Medicine is an increasingly competitive area of study in the world right now. As such, to get into top medical schools, whether it’s in Singapore or overseas, you must be the best of the best. One of these renowned programmes includes Duke-NUS. This is an extremely selective MD, not MBBS, programme that many Singaporean medical hopefuls set their sights on. Unlike local medical schools like NUS and NTU, Duke-NUS is only for graduate entry, meaning that you must have at least a graduate degree to be eligible. So, what must you do to stand out among the best of the best to a school like Duke-NUS?
Before even applying to the MD programme, by 1st September for early acceptance or by 31st January for the final deadline, applicants must complete the given admissions requirements for their application to be considered at all. As well as transcripts and recommendation letters from esteemed referees, you’ll need to submit a personal statement. This essay is an opportunity for you to show the school who you are as a student outside your academic interests and passions and to provide insight into your ambitions and values. Not only do you also need to shine through as a worthy candidate, but you need to catch the eyes of application reviewers to be remembered. You’ll also be required to submit a few essays. While these questions only come out with the application each year, some ways to prepare for them might be to reflect on fundamental questions like why you want to be a doctor and what you have done to learn more about this path.
This leads us to another important aspect of your application. In your application, you’ll also be asked to provide past experiences that show a willingness to expose yourself to medicine. Hopefully, your interest in medicine will have compelled you to explore opportunities that give you a glimpse of your future goals. In your application, you’ll want to speak about these experiences and expound on how they have furthered your interest in the programme. You can speak about your hardships due to the pandemic, but exploring opportunities like virtual medical shadowing will demonstrate initiative and problem solving to the institution. Either way, make sure to acquire and mention a variety experiences in order to demonstrate the different way in which you have pursued and learned more about your goals.
Aside from the application form itself, it also mandatory to either submit a MCAT or GAMSAT score. Although Duke-NUS does not have set cut-offs for each exam that you must meet in order to submit an application, as they prefer a holistic approach, it is still essential to score high in order to make you a strong candidate. If you take a look at the Duke-NUS class profile, you’ll see that students have an average MCAT score of 513. The Luckily, if you begin preparing early enough, you should have multiple opportunities to improve your score. In order to decide which exam caters to your strengths more, you’ll have to conduct your own research to decide which exam to take.
If you’ve got your sights set on studying at Duke-NUS, the part of the admissions process that you’ll really be looking forward to is Applicant Day. As stated on the Duke-NUS official website, this day is an opportunity for shortlisted candidates to speak to faculty and students, learning more about the school, as well as a chance to participate in interviews, discussion sessions, and written exercises for evaluation. This year, Applicant Day will take place online due to COVID-19.
In your interviews, you’ll be asked questions which range from personal to ethical dilemma related. Being asked personal questions will be another opportunity for you to shine through as an individual, rather than a student who simply achieved impressive grades and experiences on paper. Linking the values and priorities to what Duke-NUS can offer you as a student is also an important way of demonstrating how this school fits you as how you can serve this school too. As well your competence in medicine, Duke-NUS will be looking to accept students who can conduct themselves in a professional manner. In preparation for ethical dilemma questions, you should be familiar with ongoing medical and healthcare related issues in the world, in the event that you are asked to offer your opinion on a certain issue. It may be useful to also establish with yourself what your stance is on especially controversial issues, making sure to remain consistent with your values. More ways to prepare for your medical interview include exploring more resources or consulting an experienced professional.
Applying for medical school, but also spending years pursuing an interest in medicine and exploring that passion to eventually build a resume for renowned medical programmes requires extreme dedication and perseverance. At this point in your application process, you’ve undoubtedly demonstrated this dedication and must focus all efforts into perfecting your application. Keep persisting and doing your best to show your strengths. Good luck!
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