As well as including books you have read and other things that you have enjoyed that furthered your understanding of medicine (such as lectures, podcasts and videos), experiences you have had are also an important thing to include on your personal statement.
Volunteering is a great way to get an insight into the medical profession. See if you can volunteer at your local old people’s home, or doctor’s clinic, or nursery. Volunteering will also show the admissions tutors your willingness to do unpaid labour to help others.
Work experience is another valuable thing to include on your medicine personal statement, especially if you can get work experience shadowing a doctor in a hospital. See if you have any friends who are doctors who you can shadow, or if you can secure yourself some work experience over the summer. However, admissions tutors are very aware that work experience in hospitals is hard to secure, so do not worry if you cannot get any. Try and have a chat with your local doctor or any doctors you know about their profession: this will help you gain an insight and also show that you are keen and willing on your personal statement.
However, if you do a gap year before starting your medicine degree, admissions tutors will expect to see that you spent a portion of it doing relevant medical experience. So make sure you secure this and then write about it on your personal statement. Some ideas of places you could look for work experience are:
- St John’s Ambulance
- The dentist’s
- Your local doctor’s surgery
- The optician’s
- The audiologist’s
Top Tip: When writing about your work experience, try not to spend too much time describing what you did, but instead, reflect on the skills you learnt, and how the experience makes you a desirable candidate.
If you haven’t had a chance to do any work experience, but have managed to secure experience in a lab, this is also an impressive thing to put on your personal statement. Remember to always link your experience back to the relevant subject though: if you have lab experience, link it to medical research and why the experience furthered your passion for medicine.
Top Tip: Everything on your personal statement must be linked to the subject you are applying to. If you have done extra-curricular things, or have done work experience, make sure you make it relevant on your personal statement. Talk about the skills you gained through doing that,
Get a part time job
Another way to show your dedication to admissions tutors is through a part time job. Ideally you want to be in a sector relevant to medicine, but either way, committing to a part time job and balancing this with the rest of your life shows your ability to handle stress and independent thinking: valuable skills for medics.
Your personal statement should show to the admissions degree why you, specifically, have a vocation for medicine. Work experience will not only act of proof of it – it will show that you understand what a medical career is really like, rather than just having watched a lot of hospital dramas and applied on a whim!
If you’re looking for inspiration for your personal statement, we’ve got an example Oxbridge Medicine personal statement. And if you’re done with the personal statement, we can also help with the next stage: our complete guides to the BMAT and the UKCAT!