Applicant characteristics and their influence on success: results from an analysis of applicants to the University of Adelaide Medical School, 2004-2007

Med J Aust. 2010 Feb 15;192(4):212-6. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2010.tb03481.x.


Objective: To determine the applicant characteristics that influence success at each application stage for entry to the University of Adelaide Medical School.

Design, setting and participants: Retrospective analysis of characteristics associated with a successful outcome to an undergraduate-entry medical school for 6699 applicants from four cohorts (2004-2007).

Main outcome measures: Offer of an interview, offer of a place, and acceptance of a place in the medical school.

Results: Female applicants were less likely to gain an interview (odds ratio [OR], 0.88; 95% CI, 0.78-0.99) but more likely to receive an offer of a place (OR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.07-1.66). Older applicants were less likely than younger applicants (OR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.71-0.86) and non-school leavers (applying after leaving school) were more likely than school leavers (applying while at school) (OR, 9.54; 95% CI, 6.16-14.78) to receive an offer of an interview. Applicants from areas of high socioeconomic status were more likely to gain an interview (quartile 1 v 4: OR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.45-0.68). The more interviews an applicant had, the more likely he or she was to be offered a place (OR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.34-1.66).

Conclusion: This study indicates that some applicant characteristics have a significant influence on the success of an application at particular stages, but overall there does not appear to be a large or inherent systematic bias in the selection process at the University of Adelaide Medical School.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / organization & administration*
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • School Admission Criteria*
  • Schools, Medical*
  • Social Class
  • South Australia
  • Surveys and Questionnaires