University of Bristol - medicine applicant story
Here Dolcie tells Get Into Medicine about how she found applying to medical school this year and how it feels to have an offer to study medicine at the University of Bristol! 

 My first experience with medicine was when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was six years old. Since this age I was always curious about the human body, if only I knew then how hard it would be to get an offer for medicine! In year ten I did a week of volunteering at a care home. This was my first realistic taste of medicine.Talking to the residents and learning about their illnesses really made me set my mind on a career in healthcare. So after completing my GCSE's I went to sixth form and in my first year I studied Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physics and I also did an extended project qualification (EPQ). I did my EPQ on Rheumatoid Arthritis and the mechanisms of Methotrexate. If you get an opportunity to do the EPQ I would recommend it because it looks good on your personal statement and also gives you something to talk about at interview. During my first year at sixth form I managed to get two work experience placements in a hospital, a placement in a care home and I also started to volunteer at my local hospice - getting to look at medicine from different perspectives really made me appreciate all of the different aspects of healthcare and made me determined to be a doctor one day! Get as much work experience as you can because it will look really good on your personal statement and will give you tonnes to talk about in an interview. However, most universities are more interested in what you have learnt from these experiences and how these experiences have made you want to study medicine. Over the summer holidays last year I did a lot of volunteering at a care home and the hospice. I also looked into different medical schools, it is so important to do your research so you know about the course of each medical school. Don't pick your choices according to league tables etc, look into each medical school and write pros/cons for each one. If you have an ambitious choice go for it, but I would also have some realistic choices simply because medicine is so competitive. Also, different medical schools have different GCSE requirements/work experience requirements/personal attributes they want in a medical student - they all look for slightly different qualities so it is important to cater for those in your personal statement etc and to make sure you have the correct academic requirements. Writing my personal statement is one of the hardest things I've ever done, I ended up doing 13 drafts. Don't be scared for it to be rubbish at first, I took my first draft to my teacher and it was about four pages long ha! Get all the help you can and let as many teachers/career advisors look at it as you can. Last September I took the UKCAT test and it went AWFUL! I had sent off my UCAS form a few days earlier and had originally applied for Liverpool, Glasgow, Nottingham and QML. I totally freaked out, panicked, rang up UCAS and changed my choices to Liverpool, Lancaster, Bristol and Glasgow because three of my choices were now non-ukcat universities. At this point I didn't have much confidence and felt like I was just waiting for rejections! I would definitely advise you to get the ukcat out of the way in the summer because it will interfere with your a-levels and you will perform much better on the test if you give yourself time to prepare properly. After sending my ucas form off I knew it would be a long wait, some of my friends who have applied for other degrees had all five offers whilst I hadn't heard a thing. The only advice I can give is just to concentrate on your a-levels as much as possible and try to take your mind off it - the process lasts so long because medicine is so competitive. Bristol university alone had over 5000 applicants this year! I somehow managed to get an interview for Liverpool which was on 15th November. After leaving that interview room I just wanted to cry, it went terrible and I thought I'd thrown away my chance of an offer! Didn't hear anything else until January when I got a rejection from Lancaster the day before my maths exam, how cruel hahaha! And then I got a rejection from Glasgow exactly a week later! I was so upset and was making plans for a gap year. Then in February I got an interview for Bristol which I was so shocked at! Then a week after my interview I got an offer woooo!!! Which is a good job since I got a rejection from Liverpool! It is the best feeling ever to know that interviewers have faith in you, it's such a confidence boost, I do not want to let anything stop me getting the three A's I need, I'm trying so hard so fingers crossed! For what started out as a scary process, it turned out brilliantly! It is so important for you to keep your head up and stay motivated because if you are determined you will get there one day! Best of luck to anyone applying for medicine in the future, if I can do it I'm sure you can! P.S. DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT YOU CANNOT DO THIS OR YOU WON'T GET IN, IGNORE THEM!! If you're determined you will get there in the end!

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 Copyright 2013 Get Into Medicine