November 19, 2016
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
With approximately 56,000 students applying to study medicine through UCAS every year, it’s vital that you make your application stand out from the pack. Every applicant will be intelligent and passionate, but not everyone will be able to show evidence of practical work experience, let alone the understanding of global health that comes from medicine work experience abroad. If you can, you’re already one step ahead!
The most important thing about work experience is that it shows your admissions panel that you understand the realities of the role you want to train for. Applicants that know about the profession’s challenges as well as its incredible moments will be less likely to drop out and more likely to excel throughout the course and beyond. Whether it is a week’s intensive work experience abroad or one day a week in a local clinic, your work experience should give you a clear idea of your future career.
It’s hugely important that you speak about your work experience placement in your UCAS personal statement. This is one of the first ways for admissions panels to see a little of your personality and is often used to decide whether or not to invite students for interview.
When you write your personal statement, be sure to not only explain what you did during your placement, but how you believe it will make you a better medical student. You may also like to talk about the personal skills it developed, such as teamwork, self-motivation and confidence.
If you were lucky enough to complete some work experience abroad, it’s definitely a good idea to mention how that experience has given you a more global perspective of healthcare. Wherever you end up working, you will need to interact with patients and staff from all over the world, and understand the health systems of different nations. It’s great to show that you are already considering this.
Your medical work experience will also be a great topic for discussion when it comes to your medical school interviews. Don’t worry that you’ve already talk about it in your personal statement – an experience like this is something all of your tutors and interviewers would love to hear about!
You have much more time during your interview than on a personal statement and can also speak far more conversationally. With this in mind, talk to your panel about specific cases, mentors or even particularly poignant moments during your work experience. This may be a moment that made you realised you were destined to become a doctor, or a ethical decision you witnessed that tested all of your problem-solving abilities. Whether the situation was ultimately uplifting or upsetting, explain what you learnt from it and how it will shape your path to becoming a health professional.
We’re confident that the many benefits of your work experience placement will help you to build an inspiring, interesting and ultimately successful UCAS application. Before long, you’ll be watching the offers roll in!