You probably already considered different teaching styles when you were applying to Med School and/or doing research to prepare for interviews – but now is the time to really think about which style you would prefer. After all, you’ll be studying for five or six years, and that will feel like an eternity if you end up on a course with a teaching style that you don’t enjoy.
You should also look into factors such as anatomy teaching, and how early into the course students receive clinical exposure. Some Med Schools will have a few years of pre-clinical work, whilst others may incorporate clinical aspects and patient interaction from the very beginning.
Is it important to you that you have the option of intercalating? If so, make sure you choose a course that includes this option!
The size of the Med School can make a big difference to the way the course is run. There are pros and cons to different sizes, and it’s all a matter of personal preference.
A large Med School will give you the opportunity to meet plenty of people and should offer a diverse range of well-established extracurricular activities. However, some students may be sent far away from the university for clinical placements due to the volume of students being too much for local hospitals. Some students may also feel that they get “lost in the system” because there is less of a personal connection between the Med School and the individual students.
On the other side, a small Med School can be a bit more limiting with regards to meeting people and doing activities in your spare time. However, there might be more individual attention paid to your well-being and development (a blessing and a curse, some would argue). Plus, clinical placements tend to be closer to the university, with less overcrowding in local hospitals.
There’s no right or wrong decision – it’s really about which kind of environment you’re more likely to thrive in.
Medical School is a long commitment, and most students will be moving away from home for university. Think about the new place where you would have to live. Do you like big, busy cities or small, quieter towns?
Consider what is important to you. Would you prefer a campus-based university where everything is in one place, or a city university that’s more spread out? Perhaps you want to live somewhere near the countryside, or maybe you can’t think of anything worse than that?
Another consideration might be the distance from your family and home. Some students are happy to get as far away as possible, but others feel terribly homesick. Many students like being far enough from home to be independent, but close enough to be able to easily visit. This may be difficult to imagine if you’ve never been away from home for a long period of time, but it’s important as it can really affect your university experience.
Try to speak to some Med Students at each of your university options to get a sense of what their day-to-day life is really like.
You’ll easily find students on Instagram (or other social media platforms) and many are keen to help aspiring Medics! See if you can speak to students via tools like Unibuddy, or at any offer holder events that you attend.
It’s a good idea to attend offer holder events, as it gives the university another chance to remind you of why you chose to apply there in the first place. You should also get a much clearer idea of what the course and the student experience will be like, and a sense of whether you can see yourself there for five years or more.
Some of these events might be virtual this year, but it’s still a great chance to get answers to any questions you have that might make or break your decision.
It’s not just about making your firm decision – you can also choose another offer as insurance.
Whether it’s another Med School or your 5th UCAS choice (i.e. a different subject), make sure you select an insurance choice with lower entry requirements so that it really serves its purpose! For example, if your 5th UCAS choice has the same entry requirements as your Medicine offers, it wouldn’t be an appropriate insurance choice because if you miss the grades, you won’t get into either programme.
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