The Student Room Group

kings or bristol for medicine?

Hi,
I'm trying to decide which medical school to firm and was wondering if anyone had any advice based on their experiences or my pros/cons list. For context, I'm an international student and might be applying for international residency after uni which is why I care a little more about prestige, and I'm also pretty set on going into psychiatry! Any information or suggestions would be appreciated :smile:

KCL:
pros
-PEEP early psychiatry experience program
-great teaching hospitals
-more prestigious
-known internationally
-london is just unbeatable
-best friend wants me to go here

cons
-can't take a gap year (con because I'd be starting uni at 17 and would prefer taking a year to travel and earn money)
-quite a bit more expensive
-I've heard it's quite hard to make friends
-administration isn't great

bristol:
pros
-cheaper
-humanities are built into the course
-lots of societies I want to join
-can take a gap year
-my mom wants me to go here and my grandparents live nearby
-all the people I've talked to about Bristol are lovely and have great things to say about the city
-bristol med students were in the top 3 most prepared medical students for being a clinician I think?

cons
-less prestigious
-noone from my country has heard of it
-drug + obnoxiously rich stereotypes
-haven't visited the city or uni
(edited 1 month ago)
tbh I wouldn't worry about any of that until you've applied for both and got places at both. Then would be the time to ask those questions.
Reply 2
Original post by SilverPebble
tbh I wouldn't worry about any of that until you've applied for both and got places at both. Then would be the time to ask those questions.

hi sorry I didn't clarify, I was lucky enough to receive offers from both and am trying to decide which one to firm and which to insure
Original post by thearcher12
hi sorry I didn't clarify, I was lucky enough to receive offers from both and am trying to decide which one to firm and which to insure

Ah well, in that case (and congrats!) ... based on your pros and cons list, I'd go for Bristol - gap year is great, can learn a lot from that and you won't get another chance to do it once you're on the medic conveyor belt; prestige doesn't really factor into it in medicine (all are equal, and employers are blind to applicants' uni); Bristol isn't cheap but it's still way less expensive than London; family on side (counts for a lot too, really). Do you have a chance to visit Bristol before needing to choose? London has its fair share of obnoxious rich types too, you know .... Bristol might not be quite as obnoxious as you imagine.
Reply 4
Original post by thearcher12
Hi,
I'm trying to decide which medical school to firm and was wondering if anyone had any advice based on their experiences or my pros/cons list. For context, I'm an international student and might be applying for international residency after uni which is why I care a little more about prestige, and I'm also pretty set on going into psychiatry! Any information or suggestions would be appreciated :smile:
KCL:
pros
-PEEP early psychiatry experience program
-great teaching hospitals
-more prestigious
-known internationally
-london is just unbeatable
-best friend wants me to go here
cons
-can't take a gap year (con because I'd be starting uni at 17 and would prefer taking a year to travel and earn money)
-quite a bit more expensive
-I've heard it's quite hard to make friends
-administration isn't great
bristol:
pros
-cheaper
-humanities are built into the course
-lots of societies I want to join
-can take a gap year
-my mom wants me to go here and my grandparents live nearby
-all the people I've talked to about Bristol are lovely and have great things to say about the city
-bristol med students were in the top 3 most prepared medical students for being a clinician I think?
cons
-less prestigious
-noone from my country has heard of it
-drug + obnoxiously rich stereotypes
-haven't visited the city or uni

What is your plan after graduation? If you want to continue with postgraduate training in UK after graduation, then your choice of medical school does not matter. Foundation year jobs are allocated randomly regardless of the medical school you graduate from. Subsequent jobs depend on passing postgraduate examination, consultant references and research and publication. On the other hand, if you want to work internationally, King's College is more well known. King's College also has an excellent mental health institute, the largest in UK, a factor you may want to consider as you are interested in psychiatry.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maudsley_Hospital
(edited 1 month ago)
may I know what are you're stats?
My son also fortunately have offers from both KCL and Bristol. He is considering going to US after he finishes the course for residency and specialty ( he is also US citizen). He is also struggling to decide which one to firm up. Any advice would be great! thanks
Reply 7
Original post by jabri_mangesh
My son also fortunately have offers from both KCL and Bristol. He is considering going to US after he finishes the course for residency and specialty ( he is also US citizen). He is also struggling to decide which one to firm up. Any advice would be great! thanks

