Ellis – Medicine

Journey to Oxford

Hi! My name is Ellis and I come from a town not too far from Newcastle where I went to a standard state high school and then sixth form. Being the first person in my family to get into any university, I understand how hard it can be applying without much knowledge (especially applying to Oxford!).

Why did you choose to study your course?

I chose to study Medicine at Oxford because I loved the strong science foundation that underpin the clinical aspects of the degree. I also love the fact we get to specialise in third year in topics of our choice for a BA in medical sciences.

What is your favourite thing about it?

My favourite thing so far has been the variety of topics that we cover, all sorts from pharmacology and local anaesthetics to the differences between cardiac and skeletal muscle. This variety means that you never really get bored of what you are doing- although it also means you have quite a lot to learn!

How is your course taught?

Medicine is taught mainly through lectures and practicals but we also have the added bonus of tutorials (at Teddy Hall we have the University’s Director of Pre-Clinical Medicine as our own physiology tutor). We also get seminars, like classes, where we talk about the clinical presentation of diseases. There is a lot of content but we get the vacation to consolidate and go over everything that we have learned in the last term.

Describe your average Oxford day…

Usually Medics start at 9am for lectures and on the average day we might have two or three lectures and maybe a practical (in my first term these have been on histology and physiology).

This means we finish in the early afternoon and are able to do our essays or prep for our tutorials that week.

At Teddy there are lots of social and extra-curricular activities to get involved in, whether it be sports or something more creative. As long as you manage your time well there is no reason you couldn’t join lots of sports or societies.

Why did you decide to apply to St Edmund Hall? What is your favourite thing about it now you’re here?

The people at Teddy Hall are the best! It is a very sociable college and I love the fact that I can walk down from my accommodation across the quad and see the friendly faces of people here! (The Front Quad and Library are also gorgeous!)

What helped you prepare for the admissions process?

For Medicine the admissions process at University is quite tough already but there’s the extra scientific focus at Oxford, which means that exploring your ‘supercurricular’ interests within Medicine is important. It is also important to see if Medicine is actually right for you!

For me, Oxford preparation was reading lots of different science / medicine books, speaking to different people about my interests to help vocalise my thought process, and trying to engage with as much material as possible which related back to medicine like podcasts, lectures, YouTube videos, Ted Talks etc. Being a part of an Oxford for North East programme and UNIQ- the Summer school run by Oxford- also helped me prepare and find out more about the whole application process.

What was the biggest misconception you had about studying at Oxford before you came?

One of the biggest misconceptions I had of Oxford was that I wouldn’t fit in due to accent, background etc. but actually you realise that everybody is different here! Whilst there is still much to be done through representation, it’s only through people who are like me applying that anything will change!

I was also worried about the workload, but I find at Teddy Hall especially people are able to have fun and go out for social events whilst still working very hard for their degrees 🙂

What would you tell your 17-year-old self about applying to and studying at Oxford/St Edmund Hall now?

I would tell my 17-year-old self now to not stress too much about the application process and just take each step as it comes and do your best! Applying to Oxford is an achievement in itself because it means you’ve done a lot of work already, so just stick with it and it’ll all be worth it in the end!

Where next?


Undergraduate course page

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