A lively group of about 80 students hoping to study Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Science at university next year have been meeting weekly to consider how to enhance their application. A variety of activities including outside speakers (from various universities and local professionals), joining Debate Club, interactive sessions, trips to conferences, workshops led by medical students and information-sharing weeks have all hopefully helped our students prepare to make successful UCAS entries in the autumn term. Reflecting on some of our events:

Keele Medical School ‘I enjoyed the practical workshops in the laboratory where they do dissections as it was interesting to see real life human body parts. I also found the Q&A with the university representatives very useful in helping me further understand the application process.’; ‘The honesty of the medical professionals inspired me to work hard to become one of them.’, ‘It was a great experience to find out you have the skills and capacity to be a doctor. Also, a good chance to ask any questions about medicine and university. Speaking to real medical students about their experiences helped me learn more about the admission process. It was truly worth it!’,I realised then more than ever that the journey is not just going to be fun but also exciting; it is sure to offer experiences beyond the expected. Going into different short sessions was a brief introduction to lectures and gave me a further understanding of the difference in style between college and university.’ and ‘It was a wake-up call for me and really made me understand what I need to do and achieve to actually go into medicine. It also showed that medicine is a VERY competitive course and the other opportunities I have.’.

Aspiring Vets visited Whirlow Hall Farm in Sheffield on a very wet and windy day; but thankfully the weather did not dampen their enthusiasm for dealing with the pigs, chickens, cows, horses and lambs. Sadly, we did not see any lambs being born but we did learn an awful lot about the process and understood a bit about the harsh economics of rearing farm animals. Students had to work hard at feeding animals and cleaning them out, which they did with gusto and good humour, despite the smells and ‘interesting’ behaviour of one or two residents. One student reported ‘It was incredible to learn so much detail and with hands on experience.’. A few have already booked to go back to the farm for two days in their Easter holidays to see if they can deliver a lamb or two!

Twenty-four lucky students stayed behind after College one evening to participate in busy, hands-on and informative workshops led by Manchester University medical students. Each group of students worked hard at learning how to take blood pressures, test reflexes, name the bones in the body and take blood. Again, one of the most popular aspects of this event was the opportunity to talk with students and ‘hearing about their journeys onto the course of their dreams and what I need to do to follow.’.