Medical School applications in UK are submitted via the UCAS portal. For all Harry Potter fans, UCAS is like your very own Hedwig, bringing messages to and from universities. When I decided to apply, it took me almost 2 months of preparation to finally muster enough courage to click “SUBMIT”. In the short spread of a few pages, UCAS gets you to fill in your complete life story, not only so far but also what you anticipate in the coming years.
For me the entire process of filling in the Personal Statement, getting a reference, submitting your grades and finally choosing med schools to apply turned out to be far more time-consuming than I had thought.
After almost a month when the time came to cross-check the application before hitting send, I had reviewed every column almost 10 times. Trying to make each and everything speak volumes. Trying to look like the perfect candidate for their school. Trying to become the “Chosen one”. Aah! I can even remember trying to fit in “Meredith Grey” in my name to sound like a real pro.
UCAS like so many things in life, will not tell you if clicking send is worth it. It will have the same boring color no matter how good or bad your application is. The one thing/person/organization in your application journey that/who will not judge you on your lack of academic prowess/internship work and your grammatical errors. The only thing it indicates is “Keep calm and watch”
And then you click send. The application is bundled off, 4 universities (plus 1 insurance one) send you acknowledgement letters. The first step which you receive so happily! I still remember getting the letters and looking forward to my offers. The letters are so warm and exuberant, that you would almost want to go and buy stuff for it. But trust me, 5 months later, when you are still waiting for a reply from them (even a season’s greeting) that letter will drive you nuts. You will look at it and scream “Hypocrites”. And that is when you will realize the value of UCAS. The Stability of the portal, which has not changed over the past 5 months. You learn to respect it for its never-changing nature.
Right so now, 5 months and 15 days on, you spend every moment of your life checking Uni1’s portal, Uni2’s portal,Uni3’s portal, Uni4’s Portal and finally you come onto UCAS. The one stop for your university needs. The integrating factor in your application. The one thing that joins you to so many other buffoons who have applied to med school. Your love, Your UCAS.
And then suddenly UCAS speaks up,sends a notification “Your application is in premature labor” and like a harried father you rush to the portal, and there right in front is the outcome of the entire process, its either a REJECTION or an ACCEPTANCE, but trust me most of the time, the gestation period of your application seems so long that you heave a sigh of relief even if it is a rejection. See, this is how UCAS lessens your grief, by making it so stretched that you cry with joy when the process finishes.
Okay, at the moment I have an offer for Biomedical Sciences from a world class uni in London, but like so many applicants I would give anything to replace it with an offer of place for medicine from maybe a lesser known University, such is the desperation to be a medic. But through all this what has become really close is UCAS, we have even come to nickname terms, he has given me a 10 digit Personal Id number and I call him “%^%#$#” but nevertheless, he has taught me how life is a collection of decision letters, some rejections and some acceptances but most importantly it is the desire and the patience to wait for another golden day……
LOVE YOU UCAS, NOW GIVE ME AN OFFER ALREADY!!!
P.s: I have not received any commissions from the UCAS people, trust me they do not even pick up their phone calls…..