The competitive nature of medicine means schools can afford to be selective. As such, universities don’t just want good grades, a good admission test, relevant work experience, but they also want a well-rounded person that will bring something to the medical school. Questions to the effect of ‘What can you bring to this medical school’ are really in fact an opportunity to show your enthusiasm and sell yourself.
It’s important your answer to the question is linked to the goals of the medical school. Often medical schools don’t want to just produce doctors for the NHS, they want to produce ‘critical scientific thinkers’ or ‘adaptable professionals’ or something like that. You need to demonstrate that you want to be an outstanding doctor, who will be a lifelong learner and a great innovator. You can achieve this by connecting what you’ve accomplished in the past (e.g. fantastic grades, passion for your subjects) to what you’re aiming for in the future. By doing this, you can explain you’ll become a graduate the school can be proud of.
Medical schools are more than places to earn your bachelor in medicine, surgery and science. Aside from pursuing your passion in the subject, you can pursue other interests that you already have. For example, you can represent the School at a sport you enjoy playing or you might found a society on a topic you enjoy. In doing so, you contribute to the sense of community at the institution. You can make this point by talking about extra-curricular activities you currently do and that you wish to pursue at university. You need to make it clear that you’ll be an active member of the Medical school.
It’s important to also consider how you can have a positive impact on your fellow students. At medical school, you need to be a team player capable of performing your own role within a task independently and to a high standard. Give an example of when you have done this before. You may also wish to contemplate that Medical school is a place where life-long friend ships can be made. Learning medicine is a stressful time for everyone and you will need to be supportive, maybe even a shoulder to cry on for peers. You may have adopted this role in the past, so it’s important to show that you will be there for other students in the future to help them.
When giving longer answers, it’s important to finish with a summary. Medical schools are looking for students that will bring passion to the institution, making the most of the opportunities given to them to become outstanding doctors. It’s important to emphasise that you will also be active members of the community, where you’ll support the learning of others, because you will need to demonstrate these qualities when you are a doctor for the NHS.
For GCSE and A-Level so far, I have been consistently achieving excellent grades in all subjects, particularly Biology and Chemistry. I have done this by being not just comfortable at collaborative learning (where I organise study sessions with my peers) but also self-directed learning (where I independently further my knowledge in topics of interest). Taking this on board, with these skills I can hit the ground running at medical school, where I’ll be focused on becoming a patient centred clinician, which the school will be proud of.
Medical school will also give me the opportunity to continue pursuits I have outside of the subject. I am currently the Football captain for my school team and I hope to get onto the Medical school first XI, where I’ll try my hardest to win trophies with the team.
In addition, as a school councillor I enjoy interfacing with students and staff (for example, where I managed to set up a school newsletter written by staff to help students keep up to date with all their assignments). I would like to continue this when I study medicine by becoming a Student Rep, a voice for the cohort, with the aim of working with staff to instil change. In doing these two activities, I will be an active member of the School that will contribute to a sense of community.
My friends describe me as a caring individual. I recognise that when studying medicine, there will be times where students will be very stressed. In these times I will use my active listening skills to support my peers and help them manage whatever they’re going through (like when I was there for my peer that got burgled a few weeks before exams). By doing this, I will bring a sense of unity in the cohort, helping to make the school a big family.
To summarise, I won’t just be determined to become a doctor that the School will be proud of, but I’ll be an active member of the community who is kind and is there for those that need support.