Published on 10th April 2017 by lauram

Wondering how to make your firm and insurance choice for medical school?

So, you’ve received all your offers from the medical schools you applied to, celebrated and commiserated – what’s next? Regardless of the situation you are in, you now have to make a decision for your firm and insurance choice. Doing this can be a daunting task! In this post we’ve laid out some of the things you’ll need to consider before you make the final decision.

Firm and Insurance Choice: General Advice

Once you have submitted your firm and insurance choices it will be almost impossible to change them. Due to this even if you are sure right now about where you want to go, it’s sensible to wait until April/May to submit your choices. So long as you submit your choices before the deadline date, there’s no benefit to confirming early. Remember that universities are not allowed to offer better accommodation choices to people who firm early! However do keep an eye on the deadline, as if you miss it your offers will be declined.  

It’s important to understand all the details of the offers you’ve been made. If there is anything that is confusing or you are not quite sure on, don’t hesitate to ring or email the university to clarify.

UCAS provides a guide to understanding what your status on Track means – you can read it here. It’s important to understand the situation you’re in before you finalise anything!

Once you have made your firm and insurance choice, your other offers will be declined. This means you should be really sure you don’t want them, as you will not have the opportunity to get these offers back.

It is also a good idea to make sure you have a plan in place for if you miss the grades for your firm and insurance choices. This can provide peace of mind at the very least, and a year out or entering medical school as a graduate should only make you a stronger candidate.

How to make your Firm choice

When making your firm choice, it’s really useful to attend offer holder days. Most medical schools will hold these once they’ve made all their offers. It’s worth attending all the offer holder days you can, even if you’re not seriously considering the university. You should also consider attending even if you have already attended open days, as often more in-depth information will be provided.

You should use open days and online information to your advantage to gauge which course you will be happiest studying. If you need to, make a pros and cons list of every medical school you’ve received offers from and add to it when you think of new things.

Your firm choice will be most likely conditional on the grades you get in summer. Once you have met the criteria for entry your choice will change to an ‘unconditional firm’, meaning that this is the university you will be attending.

How to make your Insurance choice

There is no point picking an insurance choice that requires the same grades to get in as your firm choice. It’s true that occasionally some medical schools have been known to take people who missed their entry criteria very narrowly, but this is very rare and you should not be expecting it to happen. It is perfectly acceptable if this means your insurance choice is not a medical school.

If you have an unconditional firm you cannot have an insurance choice. It is possible to have an unconditional insurance alongside a conditional firm.

If you do not meet your offer for your firm choice but you do get your insurance, you do still have the option to decline your insurance offer and reapply next year. However, you need to make sure you’re happy with your insurance. An insurance option is optional! If it’s medical school or nothing for you, you don’t have to put an insurance. This will avoid the complication of getting into your insurance place and then having to negotiate declining it.

Words: Riley Botelle


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