Caitlin is currently studying medicine at Manchester University. Here she talks about her A-level choices, life as a first year medic, and her work experience international placement overseas.
International Placement Case Study 2: Caitlin
You’re currently studying medicine at university — how are you finding it?
I am just coming to the end of my first year studying medicine at Manchester. My degree is definitely full on! Initially it was a bit daunting as there was so much to take in and learn, but I have now gotten into the swing of things. My placement helped me grasp a lot in my first year of study.
What A-levels did you take?
I studied Chemistry, Maths and French and took Physics for AS level. I didn’t need to take Biology to get into Manchester, but part of me wishes I had as it would have really helped with my first year. It is by no means essential, but it would give you a lot more background knowledge to work from.
What did your personal statement include?
My work experience was probably the most important thing I included in my personal statement. They really do value it; so the more you can fit in the better. Alongside my placement, I also completed some hospital internships and worked for a charity that supports MS. If you show how much you want to study medicine and that you are genuinely passionate about it, it will shine through to the admissions office. Nothing says that better than a lot of healthcare work experience.
I think the next most important thing to illustrate on your personal statement is your other hobbies and interests. It’s obviously important to show your commitment and dedication to medicine, but universities also want to see that applicants are well rounded and have a variety of interests.
How did your hospital placement overseas prepare you for medical school?
It helped me out so much. I found things easier to grasp when I started university due to the things I had seen whilst I was on my placement. I had more background knowledge as I had seen procedures first hand and had a better understanding of the things we learnt in first year.
Did you find the experience valuable in helping you decide whether or not medicine was the right next step for you?
The whole experience made me incredibly excited to start my degree and gave me a huge insight into what it will be like to be doctor. It definitely confirmed for me that I made the right decision to study medicine.
What procedures did you see whilst you were shadowing doctors?
I spent my placement in obstetrics and gynaecology, and had really good access to surgery. I was able to see a variety of things, lots of live births and some Caesarean sections and also a hysterectomy, which was an experience I won’t forget. It was definitely a great opportunity to see a wide variety of surgical procedures.
'My work experience was probably the most important thing I included in my personal statement. They really do value it; so the more you can fit in the better.'