Shadowing a DoctorFebruary 5, 2014
With various stories doing the rounds about medical schools and what you should or shouldn’t do to get your application accepted, it is easy to get confused about what’s true and what isn’t. While some of these untruths may not really cause any harm, others could end up costing you a seat in medical school. We’ve put together a few facts and home-truths that every pre med student should know to maximise their chances of getting accepted into med school.
Studying in an elite school is not a sure ticket to getting into medical school
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.
Great extracurriculars will not compensate for a low UKCAT score
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.
Your references matter a lot
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 doctor for a few days is not considered as sufficient clinical exposure
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.