"The first deadline for UCAS, the central processing agency for university applications to Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is fast approaching: the October 15 cut-off is for applications to medicine, dentistry and veterinary studies, as well as Oxford and Cambridge universities", writes Guidance Counsellor Aoife Walsh, this week in the Irish Independent. Here's the advice for this year's Leaving Certificate students towards planning their applications:
Medicine, Veterinary, Dentistry
Students may apply for up to five courses. Only four of their five choices can be from medicine, veterinary or dentistry and should be listed in the order in which they appear in the UCAS handbook.
The vast majority of health-related courses in the UK also require students to take an admissions test. This may be the UKCAT, BMAT, HPAT UK (different from HPAT Ireland) or the GAMSAT (graduate medicine only).
The two main tests are the UKCAT and the BMAT. Students should check which test the institution requires.
Registration for the UKCAT is now closed, but registered students may continue to book tests until October 5. Students may register to take the BMAT until October 1, and late registration remains open until October 15. This assessment is required for admission to Oxford and Cambridge, among other institutions. Unlike the UKCAT, which is an aptitude test, the BMAT includes a section on scientific knowledge and its application.
Oxford and Cambridge
Applicants may place only one course from either Oxford or Cambridge on their UCAS application. Admissions to each of these institutions are highly competitive, but both are relatively open with regards to what they are seeking: they are looking for excellent grades, but will take extenuating circumstances and the type of school the student attends into account - such as one with a weak tradition of sending pupils to third level.
Students must submit a personal statement as well as a reference. The personal statement should clearly communicate the applicant's interest in the subject area for which they are applying as well as their knowledge and critical thinking in the area to date.
Students will also have the opportunity to nominate their college. This element of the application often causes Irish applicants far more concern than necessary. Both Oxford and Cambridge are broken down by colleges. This system is unlike anything in Ireland. Each college is where the student stays and where they take their tutorials. Applicants can choose which college they would prefer, or they can complete an open application where the university will assign them to a college. Whichever route the students chooses it should not affect the applicant's chance of success.
Applicants may also be asked to submit written work, complete an interview or take an assessment. More information on completing a UCAS application can be found on UCAS
Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin.
The CareersPortal Team