Meeting the academic minimum does not guarantee you a place on a course, you need to make sure that you are strong across all sections of your application form.
Whilst most of the information on the UCAS form is factual (such as your qualifications or your employment history) or you do not have direct control over (your reference), your personal statement gives you the opportunity to tell us about your strengths. We receive a high number of applications for every place that is available, so we are looking to select those who demonstrate they have all of the attributes to succeed.
Our short listing criteria is aligned to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) standards for paramedics, as well as other factors that would ensure that applicants are good students.
Knowledge and understanding of the profession
What is it that particularly draws you to this career? What is it that you think that you will be doing? It is important that we know you have a realistic view of the profession. We would encourage you to examine a number of useful websites, including Health Education England and the College of Paramedics. It may also be worthwhile in talking to someone who already works in this role - they will be able to tell you what it is really like.
It is important that you demonstrate within your application that you have completed this research. Applicants who display a thorough knowledge and understanding of the course and profession clearly indicate their intention and ability to study the subject at a University level.
You may well possess all of the academic qualifications needed to be successful; but, without the motivation and enthusiasm, you may find it a struggle. Explain why a career in health is really where you see yourself.
Relevant work experience
We recommend all applicants gain experience within a related setting. Whilst it is not often possible to work in an ambulance setting, you can develop transferable skills which enhance an application. Even if you are not able to gain experience, try to think of the skills you have gained in any other employment (eg. voluntary work or activities that you do/have done). Of the skills you have, why are they needed to be a health professional?
The list below suggests some of the skills and qualities that the admissions tutors will be looking for in an application. Remember, it is no good just listing the skills you have, you need to tell us how you developed them and why they are needed to be a successful.
- Communication skills
- Ability to empathise with others
- Problem solving and use of initiative
- Ability to study/work independently and in groups
- Willingness to learn
Outside interests and extra curricula activities should be included. It is also important that you consider when putting together your personal statement it is the first (and maybe last) opportunity to show us the quality of your written work!
Some Top Tips
Applying for more than one course
Most admissions tutors are looking for applicants wholly committed to their profession and who demonstrate an understanding within their personal statement. It is difficult to do this when applying for more than one course. If you wish to apply for more than one course we recommend you concentrate on one course during your UCAS application and then contact the admissions team to ask if you can submit a revised personal statement for the other courses.
Visit an open day
An open day is a chance for you to visit the University and listen to specific talks given by academic staff from the subject areas you are interested in. They will tell you what it is like to study with us, and also what we are looking for in an applicant. It is also a good opportunity for you to question them directly about concerns you may have. We also try to have current students from each of the courses available (placements permitting of course!) to talk to you about how they find life at the University of Plymouth studying to be a health professional - they will be able to give you a different viewpoint from that of the academic staff. It should also help you to understand how the balance between the theory and practical time is achieved.
Due to the high number of applications we receive each year in relation to the number of places we have, there are a number of candidates who are naturally disappointed when they are not offered a place. If you are unsuccessful we are not necessarily saying you could not succeed, it is just that on this occasion there were others who demonstrated their skills and qualities more effectively. We would encourage those not successful to keep applying. By looking at the selection criteria outlined above, unsuccessful applicants can develop their profile and be able to improve their application - not only that it will prove that they are determined and committed.
Help with writing your personal statement
There's plenty of general advice available to help you write your personal statement. You may find it helpful to take a look at the UCAS guidance on writing a personal statement alongside the Which? University personal statement tips.