How I Picked My Medical School: Riley – King’s College London
Wondering how to pick the right medical school for you? This blog series looks at how current medical students chose their schools. In this post, Riley tells us how they chose King’s College London.
When I first was deciding where I wanted to apply to medical school, I didn’t know anything other than that I wanted it to be in a big city. Personally, the experience of university in a big city, as well as the opportunity and diversity it would contain, was really important to me.
Knowing this, I then decided to look at universities that weren’t too far from home. The closest city to me was London, so that seemed to be the obvious choice. Considering London contains five undergraduate medical schools, I had plenty of options to work with.
UKCAT and BMAT
Then it came to taking the UKCAT and/or the BMAT. I hadn’t taken physics or maths at A-Level, so the thought of doing the BMAT was honestly a bit overwhelming. Taking both also wasn’t appealing, so I decided I’d only look at universities which required the UKCAT as entry criteria.
After taking the UKCAT, my score was high enough that I could apply to any university requiring it. I was secure in the knowledge that my score was, if anything, going to be in my favour with my application.
I ended up applying to King’s College London, St George’s, Barts and the London and Cardiff.
I should have been smarter about my applications, looking back on it now. Cardiff was more of an afterthought than it should have been, and I wish I had seriously looked at some of the Northern or even Scottish universities more closely.
Online Research and Open Days
I chose these universities mostly based on online research and visiting them for open days. Open days were the best research for me, as they allowed to me get a feel for the campus environment. That being said, with King’s and Barts I should have visited the non-medical campuses as well, knowing now that many societies and events are held at different places.
Central London was important to me, which immediately put King’s and Barts at the top of my priority list. Interestingly, they both have different course styles, with Barts being Problem-Based Learning and King’s lecture-based. I thought a lot about the course styles, but could never seem to work out which would be more suitable for me. I loved the idea of working in teams, but from doing online courses I knew that lecture based learning worked well for me.
In the end, I chose King’s. This was actually largely due to the disability services – as someone with a longstanding condition, I had contacted both universities about what support they offered. King’s had the better answer, it was slightly more central, and I liked the campus a little more, so it swayed me.
London was key to my application, and I don’t regret that. In London you see diseases and conditions that are rare to see elsewhere, and the opportunities here are amazing. If I hadn’t chosen to study here, I would never have gotten the opportunity to work with charities like Doctors of the World.
Words: Riley Botelle