This is a very important decision as you will have to be there for a minimum of 5 years and research has shown that medical students tend to remain in the area where they train for the Foundation Training.
3 things not to do when picking a medical school:
1) Base your final opinion on League tables:
Rankings are subjective and often different criteria are used when assessing the universities: some focused on student performance and others on student opinion. A unique quality of a medical degree is that regardless of ranking, every medical student qualifies as a GMC competent doctor.
2) Focus solely on the aesthetic:
The old proverb says: ‘looks can be deceiving.’ Do not base such an important decision on how nice the accommodation and surroundings are.
3) Decide only based on other student’s opinions:
University is a very different experience for everyone, visit the university for yourself and come to your own conclusions.
Things to consider when picking a medical School:
1) The teaching style:
Match your learning style to the teaching style of the medical school. Medical schools fall broadly into 3 categories: traditional learning, integrated learning and case/ problem based learning. Research this extensively and find the one that suits you best.
2) Course Content:
Although the medical degree content is set by the General Medical Council, universities have the flexibility to decide how to deliver this. However, some medical schools give early patient contact through placement from the initial year whilst others give no clinical contact until the 3rd year. Decide what is most important to you and tailor your personal statement and university applications wisely.
A medical degree is an intense yet enjoyable experience, therefore where you decide to study matters. Go to each university of interest and find out what extracurriculars are available and whether it is somewhere you see yourself for a minimum of 5 years. Browse on the University Union Websites to see what is available; in the wonderful age of technology: Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook provide the opportunity to network with some senior students at your medical school, so utilise this opportunity.
Deciding on your medical school is the first of many major decisions you will make, so choose wisely.