Probably one of the most common things I get asked when speaking at open days or when on the student room is about my “profile”, I personally hate that term but I can understand why people are so interested in this information. When applying for medicine I was always curious as to what the people on the other side had achieved, medicine is so competitive and to me knowing more about the people who made it (and maybe why the made it) allowed me to understand the application process a little more. I used the information of other successful candidates to work out my chances at different medical schools, and it helped me be more realistic about my goals. Of course I am the very first to jump out and say that every medical school uses different criteria to assess candidates, but I see no harm in knowing what type of grades/work experience/UKCAT managed to gain an interview at a certain place yet did not at another. Hence this is why I am going to share my application story in the hope that it can be of use to somebody (please hold on this might be a tad on the long side… and I have a tendency to waffle).
Natalierm2707’s application story:
I applied to med school during my A2 year at college, this is really the first oppurtunity people ever get to apply, and I was very lucky to gain acceptance first time around.
– GCSE grades: 9A*’s and 1.5A’s (in french and R.E. respectively), I also got Dist*Dist* in BTEC sport and Dist in I.T. but these are sadly irrelevant when it comes to medicine applications.
– AS levels: AAAB in Biology, Chemistry, Geography and Maths respectively (also got a B in general studies but very few medical schools accept this)
– Predicted A2 levels: A*AA in Biology, Chemistry and geography respectively (and I went on to achieve exactly this).
– UKCAT: 2700 overall which gives a 675 average (very good for the year of entry… wish somebody had told me that though!).
In terms of work experience and voluntary work I had done: 12 weeks voluntary work on a hospital ward; 1 week shadowing at Europe’s largest cancer hospital; 1 month (at date of application – but 3 months by date of interview and 10 months in total) voluntary work taking disabled children out to do sports. In terms of extra-curriculars I had done: choir; open university course; charity events at college and I worked for a large pet retailer.
as shown above my profile was by no means extraordinary, I would probably label myself as an average medical school applicant. my GCSE grades were by far my strong point, and If I had known at the time that my UKCAT was good (previous year was an all time high for the average UKCAT score and hence I compared myself to that rather than my years average stupidly) then I would have had a stronger application and applied to different medical schools. My AS was average and in comparison to most my work experience/extracurricular were very poor (and this was my downfall).
I applied to:
Liverpool: rejected pre-interview (personal statement not competitive enough).
Lancaster: rejected pre-interview (personal statement not competitive enough).
Sheffield: rejected pre-interview (personal statement not competitive enough).
Cardiff: early interview invite – offer after interview (AAA) – FIRM!
I also applied to KCL for genetics and received an AAB offer, but declined this.
So that is basically my application profile if you will, and reflecting on the above information here is my advice:
- apply to your strengths: make sure you research every single medical school and its admissions policy and requirements, choose med schools you are likely to get an interview at and this will give you ample chance to interview and hence more chances at an offer. I cannot stress how much I regret not doing this, Instead I chose universities I visited on the open day and which my school had promoted to me, Cardiff was my only well thought through choice and I am so lucky that I had thought it through or else I wouldn’t have jut finished year 1!
- get your work experience/extra-curriculars to boost your personal statement: your personal statement is a large part of your application which is heavily scrutinized, my best advice is you ensure you have some good voluntary work, work experience and extra-curricular activities behind you.
- if you are defeated try again: so many people apply to medicine and get rejected from all of their choices first time, its more common than you think. please do not be disheartened if this is you, just suck it up and improve your application for the next time around.
Hopefully this was useful in some way!