Hi, I'm a US citizen too and I decided to firm Bristol. In terms of the medical course itself, Bristol is ranked higher and I love how the teaching style of case-based learning and early clinical exposure focuses on medicine from the very beginning, while first years at KCL mainly just study literal science. Bristol also has the option of a study abroad elective in their last year which I think could be helpful for gaining US experience. While KCL has more international prestige as a school, what made me choose Bristol came down to the size of their med school, the social life, and their administration. Reportedly, the KCL campus is a lot more spread out and since they have so many campuses, it's harder to make friends. Also, cost of living and international fees are higher. Since the med school is so big, there's less individualized attention that students get, and placements can be really far away. Also, because there's so many students KCL admin refuses to make personal time-tables. KCL is also notorious for cancelling lectures last minute. One cool thing about KCL is that they do have full body dissections. Also, KCL has a higher international population.

Overall, I don't think you can make a bad decision but based on my research, I'd recommend Bristol if you want a more tight-knit community college experience and KCL if you love the fast paced city life, good luck with your decision! KCL may give you a slight edge with international residency applications since the name is more well known, but since medical school is such a big commitment and both are amazing schools, I would just pick whichever city/community your son thinks he'll be happier in!
(edited 3 weeks ago)
Reply 8
Original post by Yourname123456
may I know what are you're stats?

I got a 3330 b1 UCAT, and had international qualifications of AP and SAT so I got a 1540 on the SAT and 55554 on AP tests, two of which were chemistry and biology
Reply 9
Congrats on your offers! This time last year I had just firmed KCL for medicine and I went and absolutely hated it but I think it's down to personal preference. The course was very traditional (lecture after lecture after lecture with the odd dissection thrown in which half the time were just lectures anyway) and the student life was very much nonexistent, more of a fast paced city life which made it isolating sometimes. In the end, it wasn't for me and I left in February, though I made some friends who are still enjoying it now.

For a more typical student life and more varied course I'd recommend Bristol, it's a great city and slightly cheaper. But it's down to personal preference in the end. However I will say there are a lot of international students at KCL so that might help you.
I'm just about to finish my final year at Bristol and it has been quite the rollercoaster, as I think you'll get with from a medical degree at any uni. But to summarise what I've learned from my uni experience is that:

Bristol is a beautiful city with so much culture and gorgeous spots and it feels very safe

It is quite pricey but it is just slightly cheaper than London

It can be a challenge to find your people, but you will - it helps to better understand the accommodations because each one attracts a different type of person and it's where you'll meet most people in the first year

The uni course itself is great in my opinion - it can be a bit wishy-washy at points but it is actually quite nice that they encourage us to be creative

The majority of our summative assessments are once/twice a year multiple choice exams and then in clinical years OCSEs too - it honestly hasn't been very stressful at all

In the clinical years we can be sent to hospitals that are outside of Bristol (out-placement) and they can be quite far which means you have the option to stay in hospital accommodation while placed there, which comes with a host of things to consider

You will be spending your weeks living with a random group of people from your year - it has been all good in my experience as most people I've met have been so lovely and easy to get on with

If you don't drive, you'll need to catch lifts back to Bristol on the weekends and some of the hospitals are not walking-distance to shops and train stations etc so once you're there, there's not loads to do (this isn't so bad if you have a friend with a car or you're with people you don't mind being stuck with all week)

In years 3 and 4, you spend half the year in one hospital before moving to the next, so if you are on out-placement but you are renting in Bristol, you might be paying for half a year's rent on an empty room - you can sublet the room while you're away but then you'd need a place to crash on weekends if you want to come back to Bristol in the meantime

Some of the hospital accommodations are alright but some are pretty rubbish and it can be tiring to be in final year and living in what feels like university halls

