Studying to become a doctor is right up there at the top of the list for many students, maybe inspired by the many medical dramas television throws at us, or driven by our parents wish to see us into the best vocations.
We all know that grades are important, and in most cases so too are the subjects you are into at school. Sciences are really important. But there are other factors that can have an impact on you getting a place in medical school in Auckland or Dunedin. Let’s check a few out.
Gender: Female good, male not good
Right now more than 60% of health science students in Dunedin are female. That’s about the same as in Auckland so across the country we’re training 6 females to be doctors for every four males. Doesn't sound right.
Ethnicity: Māori – good, Pacific – good
Both Otago and Auckland provide dedicated support for Māori and Pacific students with the hope that they can graduate doctors that reflect ethnic mix in NZ. This year Māori students are around 15-16% of Otago’s health students about the same as the general population numbers, and at the end of 2017 a record 45 Māori graduated as doctors.
Using this benchmark, Pacific numbers need to climb, Asian student numbers need to reduce and European numbers also need to rise. But apart from the support to grow numbers of Pacific students, this won’t happen.
School decile: 4 or under – not good
This year 96.6% of health students at Otago went to a high school that was rated decile 5 or better. Yes, that really is 96.6%!
School location: rural – good
Both medical schools will provide increased opportunities for students who live and study in rural regions. The plan is to get you to return when trained so they will help you get in as much as they can.
Great talking/interview skills: Auckland – good
Auckland Medical School interviews all potential candidates and in fact this counts for a quarter of the points that you accumulate via your first year university papers and what is called the UMAT Undergraduate Medical and Health Sciences Admission Test).
Otago don’t interview potential doctors.
Extra smart and a hard worker: Chances are good
Both universities require you to get really good grades in your first year in order to get into the closed second years. At Auckland you need a GPA of 7 (= A- average) to get an interview. At Otago, don’t bother applying if you have scored 70 or less in any of papers you do in your first year.