If you are thinking about applying to an Undergraduate course at St George’s for 2021 entry, there’s plenty you can be doing now to prepare a competitive application.
We are looking for applicants who can demonstrate passion, interest and enthusiasm for their chosen course. There are many ways that you can demonstrate that you have the relevant attributes, and the guidance below is designed to help you in your preparations.
Work experience requirements
We understand the challenges for our prospective applicants for medicine and allied health courses trying to gain work experience at this time, particularly in clinical settings.
In response to the government’s social distancing guidelines, which have a significant impact on all areas of life, we have chosen to relax our work experience requirements for prospective applicants for our courses which would normally require these for 2021 entry.
Despite the relaxed requirements, we still require our applicants to have an understanding of the realities of working as a healthcare professional and to show they have the necessary skills and attributes for their chosen career.
Online resources can give you valuable insight into working in the healthcare sector and outline the wide range of careers and courses available.
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The Medical Schools’ Council has released guidance to help prospective applicants to medical school gain relevant experience during the Covid-19 pandemic. It includes examples of the numerous ways in which prospective applicants can develop the values, attitudes and behaviours essential to being a doctor, alongside learning about what a career in medicine involves.
The Brighton & Sussex Medical School Virtual Work Experience Platform hosts an online course giving prospective medicine applicants the chance to gain further insight into the roles of different medical specialists. It provides an opportunity to learn more about the medical profession and a useful way to prepare for a medicine application or interview.
The Royal College of General Practitioners has a virtual work experience website called Observe GP, which enables prospective medicine applicants to watch of GPs and Primary Care teams in action. It is designed to give students an insight into the role of the General Practitioner and the particular attributes and values needed to successfully study medicine. It takes about 1.5-2 hours to complete.
Learn more about the NHS
Everyone who works in the NHS is expected to demonstrate the values of the NHS Constitution. If you’re applying for any course at St George’s, we’ll expect you to understand these values too.
The NHS Long Term Plan was released in January 2019 and sets out priorities for healthcare in the UK over the next 10 years.
Make sure you think about real-life examples you can use in your personal statement and during interviews to demonstrate the NHS Values. Be prepared to share your views on some of the current challenges facing the NHS, not just relating to COVID-19 but other issues too, such as the impact of Brexit, meeting the needs of an ageing population and the recent increases in demand for mental health services.
Keep abreast of health research and current affairs
Anything you can do to learn more about what studying a healthcare course or embarking on a career in healthcare is like is very valuable to you as you prepare your application. There are plenty of ways you can do this and many of the suggestions below are things you could mention in your personal statement or discuss at interviews.
You can keep up-to-date with health research reading articles in open access journals or on news websites, such as BBC Health or the British Medical Journal.
There are many interesting podcasts which cover topical issues in healthcare; research organisations like the Royal Society of Medicine, the BBC Health and Wellbeing website and the King’s Fund.
You can listen to some of our academics from St George’s sharing their research through our online Spotlight on Science videos. And why not read more about the amazing real-life impacts of health research taking place at St George’s in our Transformation Stories online?
Look into Future Learn, which offers more than 170 medicine and healthcare e-learning courses on its website. The courses are developed by leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world, including our lecturers at St George’s.
Finally, these wider reading suggestions from Causeway Education cover some useful resources related to a range of healthcare courses.
Try to look at a few areas of interest in-depth, rather than rushing to read as much as you possibly can. Whilst COVID-19 is, understandably, dominating the news at the moment, do try to find articles that cover a range of topics and that are related to your own personal interests in health.
Volunteering is a great way to demonstrate some of the key values and attributes we look for in potential healthcare professionals. If you have volunteered in a caring or community-based role (such as helping younger children in school, with sports or at an after-school club), with vulnerable groups of people (such as elderly people or disabled people), or by helping with a local charity based in your community, make sure you think about the skills you developed whilst you volunteered. It will be very valuable to you if you are able to articulate what you learned by volunteering in your personal statement or during an interview.
You may be able to find some opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic to take part in community-related roles or activities that will help you to practice and demonstrate attributes that are important in a healthcare professional, such as compassion and empathy. You could consider volunteering for a local charity, perhaps remotely, or finding out about support groups in your local area helping to fundraise, deliver resources to local hospitals or social care settings, or provide essentials to vulnerable people. Please ensure you adhere to government guidelines about social distancing if you do find an opportunity to volunteer.
If you need inspiration, the #iwill website has some good ideas you may find useful if you want to find volunteering opportunities.
It is a good idea to reflect on the following and make notes that will help you in the future.
What did you learn from your volunteering experiences?
Have they changed your perception or opinions about a particular topic, or how you act or behave in certain circumstances?
Do you have some specific examples you can use, for example at interview, to back up what you say?
Extra-curricular activities and paid employment
During the application process you aren’t limited to talking about work experience in a clinical or caring setting. There are many other experiences which you may already have had which can help you give examples which illustrate the skills you have and show why you would make a good healthcare student.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Any paid jobs you may have, such as a weekend or part-time job in a shop, a restaurant or a pub.
Any voluntary roles with a charity, such as Scouting or Guiding, or St John Ambulance.
Fundraising challenges you might have done for a charity or good cause.
Completing the Duke of Edinburgh’s award.
Completing leadership schemes such as Young Sports Leaders or Young Enterprise competitions.
Taking part in clubs, teams or societies like sports or games, performing arts or volunteering, whether in or outside of school/college.
Taking on a leadership role within your school/college.