This person decided to remain anonymous but wanted to tell their story to let people know taking a forced gap year can be a ‘blessing in disguise’…
In my previous application, I wasn’t 100% certain that I really wanted to study medicine, and I wasn’t fully prepared. I think this showed in my PS (personal statement). As the year went on, I was able to confirm that medicine is what I really want to do. Last year, I applied to 4 med schools with no backup choices. I was rejected after 2 interviews (I was put on a waiting list at one). Obviously I was disappointed, but it didn’t come as a surprise. I started to make plans for the next round, and by May, I was looking for jobs on the NHS website and it took about 4 months to find what I wanted to do – porter at my local hospital. (This takes time so don’t leave it until the summer holidays!) I also started to look for GAP year medical volunteering opportunities abroad. Once I finished school, I started to volunteer at my local old people’s home, 2 or 3 times a week, and I also started working for the NHS. My PS was more interesting the second time around, because I had more to write about.
This time, I chose 3 different UNIs from my previous application, but I put down 1 UNI that I was rejected from last year, after interview. This was mentioned at my interview this time, and I was able to explain what I had been doing in my GAP year and what I was intending to do for the remainder of my GAP year. I also put down two back-up choices. I ended up with 4 offers after 3 interviews for medicine, and 1 offer for physiology. I withdrew from the last option (another physiology course) because they were taking too long to decide.
This “forced gap year” has been a blessing in disguise for me (except for the increase in the fees, of course). For one, I am now sure about my choice of course. Plus, I really enjoyed working as a porter in the NHS, and the extra cash that I’ve saved up will be useful when I start Uni. So all in all, I’m very pleased with the outcome. My advice would be to make the most of your GAP year by working or volunteering in medical environment, to strengthen your PS, but mainly, to make sure that medicine is what you really want to do. I am sure that you will be a stronger candidate the second time around, so best of luck to everyone!