What do you need to know about applying to medical school?
If you are in college, and you have been thinking of a career in medicine, then you are probably best starting your preparation for it now. Even if you are not completely sold on the idea yet, start getting yourself ready. Medical school is crazy competitive, with around 10 applicants for each and every open spot on every course.
You are going to need to start your application process as soon as possible, and this means gaining the relevant experiences in relevant fields in order to start building the strongest application that you can. Failing to start strong can seriously harm your chances later.
Use work experience to your advantage
You should use your period of work experience to consider your future in medicine, and to consider whether or not medical school is for you or not. If you are still undecided, then try listing the pros and cons.
If the cons begin to seem more like excuses than valid points, then perhaps medical school really isn’t for you after all.
Making the application for medical school
There are, of course, entry requirements for any medical school so be sure that you know what they are, and which school has specific requirements. It is also worth noting that most medical schools require A levels in chemistry, whereas there will be others that will accept an AS level, depending upon the other qualifications being offered. Additionally, some schools require biology at A' level.
It is worth taking the time to get this right, so it is suggested that you contact the schools and check their individual criteria.
For instance, while schools expect good GCSE marks as well as the all important A/AS level qualification, nobody mentions the need for GCSE grades.
Some schools are a little more ‘relaxed’ - there is a medical school in Scotland, for example, that only requires a grade B in English. Others, however, are not so forgiving; one entry requirement is 9 GCSEs - and don’t forget your A/AS level!
Are you too old to pursue a career in medicine?
If you have been toying with the idea of turning toward a career in medicine, but think that you may be too ‘mature’ - there may still be hope. There are no formal age limits for medical school entry, with selection and admission being left to the individual schools to decide on.
That said, there internal ‘guidelines’ that you should be aware of. Medical schools will always take their investment into account, and this means length of time as opposed to any monetary consideration alone. It takes around 10 years to train as a doctor, and the schools will weigh this against how long you are likely to be able to work for.
It’s in the detail
A career in medicine is a very rewarding one, but you need to know that it’s for you before going too far ahead with it, and you need to understand the expectations, as well as the requirements.
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