Authored by: Gloria Prince

Hi, I'm Gloria, I am studying Medicine at Swansea, but my route to Medicine wasn't a simple one, I didn't get into undergraduate Medicine and wanted to give you my advice when making your application for Medicine, advice I wish I'd had.

Applying for Medicine is stressful, there are so many choices and you'll feel like your future rests on this. Then you discover you need to make a 5th choice on your Medicine Application. If you are anything like me you will be thinking; "What should I do about my 5th Choice?" - and here is my advice.

2nd Year Medical Student

Pathways to Medicine Graduate

Gloria Prince

How many UCAS Choices can I make for medicine?

So, let's get the basics right first. When you apply to University via UCAS you can only apply to 5 Universities, when it comes to Medicine you still have the 5 choices but only 4 of these can be Medicine. Hence the question... 

What is the 5th Choice on UCAS for? 

The 5th Choice option exists in a number of competitive areas such as applying for Medicine or Dentistry. The 5th Choice exists because Medicine is so competitive (for every 1 space there are around 100 applicants). This means not every applicant will get into Medical School on their first try, once the interview process has selected the lucky few who will get a conditional offer, the rest will be rejected (usually around spring). People in this pool are probably set on going to University so the 5th Choice keeps an avenue open for medicine applicants to find a route into Higher Education and ultimately in my case a back-up route into Medicine. 

I know, I know, so far this is raising more questions than it is answering. So the big question.

What can I study instead of Medicine?

This is the big question, and absolutely the right question. Your 5th Choice, even if you don't want to think about it now, may end-up being what you dedicate 3 years of your life to, so you need to choose something you will enjoy.  The trick here is to choose something you will enjoy and keep the door to Medicine open. And if you've already submitted your UCAS form don't panic - you can add a 5th Choice to your application right up until January.

I didn't know this trick at the time, but now I do! So here is the benefit of my experience - consider a Pathway to Medicine

What is a Pathway to Medicine?

A Pathway to Medicine is a route through some of our undergraduate BSc Degrees which provide successful applicants a guaranteed interview for our Graduate Entry Medicine Programme and experiences to better understand what life is like as a Doctor and what the role entails, whilst gaining valuable research and life experience for making an application to Graduate Entry Medicine. 

What makes the Pathway to Medicine so special, isn't the formal learning and experiences you get from studying a degree, but the preparation the Pathways to Medicine Module (Doctors Patients and the Goals of Medicine) will give you, from shadowing Doctors to writing a good application and preparing for an interview the Pathways to Medicine gave me the edge I needed when making my Graduate Entry Medicine Applications. 

Find Out More about Pathways to Medicine

My last piece of advice for you is to come to an open day.  Pathways to Medicine talks take place as part of all the Medical School's undergraduate open days, which run all year around.

My final thing to say is Good Luck in your Application to Medical School, and remember it is not the end of the world if you don't get in to Undergraduate Medicine, I didn't and I am well on my way to becoming a Doctor!

Undergraduate Open Days