BWD's daughter is a prospective medical student.
It seems to me that the whole application process is a lottery. Most medical schools have broadly similar criteria for selection but with so many applications the chances of getting in are low. For example one student website rates your chance as 9%. It's worse than ever this year because many students didn't get in last year and are reapplying with grades. This is compounded by the ratcheting up of fees next year leaving far fewer students thinking of taking a gap year.
The demand has pushed entry criteria higher and higher - but do the most academic who are also good at UKCAT/BMAT etc make the best doctors? I really don't think so. Medicine is a vocation but getting into medical school and progressing through the course have been reduced a tick-box exercise.
I believe we need a radical rethink of the selection process and for that matter the training process. Many of the medical students I teach are not interested in anything that won't be 'in the exam' or doesn't tick a skill box in their evidence booklets.
I was shocked recently to hear that not one of my fourth years had seen a dead body or knew how to certify death. one student spent her entire psychiatry attachment with a prison based psychiatrist. She saw mostly drug addicts and alcoholics. Consequently she has no experience of general psychiatry, dementia etc. She told me that for the most part she was just 'afraid.'
I don't advocate going back to the so-called 'good old days' but it seems even the good things were thrown out in the name of progress.