I can't really sleep. Should not have slept in 'til 2pm. Grrr. I had this sudden urge to list out some basic tips about uni applications/med applications in no specific order.
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH! DO YOUR RESEARCH! DO YOUR RESEARCH!
I can't emphasize it anymore as it is VERY important to research about the uni you are interested in going. Plus it'll give you bonus points in the interview when the interviewer asks you "Why do you like our course/uni?" And it really sucks when you end up at the uni that you dream of going to but end up hating the course.
2. Visit the university!
I've got friends who didn't even visit their universities before applying and they were SHOCKED to see what the uni is actually like and what the city is like. Nothing worse than travelling for hours to a foreign country/city and find out that you loathe the place and you feel out of place.
3. Go to open days!
Kinda related to point #2 but open days are really important. The head of departments will usually be speaking for the course and he/she will probably give you some juicy hints and tips for you personal statement and you can guage what type of applicant they are looking for. Also an EXCELLENT time to ask questions.
4. Reflect in you personal statement!
Just discussed it in the last post. Makes your personal statement so much more three dimensional and much more interesting to read. Imagine admissions officers reading through thousands of personal statements that sound alike. Make yours stand out and do some deep reflections about the stuff you'll be talking about.
5. Start your application AHEAD OF TIME!
Don't leave it til the last day to finish up your personal statement. To be honest, I started my personal statement in July and my application was due in October. I was glad I started early because it gave me plenty of time to read it over, change it, revise it, etc. You'll regret it if you leave it til the last minute as you'll know you can do a better job of it.
6. BE HONEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yeah it's important to do a lot of work experience and volunteer work to make your application stand out but please don't lie or exaggerrate. It may not seem obvious to you but it may seem obvious to the trained eyes of the admissions officers. Even if you get past that stage, you better be able to support what you wrote in your personal statement. Nothing more awkward than being asked about a work experience you've never done.
7. Try and do some work experience/volunteer work!
Work experience and volunteer work helps you get a better feel of your possible future career. For example for medicine, I volunteered at the old people's home and did work experience at the blood lab and the blood clinic. It is very useful and you learn a lot. Plus you can talk about it in your personal statement.
8. Read the small print!
Kind of related to point #1 but when you look at the course details make sure you read the DETAILS. Dont' just skim it. It is VERY IMPORTANT to know what your course is about so you know what to look foward to. Especially as an international student there are some universities that do NOT take international students and obviously you wouldn't want to apply to that uni if they won't take you. For med you've got only 4 choices. Make them worthwhile choices.
9. Prepare for the UKCAT!
People say you don't need to study for the UKCAT. Yeah they're right you actually CANNOT study for it. BUT you can prepare yourself. It is a very fast test and you will have to get used to the timing. Make sure you go and check out some websites that may have practice papers for you and the UKCAT site does have one full timed practice exam which I would do the day or two before the actual exam. See the end of the post for some useful links.
10. Just relax!
I totally understand that for some people uni applications can be extremely stressful. But just sit back and relax. Take your time and start early. Of course it'll be stressful it you're doing up your application like 2 days before the due date. Give yourself plenty of time so you can think over your application and make the right decisions. When you're calm you'll write a better personal statement and it'll be more genuine. I know the application process can be very stressful so seriously give yourself time and RELAX!
Something to look forward to. In the near future I will be posting up about "What happens after sending in your application/THE DREADED WAITING GAME".
As promised here are some useful links:
Tours of most of the unis in the UK/helps if you can't visit
Official UKCAT site
Brief overview of the UKCAT
Got a lot of practice questions
Common interview questions
More common interview questions
Pretty good book
Good book as well
There are a lot of links but I need some time to find them. There's a few up there and hopefully I'll post some more later on.
Hope you enjoyed this post.