Medical Applications – Out with the Old, In with the New

If you’re looking to get into med school, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about how tough the application process can be. But guess what? Things have been changing for the better over the past few years, and we’re here to fill you in. We’ve got three major shifts to talk about: ATAR scores taking a backseat, the growing importance of motivation factors (like why you actually want to be a doctor), and better opportunities for our rural and regional pals. So, buckle up and let’s dive into these changes that are shaking up the medical application process.


ATAR takes a backseat

Once upon a time, the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) was the be-all and end-all for students trying to get into med school. But lately, universities have realised that a high ATAR score doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be a fantastic doctor. So, they’ve started to shift their focus away from ATAR and look for other qualities in their applicants.

Why the change? Well, being a great doctor involves way more than just being a bookworm. You need to have skills like critical thinking, communication, empathy, and teamwork, which aren’t always reflected in an ATAR score. To figure out who has these skills, medical schools are now using other methods like interviews, situational judgement tests, and the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT). These evaluations help them get a better idea of who’s got what it takes to be a top-notch healthcare professional.

Don’t get us wrong, though – the ATAR hasn’t lost all its importance. It’s still a baseline you need to reach to prove you’ve got the academic smarts. But once you’ve crossed that line, universities are more interested in what else you bring to the table.

This shift away from the ATAR has also made med school more accessible and diverse. With a broader range of admission criteria, medical schools can now attract students from all sorts of backgrounds who might have been overlooked in the past just because of their ATAR scores. This means a more inclusive and representative group of future doctors who can better serve our diverse communities.

So, to sum it up, the ATAR has taken a backseat in the medical application process as universities focus on finding well-rounded, compassionate future doctors with a wide range of skills and experiences. The times are changing, and it seems like it’s for the better.


Motivation Matters, and the MMI Scoop

So, we’ve talked about how the ATAR is no longer the star of the show. But what’s taking its place? The answer is motivation factors. Medical schools have realised that they need to know more about why you want to become a doctor – they’re looking for students who genuinely care about helping others, not just trying to impress their parents or make a fortune.

To dig deeper into your motivations and other personal qualities, many medical schools have introduced the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) process. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s like a series of short, intense interviews that test how you think on your feet, react to different scenarios, and handle ethical dilemmas. And guess what? One of the most important questions they’ll probably ask you is, “Why do you want to become a doctor?”

The MMI is designed to give universities a better idea of who you are beyond your ATAR score and academic achievements. They want to see if you have the right mindset, empathy, and dedication to be a doctor who truly cares about their patients’ well-being.

During the MMI, you’ll rotate through several stations, each with a different interviewer and scenario or question. You might be asked to discuss an ethical issue, demonstrate your communication skills, or even act out a challenging situation. The whole point is to see how well-rounded you are and to evaluate your potential as a medical professional.

The emphasis on motivation factors and the MMI process helps medical schools identify applicants who have a genuine passion for medicine and are more likely to succeed in their studies and future careers. It’s all about finding the best fit for the profession – and making sure that you’re not just chasing a medical degree for the wrong reasons.

In a nutshell, motivation matters more than ever in the medical application process. So, get ready to share your passion for medicine and show them that you’re in it for the right reasons when you step into that MMI hot seat.


Rural and Regional Offerings Get a Boost

Okay, so now we know that ATAR scores aren’t everything and motivation factors are a big deal. But there’s another change happening in the world of medical applications – and it’s all about giving rural and regional students a better shot at becoming doctors.

In recent years, universities have been stepping up their game when it comes to offering medical programs in rural and regional areas. No longer do you have to pack your bags and move to the big city just to chase your dream of becoming a doctor. Programs like the Joint Medical Program in NSW, La Trobe’s Rural Pathway, and CQUniversity’s Pathway to Medicine are all about making medical education more accessible, no matter where you live.

Let’s take a closer look at these examples:

  1. Joint Medical Program (University of Newcastle): This program is a collaboration between the University of Newcastle and the University of New England, with a focus on rural and regional health. Students can study at campuses in Armidale, Tamworth, or the Central Coast, getting hands-on experience in local healthcare settings and building connections with their communities.
  2. La Trobe’s Rural Pathway: La Trobe University offers a dedicated rural pathway for students looking to study medicine in regional Victoria. This program provides training in rural health, access to clinical placements in regional areas, and support for students to eventually practice medicine in underserved communities.
  3. CQUniversity’s Pathway to Medicine: Central Queensland University (CQUniversity) has developed a pathway program that prepares students for entry into medical school by providing them with the necessary academic foundation and clinical exposure. This pathway enables students to remain in their local communities while gaining valuable skills and experience needed for a career in medicine.

By improving rural and regional offerings, universities are making it easier for students to study closer to home and complete placements in their local communities. This not only helps ease the financial burden of moving away for your education but also increases the chances that you’ll stick around and work in your community once you graduate. It’s a win-win situation – you get to follow your dreams, and rural and regional areas get more much-needed healthcare professionals.

So, the bottom line is that the medical application process is changing for the better. With more opportunities for rural and regional students to study medicine, everyone’s got a better shot at achieving their goals – and helping to build a healthier Australia along the way.


A brighter, more inclusive path

The medical application process has come a long way, and these changes are all about making it more inclusive, accessible, and focused on finding the best future doctors. With ATAR scores no longer ruling the roost, a stronger emphasis on what drives you to become a doctor, and improved opportunities for rural and regional students, it’s a whole new world out there for aspiring medical professionals.

These changes mean that medical schools are looking for more than just straight-A students – they want well-rounded, passionate individuals who are genuinely committed to helping others. So, if you’re ready to step up and show them you’ve got what it takes, there’s never been a better time to chase your dream of becoming a doctor. Good luck, and may the stethoscope be with you.


More articles

What are impact rankings?

How to get in touch with universities

How to apply to university in 7 steps

How to navigate university open days for high school students

Co-op scholarships made easy for high school students

Want more to ponder?
Join our free newsletter crew – we don’t send spam, just news and opportunities to help you build your career.

Latest Video

Join our community

Be the first to find out about what's on offer. We'll send you news, resources, and opportunities you can use to build a career you'll love.

Related articles

Scroll to Top