Many of you probably know that I study at Manchester Medical School. As part of the entrance criteria for Manchester, you have to fill in an additional “non-academic information form” (NAI). This is what will be looked at instead of your personal statement.
When I was writing my NAI form I was completely in the dark with no external guidance to help seeing as there isn’t any internet help out there. So, combining that with the fact that this has been requested a few times I thought I’d attempt to shed some light on to this form!
What is the form?
You probably already know, the form was created in replacement of the personal statement and contains different sections: caring role, hobbies & interests, team working and motivation for Medicine. Each section has its own word limit, but you actually have more space to speak about each thing as it’s broken down into sections. I could go into detail about what to include in each section, but the best explanation you’re going to get for that is the guidance on the uni website, so make sure you have a read.
My top tips!
1. Do not copy and paste from your personal statement
You will have covered the areas mentioned in the NAI in your personal statement, but that doesn’t mean you should simply insert those sections into the form and submit it. Remember, there’s a reason why Manchester do not want to look at the personal statement, namely because they feel it doesn’t provide enough detail into the things that really matter. You should, therefore, take time to choose strong experiences to illustrate your caring nature and team working ability and describe them in detail.
The idea isn’t to list the number of teamworking experiences you had, instead, you must really go into detail, describing and completing a full reflection on your experience. Quality > quantity.
2. Personal reflection is key!
Yes, reflection is important in your PS, but even more so here. You’ve got more characters to write about a single (or 2) experience so you have the ability to fully reflect on them. Make sure you mention what your role was. They’re not looking for overly flamboyant statements of innovating surgeries you observed or medical teams you saw functioning – the important thing is that they want to see what you did. They’re not expecting you to have done anything hugely fancy, don’t forget about all the simple things like simply talking to patients and listening to them which can be considered as “caring”. What did you learn about yourself from these experiences and how can you link it to Medicine?
3. Don’t try and squeeze other irrelevant things in
You might think it’s amazing that you won a national science award, or that you completed course XYZ, and it may have created an impressive paragraph in your personal statement, but that doesn’t mean you should put it in the NAI. Resist the urge to fill up any spare characters you have with irrelevant things like this. The admissions team don’t care about any other things that you’ve done, hence why they haven’t asked about it so don’t try to put it in. Odd sentences like this will not look good, if you have characters to spare, just leave them, you don’t have to fill up every last one!
4. Think about the purpose of each section
The little description of each section under the questions is quite self-explanatory and should really put you on the right track in terms of what to write about. Read it carefully and make sure you answer each part of it. Through your caring experience they want to know that you understand that Medicine is ultimately a caring profession – make sure you mention what learnt through the role and what it taught you about yourself, show you enjoy working with people! Your hobbies and interests: here it’s all about seeing whether you have the right temperament to deal with a pressured medical career, do you have something that allows to you cope with stress well? The Motivation for Medicine section is about how your initial interest and commitment developed – talk through it chronologically. This part is asking Why Medicine? as well Why Manchester?so make sure you address both elements. 50:50 is a good way to go about it.
Ultimately, be genuine and down-to-Earth, talk about the simple things, nothing needs to be extravagant, and like I said earlier self-reflection is so SO key!