After completing my UCAS application earlier this year, I have experienced many important aspects in applying to the ideal medical universities, and I would like to share my experiences with you.
Making the decisions of applying to the most suitable universities for you is a key step of your UCAS application. A lot of research must go behind it, in order to shortlist the university choices into 5 universities (4 of which for studying medicine). The first thing to do is to research all universities, and note down up to 10 universities which are suited for your predicted grades. I’d also recommend researching at least a couple of universities which have higher grade requirements than your predicted.
Secondly, you need to decide which medicine admission exams you’ll be doing (UKCAT or BMAT) or both. Based on this you can further cut down on your list of universities based on your needs. Please remember that if you are an Oxbridge applicant, you can only apply to either Oxford or Cambridge.
Thirdly, research your remaining university choices in detail, looking at the type of course, type of learning (e.g Problem based learning, or a more traditional learning style), practical work, theory, coursework, and if you prefer early patient contact then do look at the universities which offer this – not all do! Important factors to consider would also be whether the university is a campus, or a city university, its location, how far away from home it is and therefore practicality of transport, and whether the city/town the university is based in offers activities, sport, cultural attractions or nightlife suited for you. All this research can be done by going on the university website, and looking at the university prospectus.
Finally, make sure you visit the universities! I would highly recommend this, as it might turn out as something you didn’t really expect, or it might turn out to be much better than you thought. Furthermore, visiting the university will also make you aware of the type of accommodation offered, things to do around the city, and the atmosphere of the university itself, especially the medicine school block.
This should hopefully leave you with your final choices, which you may need to adjust closer to the UCAS deadline as you start receiving your medicine admission exam results, and get a clearer view of where your heading with your academic work.
Good luck with all your choices, and please get in touch with me if you require any help.