Application workshop at Claremont High School summer 2017

TheMSAG guides deliver an application workshop at Claremont high school, London during Summer term 2017

It’s rare to find a room full of enthusiastic bright sparks, interested in making a difference for others during their careers. But that’s exactly what Dr. Hrush Vyas, one of our MSAG personal statement and interview coaches, and I found when we visited Claremont High School last summer.

Invited by Head of Careers, Mr. Burns, we ran a two-hour morning workshop for students interested in applying to Medicine or Dentistry. The turnout was great – with attendees including Year 10 to 13 students from both Claremont High School and neighbouring Kingsbury school and Canons school.

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Engagement was high throughout the session. I was impressed by the level of student participation with our fantastic group listing pretty much every doctor-related trait that I’ve come across in my career! We discussed the elements needed to make a strong application to medical or dental school and dispelled the common myths that students associate with applying for these vocational degrees.

The energy level continued and remained high for our brainstorm on preparing a personal statement and task to bring individual experiences to life – the students weren't shy to share their stories, which was great! No student left our session without taking a risk in front of their peers and adding to our conversation.

In this incredibly interactive session, the questions flew in quick and fast. Hrush and I called on all of our experience as MSAG guides and previous medical school interviews to satisfy the tough crowd. Tough as it may be to receive the 21 questions, I believe that all the students left the session with a clearer understanding and more confidence with making an application to the school of their choice. 

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One of the common themes that were raised by the group of students was how to tackle the standardised tests, particularly the UKCAT. This is a very understandable concern and stress for a student during their application. When it comes to the UKCAT, we at theMSAG recommend that preparing early is crucial. Not only is it possible to learn about the style and format of the exam but also, one needs to develop confidence and speed with answering the time-pressured questions. If you are looking for additional help for the UKCAT, keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming online UKCAT course and question bank.

The difficulties in finding work experience came up on occasion too. Having been through the process ourselves, we understand that it’s really hard to plan and organise work experience. This is especially the case if you don’t have any friends or family members who are doctors. Again, our general advice is to start early. But for more information, based on our 11 years’ experience in medical schools admissions, check out Gerens Curnow’s blog post, ‘What type of work experience should I do?’ and Roxanne Sutthakorn’s post, ‘How to secure work placements’.

“Many thanks on behalf of myself and our students for the presentation/workshop yesterday.  It was, as last year, absolutely fantastic and we really appreciate you coming to Claremont to give our students an insight into the process and the best advice to help them make a competitive application. I know the students from Years 10, 11, 12 and from our school and Canons and Kingsbury really enjoyed it and found it very valuable” – George Burns, Head of Careers

Our application workshop at Claremont High School was a fantastic session with plenty of enthusiasm among the students and even Mr. Burns! Keep checking in with our blog – TheMSAG in action for more news about how we support schools, teachers, and parents across the world. If you think that you or your students would benefit from help in finding work experience, please don’t hesitate to contact our team and we would be more than happy to help.


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