10 Step Medical Schools in Australia Application Guide
Applying for medicine is stressful, no matter whether you’re a high school student applying for an undergraduate degree or a seasoned graduate applying for a postgraduate medicine degree - there are high stakes at play and this situation is not helped by a complicated medicine application process.
The following 10 Step Guide has been put together to help describe the overall system and assist you work through this process.
10 Step Medical Schools in Australia
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Key Points in Applying for Medicine
Identify the degree type
To some it may be self-evident but medical degrees can either undertaken as an undergraduate or postgraduate degree and this influences the application process you need to go through.
Decide the medicine degrees you’re going to apply for
You can put in multiple applications if you're wanting to apply for a number of medicine degrees or degrees leading to medicine, provided you meet the requirements set for the degree by the university. Requirements always include an academic assessment. A number of other assessments will also be undertaken (eg. required prerequisite subjects, required previous degree/s for postgraduate medicine and age limit when the degree was completed, English language skill levels for international students etc.). The specific assessments and threshold requirements for each are set by the university and are specific for the degree.
You obviously increase your chances to be accepted into medicine by increasing the number of applications you put in. The same approach applies to interstate degrees - provided you meet the requirements you are able to apply.
Decide on other non-medicine Plan B options
Given medicine degree entry is highly competitive you need to consider alternate degree choice options in case you’re unsuccessful in securing a medicine place. There are, however, traps for young players that you need to be aware of to ensure your Plan B degree options don’t preclude your ability to apply for medicine later (should that be your intent).
you may not be able to apply for undergraduate medicine if you commence another degree. Curtin’s direct entry undergraduate medicine degree precludes students from applying if they have record of university study,
the undergraduate degree you do may not enable you to apply for postgraduate medicine. Monash University will only accept graduate entry students from specific Monash undergraduate degrees,
lateral transfer from another degree may not be possible, or only a very small number of students may be accepted. The University of Adelaide only accepts 20 lateral entry students into their undergraduate medicine degree and of these half come from a specific University of Adelaide degree.
So make sure you thoroughly research your Plan B options.
Identify the organisation you need to apply through
Depending upon the university, applications may either be through a State Agency (for undergraduate degrees), through GEMSAS (for ANU, Deakin, Griffith, Macquarie, University of Melbourne, University of Notre Dame, University of Queensland, University of Western Australia and University of Wollongong postgraduate degrees), and/or be to the university directly. If through a State Agency the primary location of the university determines the State Agency involved.
The applicable State Agencies are:
UAC - NSW and ACT
QTAC - Queensland
VTAC - Victoria
TISC - Western Australia
SATAC - South Australia and Northern Territory
Applications for UTas are direct to the university
Identify the specific application arrangements that apply to you for the degree
An important point is it depends on who you are as to the specific requirements that apply - ie. whether you're a domestic student, if you're an international student, are you applying for a particular type of place such as a rural placement etc.?
Specific arrangements can include different documentation that needs to be provided, different academic grade levels that apply to different applicants, different contact points/teams at the university who assist/receive your application etc.
Understand the assessments the university will use to select students
Every piece of information you submit to the university is important in terms of it forming part of the assessment. Different universities use different assessments and/or will place different emphasis on certain parts of assessments, so it’s worthwhile understanding the university’s intent behind the degree (eg. does it have a specific emphasis on rural medicine? etc.). How the university approaches its degree and therefore the type of student the university is wishing to attract is worth keeping in mind when you are putting your application information together.
Understand the deadlines - not only for the application itself but also for associated documentation and any assessments that may also be required
Application deadlines are critical but its equally important to recognise there may also be separate deadlines for submission of documentation and deadlines for applications for required assessments. For example, the University of Sydney requires applicants to separately apply to the UAC Qualifications Assessment Service to have previous degree grade point average calculated. The Qualifications Assessment Service has its own opening and closing dates.
Many degrees require students to sit assessments prior to application (such as UCAT/GAMSAT/CASPer/ISAT/MCAT etc) and these also have application deadlines.
Check the degree you’re applying for doesn’t have an early closing date. For example VTAC applications for courses commencing in 2020 open on 5 August 2019 and close on 30 September 2019. Don’t assume the deadline for applications for the degree you are interested in close at the same time as the State Agency as this may not be the case.
The UNSW application process for domestic undergraduate medicine students requires 2 applications - one to UNSW and a separate application to UAC.
Put your application and any associated documentation together with plenty of time
The University of Sydney advises students that gathering documentation and the application process can take 12 months - so don’t underestimate the level of work and diligence required. Ensure you submit your applications ahead of time, that you pay any fees and you fully submit your application (VTAC provides an example demonstration application and advise students not to confuse this with their actual application).
Understand the selection process time frame
Universities may require students to undergo interviews and/or further assessments by invitation (eg. additional interviews in some Indigenous application processes, further psychological assessments etc.). International students may be able to be interviewed remotely by Skype etc or the university may require applicants to attend in person. Interview and further assessment dates are not flexible so students need to be in a position to arrange transport and attend these with limited notice. If you are applying for multiple medicine degrees how you ensure your availability needs to be a clear consideration given many universities conduct these assessments around the same time of year.
Verify your contact information and order of your preferences
Make sure you check your emails regularly, not only for information issued during the application and assessment period but also to accept any offers. Remember universities are in the mass education business and this involves managing an application system that thousands of students go through. There are strict rules to ensure the system is fair and this means it is very difficult to argue an exceptional circumstance if you miss information.
This relates not only to degree offers but also other offers - such as university managed accommodation (that also have a fixed and short acceptance window).
Students will only receive 1 offer of a degree from a State Agency so the order of your preferences is important. Particular attention should be paid if you are changing preferences during the December/January period.
The key things to keep in mind therefore are:
determine the medicine degrees or degrees leading to medicine (Plan A and B degree options) you want to apply for
identify the university that provides that degree
determine what application approach that university takes for that degree (direct and/or through an agency) as it applies to you (domestic, international, Indigenous, rural, special etc)
understand the application and associated documentation deadlines for that application system and degree
understand the application deadlines and requirements for additional assessments
plan, prepare and submit your application, associated documentation and assessment applications well ahead of time, practice and prepare for any additional further assessments, and
monitor your email so you are able to quickly respond.
There is more detailed discussion about options and considerations in securing a place in a medical degree in the FAQ and AMA section.
You can find specific application information applicable for each university and each degree under University Details in the navigation tab (subscription fee applies). You can access this here
See the deadline section for summary deadline information for the most recent month. Detailed monthly deadline information (updated each month and provided in a downloadable format) is also available (access this through the Sign Up button above - a subscription fee of initial $5 then $5 per month applies).
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is a highly credible resource where you can find detailed advice. See either the AMA and FAQ section or follow these links further to the AMA (the AMA also links back to Study Medicine).
There is also helpful information information provided by VTAC, UAC etc as well as universities directly.
AN IMPORTANT QUALIFICATION
Study Medicine information has been compiled from Australian university and other reputable public information sources and therefore is a guide. Authoritative information is provided by the university only. Make sure you obtain information directly from the university before making any decisions.
The above information is intended to help you understand common medical degree application terms. Remember, information can always change, so ensure you keep up to date by regularly checking directly with the appropriate university.