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Offers without interview: is it pushing it?

March 14th, 2009

I’m a self confessed observer of all things related to admission to medical school, particularly Glasgow. I don’t really know why, it just interests me. I’ve tried twice to get involved on the admissions committee but so far no luck. This year I’m giving around a 15 minute talk to those who are considering Glasgow at the Applicant’s day at the end of the month.

The application process is quite a roller coaster for those on it. A very drawn out process that spans across 6 months of the year. Just last week it seems the bulk of this years Glasgow applicants has been given offers. Congrats to them! 

However this year was rather different from last. A good deal of offers had already been given out - to those who hadn’t been interviewed. 

This might not seem like a big change but personally I see it as quite significant. 

As a bit of background, interview has long been the pass or fail criteria for Glasgow applicants. The introduction of the UKCAT seems to have changed this a bit. There is a progressive reliance on the UKCAT to rank candidates. I, thank goodness, didn’t have to take the UKCAT but those who have generally don’t appreciate the experience. 

Whether or not the UKCAT is a good tool for applicants is beyond me. However I do believe that simply the best way to get the feel for an applicant is to speak to them. Isn’t this what they try and teach us all about in communication skills? It seems confusing that they are now dropping this as a prerequisite for an offer. 

Beyond that I remember quite a bit of mockery from the Glasgow faculty regarding Edinburgh’s refusal to interview any school leavers (grads were a bit different). A bit of hypocrisy now, no?

I’ve yet to ask about the reasoning behind this. Maybe a good reason exists. The rumour that the current chair of admissions is retiring seems a little more solid. Is the chair-to-be not so keen on interviews? 

I don’t know what kind of impact this will have on the ability of students. I mean this in no offence to those coming to us in September but I do look forward to seeing whether there are a bit different in a subtle sort of way. Will anyone be interviewed next yet? I hope so but it’s any one’s guess what will change next.

Uni , ,

  1. Robert
    March 17th, 2009 at 15:05 | #1

    I personally think it’s absurd that a course designed to train people for a career almost entirley founded on communication skills will offer places without having a clue as to an individuals communication skills. Applying to medicine, in my experience, has become a process of jumping through loopholes. Anyone can shadow a doctor, help orphans in Guatemala, and be good egg on paper. In fact, I believe the vast majority applying to medicine will have these ‘attributes’, not neccessarily due to their vested interest in helping people, but rather to jump through those loopholes in order to get into Med-school. In addition, refernces and grade predictions can also lose their value, from over zealous referees, or in some cases parents pressuring schools to predict unrealistic grades for their precious children. Universities should interview applicants as a priority, it is no good accepting someone who would crumble in a one on one personal situation to study medicine, just because they look good on paper. Interview situations should be regarded with at least equal priority to personal statements, if not greater, when considering applications to study medicine.

    My tuppenth!

  2. March 19th, 2009 at 23:22 | #2

    Agree with Robert!!

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