Admission to medical school, some advice

You need to make sure your personal statement stands up

Admissions tutors are, perhaps naturally, going to be a little more impressed by applications that have ‘matching’ personal statements and references. The trick is to make sure that your references underpin and, importantly, back up any claims made in your personal statement. Well constructed references will provide evidence and examples of your strength of character such as your reliability, perseverance and your communication and team working abilities.

It could help if you show your personal statement to those providing you with references, so that they can be sure sure of covering every point that you raise in it.

Demonstrate your knowledge of the course and the school

Preparing for admissions interviews is always tough, as you literally don’t know what is going to be asked of you - at least with other professions, there are going to be clues (if you interview for a job in construction, you are unlikely to be quizzed on fiscal sustainability, for example).

However, you can always make a positive impression by demonstrating that you have at least done your research into the school and the course you will be studying.

Explain why you feel the program is a good match for your interests and abilitites, and why you chose that school over any other (yes, you probably applied to half a dozen but don’t mention it - they will know, but don’t need to hear it).

Do your due diligence with regards to the UK health system

Showing that you have some that you have at least a working knowledge of the GMC (otherwise known as the General Medical Council), and the NHS (the National Health Service, if you didn’t know) can also help you to make a very memorable impression - as with any other profession, they like to know that you at least understand the industry and that you are passionate about it, so keep that firmly in mind!

Even if you intend to go off and practice medicine in darkest Borneo, the system you will be working under is this one - so learn it, understand it and show that you understand it.

Speaking of passion...

Every organisation likes to know that you are interested in them and medical schools are no different. In fact, with competition so fierce between candidates, it is nothing short of vital that you display interest in the school that you are interviewing with.

Not only that, but you can’t go all House MD either and show the kind of arrogant indifference to learning that will endear you to nobody. The world of medicine is fascinating, and you are fascinated by it… That’s what they want to hear, but you need to believe it too.

Be outwardly passionate about the things that you love (except stamps - it’s best to keep that one quiet), and people will warm to you. Remember that and you can’t go far wrong.