Trying the navigate the wealth of information about studying abroad can be a very daunting task, particularly when you are trying to decide on a pathway programme to help you to study Medicine.
The information online can be an absolute minefield of flashy images of smiling students in lab coats, pages and pages of course information and promises of a career. These are all great, if they can be supported by a quality academic programme with proven success – so you need to make sure you do a little homework before you get your parents to hand over the fees.
To help you assess your options, I’ve put together a few recommended questions to ask when you are talking to potential Medicine Pathway programme options.
1. What Medical Universities are you partnered with?
It may sound obvious, but you should really do your research about the options that will be available to you on completion of your Foundation or Pathway programme. When talking to the College or your Education Agent, you should find out what Medical Universities they are partnered with and, even more importantly, based on your High School results, what are your realistic progression options for studying Medicine. This last point is very important, because even though you have dreams of studying at a top-ranked university, each University partner has its own admission requirements and some will look back to your High School results as part of its admissions process.
But, that doesn’t mean your dreams of study Medicine have to end now. There are many other high quality Medicine programmes throughout Europe that would still be an option for you, you just need to open you mind to alternative pathways.
2. Where have your Past Students achieved Placements?
There is no better way to evaluate a College’s performance in their Medical pathway programme that looking at their past placements. Any school should be able to give you statistics on where their student have progressed to study Medicine over the years. This will give you a sense of how successful the programme is at preparing your for admission to a Medicine degree.
Here at DIFC, we publish a revised placement summary for our Medicine students each year, which shows the Universities & degrees our students on the Medicine pathway programme have progressed to.
3. What are the Fees?
Studying abroad can be expensive. There can be wide ranging tuition fees charged and it is often hard to compare between programmes. Foundation programmes can cost upwards of €25,000 and then when you progress to Medicine, fees for International Students can reach as high as €51,000! Therefore, when doing your research, it is important to understand the applicable fees for your Foundation programme, as well as the partner Medicine programmes that it is linked to.
Furthermore, the location of your Foundation studies can have a significant bearing on the cost. For example, you can save up to 35% on the cost of your Medicine Foundation pathway programme by choosing DIFC Ireland, compared to studying your Foundation in the UK – when you factor in tuition fees and the cost of living.
The fees of Medical partners are also important to consider – as this will be a big influence on your decision to progress through a particular Foundation programme. DIFC have a wide mix of partners who offer fees ranging from €10,000 – €50,000 per year. Therefore, it is important to know your budget and the fees when considering your options for progressing to Medicine.
4. What support is offered to students?
It is an area that is often overlooked by students when considering Foundation programmes for Medicine. But, the tutorial and placement support offered by a College can make a tremendous difference to your success in gaining a placement in Medicine.
No Foundation programme can guarantee you a placement in Medicine for a variety of reasons. Firstly, many International Medicine programmes are highly competitive for places and therefore, even though you have achieved very good grades, you may just miss out on a place due to the volume of applications. Secondly, a large part of the criteria is down to how you perform as a student.
It is in the second area where a College that delivers a high quality programme can truly make a difference. It is important to ask what the teaching staff and academic team will do to assist you in your studies and to help you achieve the required grades. For instance, here at DIFC, we offer students weekly group and individual tutorial support and counselling. This involves
- providing additional support if students are struggling in a particular subject
- career planning
- assistance with choosing the right course and university for Medicine
- drafting personal statements for University applications
- review of your skills for Medicine
- assistance with obtaining voluntary work experience, where needed
- specialised preparation for University interviews and entrance exams
So, regardless of how exceptional you are as a student, it is important that the Foundation programme you choose offers you full support to help you achieve a place in the Medicine degree you. By asking what kind of support is offered, you will gain an insight into the College’s commitment to help you pursue your International studies.
Here at DIFC, we have 9 partner Medicine programmes – all with varying admission requirements – so there is a very good chance that students will successfully achieve a place onto Medicine. However, if for some reason you don’t achieve a placement in Medicine, we can assist you in looking at back-up choices in the area of Allied Health. To find out more, contact us
5. Can I speak to a past student?
It’s always nice to hear from someone who has been through the programme and come out the other end with a placement in a Medicine degree. Past students are a great resource of information about a Foundation programme. Don’t be afraid to ask to be referred to a past student to ask some questions – any good College should be happy to oblige.
Recently, we asked some of our Medicine Foundation programme students what they thought about DIFC’s Foundation Year programme. Here is what they said.