Reapplying To Medicine: The Complete Guide
Advice & Insight From Medicine Application Specialists
When reapplying to medicine there are several things an applicant must do to overhaul their application to make it more appealing to admission teams of medical schools. There are a number of hurdles which are used to screen out and assess medical applicants, the major ones being the UCAT, personal statement, GCSE and A level results and what sort of activities the candidate has participated in which can demonstrate transferable skills and familiarity with the healthcare profession (e.g. work experience, volunteering, jobs involving public interaction, peer tutoring etc.). Each university places different amounts of emphasis on each of these categories, so it is important to tailor your application to the preferences of the universities you apply to.
Which Universities Accept Reapplicants
First, it is important to mention that while there are several universities that accept reapplicants, the list of which ones do change year to year, and even then, their requirements for accepting reapplicants could differ for each applicant. So, it is best to directly email university admission departments with details of your application so they can give you the most accurate answer of whether your application has the potential to receive an offer. There is no point applying to universities which might reject your application pre-interview, as this will waste a valuable choice on your UCAS form. So, do not underestimate the importance of this step, and make sure you contact each university beforehand to confirm if your application will be accepted. The list of universities currently accepting resit students only if there have been extenuating circumstances are the following: Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Aston, Birmingham, Cardiff, Kent and Medway, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Oxford, St. Andrews, Lancashire. Those accepting resits only if a minimum number of grades were achieved during the previous cycle or with some other specific criteria other than extenuating circumstances (such as the resits being sat in the initial 2 years or whether the applicant applied to the university already) are the following: BSMS, Bristol, Edge Hill, Exeter, HYMS, Keele, KCL, Lancaster, Leicester, Lincoln, Manchester, Norwich, Nottingham, Plymouth, QuB, Sheffield, Southampton, Sunderland, Buckingham, Cambridge. To reiterate, it is very recommended before reapplying, to contact the university with full details of your application to confirm they will accept and fairly assess your application.
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Gap Year Activities
As a reapplicant, you should try to engage yourself with some sort of activity that you can talk about in your personal statement or interview; This demonstrates that you have been doing something productive over your gap year. This activity could be anything as long as you can relate it back to medicine. There are several options available for students wanting to do something with their time during their gap year, getting a job or volunteering is always a good option. For example, you can attend your local Red Cross meetings as often and as regularly as you can to obtain some sort of certificate, like for basic first aid training; In that way you can show during your interview or on your personal statement that you volunteered and worked towards a goal during your gap year. This demonstrates the student has discipline, in that they can stick to an activity regularly, they are empathetic in that they volunteered their personal time to do something valuable for their community, have an interest in healthcare and that they are productive and dynamic people who like to constantly gain new skills. Other volunteering or paid activities such as working in a care home or peer tutoring local students are always options. Try to do whatever you can to make use of your free time to demonstrate desirable qualities such as resilience, productivity, organization etc. It is important to note that more activities does not equal a more rounded applicant, it is better if you can demonstrate you have gained a lot from doing little (but manageable amount of activities) rather than gained little from doing a lot. Juggling multiple activities and responsibilities can be very stressful, however, if you are able to be organized or productive enough to manage them all in a healthy manner, it demonstrates a very valuable set of skills such as time management, organization and having healthy outlets to reduce stress, all of which can be very neatly be related back to medicine and score big points with admission teams during interviews or on personal statements.
When it comes to the personal statement, it is up to each applicant whether they want to use their old one, make a completely new one, or simply just edit the previous one a bit to reflect a more updated version of their application. Not every university even looks at personal statements, so it is important to keep that in mind. However, it is recommended to at least update your personal statement to show that you have learned/gained something over the past year, in such a way it can even be a useful self-appraisal tool which can aid you in interview preparation. Before you edit it, try to reflect over the past year and think of how you have changed from when you first applied, what have you learnt from other applicants during the process, what have you learnt from juggling multiple responsibilities (ie preparing for UCAT while writing personal statement and studying your subjects while also dealing with personal responsibilities, etc.). All this should be consolidated in the form of rough edits on your personal statements, then you should go over it multiple times to refine the edits so that they blend into your personal statements smoothly (ie by using appropriate jargon and wording the edits in a professional and concise manner). The more times you go over your personal statement the better it will end up being, so make sure you start writing or editing it very early on. Personal statements can certainly be great self-reflective tools, so please make use of it, as being able to learn from and reflect on past experience is a valuable quality for medical students.
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In summary, gap years are an opportunity to learn new skills or improve old ones. While the experiences you are able to receive may not always be in your control, what you gain from them certainly is. Gap years also provide a great opportunity for one to learn more about themselves and to explore other interests of theirs. However, keep your end goal of reapplying to medicine always in mind, and try to seek out opportunities that would facilitate your learning of what it entails to be, and improve your suitability of, becoming a medical student. There is always a lot of things you could do, even if where you are living is limiting your opportunities; for example, if your typing speed isn’t as fast as it could be, you could teach yourself how to type properly online and by the time your gap year draws to an end it could become a very valuable, marketable skill. Other things like having a chat with healthcare professionals might aid your understanding and knowledge of the field and make you more of a valuable applicant if you can reflect on and express concisely what you learnt from communicating with them.