Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

JCU JCU Written Application: Discussion

Benjamin

Admin (JCU MBBS)
Emeritus
This thread is for discussing JCU written applications. Feel free to post any questions about the written application process. Any PM's that I receive asking for advice this year will be replied to in this thread with usernames removed.

JCU written applications are due on the 30th of September and need a JP to stamp the Statuatory Declaration. Application forms can be found https://www.jcu.edu.au/division-of-tropical-health-and-medicine/application-forms/domestic-applicants']here.

A General Overview
Spend some serious time on your written application and going through possible interview questions (it's more of a process of being able to explain, describe and sell yourself than memorising answers) and it will likely help you more than increasing your ATAR by one point.

Why do you want to be a doctor?
The first section (why would you like to be a doctor) is for you to fill in with anything that you feel shows a quality that would make you a good doctor or that shows how motivated you are. Whether that comes through in the form of you showing how much you like helping people, or learning things about the human body or so forth is upto you and what you can put across in the best way. It may also be beneficial (if you've got heaps of space left/not many things to talk about) to talk about things you want to do and how they would help you make the decision. Essentially the other questions in the application are asking why you would make a good doctor/deal with rural life or why the heck you want to do a course that will take you six years to complete and then put you at the bottom of the foodchain in a hospital whereupon you'll spend the next 15 years of your life studying and working your way upto the top again.

Some good 'devils-advocate' questions to ask yourself:

  • If you're in this 'to help people' why don't you do nursing/physio/other allied health? What exactly about medicine is it that you want to do?
  • If you're in this to 'constantly keep learning' or for 'depth of knowledge' then why aren't you doing a science degree?
  • Have you actually thought through how you're going to support yourself for the next 6 years? Do you still want to do this?
  • What makes you better than the other applicant with a 99 ATAR? What have you actually done that talks about who you are?
  • What do you actually know about JCU medicine? How is the course structured? Have you spoken to any students doing the course currently, what did they have to say about it? (FEEL FREE TO ASK ABOUT THIS BELOW!)

Why do you want to learn specifically about Indigenous/tropical/rural/remote health?
This question is tough and really weeds out the people who have and haven't done research. Do not think you can answer this question appropriately if you haven't at least tried to read up on what these all mean. You need to think about what they(the groups above) have, what they don't have, what different things they have to overcome for health care and how living in a rural area is such a huge factor for poor health. Why do you think that is? What reasons can you come up with for why people in rural areas have poor health? Why does that make you WANT to do this? Don't just talk about the differences, make it clear why this inspires you/challenges you etc.

The harsh truth is that rural practice is completely and totally different from metropolitan practice in the sense that there is both poorer health care in the majority of tropical Australia/tropical anywhere because it's so rural (leading to diseases that normally wouldn't have a significant impact having an incredibly large impact - see Rheumatic Heart Disease as a result of group A Strep. infections which is primarily a tropical and low socioeconomic disease) and also in the sense that tropical areas provide the perfect environment for a huge number of diseases that simply can't survive in other environments - see melioidosis, leptospirorsis, dengue fever, malaria and an almost endless list of diseases you won't see anywhere else which have largely been eradicated in more populated areas due to prevention measures and better hygiene/health care.

If you don't actually know anything about rural/remote/tropic/Indigenous health then tell them that you don't, but of course admit that with something in mind - do you want to learn about those things? Actually think about it, is helping the underserved population something you're actually interested in? Because if it isn't, perhaps JCU isn't a place you want to be - it really is a big, big emphasis. As for a couple things you can read, maybe try these: Rural and Regional Health Australia - Health status

The summary of this: http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/Down...?id=6442459831

Though this is likely the best one to read: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/nh...(j%20humph.pdf

If you're only going to read one of those make it the last one, basically the issues that you need to think about are (in brief and not all-inclusive): in rural areas it is harder to actually get to people (further away from everything); the majority of people in rural areas have a different, occupational view of health such that it's unlikely they'll see a doctor or a dentist unless they absolutely have to/it stops them from working; confidentiality is a huge problem since in most rural towns its very hard to go to a doctor/dentist without knowing the receptionist or other people there first hand; there's further problems in that rural towns and their populations are generally poorer/have a lower socioeconomic status along with a lower level of education which all lead to poor health decisions and couple all of that with much greater rates of smoking, alcohol, tobacco and mental health problems and you've got the average rural town with significantly lower health outcomes.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What does rural health even mean? Can you explain it?
  • What do you know about the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander population that makes up so much of FNQ's patient base? Why is it like this? What can we do to actually change it?
  • Have you ever lived in/stayed at/been to a rural area? Where and why? What was it like? Did you like it - if so, why? If not - how come?

Paid Employment/Work Experience Etc.
The following is quoted out of a thread fully available here: Note for work experience

Many applicants attend work experience and get some huge profound thing out of it/"fall in love with medicine" and describe this in their interview. Keep in mind that your interviewers are mostly doctors who have all been through medical school and have done more than a few interviews; they will 100% see through your bullshit.

