(Original post by .eXe)
As I began my university application process last year, I couldn't for the life of me figure out where I should apply. Having zero experience in the UK, I was a complete layperson and pretty much lost. Going through all the schools and checking out their pros/cons seemed like a logical first step, so that's where I began. I made a giant list of potential schools to apply to and everyday I would cut a few out of that list to arrive at a master list of 4-6 possible candidates.
Then I wrote my UKCAT. Everything changed. I realized that all but one of the schools I had selected placed heavy emphasis on that useless test. I was in panic mode, and the realization that I had just wasted a bunch of weeks researching stuff only to have it destroyed completely freaked me out.
It was then that I decided on a different approach; one that many applicants easily miss.
Applying to strengths versus applying to preference.
So far in my search, the schools I had compiled were those where I felt I'd be most comfortable, most successful. They included heavyweights like Edinburgh, Sheffield, Newcastle and Manchester. Well established, easily recognizable institutions with great teaching styles, in nice cities, etc. It was all great, but I had forgotten to consider a very important aspect: these schools were great for me...but how great was I for them?
What possible reasons did these schools have for accepting me? What was I offering them? This perspective of me being an ideal to the school as opposed to the schools being ideals to me, was a very important realization.
From that point on, selecting schools was easy. Main criteria became: my suitability for their teaching style, my academic/ukcat scores meeting requirements, how they look at my experience/extracurriculars/etc, what parts of my application do they focus on.
Before this, I had focused more on how great these schools were for me and I keep searching for the benefits they could provide me. However, applying to super competitive programs like medicine requires a reversal in thinking, you have to start seeing things from the opposing perspective.
Hope this has been helpful. It's especially intended for new applicants from high school/internationals who don't necessarily have an idea where to begin. Good luck on your apps!