What is UCAS?
UCAS stands for the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. It is an organisation whose main role is to operate the application process for British universities. Your application is submitted to UCAS, who then pass it on to the university (or universities) that you have applied to. The process is all done online. You can find out much more on their website.
When do I complete the application?
Applications to study medicine in UK Medical Schools open on the UCAS website on the 5th September the deadline date for enqual consideration for medical applications is normally 15 October in the year before you wish to start your studies. For example, if you wish to start at Aston Medical School in September 2019 you would submit your UCAS application between 6 September 2018 and 15 October 2018. The UCAS application system is open during August 2018 so you can start filling out your application ahead of the 5 September.
What information do I need to provide?
The online application requires the following information:
- Personal details – your name, contact details and similar information.
- Your academic profile – the school that you attend, what qualifications are you currently studying (e.g. A Levels or the IB) and what have you already achieved (e.g. GCSEs). Remember you can see all of our entry requirements on our course page.
- A personal statement – a section about you and why you should be accepted on to the course.
- A reference – your current teacher will complete this section.
- Work experience – details of any work experience or voluntary work that you have completed (paid or unpaid).
*Please note that if you are applying independently then UCAS will prompt you for your referees details and will contact them on your behalf.
How many universities can I apply to via UCAS?
You can apply to up to 5 courses through UCAS, although only 4 may be for medicine. These could be at multiple institutions or more than one relevant course at the same institution. Remember you only get to submit one Personal Statement though.
How should I go about picking the course I want to study?
There are over 37,000 courses on UCAS, therefore knowing which ones to apply for can be hard. Research is important –look carefully at the course web sites of all the different universities that you are interested in. Remember than even a course like medicine can vary between different universities.
You should also ensure that you check the entry requirements of the course that you want to apply for to ensure that you have a chance of being accepted. You can see the entry requirements for the Aston Medical School MBChB here.
Do I have to pay to apply?
The cost is approximately £24. Your school or college may fund this cost for you.
What is the reference section?
This section is written by your teachers/tutors. They will write about you as a student and they will also include what grades they think you will achieve. Make sure that you talk to your teachers/tutors so that they know which course you are applying for so that they can tailor the reference.
What should I include in my personal statement?
The personal statement is a short piece of writing, no more than 4,000 characters in length (including spaces). This is your opportunity to demonstrate to the Admissions Team that you are passionate about studying Medicine and that you should be accepted on to the course. Your voice should shine through - you must make it clear why you want to study medicine.
How should I structure my personal statement?
Below is rough outline of what we would expect to find in your statement. This is not set in stone but to be used more as a guide.
- Paragraph one should be about you, and why it is you want to study the course and perhaps what has inspired you.
- Paragraphs two and three should expand on your academic achievements and relating that back to the course. If appropriate, you could also mention any work experience or something that you have read that has inspired you to want to progress your studies in this area.
- Paragraph four should relate to your extra-curricular activities.
- Paragraph five is your closing paragraph.
They do not need to be of equal length – however we do feel that paragraphs two and three should be the largest.
How can I make my personal statement stand out?
Make sure your personal statement is about you. You showing us why you want to study medicine and why we should take you on to this course.
Things that can make you stand out include:
- Identifying a gap in your skills and working on it
- Being a prefect at school or a peer mentor supporting younger pupils
What is important is showing us what you have learnt from the experience and how this will be relevant for your course in the future.
What do Admissions Teams look for in a personal statement?
When crafting your Personal Statement, think “ABC”.
- A: a good applicant will say what they have done, i.e. describing the activity
- B: a better applicant will go on to discuss the skills that they gained from this, i.e. the benefit
- C: an even better applicant will say how these combine and are relevant, i.e. how they relate to the course
What other things should I think about?
Check spelling, grammar and punctuation – this is very important. Proofread as many times as you can, and get someone else to check it too.
Use an appropriate email address, use your name and surname not something like firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I find out more?
In addition to the UCAS application form, applying to Aston Medical School involves the UKCAT test and the MMI.
Visit the UCAS website for lots more information and videos: www.ucas.com.