In saying that, I feel that someone who spends time on a medical placement prior to their application and doesn't at least try to reflect on it during their interview has wasted their time. This is just about the only time when reflecting on your pre-medical school placement will actually be useful to anyone other than yourself and by not highlighting it you're losing out on that.

It also demonstrates quite clearly that you actually have a reasonable idea of what the job in the future might be like. Sure, you're not really going to understand it deeply but you have a much better idea than someone who has never set foot in a hospital/clinic.

I think that someone who goes on a medical placement and instantly "falls in love with it" or something similar is not thinking critically or reflecting on it properly. The most important thing to get out of the placement is a sense of what it's like to do the job from 8-5, to realise that amongst the brilliant moments where you connect with people/do medicine stuff and the like that it's a job with real work to be done. It's about realising how much you actually don't know, how much you have to learn and being excited about that prospect.

There's no other way you can realistically get the idea of how much there is to learn in this career without actually getting involved and considering that continued learning/academia throughout life is one of JCU's application questions and almost always a staple interview question it would be silly to not use the opportunities you have had to discuss it further and show you've put some real thought into it.

I agree with Pi that you need to set yourself apart, I just think that it should be through your critical thinking/evaluation of what happened at your medical placement rather than saying "I saw someone have a heart attack and we fixed it! MEDICINE IS GREAT!".

I'll cover your question about how long you should spend on the placement with more questions: are you still getting anything out of it? Not learning medicine (you'll do this in medical school) but actually getting experience of what your potential future is like? Do you have a solid understanding of the 8-5 job or have you only been going from 2-5pm? Have you done more than just sit with the Doctor, have you considered spending some time with the nurses, physiotherapists, other allied health? Do you feel like the placement has anything else to offer you?

Try and remember that even though you've decided 100% in your heart that you want to do medicine you realistically have no idea what the next 5-6 years of medical school and then your future after that entail. Don't spend this time trying to get a placement so it looks good on your interview, spend it trying to evaluate whether you actually want to do this as a life choice.

Other Relevant Details
There are a number of ways you can respond to this section of the JCU application and largely it depends on your personal experience - if you have something that you haven't been able to bring up in the previous questions then realistically this is where you can detail it. This is especially important for those with prior experience in fields that JCU is looking for - i.e. if you are currently an Indigenous Health Liason Officer working in the hospital/healthcare sector but for some reason haven't been able to bring it up earlier in the application then this is where you would put that information.

On the other end of the spectrum - i.e. high school graduates - this often allows for people to list achievements that aren't necessarily directly related to their medicine application but demonstrate leadership/commitment to learning etc. For example, if you represented Australia at a national level for sport; or you have written papers/been involved in research then you can list those references here. There are more examples I can give but again it's entirely dependent on your own personal background, whether you think the information you are putting down is worthwhile and/or demonstrates why you are a good applicant.

Letters of Support
Unless things have changed my understanding is that you submit a Letter of Support from a referee rather than contact details. In this sense JCU is incredibly unlikely to actually chase referees down themselves given the enormous number of applications they get and the inherent inability to contact people at any time of the day.

I wouldn't worry greatly about referees - unless they are exceptional it's unlikely they'll make a great deal of difference; every student worth their salt can find three people to say nice things about them and in that sense there's very little that actually sets apart referees and their letters of support. In saying this, it is not an area to neglect - definitely include 3 letters if you can get them!

I hope this clears things up a little bit and gives some of you a few ideas of how to proceed. Feel free to post any questions or answers to the questions I've posted above!
 
Last edited:

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

Dr.Potato

Adelaide MBBS II
Hi Benn, I was just wondering, roughly what proportion of JCU med students are non-rural?
 

Benjamin

Admin (JCU MBBS)
Emeritus
Hi Benn, I was just wondering, roughly what proportion of JCU med students are non-rural?
A1 found a good answer on this detail earlier in the year. There is another document that I'm aware of which outlines JCU's selection policy re: rural/non-standard/international students but I can't seem to locate it at the moment. Will get back to you, Grape re: non-standard numbers.

JCU
Found this rather old document < James Cook University's rurally orientated medical school selection process: quality graduates and positive workforce outcomes. - PubMed - NCBI > but hopefully still relevant
Places are allocated approx 20% to metro (RA1), 20% to RA2, 60% to RA3-5
so less competitive for RA3-5 thanks to more places fewer applicants.
 

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

Mal08

New Member
With the paid employment and work experience section etc, are we meant to go full into the experiences that we gained by doing those activities?
e.g. 'Spending time with the nursing unit opened my eyes to the level of teamwork and communication that is required in the provision of medicine"

or do we just provide details as in the address, time spent general, overview of what we did etc.
 

