As seen in [Journal]: Medical Education
A model for medical school application courses: widening access to student preparation
Culadeeban Ratneswaran, Jameel Mushtaq, Joerg Steier
What problems were addressed?
A growing trend exists of private entities offering expensive courses to support medical school applications. These are often financially out of reach for those from poorer socio-economic backgrounds, leading to a bias of successful applications towards the richer, who can afford to be better trained, as opposed to the better skilled.
Non-profit courses are often linked to a medical school society, causing a preferential bias towards the host university, and potentially providing inadequate preparation for the diverse selection procedures within other medical schools.
Hence, there is a need for affordable preparatory courses, which include a diverse tutor cohort, to provide accurate admission information to all applicants, including those from poorer socio-economic backgrounds.
What was tried?
Medical student tutors from three universities, supervised by clinical lecturers to maintain material accuracy, coordinated a pilot philanthropic conference for 50 secondary-school students, prior to their medical application process. An outreach programme prioritised less affluent communities and a peer-assisted learning (PAL) teaching method was used, thereby incentivising the medical students through development of their organisation, communication, teaching and presentation skills, and hence avoiding the need for a financial motivation.
The itinerary included ‘life as a doctor and medical student’, ‘the application process’, ‘medical communication skills’ and ‘ethical and personal statement writing’ workshops. A social media feed (facebook.com/oslersroom) encouraged collaborative learning and networking, and a website (oslersroom.com) was created, providing a social hub for students, as well as endorsing affiliated charities. Formal feedback was elicited from both tutors and attendees using an electronic survey. Multi-university committees were established to allow for long-term sustainability
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Dr Joerg Steier
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