February 2021
Latifa Haque (Co-Lead Editor)
KCL, 6th Year Medical Student

Why should I enter an essay competition?

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One unique way of making your medicine application stand out is by entering various essay competitions that are relevant to science, technology, or healthcare.

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By entering (and winning) essay competitions, medical schools will see that:

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You don't need to win the competition for this to look good in your application. The fact that you've gone through all the effort to apply is fantastic in itself. It's something you can write about in your personal statement and bring up in your interviews. It's also something your teachers can write on your UCAS reference too.

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Essay competitions for Year 12 students applying to medicine

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Throughout the year, there are different essay competitions open for sixth form students to enter. We've compiled a list of some of the ones that are most relevant for your medicine application. Some of the deadlines are soon, whilst others are in a few months, so be selective and make sure you're giving yourself enough time to write something that is of a high standard.

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Royal College of Science Union - Science Challenge

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sciencechallenge.org/judges_questions - Deadline: 21st February 2021 at 9pm

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You're expected to either write a 1,000 word essay or submit a video that is no longer than 4 minutes.

Choose 1 question from:

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Minds Underground Medicine Competition

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โ€www.mindsunderground.com/medicine-competition - Deadline:ย 31st March 2021

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Choose 1 question from:

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Minds Underground Psychology Competition

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โ€www.mindsunderground.com/psychology-competition - Deadline:ย 31st March 2021

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Choose 1 question from:

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Minds Underground Advanced Sciences Competition

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www.mindsunderground.com/sciences-competition - Deadline:ย 31st March 2021

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2 of the questions you can select that are most relevant to medicine include:

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The Libra Education Essay Prize

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โ€www.libraeducation.co.uk/essay-prizeโ€ - Deadline: 25th June 2021

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You have a lot more flexibility and autonomy with this competition, where you can choose any essay title inspired by the following words.

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The words that are arguably most relevant to medicine, science, and healthcare include 'culture', 'change', and 'nature', though you can definitely make links with any of the words. For example, somebody could choose to write an essay on "How does someone's culture affect their health?" or "How will the culture of society change after the pandemic?"

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For these types of essays, think boldly and be unique if you want your essay to stand out.

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Essay competitions for Year 12 students that will open later this year

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Various other competitions will open up throughout the year. Keep tabs on these two pages below as their competitions will open up later this year.

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How important are essay competitions for Year 12 students?ย 

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We would only recommend going out of your way to participate in essay competitions if you're quite comfortable with your academic grade. To write a good essay, you'll need to do extra reading and research in the topic area, and this can take some time. If your time is better spent revising and securing your grades, then please prioritise this. Essays are just another way to help your medicine application stand out, but they are by no means essential.

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If you do have the time for it and you're not compromising your other commitments, then you've got nothing to lose - so give it your best shot!

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Can I do anything else besides enter an essay competition?ย 

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If you're not quite ready to commit to an essay, you can also consider submitting articles to particular magazines or news outlets. If you're lucky, your piece may feature on their magazine, and this is sure to impress medical schools.

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These don't have to be related to medicine or healthcare, it can be about your life as a student and any challenges you're experiencing. Even though it may not directly relate to medicine, it's certainly impressive and will show the medical school that you're not afraid to put yourself out there. For example:

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