The decision to apply to medical school for me, was what I thought was an easy one, however looking back I feel as though I may have done it for the wrong reasons. My father had dropped out of medical school after a year not because he couldn’t meet the academic requirements but because he had to find a way to support his younger sister through education, something he did not think he could do as a medic. I feel a large part of me choosing to do medicine was to in a way fulfil his dream.
I bring this up not because I regret my decision, I’ve been very fortunate to fall in love with the course and I personally can’t see myself doing anything else, however I could have very easily hated it. What I’m trying to say is; it’s important to really think about why you want to do medicine and to do it not for anyone else, but because you personally want to!
Advice on the application process
The application process to medical school can be a daunting one, and maybe even more so for an international student (like myself). From getting the right range of subjects to having enough extracurricular activities to make your personal statement stand out, can be a daunting task. The best advice I can give is start your research early.
Make sure you know what requirements you would require to get accepted (this can easily be checked on university websites), to start writing your personal statement early and show it to as many people as you can. I remember writing up to 13 drafts until I thought it was as good as it was going to get. Also there is this misconception that the UKCAT requires no work before sitting, although it’s not a test you can study for its definitely something you get better at with practice, so make the most of the wealth of free resources online!
Finally as an international student my tuition fees are a lot more than the average British student. It’s important to remember there are many many scholarships on offer from a range of private companies, I personally could not afford to have come to medical school without the help of a scholarship so do look into it!
Medical school interviews
Right, next hurdle to jump through is the interview process. This was probably what I was most terrified off, looking back I don’t even remember what I was asked in my interviews but what I do remember was that the interviews tried their hardest to make me feel comfortable. Know about the 4 ethical principles in medicine (interviews tend to ask about this a lot). Also be able to talk about instances in your life where you had to use one or more of the ethical principles. But the most important thing is to be yourself!
Looking back to 5 years ago, I can’t believe I’m in my final year and almost a doctor! Medical school has been the toughest thing I’ve ever done, and I’d be lying if I said I never thought of quitting. But it’s also been the best time of my life and I don’t think I would have grown as much as I did doing anything else! Remember hard work pays off (if I can make it this far anyone can), but also don’t forget to have fun!!
5th Year Medical Student – University of Nottingham