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Medical applications favour the middle class: Agree/ disgree? watch

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    (Original post by nexttime)
    'Middle class' doesn't exactly imply anything about state-school/private school. It does imply something about the area you will live in and so the school you will go to, however. By all means some people might make it but when a school has something like 20% 5A*-Cs at GCSE, there is little hope for those people (extreme example but the trend will hold true).
    I agree with this.

    At my school there was 17% that achieved 5 A*-Cs. I had no hope at that point and hence, why I went the graduate route. I think schooling is far more important than social-economic status. The areas people grow up is crucial as run down areas like mine are ******. There are just people going to school to fight and not study. Teachers that don't turn up and leave every 3 months from violence etc. Also, there is a cross-over with general parenting types from middle class to working class backgrounds.
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    (Original post by T kay)
    Doesn't it? Where I'm from:

    Middle-class: Private schools
    Rest of us: State

    But yes, the trend is true. The richer you are the more likely you are to do well. I was just reminding everyone that a poor or average school won't stop you from entering medical school and that they are many examples which prove that.
    Given that under 10% of the country's kids go to a private school, I think that interpretation is a little simplistic - far more than that number are by one definition or another "middle class."

    I think that the middle class do have an advantage, but it's not just for Medicine - it's for any professional course, and for most of the top-end universities, not to mention life in general. But some of these places have more strategies to counter this than others.
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    (Original post by YoSuis)
    Ah I see what you mean, but surely that's a problem related to university applications as a whole and not just applications to medical school?
    Yes, it just has a more profound impact on applications to medical school.

    Very few other subjects are as demanding (in terms of specific A-Levels and experience) as the medical subjects.

    For most other subjects even if the student hasn't picked a perfect combinations of A-Levels they can still get into the subject of their choice, so it doesn't matter too much that they didn't know what's important when they were 16. However for medicine it's a lot more important, not having the right A-Levels or experience pretty much guarantees you won't be able to get an offer.
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    (Original post by T kay)
    As the 32 medical schools are quite dispersed then train tickets could range from £5 if you're lucky to £100 if the medical school is on the other side of the country. Perhaps if you're from a poor background, the medical school or the goverment or whoever should pay for your train ticket?

    They do. Most LEA's have a fund specifically to fund travel to university interviews for students from poor backgrounds. Sadly the people who would most benefit from it are also the least likely to know about it.
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    (Original post by ttx)
    In quite a lot of cases 16 year olds from these background (working class non-university educated parents) don't even know which A-Levels they need to take, let alone the fact they need to get work experience and how to go about it.

    None of their friends want to be doctors, they don't know any professionals on a social basis (not just doctors, any professionals). Their access to careers advice is limited, their teachers don't know what to tell them, connexions is mainly targeted at students with low academic ability. For a large part they're alone.
    Is that a failing of the medical profession and the medical schools or a symptom of how ****** up secondary education is?
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    I'd say yes in the sense that with money it is easier to get good grades, have better extra-curriculars, probably more likely to have contacts for work experience, etc etc.

    Not saying that it's the universities' fault, just a statement.
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    (Original post by Renal)
    Is that a failing of the medical profession and the medical schools or a symptom of how ****** up secondary education is?
    I don't think it's trivial to apportion blame. There's no inherent reason why it should be the schools responsibility rather than the medical schools responsibility to ensure students know what the requirements are at any early stage.

    However regardless of where the blame lays, it's clear that medical applications favour the middle class. And that both medical schools and schools should work together to try and fix this.
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    (Original post by BJack)
    And I know loads of people not on EMA who've managed to get plenty of experience. I didn't mean that it's impossible to get work experience unless daddy is a consultant; just that it's probably easier if he is.
    Not in my experience. As someone (Renal?) already said more often than not its a resource manager admin type person that deals with this sort of thing. The only thing Daddy was able to help me with was transport to the hospital! I was all on my own for the rest of it.
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    (Original post by T kay)
    I think with regards to the entrance exams there is some assisstance out there. If you're family is earning under a certain amount of money (can't remember the exact figures) then you don't have to pay to sit the UKCAT. I think the UKCAT is £75? Which is a big help to those with little money.

    I do agree with you however regarding the transport. I've used trains to get to concerts after booking tickets a week or two in advance and they are very expensive to book. As the 32 medical schools are quite dispersed then train tickets could range from £5 if you're lucky to £100 if the medical school is on the other side of the country. Perhaps if you're from a poor background, the medical school or the goverment or whoever should pay for your train ticket?
    There is assistance with UKCAT fees, thats true, but thats with strict conditions and its in the form of a rebate that you apply and possibly get back after taking the exam, To people on a low income that think they peobably won't get in anyway, this may well become an insurmountable barrier to applications. Personally the principle that there should be any real or percieved disincentive a priori before selection is wrong, For the simple reason that selection is then by definition not open to all.

    Now I recognise that with the tens of thousands of people applying, there does need to be some discriminator, I just take a dim view of it being set at 60-75 pounds. Naturally, the same principle applies to the BMAT. (with the difference that I think there is some published correlation - (and remember correlation does not imply cause) between high scores on the BMAT and success in medical exams.

    My second point would be that class is not about money, or not solely about money. I went to one of the best public schools in the country, and you can tell a public schoolboy a mile off (because they habituallly wear grey socks) but more often its a sense of confidence and self assuredness that they will succeed. Partly that comes from wealth, partly from the socioeconomic position of the family and partly from association with rich and influential people from an early age. Of course the school only deepens that sense of destiny, of their right to success, that it will follow naturally. That type of confidence is hard to gain, and arguably harder to instill. A telling point would be that privately edcated kids make up 7% of schooled kids, but that they go on to take a disproportionate number of places at however you define as 'the best' universities.

