway.  Examples of acceptable supporting documentation can be a personal letter attesting your self-identification with Black ancestry, or government documentation attesting to your Black ancestry (e.g. citizenship documentation for yourself or your parents). 
  • If other barriers (Financial and/or Medical, as described below) are present, Black applicants are welcome to describe these as well and provide supporting documentation as outlined below.
  • A diversity and equity panel enriched with community members, medical students and physicians who are Black and/or Persons of Colour (racialized persons) will take part in the Admissions process of self-identified Black applicants.
  • Applicants must meet the same admissions requirements, but through the ACCESS pathway MCAT flexibility may be afforded.
Latin American Canadian Applicants
Latin American Canadian applicants are encouraged to apply through the ACCESS pathway, which deliberately takes steps to address the unique experience of Latin American applicants to the MD program in the following ways:
  • Applicants must self-identify as Latin American.
  • Applicants may apply through the socio-cultural barrier of the ACCESS pathway. Examples of acceptable supporting documentation can be a personal letter attesting your self-identification with Latin American ancestry, or government documentation attesting to your Latin American ancestry (e.g. citizenship documentation for yourself or your parents). 
  • If other barriers (Financial and/or Medical, as described below) are present, applicants may describe these as well and provide supporting documentation as outlined below.
  • A diversity and equity panel enriched with community members, medical students and physicians who are Latin American and/or Persons of Colour (racialized persons) will take part in the Admissions process of self-identified Latin American applicants.
  • Applicants must meet the same admissions requirements, but through the ACCESS pathway MCAT flexibility may be afforded.
Filipino Canadian Applicants
Filipino Canadian applicants are encouraged to apply through the ACCESS pathway, which deliberately takes steps to address the unique experience of Filipino applicants to the MD program in the following ways:
  • Applicants must self-identify as Filipino.
  • Applicants may apply through the socio-cultural barrier of the ACCESS pathway. Examples of acceptable supporting documentation can be a personal letter attesting your self-identification with Filipino ancestry, or government documentation attesting to your Filipino ancestry (e.g. citizenship documentation for yourself or your parents).
  • If other barriers (Financial and/or Medical, as described below) are present, applicants may describe these as well and provide supporting documentation as outlined below.
  • A diversity and equity panel enriched with community members, medical students and physicians who are Filipino and/or Persons of Colour (racialized persons) will take part in the Admissions process of self-identified Filipino applicants.
  • Applicants must meet the same admissions requirements, but through the ACCESS pathway, MCAT flexibility may be afforded.

Consideration & Assessment

All required application materials, including supporting documentation, for the ACCESS Pathway must be submitted by the OMSAS deadline. Personal statements and documents submitted in support of an application through the ACCESS Pathway will be reviewed holistically

Applying through the ACCESS Pathway does not guarantee the granting of MCAT flexibility, nor admission to the Doctor of Medicine Program. There are no fixed seats or quotas for the ACCESS Pathway.

Related Links

If you are considering applying through the ACCESS pathway, please also consider joining the Community of Support and/or applying at some of our wonderful colleague medical schools who are also committed to diversity, inclusion, and equity through their admissions-related diversity and/or social accountability initiatives, as listed below:

Community of Support

Community of Support is an initiative through the University of Toronto with chapters across multiple universities aimed at supporting students who are Indigenous, Black, Filipino, economically disadvantaged, or who self-identify with having a disability, with admissions information, advising, mentoring, and application support.

Universities with Diversity and/or Social Accountability Initiatives (in alphabetical order)

Dalhousie University has dedicated pathways for Indigenous applicants, African Nova Scotian applicants, and for those with barrier(s).

McGill University has an Indigenous Applicant pathway and Rural and Small Populations Pathway.

McMaster University has a dedicated pathway for Indigenous Applicants.

Northern Ontario School of Medicine is committed to recruiting a class profile reflective of the population of Northern Ontario, including Indigenous/Francophone, Franco-Ontarian, and students from a rural or Northern Ontario/Northern Canadian background.

Queen’s University offers the Queen’s University Accelerated Route to Medical School (QuARMS) for Black and Indigenous high school students.

University of Alberta offers pathways for Rural Applicants, Indigenous Applicants, and Black Applicants.

University of British Columbia encourages applicants from several underrepresented populations (Indigenous applicants, Refugees, Applicants with Disabilities, Rural Applicants).

University of Calgary offers Pathways to Medicine Scholarship for high school students, Indigenous Health Program, and Black Applicant Admissions Program.

University of Manitoba encourages Canadian Indigenous Applicants and those from rural and/or socioeconomic and culturally diverse backgrounds.

University of Ottawa initiatives for French-speaking applicants, Indigenous applicants, and applicants from a low socioeconomic status background.

University of Saskatchewan offers an Indigenous Admissions Pathway and Diversity and Social Accountability Admissions Pathway.

University of Toronto offers an Indigenous Student Application Pathway and Black Student Application Pathway.

Please consult each individual Canadian medical school for details as this list may not be comprehensive.

Please Note:

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all relevant documentation is provided. Schulich Medicine reserves the right to verify supporting documentation. Falsification or misrepresentation of information will result in removal of an application from consideration and may be considered in any future application to the University.

For questions about applying via the Access Pathway, please contact the Schulich Admissions Office by email at admissions.medicine@schulich.uwo.ca or by phone at 519-661-3744.

Applicants to Schulich Medicine who have disabilities and wish to discuss requests for accommodations should contact Accessible Education at ssd@uwo.ca or 519-661-2147.