How to choose a medical school - checklist
What to consider and what to ignore
Making a table with your choices and these criteria could be really helpful in making this important decision.
Most medical schools are very transparent about what they use to determine which students are allocated places. Things to look for are A-Level grades, UCAT cut-off scores, any required subjects at GCSE or A-Level. Don’t waste one of your choices on a school that you haven’t achieved a high enough UCAT score for!
Play to your strengths. MMIs (multiple mini-interviews) are the most common and are more forgiving if you make a mistake on one station but are successful on the others. Some schools have a standard one on one interview, others use a panel. This is not critical but might be something you’re looking out for
This is very important and often overlooked. Traditional style schools use the first 3 years to focus on your scientific knowledge and the remainder on clinical exposure, others integrate clinical exposure much earlier on – possibly even the first week! You can check the course structure on the university website.
Campus or city? There are strengths and weaknesses to both, check our other blog posts for more information.
Although this isn’t the be all and end all, you need to be realistic about where you want to live for the next 5-6 years and possibly beyond.
What NOT to do
Worry about where your friends are going – although this is an obvious benefit when moving to an unfamiliar city, this shouldn’t be a deciding factor. Wherever you go, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded students in the same situation who you’ll get you know very quickly
Become fixated on a single university – there’s huge pressure on some students to aim for the top universities like Oxford or Cambridge. Whilst these are incredible places with so much to offer, make sure you do your research rather than blindly taking your teachers’, peers’ and parents’ advice that it’s what you should aspire to.
We specialise in helping students apply tactically to medical and dental schools. Get in touch if you need any advice.