    From personal experience, read anecdotal, not scientifically assessed, at 'my' medical school the vast majority are privately/grammer schooled. Now remember that not all privatly schooled kids have a choice of being privatly schooled (very often its a matter of family tradition), and remember that 'happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way'
    Yes, I think it is profoundly wrong that people from generally speaking lower income families for whatever reason are at the very least being disinfranchised from the possibility of medical education - I would blame tuition fees for the most part in this. However by the same token privatly schooled kids should not be discriminated against - or to put it another way there should be no positive selection against public schoolkids. - Akin to all female tory selection lists. Theres a difference between encouragment with tuition (like the Kings extra year program), burseries etc - which I think is the right course, as is compensating for poor schooling. If it were up to me I would give a grant for the tuition fee and then once they're in medical school, the portion that the gov't used to give as the maintenance grant should go directly to medical school hardship funds.

    Anyways, soapbox over, I'm meant to be on holiday .
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    (Original post by Wangers)
    you can tell a public schoolboy a mile off (because they habituallly wear grey socks)
    You must have good eyes...
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    Can i ask a question:

    If someone who isn't exactly poor but lives in a fairly bad area and went to a mediocre primary and secondary school but then got good GCSE's and got into one of the best sixth forms in the country. Would you class them as 'middle class' or 'working class'(i.e the disadvantaged children)
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    (Original post by Renal)
    You must have good eyes...
    Or he is very good at grooming the young ones.
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    (Original post by Renal)
    Is that a failing of the medical profession and the medical schools or a symptom of how ****** up secondary education is?
    Though I can see where you are coming from I think the simple fact that some schools are geared up to send 10-15% of each year off to medical school means they will provide a far better application than somewhere doing a pupil every ten years.
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    (Original post by ThisLittlePiggy)
    Or he is very good at grooming the young ones.
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    Probably.
    Though having said that my school wasn't perfect wrt med admissions stuff, they new some things, but not everything and a few things wrong.
    But then I used old boys network to get all my hospital WE so that was helpful
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    (Original post by ThisLittlePiggy)
    Or he is very good at grooming the young ones.
    Whereas ThisLittlePiggy blew them all away....
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    (Original post by Wangers)
    Whereas ThisLittlePiggy blew them all away....
    Big bad wolf ain't got nothing on my huff an' puff!
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    I wouldn't say that medical applications favour the middle class, but that the advantages that come with that situation invariably help you to get into popular courses at respected universities including medicine. I think that medical schools recently have gone a long way in selecting the right candidates regardless of their background. For example, as Sarky has said there are courses with foundation years in Southampton and Kings which bring students from poor quality schools up to the standard. Also, the UKCAT, as an aptitude test is meant to test candidates suitability regardless of the school they attended. I also think that going on courses for admissions tests actually make little difference, and so the advantages that could be dervied from being more affluent are as little as it could be there. Wangers was saying how the UKCAT was reimbursed, when I took it last year, I had to send evidence that I received £30 EMA a week, and I was e-mailed a voucher number which I used instead of paying online, it was very good, otherwise I would have been in considerable trouble. However, the BMAT does still follow this scheme and not only do you have pay it first, you had to receive £30 EMA a week, and send copies of bills and bank statements to prove that the exam had caused financial hardship. I really didn't like that; however, luckily my school paid it for me.

    Another good point was raised - travelling cost to interviews. I think that's very notable; however, I don't know how that can be avoided, apart from universities offering money towards travel in some circumstances.

    As for knowledge about the admissions process - this forum for example has helped a great deal, and I'm uncertain as to whether I would have known enough without it so to a degree I do believe that money and good schooling can give you access to better careers advice, and interview preparation for example.

    But, as Renal said I do think the largest factor is tuition fees and lack of bursaries/scholarships, which is the fault of the government rather than the medical school. The prospect of uncapping fees absolutely flies into the face of all the medical schools' efforts too. I face a large, large amount of debt as do many others, and while this hasn't put me off because I (foolishly perhaps?) don't care how long I'll have to work to pay it off, even if I have to live on 3p noodles, but this is a very worrying prospect for students who will understandably want to live a more comfortable lifestyle, not worried by more and more financial hardships.

    Also, there is the attitude held by many that doctors are all from a higher socio-economic background, and that it would be foolhardy of us to aspire to it as we'd fail. The amount of times I'd heard that interviews are all about who you know and how much money you had so you could be a wealthy alumni (complete misinformation gathered twisted from America?), or teachers insisting that you need straight A*s to get in, and A-Level Maths and Physics to boot, can be just as damaging because it dissuades lots of people from even considering to apply to medicine. It would be nice for medical students to go around the country, giving free conferances, (NOT like medlink) clearly detailing the admissions process and what you need - akin to the Oxbridge conferences which are held around the country, but this shouldn't come out of the medical schools' pockets in my opinion, and I'm sure the government would rather save money and publish reports which insinuate that medicine (and law etc.) are elitist.
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    I was having this same argument in school the other day..
    I for one think that medicine is aimed at those better of in life.. simply because of the level of enhanced education i received at private school and they sort of spoon fed me and rung Work Experience for me and have done considerable stuff which state school students don't receive...
    nevertheless i think that it's irrelevant whether medicine is aimed at those who are considered to be Middle class or not... it just depends if you have the determination and the ethic to work that extra little bit harder than middle class children.. you can cry/cringe over it but that it is just one of those things in life which you can never change... universities must have someone from the gov that oversees this sort of thing making sure the delicate balance of financial background is not tipped :yes: :yes: :yes:
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    (Original post by alexis 123)
    private school and they sort of spoon fed me and rung Work Experience for me.
    No thats the reverse. Your school, as do many, favour applications to such degrees.Makes them look better.

    BTW, rang them for you? :eek:
 
 
 
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