How to decide which University offer to accept
Advice & Insight From Medicine Application Specialists
It is a monumental achievement to receive an offer to study medicine. This is a huge milestone in your career and is something to be extremely proud of. However, the hard work isn’t over and now is the time to decide which University offer to accept and which to select as your insurance.
When should I respond?
You do not need to respond to the medical schools immediately, which many find reassuring. Don’t be shy to email the institutions with queries and questions about the course; remember they are very unlikely to take the offer away from you at this point. It is useful to remember that you have 14 days after responding to your UCAS track offer to change your replies if you realise that you have changed your mind.
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When choosing which medical school to accept it is sensible to think about the conditional entry requirements that the university has based your offer upon. Whilst most of the Medical Schools ask for 3 As certain universities may require you to gain a certain grade in a specific subject and may ask for A* grades. Consider discussing the achievability of certain grades with your subject teachers. Since you were given your predicted grades, you may have sat mock exams or developed stronger transferable exam strategies. It is sensible to have a safer option as your insurance choice, in case you don’t meet the grade requirements. As the insurance university is there for a reason, don’t choose an insurance with higher entry requirements than your firm choice. Do not waste opportunities and don’t be afraid to have an optimistic firm choice.
Learn more about your options
It is likely to have been a couple of months since you attended university open days and originally selected where to apply. By referencing the individual university websites and using prospectuses, you can remind yourself of the variety of teaching methods used by each school. Some of your universities may have specific selling point factors that you have forgotten about. Remember to look at clinical exposure, research, travel, intercalation and specifically student selected opportunities as well as the facilities and resources available to you from each medical school. Each university will assess their selected students differently, courses may be different lengths and the demography and size of the cohort may be unique. You may have initially applied for a university because of its ranking in the league tables. As well as reviewing the academic rankings of each place look at student satisfaction rates. Beyond the medical school it can be useful to learn more about the university itself. Visiting the student union websites and social media pages can give you a true feel of what your future student life might be like. Many medical schools have specific medical societies which can further give you a flavour of the life of a medic at each of your universities. Researching the areas and cities themselves is also important. You should also look at the opportunities and amenities in an area and consider the cost of living and accommodation.
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Visit each university
Offer holder days give you the opportunity to ask questions to medical students about their experiences at medical school. Additionally, you can address any queries you have regarding individual needs such as requirements for student support and access to certain facilities. Many current medical students you talk to will have found themselves in similar situations to yours, so their inputs can be invaluable. You may even get the opportunity to talk to other prospective students who may share useful insights. Physically visiting the university will help you to check the location and ease of transport links between your current home and the university. Many people describe how at university open days they get a feel for a certain campus and can imagine themselves studying there. If you are struggling to physically attend the university, most schools have virtual tours and forums where you can ask questions. It can be useful to think back to your interview. How did you feel about the university then and what did you think of the facilities you saw when you visited?
The great news is there is no right/wrong decision to make. It is natural to wonder what if, and to reflect with hindsight. Whichever university you choose to study at you are pursuing your dream of becoming a doctor and will have experiences which shape your life.