15th November 2021

It’s a difficult business, selecting Graduate Entry Medical Students. It requires us to look into the future and predict which applicants are going to become the Doctors – expert clinicians, researchers and leaders of the future.

There are many right ways to be successful, but possibly only a few key ways to be unsuccessful. Since that second list is shorter, I thought I might start there.

How Not To Get Into Medical School

1. Trying To Be What The Medical School Wants

The admissions team is looking for authenticity. It can be very obvious, in either the personal statement or an interview, when applicants try to present what they feel (or have been coached to believe) are the ‘right answers’.

You will receive lots of advice to practice what you want to say, to have some ‘frameworks’ to organise your answers and to be sure to say what you have learnt from your work or life experiences. This is not in itself bad advice. But, if it leads to a ‘patter’ that you put on with your smart interview suit, it might be unhelpful. It might just hide the real gem, the real you, that individual spark that we are looking for.


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2. Thinking Of Your Experiences In Terms Of The Variety Of Activities Or Hours Spent

At Three Counties Medical School we don’t require you to have set up a Palliative Care Charity in Africa, led an expedition to the top of a mountain or written a best-selling novel. We will be very interested if you have – and we might ask you how you got your start in those activities – but we will listen to all your stories still looking for that spark of individualism.

To us, it is not what you have done, but why and how you did it that matters to us.

Not everyone has had equal access to exciting activities. You might have read and thought a lot. You might have had to work part-time and been unable to fit in Medicine-related work experience. Share that with us. Tell us what matters to you.

3. Imagining There’s Such A Thing As An ‘Ideal Medical Student’

There are dozens of different careers after Medical School. And there is a long journey ahead after the first difficult hurdle of getting into Medical School, with time for people to develop and change along the way.

Just as society contains all sorts of people, Medical Schools must reflect that and produce Doctors ready for different challenges – some (perhaps most) of which we don’t even know about yet.

It’s not so much what you are now, it’s what you have the potential to become that we are trying to uncover. Even if we did try to apply a formula to work out who to admit, and you tried to fit that formula, there is a high probability we would all be wrong!

On interview day, be your best self, and trust the process.


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4. Trying So Hard To Impress Us That You Forget To Be You

I promise we are all human! We like to laugh, to meet interesting people and are looking for students who will become future colleagues. We know that interviews, in particular, can be stressful. But if you are too anxious, trying to remember everything you have been told to say or, worse, appear to be running through a script in your head, you will miss the chance to let us meet the real you.

So, imagine you are a Medical school Admissions Tutor. What is it about a candidate like you that you would want to know? What would you want to see, hear, or feel, to help you decide?

That’s how to get into Medical School.


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