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Medicine Application

Hi, I am applying to study medicine for 2024 in the UK but I am now panicking as I'm not sure if I will have the sufficient work experience/volunteering that medical schools expect. Just to give you some context this is what I'm expecting to have on my application come October:

Minimum of 2 A* and 2 A predicted grades (studying maths, physics, chemistry and biology A Level).
UCAT score of at least 2800, hopefully closer to 3000 or better.
9 A* and 1 A in GCSEs.
1 week of shadowing GP, a day with an orthopedic surgeon, 2 days in a medical research lab.
Worked as a full time RNLI lifeguard this summer with special RNLI casualty care qualification.
Other extracurricular activities, for example, rowing to a pretty high level.

However, after doing more reading into medicine applications, I'm worried that I haven't done any sort of volunteering and that it's now too late to commit to a long-term role before I send my UCAS application. The reason that I haven't done so is that I believed that my role as an RNLI lifeguard would be just as valuable despite the fact it is a paid placement. I thought that the universities would value the fact that I have actually rescued and treated real casualties, administering medication and dealing with medical emergencies. I feel I can take a lot from this job into a future career in medicine and it has only strengthened my desire to become a doctor.

Most sites I have read from suggest that you should have a long term volunteering role and this is what has made me panic. It will be extremely difficult to balance volunteering considering the fact that I already work 40-48 hours a week, rowing 9 times a week and trying to prep for the UCAT. I feel that if I was to take anything more on that it would begin to negatively affect my UCAT score and quite possibly my mental health too. Perhaps I could organise a weekly volunteering role in a care home when I start back at school as I will no longer be working and the UCAT will be over but I would only have completed about six weeks by the time I send off my application.

I would greatly appreciate it if someone more experienced than me would let me know their opinions and whether they think what I currently have would be enough to get me offers (providing my interviews and A Levels go well). At the moment I feel so overwhelmed and I am not sure what to do as I really do not want to have to take a gap year.
I personally think what you have is fine. For med it’s not about what you do that matters but how you reflect, I’m assuming you’ve been doing the lifeguard job for a long time which shows your long term commitment to something as well as many transferable qualities like empathy needed in med. After all in interviews they don’t ask you how long you did x, they ask you to link it to medicine and assess how you reflect on your experiences. I personally don’t think you should worry yourself too much, what you have is fine. Focus now on the UCAT as that is a much more of a game changer than extracurriculars
(edited 11 months ago)
Reply 2
Original post by otk939
Hi, I am applying to study medicine for 2024 in the UK but I am now panicking as I'm not sure if I will have the sufficient work experience/volunteering that medical schools expect. Just to give you some context this is what I'm expecting to have on my application come October:

Minimum of 2 A* and 2 A predicted grades (studying maths, physics, chemistry and biology A Level).
UCAT score of at least 2800, hopefully closer to 3000 or better.
9 A* and 1 A in GCSEs.
1 week of shadowing GP, a day with an orthopedic surgeon, 2 days in a medical research lab.
Worked as a full time RNLI lifeguard this summer with special RNLI casualty care qualification.
Other extracurricular activities, for example, rowing to a pretty high level.

However, after doing more reading into medicine applications, I'm worried that I haven't done any sort of volunteering and that it's now too late to commit to a long-term role before I send my UCAS application. The reason that I haven't done so is that I believed that my role as an RNLI lifeguard would be just as valuable despite the fact it is a paid placement. I thought that the universities would value the fact that I have actually rescued and treated real casualties, administering medication and dealing with medical emergencies. I feel I can take a lot from this job into a future career in medicine and it has only strengthened my desire to become a doctor.

Most sites I have read from suggest that you should have a long term volunteering role and this is what has made me panic. It will be extremely difficult to balance volunteering considering the fact that I already work 40-48 hours a week, rowing 9 times a week and trying to prep for the UCAT. I feel that if I was to take anything more on that it would begin to negatively affect my UCAT score and quite possibly my mental health too. Perhaps I could organise a weekly volunteering role in a care home when I start back at school as I will no longer be working and the UCAT will be over but I would only have completed about six weeks by the time I send off my application.

