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Choosing a university can be tricky: you have 33 UK medical schools and from that you have choose just four that you’d potentially want to study at. The four that you choose should fit your personal set of criteria and also have an application process that matches your strengths to give you the best shot at getting an offer. But how can you go about doing that?
Below are some of the factors you may want to consider in terms of your own personal preferences:
One of the important things when it comes to picking your med schools is making sure that you are applying to your strengths. This can seem a bit a difficult to do at first because there are so many medical schools and asking you to know the ins and outs of all of their admissions processes would be quite an impossible task. The best way to go about doing it is to start off with a list of all the medical schools and eliminate your way through it.
First consider your own preferences, perhaps you don’t want to go more than a certain distance from home, or you don’t think a lecture-based course would suit you, or maybe you really don’t want to have to sit the BMAT? Cross out universities until you’ve at least halved the list and then you can start thinking about applying to your strengths and look at admissions processes in detail.
Applying to your strengths: look at your GCSE grades, UKCAT score, BMAT result. If you have straight As and A*s on your GCSEs you’d be better off applying somewhere which weights GCSE grades more heavily and perhaps ranks you based upon them.
If you have achieved an outstanding UKCAT score, you wouldn’t want to apply to a university that just disregards the bottom 10% of UKCAT-scorers, because that’s not allowing you to take full advantage of your excellent score. Instead you’d want to apply to a university that invites the top 10% of UKCAT-scorers for interview (for example).
Another aspect you can consider is competition ratios although I wouldn’t recommend using them as a sole base for your decision. You can look at the applicant:offer, the applicant:interview and interview:offer ratios. This will give you an idea of how much emphasis the medical school places on their interview and depending on your own personal qualities you can decide which of these you’d prefer to be slightly higher and which to be lower.
Masumah is a 1st year medical student at the University of Manchester. She writes a blog documenting her experience through medical school and also giving tips to aspiring medics: lifeofamedic.com
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