Parents’ Guide: Choosing a Medical School
Is your child wanting to study Medicine? Want to support them in choosing a medical school?
This page will provide you with information on how best to support your child in selecting a medical school – from helping them to look at different Medicine courses to attending university open days.
How can I support my child in choosing a medical school?
Choosing a medical school is one of the most important aspects of studying Medicine – after all, your child will be studying at their chosen university for six years! Their UCAS form allows them to select four universities to apply to – and there are a variety of ways you can help.
Look at each medical school’s prospectus
Currently 33 universities offer Medicine programmes in the UK. When your child is starting to look at medical schools, help them by looking at each prospectus together. Do they want to stay close to home or study Medicine in London? Do they like the sound of a course using Problem-Based Learning? Is it their dream to attend Oxford? Encourage them to think these questions through, and be open to discuss options.
Think about entry requirements
Entry requirements are an important aspect of selecting a medical school. Discussing A-Level grades may be difficult if your child is finding Sixth Form or college stressful, so it’s a good idea to approach this with them at the right time. What are their predicted grades – and are they on track to achieve them?
It may be a good idea during this conversation to suggest that your child takes a strategic approach to their UCAS applications. For example, it’s recommended not to apply to more than two BMAT universities (in case the student doesn’t achieve a good BMAT score); if their predicted grades are less than A*AA, applying to Oxford, for example, may not be feasible – encourage them to think these practicalities through while choosing their schools. You can compare different schools using our Comparison Tool.
Attend medical school open days with them
Open days are a great way to get a better idea of studying at a specific university. Sit down with your child and help them to make a list of their top five (or ten!) universities, and mark their open days on a calendar so you can plan to attend them together.
On the day, encourage them to note down different aspects of the day on their phone or in a notebook. What will the first year of the course involve? Is there a particular emphasis on patient contact? What is the location like? Is there a variety of student societies? This will be a good record to have so they can compare their notes to other schools later.
Talk to them about how they’re feeling
The best support you can give your child in choosing a medical school is being open to talk to them about how they feel regarding each course and university. The process of selecting schools and attending open days for the first time can be quite daunting, so be there for them to talk through any worries or concerns they may have and reassure them that you’re there to support them.