Leveraging technology to recruit prospective medical students

UBC's Faculty of Medicine admissions office pilots new recruitment approach.

  • Jan. 27, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Warren Brock

UBC has long used videoconference technology to train its medical students.

But in a unique move, the university’s Faculty of Medicine’s admission office decided to use the same technology as a recruitment tool — offering its first-ever virtual info session to students in the South Okanagan via the UBCO campus in Kelowna.

Dr. Bruce Fleming, associate dean, admissions for the faculty of medicine,  says the technology plays a critical role in the delivery of academic sessions and connecting students, faculty, and staff across its four academic campuses and 100-plus clinical teaching sites throughout the province.

This technology is now being used to connect remotely with prospective medical students in small or rural communities. In an innovative approach, students from Penticton, Princess Margaret, and Summerland Secondary Schools recently participated in a medical admission information videoconference from a UBCO lecture theatre.

“While there is no shortage of applicants, there is a continued focus on increasing the number of northern and rural students and those from remote communities admitted to our program,” said Fleming, explaining that the admissions office sees roughly 2,000 applications to the program each year.

In collaboration with career counselors and staff from School District 67, the event was led by Warren Brock, southern medical program communications manager. Brock says the session focuses on what medical school is all about, the diverse scope of medical practice, and at the same time, works to dispel common admissions myths such as seeking only straight-A science students.

“It’s great to be able to connect multiple high schools simultaneously to speak with the students, share ideas, and answer questions,” said Brock. “The format also allows us to give the students a taste of how academic sessions are delivered to students across the province.”

Christina Mitchell, a Grade 12 Penticton student, admits that applying to medical school is daunting at first with so many unknowns.

“This conference was able to provide us with a plethora of information, as well as many answers to our queries delivered in a simple and accessible format,” said Mitchell. “I feel it will make the upcoming years, while I will complete my undergrad, a little less stressful just understanding the road I’m taking.”

The admissions office is now exploring the potential to host more of these sessions for other academic institutions and school districts across the province.

“We know that there are young British Columbians from rural areas that have all of the attributes that will make them well suited to a successful career in medicine,” added Fleming. “Reaching out in this way, we hope to encourage applicants with the ability and energy to succeed. They are the very people who are most likely to return to serve the communities where they are most needed.”

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