However, if you have a whole year on out-placement, you can save on a year's rent by living in the free hospital accommodation (something many of us are doing in later years but it means that you are in Bristol less and if your friends do the same thing, they are there less too and it can be quite challenging to see them if you're all on in different cities)

^this does sound like a whole host of negatives but it weirdly works quite well, and if money isn't so much of an issue, I'd recommend renting in Bristol each year because you don't have to worry about all of that as much, and if it is, it still works out - there are always solutions

Also the teaching in the hospitals we have is amazing! The doctors are very friendly and there are some quite highly rated hospitals for foundation doctor satisfaction in our deanery

I don't use TSR often but if you have any more questions about Bristol I'll try my best to answer them :smile:
Original post by maxo2005
Congrats on your offers! This time last year I had just firmed KCL for medicine and I went and absolutely hated it but I think it's down to personal preference. The course was very traditional (lecture after lecture after lecture with the odd dissection thrown in which half the time were just lectures anyway) and the student life was very much nonexistent, more of a fast paced city life which made it isolating sometimes. In the end, it wasn't for me and I left in February, though I made some friends who are still enjoying it now.
For a more typical student life and more varied course I'd recommend Bristol, it's a great city and slightly cheaper. But it's down to personal preference in the end. However I will say there are a lot of international students at KCL so that might help you.

Thats really interesting, Ive firmed KCL this year, and I was wondering did you leave medicine completely or did you switch to another university? How easy is it to leave the course?
Original post by unfailingtruck
Thats really interesting, Ive firmed KCL this year, and I was wondering did you leave medicine completely or did you switch to another university? How easy is it to leave the course?

I left medicine completely, the whole thing put me off tbh and I think I made a mistake originally, my heart was only 90% in it and you need to be 100%. There was a whole drama after leaving where they wanted to charge me for extra weeks on both my course and my accom that I didn't do which took over a month to resolve which was really stressful, I feel like the uni was just trying to get some extra cash out of me before I left!

The main issue with KCL is that you never feel like they're on your side. I saw my personal tutor twice through the whole time and the second time was by my choice after I decided I was leaving. To contact your department you have to send a video call request which sometimes is completely ignored. It really felt like I was just another number and didn't matter at all. And make sure you're ready to take a lot of information in quickly before you end up overwhelmed by five 80-slide lectures from Alistair in the same day! I will say though, all respect to the lecturers, they cram a lot but they're really good at what they do.
Bristol isnt 'cheaper' - it'll cost you as much as living in London, and thats if you can actually find anywhere to live after your first year.
Original post by maxo2005
I left medicine completely, the whole thing put me off tbh and I think I made a mistake originally, my heart was only 90% in it and you need to be 100%. There was a whole drama after leaving where they wanted to charge me for extra weeks on both my course and my accom that I didn't do which took over a month to resolve which was really stressful, I feel like the uni was just trying to get some extra cash out of me before I left!
The main issue with KCL is that you never feel like they're on your side. I saw my personal tutor twice through the whole time and the second time was by my choice after I decided I was leaving. To contact your department you have to send a video call request which sometimes is completely ignored. It really felt like I was just another number and didn't matter at all. And make sure you're ready to take a lot of information in quickly before you end up overwhelmed by five 80-slide lectures from Alistair in the same day! I will say though, all respect to the lecturers, they cram a lot but they're really good at what they do.

woah, okay so this is really insightful, and your distinction between 90 and 100 % was really valuable as even 80 percent would be enough to actually get into med skl, but thriving, or even surviving, requires a lot more.

I am really scared of the content overload, but I think I will just have to learn to manage, by keeping the bigger picture in mind. Since medicine at kcl didnt suit you, do you know who or what type of person it would suit?

The issue with KCL not being on ur side is so real, in fact, I just have to hope things go well and I dont have to run into admin on a regular basis. You've got me rethinking so much now haha

And you dont have to answer this, but since you've left medicine, what are you thinking of exploring in terms of education, work, career, etc.
Hey guys how you doing? I'm a 4th year med school student studying in Egypt. I was looking for an elective chance around UK preferably Scotland. I don't know much about how/where to apply for electives. I'd appreciate any help you can provide.

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