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Getting the most out of your Applicant Day

Congratulations on recveiving an offer to study at Hull York Medical School! Your next step is to attend an Applicant Day. Applicant Days are a fantastic opportunity to get to know us better.
If you want to make sure you make the most of your Applicant Day, don't miss these top tips from first year #HullYorkMedic Lois - who was in your place this time last year.

Lois

 

Top 10 tips for getting the most out of your Applicant Day

Congratulations! You’ve got your predicted grades, all those stressful interviews are over (even if you can’t break the habit of reading the medical news) and you’ve got an offer – but somehow nobody mentioned what to do when you get more than one offer, and you have to decide where you think you want to go. Applicant Days are one of the most helpful ways of making up your mind.

To help get the most out of your Applicant Days, here’s my 10 top tips to have a think about:

1. Take the blinkers off

It’s useful to go into an Applicant Day knowing a bit about where you’re going, whether that’s just an address of where you’re supposed to go and a time of when it starts, or some online research into the type of curriculum you might end up studying. This helps with the next point…

2. Question time

Finally everyone’s stopped asking you questions – it’s your turn! Research helps you work out what you might want to ask staff or students. Do you have a special interest? Can the medical school help you with that? How much time will you spend studying it? Is there a society you can join? For me, this led to questions about emergency medicine, the library (self confessed bibliophile) and how often we would do clinical skills. For other students, this might be how the SSIP programme works, how anatomy is taught, or which sports have medic teams.

3. Speak to a student

On Applicant Days, it was speaking to students that helped me myth bust what medical school is really like. Time spent studying, how well you can maintain hobbies and interests outside medicine, and generally what it feels like to move away from home for the first time can all be great questions to ask.

4. Know what you’re looking for

By actively looking for what you want in a medical school, you’re less likely to get swept up in all the excitement and actually be able to use what you’re learning. I knew I would spend a lot of time in the library, so looking round it, whether I was shown it or not, was hugely important for me. It also helps you prioritise what to do if you find you don’t have time to see everything.

5. Finance

Hooray an offer! Suddenly the practicalities might be an issue. I learnt about the Hull York Medical School bursary at an Applicant Day. It means money isn’t a terrifying issue for 5 years! It might also be a good idea to ask about hidden costs. Do you have to buy your own lab coat? How many copies of useful books are there in the library, or do you realistically have to buy them?

6. Where am I?

Take a look around the local area. How close are the shops? Is it a 20 minute trip to lecture, and is this a problem if you’re not a morning person? It’s also worth looking a little further afield if you don’t know the area, if there’s a bus tour offered or similar, I’d take it. With a student and a local tour guide it told me everything I needed to know in an hour, without a bus fare or sore feet!

7. Footwear and clothing

Some campus sites are much bigger than they look on maps, or a lot further from the train station than you thought, particularly when you’re getting lost all the time! Comfortable shoes are a must – a lot of the day is likely to be walking.

8. Parents

I attended one Applicant Day with parents and one without. Each has its upsides and downsides. Transport is easier, you have someone who remembers big practical questions, and if they like the university too, you don’t have to explain why you chose it! This was especially helpful as a southern student moving north. Downsides, apart from their boredom, if you have chatty parents, make sure all the questions you want answers for you can ask, and what you want to see gets seen. This is your day to decide what to do. After all, you’re the one who’s going to be there 5 years!

9. Say hello!

I’m an enormous introvert (if me constantly mentioning libraries wasn’t a dead giveaway) and I found speaking to other applicants hard, particularly in networking sessions without a set task. But having a simple conversation with other people can make you feel much less like you’re the only one struggling to make a decision, or bring up something you hadn’t thought of. In my case, I met the same person at both interviews and Applicant Days, and is now part of the pre-hospital care programme with me. What are the odds!

10. Feeling happy

I went to Applicant Days at two universities and loved them both, for different reasons. Suddenly medical school was not a magical place in the clouds filled with knowledgeable deities, but a tangible and achievable goal I really wanted. I had a place I could picture myself, and more importantly, I felt like I would be happy there. Sometimes you don’t know exactly why, but you know you’re just meant to be somewhere. It might not be the most logical thought humanity’s ever had, but it happens! If you get that feeling, and after a good think, you don’t see why not, trust your gut and go with the flow.

 

The important things are, think critically, come away knowing what you wanted to and feeling like you’ve enjoyed the day. You’ll be weighed down with tote bags, leaflets and free pens half-asleep on a train home, but trust me – it’s worth it!

Lois Slinger is a first year medical student based at the University of Hull campus.