Which Medical Schools Should I Apply To?
Advice & Insight From Medicine Application Specialists
Congratulations! You’ve made the fantastic choice of wanting to study medicine. It really is a rewarding career which gives you unique opportunities to change peoples’ lives. Now, how do you pick which ones to apply to? Having to choose four from thirty-two (at the last count) medical schools may seem incredibly daunting. There are a whole host of factors which will influence your decision, and I will attempt to help you consider the most important things to think about when selecting medical schools.
UK Medical Schools (Source: BMA)
Firstly, it goes without saying that getting the appropriate grades at GCSE (or equivalent) level and thus the right predicted grades is critical towards a medical application. All standard entry (A100) programmes now expect to give at least AAA for an offer, with certain schools insisting on A*AA. With little exception, almost all also expect these grades to be achieved in one sitting (i.e. within a standard 2-year A-Level programme). If you haven’t quite achieved this, some medical schools (such as King’s College London and Southampton) do offer excellent foundation courses leading to a full medical degree, if you fit their requirements. You are usually also required to have at least a B in GCSE English.
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Practical and Personal Factors
Assuming grades are covered, the next most important consideration is practical and personal reasons. How close do I want to be from home, and is it easily commutable? What are the living costs? Do I want to be in a big city? Is the university campus-based or dotted around various places? What is the atmosphere like at the university? Does it provide a substantial numbers of scholarships and bursaries? The best way to find out the answer to these is really to visit the university in person and gauge your appetite for it. Dates for open days are easily available from the university website, and when attending, be sure to speak to as many students as possible. Alternatively, prospectuses are great for providing general information, but try and find ‘alternative’ prospectuses from students themselves and visit the Students Union websites to see if there are any clubs and societies interesting you. These factors may seem less important at the minute, but you will be spending 4-6 years of your life in this setting, so it is essential that it suits your needs as much as possible as it will allow you to flourish at medical school.
Medical Education Factors
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So there you go, these are the main things you should keep in mind when considering which medical schools to apply to. Wherever you decide to apply and subsequently study, you will have a unique and undoubtedly rewarding experience.