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How to Pick the Right Medical School For You

There are many universities to study medicine at and it can be difficult to decide which ones to apply to. Here are some ways to help you work out which medical school is right for you.

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Location, location

Choosing a university to study at can often be based on location. It is common for budding medical students to apply to courses close to where they already live.

This is a popular option, as it means you do not have to move away from where you are. It also means that other areas of your life don’t need to change, such as work arrangements, where you live and friendship circles.

Many students also consider moving to another city or interstate to study medicine. The reasons can vary but common ones include: to increase chances of being accepted to medical school, a desire to live in a new location or for the opportunities certain universities provide.

You may need to think about finances when considering living in a new location. This could be particularly relevant if you’re a school leaver or planning to live in your own place for the first time.

Consider your interests

Each medical course has strengths and weaknesses, targeting interests of different medical students. When looking at different universities, it is important to see if the course provides the options you’re looking for. Some medical course attributes include early clinical exposure, rural training opportunities or a research focus.

If you’re unsure what different courses are like, you can try looking at the medical course structure and reading about the university online. Going to a university open day or medical course information session can also be useful!

Undergraduate or Postgraduate

Medical courses are offered in Australia as undergraduate or postgraduate degrees. It is important to check the course requirements before considering a medical school as one of your potential options.

Undergraduate degrees often take longer to complete but don’t require any previous university study. If you have completed a degree, it is still possible to apply for an undergraduate medical course.

Postgraduate degrees usually have early clinical exposure and require you to complete a degree before starting the course.

MBBS or MD?

Universities in Australia offer two types of medical courses – the Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), or the Doctorate of Medicine (MD).

The MBBS is a Bachelor’s level course, whereas the MD is a Masters level course. The MD is now being offered by many universities as it is recognised internationally. That means you can do further training as a doctor overseas once you have finished your university studies.

An individual research project and research methods training is also part of the MD course. This can be a great kick start to a Masters or PhD further down the line! It also provides you with important research skills and understanding needed for your future medical career. The MBBS course does not generally include this research component.

If you are unsure whether to choose MBBS or MD, don’t be too concerned. Both courses provide you with all the knowledge, skills and training to pursue a medical career. If you have a particular research interest or want to work overseas, the MD might be a better option.

Keep in mind though that there are many other research opportunities available as a medical student throughout your career!

What’s the social life like?

Student life or medical school society options may be another factor to consider when choosing a course. Most medical schools have a student group that runs social events that are both medical and non-medical.

The hospitals where students do their clinical training also have dedicated student groups and events. Speak to students already studying at the university to find out what these groups are like. Course information sessions and university open days are a great way to find out this information.

Many universities also have societies and groups independent of the medical school. Some common groups include sporting, cultural, religious or special interest. Check out your university website or open day to see what the social life is like!

Words: Mary Agapides

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