Imagine being admitted to a prestigious Canadian Medical school before even finishing high school. The Queen’s University Accelerated Route to Medical School (QuARMS) has been offering this exclusive and unique opportunity to 10 exceptional undergraduate students each year since 2013. Each year CDS has nominated an extremely worthy contender, never having received good news until now.
That changed this year as Kabir Walia ’19 has been invited to join this esteemed community. “I can’t imagine a more coveted offer to an Ontario undergraduate,” said Kabir’s University Placement Director, Mr. David Huckvale. “There’s not another program like it in Canada.” After two years in QuARMS, Kabir will transition to Queen’s Medical School and be well on his way to an MD.
Kabir Walia first expressed an interest in pursuing medicine in Grade 6 while studying the body systems in science class. He was fascinated by the cardiovascular system and how it worked. When his parents enrolled him at The Country Day School in King for Grade 9, he wasted no time immersing himself in the sciences with a laser like focus across all subjects, as well as a wide range of extra-curricular activities.
It was his University Counsellor, Mr. Huckvale, who first introduced Kabir to the idea of applying to QuARMS. A strong student, Kabir met the academic criteria while also fulfilling the well-rounded and involved component as President of the international business and entrepreneurial club DECA, Founder of CDS’ medical club HOSA, a talented member of the School’s Senior Concert Band and Choir, and member of multiple Drama productions.
Outside of school, Kabir is also a Betta fish health expert, creator of an App to organize one’s medical appointments, and a HOSA Canada national officer helping to coordinate Canada’s largest health science competition for secondary and postsecondary students.
To say that Kabir is a conscientious student is an understatement. This year he has 100% in all of his Grade 12 courses, which consist of: Grade 12 Biology, Physics, Chemistry, English, Data Management and The Big Ideas: On the Nature of Change – an interdisciplinary program that encourages students to think critically and make connections between subject areas as diverse as music, science, technology, philosophy, literary studies and social science.
All of these characteristics were taken into account during the selection process that whittled the more than 500 nominated students down to 200 premium candidates who were asked to submit in-depth applications. From there, Queen’s invited 40 students to attend a two-day intensive interview process in Kingston. A few weeks later, 10 students, including Kabir, received the call they had been waiting for. Fittingly Kabir received the call while at school.
Kabir’s news launched his parents, especially his mother, Priya, a family doctor, ‘over the moon’. Kabir’s grandfather was also a doctor – an obstetrician/gynaecologist – so he will be the third generation to pursue medicine.
Priya attributes this phenomenal achievement to Kabir’s teachers as well. “His drive and determination was fueled by the continued support of the CDS community. It’s this tight-knit community that has fostered an atmosphere where Kabir was bound to be successful. Having passionate, inspiring, visionary teachers who have always encouraged him and motivated him to stretch beyond academics and get out of his comfort zone, has given Kabir the confidence to pursue his dreams.”