February 5, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
This is a very common misconception. Many pre-med students think that because they study at an elite school, they are guaranteed a seat in medical school. There is no truth to it at all. While a certificate from Oxford does look impressive, you still need to maintain good academic grades and have some pretty impressive extra-curriculars under your belt for your application to be accepted.
The UKCAT or UK Clinical Aptitude Test helps medical schools make more informed choices from amongst the numerous highly qualified candidates who apply for their medical degree programmes. While doing extracurricular activities will give you an edge against the competition, unless you’ve achieved or discovered something really extraordinary in the process, it will not make up for a low UKCAT score. Your UKCAT score will be the deciding factor when it comes to making that difficult choice between two equally qualified applicants.
Don’t underestimate the importance of obtaining outstanding references. As a pre-med student, getting to know your professors should be one of your top college priorities. Without getting to know your professors personally, you will at best manage to get mediocre letters of recommendation, which will not be of much help for you if you consider that you will be going up against the best of the best in the selection process.
Shadowing a physician does help you get a sneak peek into what being a doctor is like and it also adds weight to your application but it is not enough to get you into medical school. Medical schools want to see more clinical exposure than what you can get with a few days of shadowing a physician. Doing a medical placement where you actually work in a healthcare setting in a developing country can give you some much-needed clinical exposure.