I would greatly appreciate it if someone more experienced than me would let me know their opinions and whether they think what I currently have would be enough to get me offers (providing my interviews and A Levels go well). At the moment I feel so overwhelmed and I am not sure what to do as I really do not want to have to take a gap year.


You have more than enough work experience. You'll realise that you can only mention parts of it when writing your personal statement and talking in your interviews, and the universities care about what you learnt from the experience rather than how much you did. Your volunteering role doesn't have to be long term. If I was in your position, I would look for some kind of volunteering to do after your UCAT exam (e.g. volunteering at a charity shop for one hour every week) and then link that to your work experience in interviews. There are a couple of medical schools that really care about the number of hours you've done (such as Keele), but those are rare so as long as you avoid them, you'll be absolutely fine. Your grades sound very good, so just focus on your entrance exams for now, as those are what usually determine whether or not you'll receive an interview.
Original post by otk939
Hi, I am applying to study medicine for 2024 in the UK but I am now panicking as I'm not sure if I will have the sufficient work experience/volunteering that medical schools expect. Just to give you some context this is what I'm expecting to have on my application come October:
Minimum of 2 A* and 2 A predicted grades (studying maths, physics, chemistry and biology A Level).
UCAT score of at least 2800, hopefully closer to 3000 or better.
9 A* and 1 A in GCSEs.
1 week of shadowing GP, a day with an orthopedic surgeon, 2 days in a medical research lab.
Worked as a full time RNLI lifeguard this summer with special RNLI casualty care qualification.
Other extracurricular activities, for example, rowing to a pretty high level.
However, after doing more reading into medicine applications, I'm worried that I haven't done any sort of volunteering and that it's now too late to commit to a long-term role before I send my UCAS application. The reason that I haven't done so is that I believed that my role as an RNLI lifeguard would be just as valuable despite the fact it is a paid placement. I thought that the universities would value the fact that I have actually rescued and treated real casualties, administering medication and dealing with medical emergencies. I feel I can take a lot from this job into a future career in medicine and it has only strengthened my desire to become a doctor.
Most sites I have read from suggest that you should have a long term volunteering role and this is what has made me panic. It will be extremely difficult to balance volunteering considering the fact that I already work 40-48 hours a week, rowing 9 times a week and trying to prep for the UCAT. I feel that if I was to take anything more on that it would begin to negatively affect my UCAT score and quite possibly my mental health too. Perhaps I could organise a weekly volunteering role in a care home when I start back at school as I will no longer be working and the UCAT will be over but I would only have completed about six weeks by the time I send off my application.
I would greatly appreciate it if someone more experienced than me would let me know their opinions and whether they think what I currently have would be enough to get me offers (providing my interviews and A Levels go well). At the moment I feel so overwhelmed and I am not sure what to do as I really do not want to have to take a gap year.
Hi! I would say it sounds like you have a lot of pressure on yourself! Apply now anyway, as you have your lifeguarding that you can talk about, and as long as you get across your passion for medicine and how dedicated you have been to studying and working towards your UCAT! You also do have your volunteering experience too on your application :smile: I think don't stress too much over it now as you can't change it, and get your application in. It's not always the number of days/weeks you have worked volunteering in a medical setting, but the way you can talk about what you have done and how it strengthens your desire to be a doctor that counts! Taking a gap year isn't the end of the world either, but I wish you luck with everything!
Reply 4
You definitely have more than enough. I only had 2 weeks of WEX and no volunteering and have 2 offers right now. I recommend helping out with a couple of things in your school if possible, because I found types of questions like ‘where have you shown good communication’ or on those lines very relevant during interviews
But all in all dw about volunteering, focus on UCAT for now and your next mocks, could possibly do some sort of volunteering during the summer too

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