01 May 2006

How to get into medical school

I think it's fair to say this is going to be a rant. Don't say I didn't warn you.

It's fair to say I didn't find this article myself, but the opinions are mine alone (although they reflect the opinions of others in my situation).

Please read the article linked in the title. It regards a mother's efforts to get her twin daughters into medical school.

I'm angry. I'm very angry. Admittedly, I may have been prodded a little in the direction of medical school, but my parents supported my personal wishes. I did work experience because I wanted to, and my enthusiasm after shadowing for 2 days shone to my parents. I attended the MedLink and MedSim conferences because I begged to go. Again, I couldn't be silenced afterwards.

This mother trivialises the admissions process of applying to medical school by making it all about money. Apologies if this sounds offensive, but I wonder just how much her little darlings have to offer to medical school when they eventually get there. The words 'pre-programmed' springs to mind. It sounds, from the article, that the ladies in question have been groomed to answer the questions as the admissions tutor requires, without thought to their own opinions, and it annoys me.

My recent university interviews have been painful to say the least. I got into debates so large that a JCB wouldn't have been able to help me dig my way out, yet I got a place. My opinions may have been wrong, but they were just that, opinions. My personal thoughts that I could support if challenged.

Yet I have always gained offers on all three attempts to gain entry to medical school. Even when my predicted grades were down and I shouldn't have even been interviewed, I was, and I got a place.

Maybe I've never applied to the really elitist medical schools, and my integrity and determination has shone through. I guess I'll never know.

All I can say is that I hope I never end up at medical school with these girls, least of all meet their mother. I don't think I could contain my anger.


Cookie said...

I've linked to the Sunday Times article in the Air Your Views forum at DNUK (www.doctors.net.uk) and the opinions there are in the same vein as the majority of those at AF and MSG.

manpreet said...

I have to say, I disagree with you slightly. I think the article is offensive - she implies that the entire process is about how much money you pump into it; I also can't see any merit to be gained from the interview training days - you have to be geniune at an interview. There must be nothing worse than interviewing two people who attended the same interview training days, and who give the same answers to all questions.

There are, however, some hoops that you have to jump through in order to obtain admittance to medical school. For example, you won't get a place without suitable work experience. I can only speak from my own experience - I did as much work experience as possible. Some of it was out of geniune interest, but, at times, it was mind-numbingly bored, and I did feel that I was just doing it to tick a box on my application form. (work experience - tick)
Rightly or wrongly, there will be people who aren't aware of the process, and of the requirements - a good article would simply have discussed these (rather than implying that those whose mothers pay the most money will get the places)

Merys said...

Manpreet - an interesting argument.
I should point out that the majority of my anger is towards the mother for being proud of 'her' efforts to get her daughters into medical school, even suggesting writing a book on the matter.
I'm of the opinion that the daughters should have had the most input. And I can't believe the mother wrote to the school and told the teachers what to write as a reference. I, personally would have throttled my mother had she done that.
My point is also, that these girls only decided on medical school in 6th form, which is fair enough in itself - but I feel the mother has jumped on the bandwagon a little.

I agree with your point about jumping through hoops, but surely the biggest hoop of all is the genuine desire to achieve the goal. Surely this gains more kudos than a 'bog standard' response suggested by training days.

Personally, I enjoyed all of my work experience, and it wasn't organised by my parents.

Sophie said...

Thought I'd take the opportunity of mutual anger to stop lurking. I completely agree with you about pre-programmed.. It doesn't seem as though these girls got much of a say in what they wanted to do. Having been through the gruelling process of applying to oxford (twice) I've got here to find so many people in a similar situation to these girls, who've only got here because their schools or parents told them to apply, and only for subjects they were good at (not necessarily the ones they were interested in). Then they had seminars on what to do and how to sit and where to look in the interview process. And now they're here? Of the 50 or so people I've talked to about it, I'm one of about 5 who really love their course, and the rest are wishing they'd not come at all/could change to another subject/have already changed subjects.

PanickingFinalist said...

I got into medical school with 5 GCSEs and ABB at A-level.
I applied during my year out because I had been predicted AEE and I knew there was no chance of an interview with those grades, so I spent a year working as an A grade nurse to get some finances and applied once I had my actual results.
I'd never practiced an interview, and (as I had left) my personal statement was written with no help or review by my high school teachers.
I think that article is a load of bull****.

Merys said...

panickingfinalist: I hear you.
Sophie: thanks for stopping lurking. Feel free to do it more often!