La Trobe initiative fosters regional dentistry students

La Trobe University is making it more achievable for regional and rural Year 12 students to qualify for its high-demand dentistry course.

For Adelaide Annand in Bendigo, the university’s unique Regional Reward was instrumental in getting her over the course’s high ATAR line. Adelaide is now almost one year into the five-year Bachelor of Heath Science and Dentistry, Master of Dentistry course, thanks in part to the Regional Reward.

This program rewards rural and regional dentistry students with up to 15 bonus ATAR points, work placement and a grant of at least $1000 to study overseas. The Bendigo dentistry course had been on Adelaide’s wish list since she completed work experience at Bee Happy Orthodontists in Year 10.

“Without the rural bonus I wouldn’t be doing dentistry,” she says. “It’s been amazing. This is my dream course and I’m just getting closer and closer to my goal. Without La Trobe I probably wouldn’t have made it.”

The high-achieving student attended Crusoe College then Bendigo Senior Secondary College, where she learnt the ATAR to qualify for the dentistry course at the time was 99.4.

“I was quite worried I wouldn’t reach that but I knew I wanted to achieve as a high a score as I could, so I studied a lot and cut back on my sport,” she says. “Then I found out about the rural bonus points. Being in Bendigo I qualified for a bonus of ten ATAR points, so I knew I only had to reach 89.4.”

In the end Adelaide earnt herself an ATAR in the low 90s. That, coupled with the bonus points, comfortably got her into dentistry.

“It’s been pretty full on,” she says of year one. “It’s a big step up from Year 12. It was very hands-on from the beginning, which has been great. Even though the study is difficult it’s all very practical and I can see how it relates to the profession. Plus, there’s a lot of support from lecturers and older year students.”

Adelaide says studying regionally has also been terrific, meaning she can stay in her home town, connected to family and friends.

“I’m hoping to work at a dental practice in Bendigo, then either open my own practice or go on to do further study and become an orthodontist,” says.

Aside from that week’s work experience in high school, Adelaide is no stranger to the orthodontist practice. As someone with braces she says she was always fascinated with the process. Just recently she attended an appointment to have her wires tightened, with the same orthodontist who inspired her during work experience in high school.

“I sat in the chair for 30 minutes and he explained everything he was doing,” she says. “He always says to me, hurry up and get qualified Adelaide, I want to retire.”

The Regional Reward awards rural and regional students with aggregate points and other perks towards many other courses at the regional campuses. Visit the La Trobe webpage for more details

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