For A level college students in London and around the UK, the decision to study Medicine is not one that is taken lightly. Medical schools in the UK are notoriously hard to get into, with as many as 15 applicants per place for some of the more popular institutions. In addition to having to achieve the required grades, students must also sit entry tests (BMAT or UKCAT tests for UK universities), with many medical programmes also requiring an interview (multiple mini interviews or panel). Of course you will also require a string of A/A* grades at A level and GCSE, relevant work experience, and excellent personal statements and references. There are no guarantees of securing a place, even for the most outstanding applicants. The interview stage in itself can be what many find most challenging, and without adequate preparation, this is often the hurdle where the applicant falls.
UK Medical Schools Oversubscribed
It is becoming apparent that medical schools in the UK are unable to meet the ever growing demand for places, so for those who wish to study medicine once they have finished sixth form college, the solution may lie in applying to international schools. The Student World is an organisation dedicated to helping students who wish to continue their studies abroad. They strongly believe that studying away from their home country allows a student to build strength of character, and in addition to learning another language, the different cultural surroundings will offer an enriching experience that they are unlikely to get at home. They offer guidance to students throughout the entire application process, and with the exception of any entrance exam fees and legislation of documents, they do not charge students for their services.
European approach to studying Medicine
Many European universities have a more relaxed approach when it comes to admissions, which is likely to be a welcome and refreshing change to A level college students who are used to the demands of the UK applications process. The Student World’s student recruitment manager, Antony Adams, thinks that being more accessible in this way is what attracts many applicants.”The EU is very much open door” Adams has said. “They give students a chance, and if they don’t prove themselves they’ll be asked to leave. Given the current climate and the demand for doctors, going abroad is accessible to students who have been unsuccessful in getting into a British university”. Last year, The Student World placed 350 students in medical schools in Europe, with the majority of the applicants going to study in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Hungary.
Another incentive for looking at international universities is the reduced cost. Students can expect to pay a fraction of the price when applying to study Medicine abroad, and they can be confident in the knowledge that courses are taught in English. All universities that deal with The Student world offer language support in the first year, although students must be able to speak the domestic language by year 3.
Recognition of qualification
International qualifications often raise concerns about job prospects for students once they return to their home country. Could having a medical qualification from overseas be detrimental when applying to practice medicine in the UK? The General Medical Council issues a list of international institutions that they do not accept qualifications from, but The Student World only work alongside schools that have courses verified by the GMC. However, it is difficult to produce statistics on how successful students have been once they are eligible to apply for a medical licenses, as The Student World are only in their 4th year and most students spend approximately 6 years abroad. “In two years time we will be able to track and make an assessment of their success in the job market” says Adams, who has observed so far that there are few F2 positions than there are F1. This could result in students finding themselves applying for both.
As a result of students having cheaper and more flexible access to medical education overseas, we may see more and more of them opting to gain their qualifications internationally once they have finished A level college. Whether this will have a negative impact on UK medical schools remains to be seen.
List of medical schools not accepted by the GMC
|Belize||St Matthew’s University School of Medicine|
|Grace University School of Medicine|
|Cook Islands||St Mary’s Medical School|
|India||Ranchi University – Mahatma Gandi Memorial Medical College|
|Liberia||Saint Luke’s School of Medicine|
|St Lucia||Spartan Health Sciences University (where course of study commenced on or before 31 December 2008)|
|St Mary’s Medical School|
|Senegal||St Christopher Ibrahima Mar Diop College of Medicine|
|Seychelles||University of Seychelles American Institute of Medicine (USAIM)|