It might at first appear odd for a teacher to be giving advice on applying to medical school. I do, however, have a peculiar perspective on the process; I was a medical student myself before completing a BSc and PhD in Physiology. I abandoned research to become a biology teacher after an attack by animal rights activists.
There is a need in this country for a supply of dedicated and able young medical students in order to maintain the standards of healthcare we expect. Due to the continually increasing number of applications for a limited number of places, it has been necessary for medical schools to make most selections on the basis of AS and A2-level grades. The level of offers made through UCAS has risen over the last 15 years from BCC to AAB. This deters less academic, but perfectly able, candidates. However, it encourages more academic students to consider medicine, rather than other degrees, on the basis of status.
How can this situation be alleviated? Medical schools cannot scout for talent – they can only consider those who apply. Places are offered on the basis of academic record, references, personal statement and, more often than not, interview. In addition, some medical schools have devised their own tests to provide further data as a basis for the selection of students. It is thus incumbent upon all secondary schools to encourage those of their sixth-formers who are best suited to medicine to apply, and to give them the best chance of fulfilling their potential.
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