You probably already considered teaching styles when you were applying or preparing for interviews – but now is the time to really think about which style you 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 on students receive clinical exposure. Some Medical Schools will have a couple of years of pre-clinical work, whilst others may incorporate clinical aspects from the very beginning.
Is it important to have the option of intercalating? If so, make sure you choose a course that includes this option!
The size of the Medical School can make a big difference in 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 School will give you the opportunity to meet plenty of people and will offer a diverse range of well-established extra-curricular society activities. However, students may be sent far away for placements due to lack of availability in local hospitals. Some also may feel that they can be “lost in the system”, as there is less of a personal connection between the School and the individual students.
On the other hand, a small Medical School can be a bit limiting with regards to meeting people. However, there would probably be a lot of individual attention paid to your well-being and development (a blessing and a curse, some would argue). Plus, placements tend to be a bit closer to the university, with less overcrowding in hospitals.
There’s no right or wrong, it’s 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 place you would have to move to. Do you prefer big, busy cities, or small, quiet towns?
Consider what is important to you – is it shops that stay open late, or having lots of options for leisure activities? Perhaps you want to go somewhere near the countryside, or maybe you can’t think of anything worse than that?
Another consideration would be the distance from your family and home. Some are happy to get as far away as possible, but others feel terribly homesick. Many people like being far away 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, but it is important as it can really affect your university experience.
Try to speak to some Med Students at each university to get a sense of what their day-to-day life is really like. You’ll easily find students on Instagram and many are really keen to help aspiring Medics! See if you can speak to students via tools like Unibuddy or at Offer Holder Events.
It’s a good idea to attend Offer Holder events, as it gives the university another chance to remind you of why you wanted to apply in the first place. You should get a much clearer idea of what student life would be like, and a sense of whether you can see yourself there for five years or more.
These events might be virtual for 2021, 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. Make sure you choose a course with lower entry requirements! For example, if your 5th UCAS choice has the same entrance requirements as your Medicine offers, that wouldn’t be an appropriate insurance choice because if you miss the grades, you won’t get into either programme.
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