Barriers to access, transition and progression of widening participation students in UK Medical Schools: the students’ perspective

Sartania, N. , Alldridge, L. and Ray, C. (2021) Barriers to access, transition and progression of widening participation students in UK Medical Schools: the students’ perspective. MedEdPublish, 10(1), 132. (doi: 10.15694/mep.2021.000132.1)

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Much attention is being given to the implementation of fair selection criteria for access to Medical Schools in the UK, in order to address an imbalance in social class representation in the medical professions. Largely overlooked however, are the disadvantages faced by potential applicants both before and after selection by the Medical Schools. Here, we explore the nature of the barriers - both real and perceived - to accessing, transitioning and progressing in the medical education system as experienced by 125 current students at three UK Medical Schools. An online survey was conducted and responses to open and closed questions were categorised on the basis of the number of Widening Participation (WP) flags (e.g. index of multiple-deprivation, parental education and school Higher Education participation rate). The results show that differences in economic, social and cultural capital that students acquire through their background impact on their chances of admission to medical schools, highlighting issues such as access to finance and privileged knowledge, with school support and work experience opportunities being less available to WP students. Equally, these students found the transition to Medical School harder, and highlighted a lack of peers from similar backgrounds, a perception of being less well prepared academically and generally finding it difficult to fit in. Money worries and having to work for extra income, exacerbated the feeling of not fitting in, by losing out on key extracurricular activities. The data presented stress the importance of early support of (potential) WP students in secondary schools, and of a strong support network throughout their medical education.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sartania, Dr Nana
Authors: Sartania, N., Alldridge, L., and Ray, C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:MedEdPublish
Publisher:Association for Medical Education in Europe
ISSN (Online):2312-7996
Published Online:17 May 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in MedEdPublish 10(1): 132
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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