Just how important is medical work experience for my UCAS application?

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Let’s face it – UCAS applications are a huge source of stress from the moment you set foot in school on your first day as a sixth former. And unfortunately, if you want to study medicine, you’ve got the shortest deadline of anyone.

So just how important is medical work experience when you’re putting together that application? Well, the short answer is ‘very’ – and here’s why.

Medical work experience sets you apart

University tutors will read hundreds upon hundreds of medical school applications every year, so it’s only natural they would be drawn to those with something a little different about them. If you have a great work experience placement under your belt, you come across as an interesting and dedicated student – something no university wants to turn down!

It shows you understand your future career

A medical school’s worst nightmare is to come across a student who believes their 5-year degree will look like a scene from Grey’s Anatomy. An application from someone with work experience shows that they have seen and understood both the rewards and challenges of the role – the paperwork as well as the life saving operations. This is a good indication that you will last the duration of the course – and enjoy it.

It shows you have lots of great skills

Work experience does not simply show that you have some medical experience. A good placement will strengthen lots of other important qualities and skills such as teamwork, leadership, self confidence and problem-solving. A placement abroad may also show that you are a good organiser and planner – characteristics that are vital for becoming a doctor, and extremely important in everyday life as well.

So what if I don’t have any?

Although having some work experience to add to your UCAS form is clearly very beneficial, a lack of it is definitely no reason to bin your application. Admissions panels are looking for someone with the whole package, so keeping your grades high and your references glowing is a sure way to bag that all-important interview.

But work experience isn’t just important for your application – it’s a great opportunity for you to find out whether a medical career is a good fit. So while taking a week out of your summer holiday may feel heartbreaking, perhaps a five-year degree is not something worth leaving to chance.

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