How do I write a personal statement for medicine without work experience?

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The reality of the situation is that you will be very unlikely to be able to gain a place to study Medicine without work experience. Universities see work experience as serving the following functions:
– It allows you to understand the true nature of Medicine and decide if the course is actually for you
– It allows you to better inform yourself on how doctors operate and on the teams in which they work
– It allows you to bring together reading and other research, and see it in practice
– It shows dedication, as you have had to work to secure the experience.

As such, universities will look very unfavourably on students without the necessary experience. However, let’s consider possible reasons for not having secured experience:
– World events interfered
– You decided relatively recently and haven’t had time to arrange
– You weren’t able to find experience in your area

If you were unable to secure traditional work experience due to world events (COVID-19 being the obvious recent example), then universities will understand this, as it will be a far-reaching issue affecting multiple students. However, you’ll still need to demonstrate your enthusiasm through alternative means – which will involve finding something to replace that work experience. That could be helping patients through a phone or online service, for example. You’ll need to be proactive and look for ways in which you can involve yourself in healthcare, and in the world of Medicine in particular.

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If you haven’t had time to arrange due to Medicine being a recent decision, then you’ll need to be realistic in your decision making. Applying without work experience is unlikely to be successful. However, you might decide to go ahead, knowing you have a limited chance, and being prepared to take a year out to increase your work experience. If you take this route, you’ll need to demonstrate passion through your reading, through making it clear that you’ve spoken to a range of medical professionals and students, and you’ll need to find medical experiences you can book quickly. You might try to attend conferences, for example, or book short notice work experience at somewhere less impressive (e.g. a care home, rather than a tertiary care centre).

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If you couldn’t find experience in your area, then you’ll need to reflect on why this was. In general, it simply wouldn’t be seen as a good enough reason. If you are eager to apply and have struggled to find work experience in your area, you might be better off taking a year out, getting a part-time job and working hard to find some experience either in your area or nearby that you can book. If you are set on applying this year, then you’ll need to be able to evidence a real lack of opportunities, the effort that you went to, and alternative ways that you have improved your understanding of Medicine.

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