As well as advising your students to get involved with WAMS as much as possible, there are other ways in which you can support them with their application to give them the best chance of getting a place at medical school. Students should start looking for voluntary work and work experience as early as possible at the start of year 12 (or even in year 11 if they are really keen!). Most medical schools will expect students to demonstrate some experience of a medical environment, such as a hospital, GP practice, hospice or care home, to ensure they have some awareness of the reality of the profession they are wishing to enter.
Also, having volunteered in at least one role, whether it be medical or not, is essential to demonstrate social awareness and commitment, for example volunteering in a charity shop or working with St John Ambulance. Furthermore, most medical students will have some form of hobby or enjoy extra-curricular activities, as a way to relax and to show that they do not spend all their time working. These are all important elements to include in a personal statement. Here is an example website of volunteering opportunities that could be undertaken by your students. Also, the expectations and entry requirements for each medical school can be found on the medical schools council website.
When it comes to writing their personal statement, students will undoubtedly find it helpful to have someone read over it for them before submission. One of the most important things that you can do as a teacher is to ensure that there are no grammatical or spelling errors, and that paragraphs are present; you would not believe how many personal statements are submitted with spelling mistakes and no paragraphs! However, please try to resist the temptation to rewrite sentences or add content, we can generally tell when the writing is not that of a student.
If your student is lucky enough to receive an interview, then being able to practice of the sort of things that could come up is always useful. However, please do not try to coach your student on the ideal answers to questions or get them to learn a script, interviewers will be able to tell that it is not an original idea and will not be impressed. Resources to help you to run your own practice interviews can be found here.
Finally, if everything goes to plan and your student receives an offer to study medicine, the most important thing is to ensure that they are able to achieve the necessary A level grades. There is nothing more disappointing than going through the whole application process but not making it on the day!
If you would like more information on how best to support students hoping to study medicine, just email us at and we will do our best to help.