Smiling male student in library looking a text books.

How to become a doctor in Australia: start in high school

Have you always dreamed of studying medicine, but are wondering how to become a doctor in Australia? Well, you can start that journey in high school.

In fact, you can take some steps right now that can help turn your dream into a reality. After all, every great journey has to start with the first few steps.

If you want to get a medicine degree and be an incredible doctor for your community, this is the place to start.

It’s about caring

First up, let’s acknowledge that being a doctor is, at heart, about caring. Caring for people. Caring for communities. Wanting to care for people is one of the key attributes you need if you want to be a doctor.

Think about the good doctors you’ve seen in your life. Was it their intellect that impressed you? Or did you feel safe sharing your medical concerns because you could tell they cared?

So the first answer to the question ‘how to become a doctor in Australia’ is to care about people! If you care about people and your community, you’re the kind of student we want to see in our new medicine degree.

Volunteering is a great way to show your caring side. When you apply to study medicine, showing you’ve given back to your community is a great sign that you care about people.

And because our Doctor of Medicine is designed for rural and regional students, showing you understand the needs and challenges facing rural and regional communities is a big plus too.

Dr Lesley Forster is the Head of our rural Medicine School at Charles Sturt University. She’s the head honcho, basically, and breaks it down for you.

“For students looking to come into the rural program, it’s really important that you understand the current issues in rural health. There’s more to it than just having a broad understanding of looking after people.

“It will really help if you understand some of the important things that affect how a doctor might work in a rural area, along with the important things about rural communities and their needs.”

“How to get that knowledge? Talk to people. If you know someone who’s practicing rural medicine, have a chat and try to really understand what it means to be a doctor in this day and age.”

So you’re going to need to work on your marks too

Our new medicine degree is a five-year undergraduate course. Now – that’s a big course. But you wouldn’t want to see a doctor who wasn’t qualified, no matter how caring they were, right?!

Because there’s a lot to learn in medicine, you’ll have to show you have what it takes to be a good student. But you’ve got that covered, right? You’re committed to study? And to doing the very best you can if you get a place in the degree?

Of course you are! So smashing your HSC/VCE is gonna be a breeze (although we’ve got some handy tips to help you when the time comes).

The ATAR for general admission to our Doctor of Medicine program is 95.5. We get it – that’s high. But we’ve got faith in you! You just need to apply yourself.

If you’re from a rural or regional area and wondering how to become a doctor in Australia, we’ve got some good news.

If you live in a rural or regional area, we’ll adjust your selection rank, which means the ATAR you need for our medicine degree comes down to 91.5. Sure, it’s still pretty high – but as we established just now, you’re gonna knuckle down and absolutely own your HSC/VCE, right?

Think about your HSC/VCE subjects

At Charles Sturt University, most of our courses don’t have prerequisites. You’ll have to complete the University Clinical Aptitude Test to study medicine, but there are no high school subjects you absolutely, definitely have to take to apply for our medicine degree.

However… when thinking about your HSC/VCE subjects, bear in mind – medicine is pretty science-heavy.

Here’s Dr Lesley Forster again.

“One of the things about studying medicine (or any health profession) is there’s usually lots of science in the course.

“While you don’t have to study science in high school, if you’ve done a bit of biology, chemistry or physics you’ll probably find it easier to step into what’s required in a medicine degree.”

Above all, you need to choose subjects that you’re interested in and passionate about – and hopefully that includes some science!

Believe you can do it!

Everyone doubts themselves at some point, and the thought of getting into a medicine degree might make you occasionally question how it will happen. But you can do this – and we’ll help you, particularly if you’re from a regional or rural background.

So, have you had either of these thoughts?

I’m just a girl/boy from the bush. No one from my high school has gone on to do medicine.

No one from my family has been to university – let alone thought about studying medicine.

Well, first up, 80 per cent of places in our medicine degree are for rural students. Plus, we have all sorts of programs to help you get in, prepare for and flourish at uni. From scholarships to help pay for uni, to wellbeing and study support along the way, we’ve got your back.

Here are some final words from Dr Forster.

“Rural students need to aspire to studying medicine and our communities need to get behind them. Really encourage them and do what we can to help them make the journey. And we’re all a part of that.”

Start your journey

If you want to have a chat about how to become a doctor in Australia with our new medicine degree, just reach out.