Results day is scary! Especially for those with conditional offers, it is the day you find out whether you’ve secured a place at medical or dental school. Let’s assume the worse case scenario that you achieved low grades and missed your predicted grades (…touch wood), what could you do to still get into medical or dental school?
How To Get Into Medicine or Dentistry with Low Grades
1. Call the University Admission office
This is the first thing I recommend you do as soon as you find out you’ve not hit the mark on results day. I’ve heard amazing stories of students that did so well in their medical school interviews that their university choices still takes them on after just missing their grades. Give the admission office a call and try to secure a last-minute place. The St George’s Medical School received 1,825 calls by 11 am on results day from students looking to gain a last-minute place on its 2016 medicine degree. Competition for leftover places will be fierce, so make sure you call in early.
I’m personally against the idea of clearing because in most cases students settle for any degree available without really making an informed decision. However, in some cases it can be helpful: St George’s Medical school announced it would open up places onto its medicine course through clearing for this first time ever in 2016. Around 40 places were on offer through the process, which was used by the university to fill up leftover places. It is highly competitive and be prepared for another interview round. This is only an option for applicants that have been rejected by their choices and didn’t apply to the St George’s Medicine Programme but have achieved the required grades. Clearing can also be used to get a place into health-related programmes such as biomedical science, paramedic science, Pharmacology or healthcare science, that provide a great platform for later getting into graduate Medicine or Dentistry.
3. Consider Universities with a Foundation Year
You could re-apply the following year to medical or dental programmes with a foundation year. The requirements are generally lower than the normal programmes. They are extended medical or dentistry programmes offered by some universities to widen the diversity and accessibility to Medicine or Dentistry. The degree includes an additional year to their normal counterparts. These programmes normally run for six years rather than the usual five, allowing the students learn at a slower pace and with greater support. The entry requirements are also typically lower so this route is worth considering if you do not have strong enough grades.
4. Consider Health Related Degrees
I talked about alternative routes to medical school or dental school in an earlier post. One good way to get into Medicine or Dentistry is via graduate-entry programmes after you’ve completed a health-related degree. These fast track programmes are offered by many universities. They are specifically designed for graduates or healthcare professionals with equivalent academic qualifications to study medicine or dentistry. These courses are typically four years and allow students by-pass the first stage of the conventional medical or dentistry degrees and achieve their qualification quicker. Many universities that offer graduate medicine require applicants to take the GAMSAT so this route is worth considering if you are a university graduate; some universities will consider applicants with a non-scientific degree.
5. Gap Year
Taking a gap year can be tremendously beneficial to one’s personal growth, whether one decides on enrolling in a structured gap year program, spend time volunteering abroad or simply traveling the world. Regardless, taking a gap year gives you the chance to think things through, do not rush into university if you aren’t sure. I took a gap year and it was probably one of the smartest things I’ve ever done despite getting pressured from family to get into university. You can read my story for more details. You can use the time to reflect on your achieved grades or get relevant work experience to enhance your application.
Goodluck and do not give up if you achieve low grades or miss your predicted grades.