Benjamin

Admin (JCU MBBS)
Emeritus
With the paid employment and work experience section etc, are we meant to go full into the experiences that we gained by doing those activities?
I think this depends on the job/work experience you have done. If the position speaks for itself - e.g. sole pharmacist on Thursday Island for 4 years - then it might not be necessary to completely detail all of the small elements but rather focus on big picture stuff, if that makes sense. Similarly, if you have a list of work experience/relevant jobs that are a mile long you might not have space..

Realistically though most applicants (school leavers) are not going to have a wealth of experience and so they are better off explaining what they did and how it helped them make the decision they're making. My personal opinion is that work experience/past experience (in terms of getting into medicine) isn't worth the time you spent unless you can explain how it helped cement your decision/changed your perspective/gave you insight. Further to that, if it gave you insight into the career you're chasing then you'd be silly not to bring it up either in your application or in your interview - the people reading & marking these are looking for applicants that have critically thought about what they're getting into and have decided it's something they want to be a part of.
 

Mal08

New Member
I think this depends on the job/work experience you have done. If the position speaks for itself - e.g. sole pharmacist on Thursday Island for 4 years - then it might not be necessary to completely detail all of the small elements but rather focus on big picture stuff, if that makes sense. Similarly, if you have a list of work experience/relevant jobs that are a mile long you might not have space..

Realistically though most applicants (school leavers) are not going to have a wealth of experience and so they are better off explaining what they did and how it helped them make the decision they're making. My personal opinion is that work experience/past experience (in terms of getting into medicine) isn't worth the time you spent unless you can explain how it helped cement your decision/changed your perspective/gave you insight. Further to that, if it gave you insight into the career you're chasing then you'd be silly not to bring it up either in your application or in your interview - the people reading & marking these are looking for applicants that have critically thought about what they're getting into and have decided it's something they want to be a part of.
Alright! Thank you very much
 

Vai

New Member
Thank you so so much Benn for your detailed posts above...am applying for JCU med this year so thanks for your most incredibly helpful posts!!!
 

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

Benjamin

Admin (JCU MBBS)
Emeritus
Hey,

Is there any way we can get feedback on our application answers?
Formally? Only when interview offers come out - if your ATAR/GPA is above the cut-off and you didn't get an offer then your application let you down.

Informally? That depends whether you want to post your application on a public forum. Often they are quite personal and can be identifying, so I advise you to think it over. If you've already submitted it and just want me to tear it apart on a public forum for the education of others then by all means post it here and I'll give you feedback.
 

AJAKA

New Member
Hi Ben,
With the Jcu applications, do they rank you lower if u haven't done any voluntary experiences??
 

Benjamin

Admin (JCU MBBS)
Emeritus
Hi Ben,
With the Jcu applications, do they rank you lower if u haven't done any voluntary experiences??
I doubt they would actively mark it down, but they certainly aren't going to be putting any ticks in the "voluntary or work experience experience" column if you haven't done any. I've said this a lot of times - it's not hard to get voluntary experience (even THIS weekend!) and so there really isn't any excuse not to have done any.
 

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

radhi3ch

New Member
Hi! Just wondering is it really bad if i don't submit any letters of support with my application, does that make a really big difference?
 

Benjamin

Admin (JCU MBBS)
Emeritus
As Ben says in his post, most applicants could probably find three people that would recommend them and hence unless the person is someone really important then don't bother
Not exactly what I said! Definitely do bother - every good student can get 3 references and as a result every good applicant should have 3 letters. The letters themselves not meaning much does not mean that having no letters is recommended.

Perhaps I should have made things more clear: three letters means that you've talked to at LEAST three people who mean something to you and know you somewhat well enough to write a reference, this means to JCU that you've thought about doing medicine there seriously and that you've actually committed enough to ask three semi-important people in your life to explain why you're a good candidate. Not having those letters probably means the exact opposite - you weren't bothered enough to actually tell anyone you wanted to do JCU medicine or you don't have anyone who knows you well enough and will speak well enough of you to write a letter.

Just because everyone will have them doesn't mean you don't need them!
 

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

barg6785

New Member
Hi! For each question, I go over by one line to finish off my sentence (so basically i have a line of writing right underneath the last line provided). Will this be an issue? Thanks :)
 

Bob Stevenson

New Member
Hey ben, i was wondering for this question: " Provide details of any paid employment, work experience or voluntary, you have undertaken, in addition to your studies, which indicate your motivation to study Medicine or another Health Professional degree at James Cook University?" Would it be silly for me to talk about clinical experience i have gained through my uni course (bachelor of physiotherapy), or does the question only specifically relate to employment/voluntary work undertaken outside of studies?
 

Benjamin

Admin (JCU MBBS)
Emeritus
Would it be silly for me to talk about clinical experience i have gained through my uni course (bachelor of physiotherapy), or does the question only specifically relate to employment/voluntary work undertaken outside of studies?
Absolutely appropriate for you to talk about this. Use it as best you can!
 

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

Top