Which Medical School? Too Many Offers!

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Hi, I need some advice on which medical school I should accept an offer from?

Thanks to your help with my statement and interview technique I received offers from ALL the medical schools I applied to and am now confused about which I should select as a firm.

My offers are:

Can you offer any advice?

Firstly congratulations!

Your interviews clearly went well and you have mastered the key techniques required.

We’ve been thinking about your choices here and the good news is that there is no wrong choice in this situation.

All UK Medical schools are perfectly fine for training a good doctor and all will be well respected internationally.
Even if you pick one out of a hat you’ll still get to study medicine and become a doctor.
So you have already won the main prize in effect (as long as you meet the offer requirements).

That said, you need to think about the optimal choice for you, given your unique requirements, circumstances and personality.

Ultimately the decision rests on where you will be happy. You can be doing an amazing course in a place that doesn’t suit you and be unhappy and wish to dropout.
Or, you could be on a mediocre, disorganised course somewhere fun where you are surrounded by fun individuals and you might be very happy.

Have a think also about where you want to live for the next 6 years.

interview suited

Here are some points you may not have considered when finalising your choice of medical school.

1. London?
Remember that London is more expensive. Is it closer to home? Do you need to be closer to home? Are you a city person that might get depressed in a quieter environment? Do you mind spending many hours travelling through traffic and tourists to get to and from attachments?

2. Oxford?
In Oxford you will undoubtedly get the best teaching available and if you do choose to go there you won’t potentially regret turning down an offer to study at Oxford, which is a fairly rare privilege. It is hard work, as we’ve mentioned before, but then medicine is always hard work wherever you end up. 

3. Teaching style
There is now a wide variation in teaching styles between medical schools. Again this is not a critically important issue, but is something you can think about when you have the luxury of 5 offers to choose from!

Some PBL (problem based learning) students who have now graduated say they feel confident in clinical scenarios because of the independent learning style but sometimes feel they lack depth in certain areas.
Doctors graduating from more traditional style courses have complained about not being as confident in communicating with difficult patients or dealing with uncertain decisions.

4. Size
A smaller year group may mean smaller groups and this can sometimes lead to more tutor contact and more feedback, particularly in clinical scenarios. Students from some of the larger medical schools have often mentioned feeling crowded out during bedside teaching.

5. Success in getting your first choice foundation programme
Entry onto foundation programmes is getting competitive and for the more popular programmes, over-subscription is common. London medical students have a lower success rate overall in this regard.
However, this is probably because graduates from outside London also apply for London foundation programmes making it likely that some of the weaker London graduates have to move out.

6. Success in post graduate examinations
A recent study looking at graduates from various medical schools found that graduates from Oxbridge, and Newcastle were significantly better than everyone else at passing postgraduate exams. Sadly, graduates from Aberdeen, Belfast, Dundee and Liverpool were significantly worse than average.
What does this data actually mean? Possibly that some medical schools expect a slightly higher standard than others.

7. Choice of specialty
Early contact with certain specialities tends to influence us towards them. Medical schools that expose students to general practice in the early years tend to produce more GPs and so on.
Should this be a deciding factor in where you want to go? Probably not.

In conclusion, it’s clear that the actual variation in the success of graduates from different medical schools is fairly minimal. As stated at the very beginning, make sure you go where you think you’ll be happiest and everything else will follow.

Best of luck!


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