It is no secret that medicine is one of the most competitive courses to study at university no matter where you are in the world. According to one survey conducted by U.S. News, it was found that the acceptance rate for medical schools in the USA was only 6.8% in 2018. These shocking figures illustrate the difficulty many students are facing to achieve their dream to study medicine and build a career as a doctor.
All hope is not lost though, as luckily there are alternatives routes to enter the medical field. Two of these routes are quite different to each other and hold their own benefits and cons. One of them being to study a different undergraduate degree and then moving onto pursuing graduate entry medicine. Whilst the other choice is to study medicine in Europe in English straight after high school.
Many universities offer an accelerated 4-year degree after completing a BSc in a different subject such as biomedical science. In contrast, there are also many universities in Eastern Europe that offer medical schools with low grade requirements. Bulgarian medical schools are at the top of this list as it is an extremely popular choice.
The first major difference between the two options is the time it would take to graduate and complete your medical degree. A graduate level degree will force the applicant to consider the time it would take to complete the BSc in addition to the 4 years it would take to complete medicine. If a student were to study medicine in Europe, the degree would last 6 years before being a fully qualified doctor. Some universities in Europe also offer accelerated courses depending on your circumstances (but our focus is on the graduate entry course in your home country).
Another difference is in the costs as studying abroad in Europe would be far more affordable than studying two degrees in a country with significantly higher tuition fees and living costs. For students on a budget, studying in Europe is the most budget friendly option!
Graduate entry courses are not always as easy as they seem. Many students who do not get a place first round are applying alongside you. Only this time there are even less spaces meaning there is higher competition than the previous attempt. Studying in Europe as an international student gives you the advantage of lower competition for spaces. This means that the grade requirements will be lower overall. Hence there is a much greater chance of finding a place and starting your medical training.
Graduate entry medicine does however take lead when it comes to the ease and convenience compared to studying medicine abroad. Relocating to a new country where you do not speak the language can be difficult at first. Students will be required to learn a new language and a whole new culture. This can be an exciting opportunity for a new life experience. However, some students may still prefer to study in their home country where they are already well-adjusted.
Overall, both options are viable for students who do not get into medical school the first time round. The good news is that there is still hope and that you should not feel demotivated and give up if you are in that situation!