All applications for UK medical schools go through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). This section provides a guide to filling in the application form.

How do I apply?

All applications must now be filled in online, paper-based forms are no longer accepted. Do not fill in the form straight away, type out everything you are going to include in a word file and ask your teachers, family and friends to check it before you finally submit it. You can apply using the UCAS website.

When should I apply?

UCAS applications open in mid September 2014 for courses commencing September or October 2015. The deadline for UCAS applications is the 15th October 2014 at 18:00 for medicine. It is essential that your application reaches UCAS by this date.

How many universities can I apply to?

You can apply to only 4 medical courses per year (rather than the standard 5 for other degrees). However, you can use the one remaining place on your form for courses other than medicine.

Do the universities that I’ve applied for know which other universities I’ve applied to?

No. Each university that you have applied to does not know which other universities you have applied to. However, if you apply to more than one course at the same university, they will know that you have applied to two of their courses.

How much does it cost to apply?

If you are applying to more than one course, it costs £23 to apply through UCAS. Payment can be made over the internet when you apply. If you are only applying to one course it costs £12. For more info on the cost of applying click here.

Do I need to apply through a school or college?

No. If you are at school or college at the moment then you would normally apply with the help of your teachers. But if you are no longer in education, you can apply as an independent applicant, you don’t need to be attached to a school or college.

What is involved in the application form?

The UCAS form basically comprises 5 sections:

1. Personal details: name, address etc
2. Qualifications: including those you have got and those you are still studying for.
3. Employment History: details of any jobs that you have had.
4. Personal Statement: your chance to explain why you want to do medicine and to talk about your work experience and the qualities that would make you a good doctor.
5. Reference: this is a recommendation from a teacher, lecturer or possibly an employer.

Have a look at the UCAS overview for further information.

How do I write my personal statement?

Writing your personal statement is the hardest part of the application. Visit the writing the personal statement section to find out more.

Who should write my reference?

This very much depends on the universities you are applying to. Many universities require an academic reference, yet you may feel that a non-academic source would be more appropriate. The best advice is to contact the universities directly and follow their requirements. In some cases, it may be acceptable to send supplementary references but, again, you should check with each university.

Where can I get more help?

The UCAS website provides lots of detailed information about the application process. There is also a very helpful page on the UCAS website which specifically relates to mature students, including the options which may be available.