9 October 2020
The UCAS deadline for medical schools in the UK is mid-October and after that, applicants across the country will be awaiting interview offers. How do you play the waiting game?
Writing your personal statement, sitting your UCAT and getting a decent reference are stressful enough but, for me anyway, I found the waiting game almost equally as stressful. So, what can you do to take your mind off your application and put yourself in the best possible position to secure your space at medical school?
After sending off your application you will hear a couple months later if you have made it to the next stage and been offered an interview.
After you have completed your interview you will find out whether you have been rejected or offered an place. Other important emails to look out for are requests for extra information, eg if you have applied for a contextual offer.
Each medical school timeline differs but you can ask about when you might receive an interview invite at an Open Day or you can email the University's admissions team. Aside from giving you some peace of mind, it’s also practically important so you can ensure any invites don’t end up in your junk folder. Interview invites and offers may be sent out in batches so don’t fret if you hear of other applicants who have received theirs before you.
Once you have sent your application off on UCAS, there is nothing more you can do. This should be a relief but for a lot of us it can be anxiety inducing.
It’s easier said than done but try to remember that worrying about your application will not change the outcome. Celebrate what you have accomplished – sending your application off! This is a mammoth task in itself and even if you are unsuccessful, you will have learnt a lot simply by sitting the UCAT, writing your personal statement and picking medical schools to apply to.
So many applicants get their offer and then fall at final hurdle when they fail to make their offer grades. A typical medicine offer at ARU is AAA (unless you are eligible for Widening Access criteria).
Achieving AAA at A-level is not easy and it’s important to keep your eye on the prize from the start of Year 13. Your teachers should know if you’re on track so ensure you are communicating with your teachers regularly and don’t be afraid of asking for extra support if you are struggling to keep up.
Remember that your self-worth is not defined by the outcome of your application. I have met many intelligent, well-rounded medical students who actually had to apply a few years in a row before they got their place. This can be a stressful time so just remember to celebrate the little wins, whether that’s completing your personal statement or being offered a place. Give yourself a big pat on the back! And if you don’t end up getting a place this time round, allow yourself to feel disappointed, assess the areas of your application that could be improved and learn from the experience.
Best of luck with your applications; hopefully I might even see some of you next September!