June 5, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Oxford and Cambridge are two of the most prestigious educational institutions in the UK and students all across the UK and even abroad aspire to study in either one of these universities. Of course these ambitions are often tempered by fears about the high level of competition that would definitely be involved to actually gain admission into these schools. The majority of students who wish to apply to Oxbridge, as these two institutions are commonly called, will typically only have one question on their mind, “Are they smart enough and do they have the grades to qualify for admission?” If they think they are, they go ahead with their application.
The truth however is that these elite universities are not necessarily suitable for everyone. In focusing on whether or not they meet the high academic requirements these schools ask for, many students rarely stop to consider whether or not these universities are right for them in other ways that are just as important.
Yes, surprising as this advice may sound, even if you are smart enough and meet all of the eligibility criteria, you should not rush into submitting your application without first checking if the school and its environment is the right fit for your personality, your strengths and your professional goals.
In the first place, it is hard work. You may argue that all medical schools are hard work and you would be right, but in these institutions, hard work takes on a whole new meaning. Most of the students who gain admission will be used to being high achievers in their previous schools. While this super competitive atmosphere may be inspiring for some, others may find it immensely disheartening and discouraging.
Yes, the teaching style in Oxbridge favours oral debate. While this is great for gregarious students who are not afraid of any verbal jousting, it does not bode well for meeker students who may be brilliant in writing but freeze at the thought of putting their points across confidently on a verbal platform.
Oxbridge encourages students to join in one of the many clubs, spots and societies that are considered part of university life. However if you shun these kinds of activities and prefer to spend time in a quiet corner in the library, you may find yourself not quite fitting in.
Most medical schools do not offer much time or opportunities for all night partying and other boisterous behaviour but if you choose to apply to Oxford or Cambridge, you should expect to leave your partying ways behind completely.
Despite the institutions’ larger than life reputations, Oxford and Cambridge are in reality both tiny towns steeped in tradition so you will be disappointed if you are looking for the big city atmosphere.
Of course, for students who find all of these factors in sync with what they are looking for, there is nothing better than gaining admission to either one of these highly reputed medical schools.