Applying to medical school may be a difficult task. It’s one of the most competitive degrees available, so you’ll want to make sure your application does all it can to show you’ve got the intellect and desire to succeed in the medical field.
We’ve spoken to Dr. Althius Greene, Admissions Lead at the University of Central Shenfield about some of the practical actions you may take to improve your chances of getting in.
1. Make a list of your top medical schools.
Make sure you’re well prepared and that you’ve done your homework. Make a list and make a point of visiting the schools to get a sense of the atmosphere. Talk to the students and take a tour of the school and city — five years is a long time to be stuck in a place you don’t like. If you can’t visit, look at the institution’s website, read what other students have to say, and see if the university attempts to build ties with students in your own country (if you’re an overseas applicant).
2. Work as a volunteer or an intern in a local hospital.
Getting some experience in a hospital, doctor’s office, or another care environment will provide you with invaluable first-hand knowledge of what it takes to be a doctor. If you’ve applied for job experience but haven’t gotten any, don’t despair; consider performing some volunteer or community-related work.
3. In your A levels, aim for an AAB.
Medical schools can afford to reject all applications that do not match every declared admission condition, so you must be flawless in every way. If you want to apply to their Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery program, you must have the requisite AAB in your A-Levels (or any equivalent). If relevant, don’t forget about your English language standardized exam. In the IELTS, aim for a minimum score of 7.0 in all areas.
If you’re applying via the graduate entry route you’ll have to take the Gamsat test and you should aim for a score of at least 65 to be competitive. Take a Gamsat practice test beforehand to see how you score and guide you as to how much further preparation you need to do.
4. Late applications will not be accepted by medical schools.
Unlike other disciplines, which are more flexible, medical schools are so overloaded that if you miss this year’s round, you’ll have to wait until the next year. Typically, you must apply via the UK University and College Application Service by October (UCAS).
5. Showcase your best attributes.
Your statement should demonstrate that you possess the attributes expected of a trainee doctor. Universities want applicants with direct, hands-on experience assisting the sick, handicapped, disturbed, or underprivileged. You should offer evidence of a good work-life balance in addition to your professional and volunteer experience to demonstrate your capacity to manage competing demands on your time. Also, since working as part of a team is a requirement of a job in medicine, include instances of teamwork. This may not just apply to occasions when you led a team; it may also apply to times when you had a minor position in a project. Ensure that you display an awareness of what it means to be a doctor in the twenty-first century throughout your application.