Episode 10: Medicine Personal Statement For Oxford, Sheffield, Bristol and Edinburgh
Medicine is one of the most competitive courses a student can apply for. Uniquely for Medicine applicants, they may only put down four choices for Medicine, leaving the 5th course choice for a (usually) medical-related degree.
We don’t, unfortunately, know which university and course this candidate used for their fifth choice, so we’ll only cover the four they did apply for.
As always, we’ll cover the general statistics for the UCAS Statement, then delve deep into the expert feedback given by our tutors.
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The universities this candidate applied to were the following;
INTERVIEW + OFFER
INTERVIEW + REJECTED
INTERVIEW + REJECTED
INTERVIEW + REJECTED
THE PERSONAL STATEMENT
Sitting in front of Mrs D, beside the Royal Marsden consultant I was shadowing, I realised that as a doctor, treating a patient’s emotional concerns is just as important as treating the actual disease. A simple smile can work wonders. I also learnt how successful and worthwhile the mammography screening programme was, causing a 15% reduction in mortality rates. However, an article in the student BMJ made me think about the possible emotional, financial and physical stresses that overdiagnosis can cause. At Medlink I was excited to start developing my own practical skills by using an ophthalmoscope. I was then amazed whilst witnessing a bronchoscopy, at both the doctor’s anatomical knowledge and dexterity. On my work experience on a respiratory ward at East Surrey Hospital, I was struck by the seamless coordination of doctors, nurses, lab scientists and specialist teams. Doctors must be able to act as a leader within a team so that the patients feel comfortable and secure.
At the Royal Marsden, seeing medicine as an academic pursuit as well as a practical one, cemented my passion for the field. I became inspired to read The Molecular Biology of Cancer by Lauren Pecorino and Cancer by Paul Scoffing which, whilst fascinating, left me eager for more answers than they (or current research) could provide. As stem cells’ infinite ability to divide is drawn from the up-regulation of telomerase – as for cancer cells – does this feature cause them to acquire so many mutations that they end up inextricably linked to tumorigenesis? Furthermore, is cancer an inevitable price we pay for life? It was then, through studying depolarisation and the cardiac cycle in biology, that I started to wonder why malignant cardiac tumours are so rare. I find the extent of current research awe-inspiring but was also excited to discover that in every avenue of medicine I looked at, I had so many questions that are still, as yet, unanswerable.
Medicine also requires strong interpersonal skills. Helping out at The School for Profound Education was daunting and had a steep learning curve for me, especially the challenge of communicating wholly non-verbally. However, I found that devoting my time to the care and support of these children through a range of activities from changing feed bags to wheelchair barn dancing was immensely satisfying. Helping the ‘learners’ to enjoy life’s full potential made me realise that despite the huge commitment, being a doctor and dedicating yourself to ensuring people get the most out of their lives would always be rewarding and worthwhile. I was also interested to learn and research further the conditions some of the children had – a common example among the girls being Retts syndrome.
I have been elected as a Senior Prefect and also House Captain at my school. Finding time to relax is vital in medicine and I find playing guitar (grade VI) and piano perfect for me to do so. I have enjoyed engaging with German both in and outside of school, as an exciting opportunity to learn not just a language but also more about a foreign culture; participating in various international exchanges has enabled me to appreciate this fast-hand. I developed teamwork skills on my Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition, and have been Club Captain of my swimming club for the last two years. Through perseverance and determination, I have pushed myself to succeed in competitions and I strive to approach academic life with a similar drive. As a voluntary ASA qualified swimming teacher, and through teaching English skills at my school, I have had valuable experience of the challenges of helping, leading and interacting with young children – in particular when I had to clear the pool and improvise a session in an emergency.
I aspire to be the doctor aiding Mrs D through such tough times. When I retire I hope to be able to look back on my career and know that I have made a positive impact on society. Medicine would allow me to achieve this.
GOOD POINTS OF THE PERSONAL STATEMENT
The student demonstrates some good reflections on their work experience. This is very relevant as the experience only really becomes relevant for providing strength to the statement if it is put into the right context and met with adequate reflection from the student’s side.
The student correctly underlines the correlation between soft and academic skills in the practice of medicine. This is important as it is a commonly underestimated relationship. In addition to the clinical work experience, the student also provides a good range of non-clinical experiences that all contribute to their personal development.
Particularly relevant in this context are lessons learned, teaching, as well as communication skills.
BAD POINTS OF THE PERSONAL STATEMENT
In instances, the statement lacks a clear structure and a clear message. The information provided is a little all over the place. This is a pity as the unorganised structure makes it very difficult to follow the content and learn about the student, which significantly weakens the overall expressive power of the statement.
In addition, the statement remains vague and does not deliver the full extent of reflections on experiences possible. This leaves the statement superficial and falling short of the potential expressive strength.
UNIADMISSIONS OVERALL SCORE: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
An average statement that is, unfortunately, let down by some stylistic and content weaknesses that make it difficult to draw the maximum amount of information about the student from the statement.
With some more or less minor improvements to the structure and depth of reflection, this statement could be very strong.
In the form presented here, it does provide some insight into the student’s character and into what they consider important, but the statement sells itself short due to lack of detail.
The statement did receive an offer from Oxford University and interview invitations from Sheffield and Bristol. It’s important not to look at the statement in a vacuum, as we do not consider the student’s admissions test scores or grades in this analysis.
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