🔍 Skip ahead to the following sections:
Meeting My Mentor (For Medicine)
One day in Year 10, I was told that I would be helped by a mentor from an organisation called Aimhigher. At the time, I wasn’t sure why I was being assigned a mentor but looking back the school had identified me as a gifted and talented student who had come from a disadvantaged background. I met with my mentor once a month, and she helped explore my options about what I wanted to do after I left school. It was around this time I had realized that I wanted to become a doctor, and she helped research what GCSEs, A-levels and work experience I would need to make a successful application. Although she wasn’t a doctor or a medical student, she taught me how to research information and which websites I should use to find out more about becoming a doctor. She didn’t always have the answers to the questions I had, but she empowered me to find those answers for myself.
This personalised mentor for medicine was perfectly timed as I had just chosen my GCSEs and she really emphasised the importance of those qualifications, and how they can later impact university applications. As no one in my family had attended university, she was an invaluable source of information and support. Thanks to her and other services at my school I was able to do very well in my GCSEs and the goal of becoming a doctor was one step closer.
A Pathway To Medicine
In sixth form, my personal tutor had recommended I apply to the Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare programme. This is a new WP initiative at the time ran by Aston Medical School; it was an 18-month programme in which students take part in various activities designed to show them what university is like for medical students. My personal tutor knew that I wanted to apply to medicine and was aware that this programme allowed the participating students to receive a contextual offer upon applying to Aston Medical School. I had nothing to lose and saw this as increasing my chances of having a successful application.
What I really benefitted from was the application support I received. This was in regard to the UCAT exam, mock MMI’s and academic tutoring. I knew that my family couldn’t afford to pay for the medical school application support courses run by private companies as each of these courses can cost upwards of £100 each. Upon completing this programme, I did end making a successful application to Aston Medical School and I truly believe that the WP programmes that I had participated in whilst in secondary school and sixth form most definitely helped.
Overall, I am very lucky that I had teachers that were supportive of my ambition to study medicine despite certain barriers I was facing. They had encouraged me to apply to WP programmes that were designed to help me overcome such barriers. I am also very fortunate that the school had identified me as a WP student long before I even knew I was of a WP background. This is because I attended a school where a majority of the students were on free school meals and the school had a low progression rate to higher education and so I never thought anything of my personal circumstances and initially never dreamed big.
About my mentor for medicine:
She didn’t always have the answers to the questions I had, but she empowered me to find those answers for myself.
She was an invaluable source of information and support. Thanks to her and other services at my school I was able to do very well in my GCSEs and the goal of becoming a doctor was one step closer.
About widening participation at Aston:
I had nothing to lose and saw this as increasing my chances of having a successful application.
What I really benefitted from was the application support I received.