What To Do If You Didn’t Receive Medical School Offers
Facing four rejections from your medical school applications can be extremely disheartening – especially after the hard work and effort put into the application process and studying for exams. However, there are many options, and not receiving any offers for medicine doesn’t mean you can’t become a doctor. In this post we’ll explore practical steps and strategies you can utilise if you didn’t get into medical school this year, as well as some alternative careers to medicine you may want to consider.
A-Level Grades Needed To Get Into Medical School
Many students don’t get medicine offers the first time due to how competitive the course is. It’s vital that you focus on achieving the grades needed for medicine to maximise your chances of future success.
First Things First: Remaining Positive Is Key!
Though easier said than done, staying positive will become the driving-force for your motivation to achieve the required A-Level (or alternative) grades for medicine. The required grades are usually at least AAA. Some universities have higher requirements, and some offer lower grade boundaries for widening access participants. If you achieve this, you can receive unconditional medicine offers soon after the next application deadline!
MedicHut helps gap year applicants succeed in getting into medical school each year. The main prerequisite for considering a reapplication is having achieved the required A-Level grades.
If you don’t meet the grades for medicine, you may consider resitting your A-Level exams. A-Level resits aren’t always accepted for medicine applications, so you’ll need to check each university’s entry requirements. You may need to reconsider your revision technique to boost your exam performance. An excellent resource for this is our one-to-one tuition with medical student tutors who can help maximise your A-Level grades!
UCAS Clearing for Medical School Offers
UCAS clearing allows students to apply for courses at universities that haven’t filled all their spots. It’s rare for medical schools to put places up for clearing on UCAS, although some medical schools do have places available on results day.
This takes different forms:
- Medical schools with available spaces may offer these to applicants who received offers post interview but didn’t meet the grade requirements. In this case, it’s a good idea to contact the admissions teams right away on results day to ask whether they would still consider offering you a place. This isn’t guaranteed as each medical school has different policies and availability on results day each year. That being said, this has been a tried-and-tested method of success over the years.
- If you achieved the grades needed for medical school but didn’t receive any medicine offers, it’s worth contacting medical schools on results day to try to secure any unfilled places. You can contact medical schools that you did and didn’t apply to by calling their admissions teams on results day. Each year, a handful of medical schools across the UK will have spaces they will offer to applicants from medicine interviews post results day. However, this again is not a guaranteed method.
Other UCAS Clearing Options
As it is rare to gain a place in medical school through clearing, it’s worth considering other clearing options. There are many other degrees related to medicine that may open up a lot of opportunities for the future, such as:
- Biomedical Sciences
- Medicine Foundation degrees
- Biomedical Engineering
It’s worth considering an alternative course to medicine, as you never know what opportunities it may present. This includes the potential for applying for postgraduate medicine.
Some medical schools allow students who missed out on their grades a place in their medicine foundation programme. This means an extra year added to your medical degree without a guarantee of progressing to medical school through the programme. Regardless, many students each year find medicine foundation programmes to be an excellent method for transitioning to medical school!
Gap Years & Reapplying to Medical School
Another pathway to medicine is to take a gap year and reapply for medicine in the following year. During a gap year, you will need to work on your medicine application; improving your personal statement, gaining vital medical work experience, and developing interview skills.
One advantage of taking a gap year is that you’ll have the time to reflect on where you can improve from your previous application. It will allow you to work on key skills such as improving your UCAT score/BMAT score, interview knowledge, and clinical understanding. A gap year gives you a chance get a temporary job or volunteer for something that you’re passionate about. A popular job for aspiring medical students is becoming a Healthcare Assistant (HCA). This exposes you to the clinical environment and gives you insight into working in hospitals.
Taking a gap year also gives you the opportunity to travel and/or take a short break after your last few years of continuous exams and applications. If you take a gap year, you will need to be able to reflect on it in your medicine personal statement. Medical interviewers may also ask about it, so make sure you’re for this! Each year, we help countless gap year applicants achieve unconditional offers for medicine. Get in touch with our friendly team to discuss if this is an option you want to pursue!
Postgraduate Routes to Medicine
Postgraduate medicine is another route into medicine you may consider. This makes the most sense if you don’t achieve the A-Level requirements for medical school and thus don’t qualify for applying following a gap year. For this pathway, you will need to complete a degree and then apply for medical school using your degree rather than your A-Level grades. It’s important to pursue a degree you are interested in the career prospects of, as this won’t guarantee you a place in medical school.
Following an undergraduate degree, you can apply for either a standard undergraduate medicine programme, or Graduate Entry Medicine (GEM). GEM is usually four years, rather than the five or six years of an undergraduate medicine degree. This route is much more competitive and only a limited number of UK medical schools offer it. No matter which route you take as a postgraduate, you will have to take an aptitude test (UCAT, BMAT, GAMSAT) relevant to the university you apply for.
Studying Medicine Abroad
Maybe a change of scenery is something that appeals to you! There are many medical school programmes in Europe and beyond that you could consider as an alternative to UK medical schools. If you know a second language, this may also be a good time to practice it in the real world! There are also many international medicine and science programmes taught in English.
Some favoured places to study medicine include Ireland, Europe, and the Caribbean. Some countries have lower entry requirements, but you may have to sit entrance exams for them. You’ll also need to consider funding for studying abroad, which is generally done on a private level. Fees for studying medicine abroad can be upwards of £9000/year for tuition alone.
Alternative Career Options to Medicine
You may find yourself changing your mind about pursuing a career in medicine. This is normal and it is important to realise that there are many alternative related career options to medicine. If you still want to work in healthcare, consider relevant training and courses for allied health professionals such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, radiography, physiotherapy, pharmacy, and others. These healthcare careers are in high demand and can be as equally rewarding as a career in medicine.
Another option is training to become a physician associate. Training usually involves completing a bioscience-related degree, followed by undertaking physician associate training. Physician associate training is two years. This career has many benefits, including relatively good pay and extensive clinical exposure. Physician associates work a very similar role to doctors and are in high demand across the UK.
There are many different routes to becoming a doctor, and many alternative careers other than medicine. Regardless of what you choose to do next, remember that medicine might be important to you, but it isn’t your entire life. Ensure that you prioritise your wellbeing and try to have a positive attitude towards the future! When deciding on what to do if you didn’t receive any medicine offers this year, weigh up the pros and cons of each option and find the path most suited to you.
If you were unable to secure an offer for medical school in 2023 and would like to discuss your options going forward, fill out the contact form below with details of your situation and one of the friendly doctors from our team will call you to discuss what options might best suit you.