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3 Tips for Written Applications

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Some universities, including James Cook University and the University of New South Wales, require you to submit a written application when applying for medicine.

Written applications may be used to select students for interview or guide interviewers’ questions on the day. They are therefore an important part of the application process. When so many students are submitting applications, how can you make yours stand out? Here are some tips.

Know what each medical school cares about

Every school has a different focus: for example, James Cook university has a significant emphasis on rural, remote, Indigenous and tropical health. It is vital that you understand what the medical school cares about and looks for in its applicants, and tailor your application accordingly.

So, if you are applying to a medical school with a rural focus, it’s probably not the best idea to discuss your desire to be a specialist paediatric neurosurgeon, as rural areas are most in need of General Practitioners.

If you are writing multiple applications, take great care to ensure you don’t confuse the medical schools! Just like your UCAT study, pace yourself with your applications. Think about spacing them out and spending a day on each. That said, for applications that are asking similar questions (such as, what teamwork experience do you have?), don’t be afraid to copy, paste, and then edit!

Include details of your life experiences

Written applications are a great opportunity to show what an outstanding, well-rounded medical candidate you will make. Aside from interviews, there is no other way for universities to gain an understanding of your qualities, skills and life experiences.

Ensure you include the following details:

  • Work experience, particularly in a health-related field
  • Volunteer work, particularly where you are directly caring for those who are disadvantaged
  • Hobbies and extra-curricular activities, including music, sport, drama, the arts, debating and leadership

Rather than just stating you are involved in these activities, give specific examples of how you have been involved and what you have learnt.

Also consider discussing the personal qualities and values that you feel would make you a great doctor, or life experiences that led to your desire to pursue medicine as a career.

Avoid including academic endeavours and achievements – your academic grades and UCAT score will tell them that!

Review your application thoroughly

It seems obvious, but it’s so important. Typos and poor grammar do not reflect well on your application. Ensure your application is reviewed both by yourself and at least one other person. Consider factors like spelling, structure, content and phrasing. MedEntry offers a really fantastic application review service which is so worthwhile!

Good luck and happy application writing!

Written by Rosanna, who is currently studying medicine at UNSW.

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