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My Medical School Application Journey: UCAS send off! But what next?

The first of a series of diary-style posts where I will share my thoughts and experiences during the medical school application process.

December 2021
Iqra Ali

UCAT… check!

Personal statement… check!

Reference… check!

Completed UCAS application… check!

The combination of fear of the unknown and the excitement of sending off your UCAS application is quite unusual, but I know many of you can relate. This is exactly how I felt on the 14th of October… only one day before the deadline. It felt surreal when I had received a confirmation that my UCAS application had been submitted and sent off to all of my desired university choices.

The hours spent preparing for the UCAT, the constant review and revision of my personal statement, and my meetings with my referee were definitely worth it. I knew from this point, each university was acknowledging and assessing my application.

Being honest, I had been quite nervous throughout the process already: this is my second time applying and I recognised the importance of the whole medicine application process more so this time. However, I am more optimistic this academic year as I learnt many invaluable tips from my first attempt. I was able to identify the weaker aspects of my initial application and focus on improving these, becoming a much stronger, well-rounded candidate. I have noted some of my most useful advice and hope to share these with you before the next admission cycle.

During this short series of posts, I would like to take you on my journey of my admissions cycle for 2022 entry. Sometimes, it’s nice to know that you are not alone and that there are other people on this rollercoaster of a journey. I promise you it will all be worth it in the end - despite the challenges that may be thrown at you in the process! For those that get into medical school this year… congratulations! However, for those that maybe miss out on an offer, just know that I 100% know what that is like too… it felt horrible at first. Having said that, not getting in first time proved to be a blessing for me! I am pursuing an undergraduate degree and I am now in my final year. I have enjoyed maturing as a person and gaining more experience for applying this time around. Also, the pathways you take may spark other interests, and you may even realise that perhaps Medicine wasn’t for you in the first place! My advice would be to stay open-minded and see where life takes you.

So back to the medical school application, I hope these diaries will be nice for you as a reader to relate with the journey of applying to medical school, and realise that there are highs and lows but also reassure you this is normal – applying for Medicine is rarely a smooth sailing process.

Now that UCAS is done and dusted, I am patiently waiting for interviews to be offered and this is undoubtedly very tense. Every university conducts interviews in a different way and at different times. Many invite applicants in different batches; there is often no clear order in which this is done so just because you are interviewed in March does not necessarily mean you are a weaker candidate than someone interviewed in November! For this reason, I’m taking the ‘no news is good news’ mentality and will try not to worry if my peers hear back from universities that I have applied for and I have heard nothing .

There are two types of interviews, each university will use one of these: panel and multiple mini interviews (MMI’s). Preparation is required for these in order to have a successful chance of receiving an offer. It is important not to overwhelm yourself with this before you have received any offers though, as the chances are that you may only have to do one type of interview, and also the scattering of interviews between November and March means you will most likely have sufficient time to prepare for each. I have started to think about my preparation and the resources I am currently using are, of course, those recommended on our website (check out the Superhub here!). I am also using the ISC Medical School Interviews book – this is very popular amongst medical school applicants so if you don’t want to purchase a new book, second-hand copies are readily available online. I am actively applying the things I am learning from these resources by doing mock interviews with my friends and family; I have found this to be the best way of mimicking the real thing and it has also been useful as those I have been practicing with are able to give me feedback on my answers. This has been something I have been doing alongside my university studies (which have been of great importance to me too as I am in my final year!). It can get tiring at times, but with organisation, you can manage your tasks wisely.

Let us at Medmentor know about your feelings of sending off your application and let me know what you would like me to touch upon in my next diary entry. Good luck everyone!

Author: Iqra Ali

Editor: Allegra Wisking

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