Why did you choose Health Sci, what makes it unique?
I initially chose the Health Sciences program because I had heard many good things about the learning style, workload, and flexibility, and I definitely believe those are three things that make Health Sci very unique. The problem-based learning that is integrated in many of the courses help to develop important soft skills such as communication, conflict resolution, and group dynamic coordination. You will find yourself doing many group projects, but I have found that this was a good early exposure to what you will encounter once you start working. Health Sci is also a great program for exploring your interests. There is lots of elective space and time outside of courses to try out extra curricular activities or work part time. You will also find that the Health Sci community is very close-knit - you’ll come to know many people in your own cohort, but also the upper and younger years as well!
Are there many research opportunities?
McMaster is a research powerhouse to put it very simply. You will definitely find research opportunities if you are proactive and persistent. It’s sometimes hard to get positions with bigger research groups/professors, but if you look through the faculty website for the department you’re interested in, you will find many professors that may be willing to take on students.
Don’t stress too much about the program you are choosing! Though there is lots of pressure to get into the “best” or “right” program, realize that there are so many different paths people will go on even in the same program. And in a similar sense, people from different programs may end up in the same place. So don’t get too bogged down by picking programs - as long as you work hard, you will be able to navigate any program you choose.
What is some advice you'd give highschool students when applying?
What kinds of things are there to do in your schools hometown?
Hamilton is a very underrated food scene! If you love studying in cafes or trying out new restaurants, you will really love this city! Moreover, Hamilton has tons of hiking trails and waterfalls to check out. There are also many arts festivals that happen throughout the year. If I could go back and change anything in my undergrad, I really wish I would
For a McMaster Health Sciences Graduate...
have spent more time exploring Hamilton; it’s very underappreciated but there is definitely something here for everyone.
How would you describe the workload and work-life balance?
University is definitely a different ballpark than high school. I think you’ll find in any program that a lot of the time management is completely up to you! There are far fewer restraints, which can be liberating but also very scary. In Health Sci, there was definitely more free time than some other programs, but you’ll find many students will fill that time up with research or club activities. As such, the work-life balance is really up to you! Some programs may have more mandatory courses, others might look for more extra curricular work. At the end of the day, it will really be up to you to create the work-life balance that suits you, and sometimes this means stepping back from all the craziness and taking time to discern what is important to you.
Why did you choose Health Sci, what makes it unique?
When I was in grade 10, I was doing research for a careers project when I came across a class called “Music, Health, and the Community”. It’s a third-year course at McMaster offered by the Faculty of Health Science, in which you learn about creating community through music, specifically teaching children how to play the ukulele and having them preform for seniors. This course really got my attention – the psychosocial and community approach it took to health was an ideology I did not expect to see in a university course, and it genuinely sounded more like a fun opportunity than a class. I started to look more into the program, and found many more similar courses, that looked at health from a variety of disciplines and utilised a unique inquiry learning style. This is ultimately why I choose health science; the program really equips you with the skills to be a lifelong learner – you learn how to collaborate, ask questions, tackle problems, something I knew I wanted from my post-secondary education. The other major draw to health science for me was the size of the program. In first year, I was in the life science gateway, and found that I really did not enjoy being in such a large program. I found it really difficult to establish connections with my professors and TA’s and found that I really do not like being in huge lectures (however, of my friends had a very different experience and enjoyed being in a large program, and felt like they were able to establish relationships with professors, so it really depends on the individual!). As such, I knew I wanted to be in a smaller program with a strong community, in which I could really get to know my peers and professor, which was another major draw for me to the program.
How would you describe residence? Would you recommend someone live on-campus? If so, what advice do you have for them?
I am so glad I decided to live on residence; being about a 40-minute drive from Hamilton, I had the option to commute, but choose to live in residence for the convince and social aspects. Though the year got cut short, I got to meet so many incredible people and make memories that I otherwise might not have. If you can, I would definitely recommend living on residence – it’s a really unique experience, and I think it makes the transition into university a little easier. My main piece of advice would be to go to welcome week (it’s a lot of fun and it’s a great opportunity to make friends), and to make sure to get to know your neighbours – not only will you have friends close by, but if you ever have an emergency or an issue like loud noises before an exam, it will be a lot easier to talk about if you know each other.
Also don’t stress about which building you will be in - every single building has something unique to offer, from incredible views to a huge game’s rooms, and you can have a great experience no matter where you end up.
The Deer! I loved walking back to my residence at night and seeing deer along the path, especially after a long study session. In all seriousness though, I think what makes McMaster special is the community. The mac campus is such a warm and welcoming environment, and it is truly quite diverse, something that was important to me when choosing a university. The campus and Hamilton are
gorgeous and full of
greenery, and I loved
being able to explore it whenever I had a chance.
The best way to get a sense
of the community and
the campus is to visit
Mac, if you can –
there are open
houses in both the
Fall and Spring,
at which you can
tour campus and
get to interact with
What do you think is special about the McMaster campus life?
For a McMaster Health Sciences Student...
What is some advice you would give students when applying to Health Sci?
My main advice would be to be as true to yourself as possible when writing the supp. app. Reading through the supp. app. I wrote in grade 12, I realized I approached it the wrong way. I wrote what I thought the admissions team would want to hear; I tried to incorporate skills and ideologies I thought they would want to see in a student, such as teamwork and collaborative skills, but it resulted in a final product that really didn't show me. Even though I spent weeks writing and re-writing, I was only really happy with 1/3 responses. Learning from this, the second time I applied as a transfer student, I realized I really needed to put ‘me’ on the page. I took more time developing my ideas and less time writing, making sure my answers were clear and conscience. I had more fun creating my responses the second time around, and put more of myself into it, rather than who I thought admissions would want to read about. There is no magic formula for the supp. app. – the most important things you can do is be true to yourself, be concise, and be creative. Have fun writing your supp. app. and write something that you can be proud of.
A very special thank you to our interviewee...
She is a currently a second-year Health Sciences student at McMaster University after having transferred from Life Sciences. She is an extremely active and involved member within her community. Her story about finding the right program for her is truly inspiring. Read what she has to say about Life Sciences, here.