Table of Contents
What is the WSU written application for?
From 2021, Western Sydney University and Charles Sturt University started offering a Doctor of Medicine (MD) as part of a Joint Medical Program. The course is a 5 year undergraduate degree with a unique focus on early clinical exposure, problem-based learning and supporting disadvantaged communities in the Greater Western Sydney area. The medicine program at Western Sydney University is highly competitive as it is one of the few universities in Sydney that offer a medicine degree, offering around 120 places each year.
What Questions does WSU ask?
- Describe ONE community that you identify with.
- Explain ways in which you connect with the community you identify with.
Note: Each response can be a maximum of 700 characters (around 100-150 words).
How important is the WSU written application?
If you are an applicant for the Joint Medical Program between Western Sydney University and Charles Sturt University and you’ve received a medicine interview offer, you will be instructed to fill out a written online application containing 2 questions (as of 2022) as part of the admissions process prior to your interview. The WSU medicine written questions are a vital part of your application process – just as much as your UCAT or ATAR. WSU is unique in that it dedicates one station specifically to the questions in your written application. This process is the same regardless of whether you are an undergraduate, postgraduate, domestic or international applicant. This means that it’s essential to spend quality time and effort crafting the best possible response to allow you to ace that interview!
Want to know how to maximise your UAC medicine preferences? Check out our article to find out how!
Focus on What is Important in a Good Application
Be as succinct as possible.
The purpose of the written application is not to include as much information and as many examples as possible. Be thoughtful and selective about what you write in your response – only include valuable key points that you can elaborate on if prompted by the interviewer.
Choose examples that are authentic & meaningful to you.
Remember that, in an interview, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ response. Avoid making up examples and don’t forcibly try to portray yourself as something that you’re not. Instead, consider your strengths that would allow you to thrive in medicine and allow these qualities to shine through in your responses.
Use collective/possessive pronouns like ‘our’, ‘my’ & ‘we’.
This shows that you truly feel a sense of belonging within your community. Whereas, using terms like ‘the community’ or ‘this community’ distances yourself from your community, making it seem as though you aren’t truly connected to it.
How to use your written application in the interview
A common error students make when writing their response is treating the application as the gospel and expecting to go off it word for word in their interview. This is NOT the case. Your written application is merely a starting point for you to expand on your community and the experiences you’ve undertaken while part of it. While it’s important to know your application inside out, don’t rely on pure memorisation and instead reflect deeply on the community and experiences mentioned in your response. Consider what questions an interviewer may ask after reading your application and how you would go about answering them.
Simplify Medical Interviews
Question 1: Guide & Sample Response
Describe ONE community that you identify with.
First, it’s important to know what a community actually is.
A community is a group of people who share common characteristics, interests, or goals & interact within a specific area or environment.
Now you might be wondering – Which community do I choose? Here’s a step-by-step guide for how you can decide:
Step 1: Brainstorm the communities to which you belong.
As a guide, here are some examples:
- School clubs
- Sporting teams
- Residential area
- Hobby groups (e.g. book club, art class)
- Ethnic group
- Work colleagues
Step 2: Consider which community best satisfies the following criteria.
- You feel the greatest sense of connection to this community.
- You share common values with members of this community. Ideally these values should be beneficial in a medical setting (but not essential!).
- You have both given support to and received support from this community.
My advice is to choose a community that:
- You feel the greatest sense of belonging in this community.
Ensure that you truly feel connected to this community and that you aren’t just choosing it because you feel it will present most positively to the interviewer. A candidate who can speak authentically and passionately about their chosen community will have a far more impressive response than a candidate who does not.
- You share common values with.
Ideally, these values should benefit you in a medical setting. However, this is not essential.
- Has both given you support and receives support from you.
This will allow you to expand upon how you’ve made a positive impact on your community and how you yourself have been benefited by your community.
- Is specific enough that you can also answer the following follow-up question:
What is one health issue present in your community and what can you do to address this in the future?
Pro tip: Choose a smaller, localised community to make it easier for yourself to identify a potential health issue.
Dr. Jason Yu
What do I include in my response?
It’s important to have a detailed brainstorm on your chosen community to identify what components you should include in your response. Ask yourself the follow questions:
- What defines your community? For example, do you have shared interests, experiences, geographical boundaries, culture or ethnicity?
- What key values are present in your community and how do they align with your own values?
- How are these values demonstrated or acted upon by members of the community?
- What is your position in your community and how has this influenced your experiences within it?
- What does your community mean to you? Perhaps, consider how being in the community makes you feel and what life would be like without this community.
- How has this community impacted your life? Have members of this community assisted you in the past? What have you learnt from being in your community & how will that affect you moving forward?
- What qualities have you developed from your time in your community?
For each of the above questions, consider anecdotes you could mention in the interview to support your response. Ensure you have a lot to say about the anecdote as the interviewer may ask you to elaborate on the experience.
I feel a deep sense of belonging with the local residents of my hometown, [insert name of hometown]. Our active involvement in sports inspired my passion for sports, which has provided invaluable opportunities to develop my teamwork skills and build lasting friendships. Individuals’ genuine empathy towards others’ hardships and proactive efforts to assist fellow residents has made me feel valued and cared for within the community. I have also been comforted by peoples’ generosity and open-minded attitude towards health conditions such as disabilities and mental health difficulties. Growing up in this inclusive environment has instilled in me an appreciation of individuals’ diverse personal circumstances.
Question 2: Guide & Sample Response
Explain ways in which you connect with the community you identify with.
A high quality response to this question will include the following 2 things:
- How you have positively impacted the community.
- How your community has positively impacted you.
To plan a response, ask yourself the following questions:
- What activities and events are memorable for you whilst being part of your community?
- What did you learn from these experiences & how have they shaped you as a person?
- How have you made a positive impact on your community? What was your role during this time and what lessons did you take away?
Include at least 2 activities/events so you have enough to talk about without diluting the detail/quality of each example.
Dr. Jason Yu
Again, be sure to brainstorm specific and detailed potential anecdotes that you could include in a verbal response during your interview.
I volunteered at my old primary school’s After School Care, where I regularly talked with the younger children and led fun activities such as board games. It was a rewarding opportunity that allowed me to give back to the local community by assisting staff who had cared for me as a primary schooler. I was also part of the local soccer team, where I developed close friendships with other highschoolers in my local area. Through our weekly training sessions and games, I developed a strong bond with my fellow team members that reinforced my sense of belonging within the community. I have also participated in community events such as the local primary school’s funfair and annual Christmas Carols.
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