Does Duke of Edinburgh count towards Medical School?

Does Duke of Edinburgh count towards Medical School?

Duke of Edinburgh
Duke of Edinburgh
Colette Tolley
2nd-year Medical Student at University of Oxford
June 10, 2021

Does Duke of Edinburgh count when applying to Medicine?

Duke of Edinburgh, a lot of you will have done it. Do you need it to get in? No. Can you use it to improve your chances of getting in? Absolutely 100% yes.

As with any extra curricular activity, if you can say what you did, what you learnt, what qualities it showed about you and why; it’s useful. Duke of Edinburgh is particularly useful, as it demonstrates a regular sustained commitment to extra-curricular activities, volunteering and many desirable attributes from the exhibition.

The Duke of Edinburgh award is split into four sections: physical, skill, volunteering and the exhibition. This guide will explain how you can make all these sections relevant to your application

Sports section

Sports are fantastic for building teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills. They help you to relax at the end of a long day and can give you something to switch off with.

As a Doctor, you’ll be under constant stresses and it’s necessary to have something you can use as an outlet to relax – physical activity is great for this. Medical schools actively look for applicants who can demonstrate an ability to switch off and relieve stress.

Remember, when talking about your sport, use specific examples showing how participating in it helped you to develop.

Skills section

The skills section can be used as an opportunity to pick up an extra-curricular activity such as an instrument or an opportunity to broaden your academic horizons by learning a new language, writing weekly essays, leading group teaching sessions or even doing a short course GCSE.

Whatever you’ve chosen to do, it is important to show that you’ve learnt, developed and reflected. Any skill can be made relevant to medicine if you reflect and talk about it in the right way.

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Volunteering section

This section can be central to your application. Medical schools love evidence of volunteering. Medical or non-medical, it’s great to have. Volunteering shows sustained and regular commitment, usually to a caring role. Six months is a perfect amount of time to demonstrate your commitment to medicine.

Medical volunteering in your DofE can effectively kill two birds with one stone. You’ll achieve the volunteering section of your DofE and check off the experience in a caring role part of your application. If using volunteering from your DofE, make sure it was within two years of making your application, preferably within one year to show that your interest and commitment is still present when applying. 

The Expedition

The expedition can provide you with endless examples to discuss at interview. It’s tough; you’ll be working in a team, sometimes in bad weather conditions, taking it in turns to navigate and demonstrating leadership. Team morale may fall and you may take it upon yourself to boost it. There are so many potential scenarios full of great things to reflect on.

Following your expedition, write down the key events that happened during it and what they reflect about you. It’s also helpful to write down what you’d do next time to improve. Once it gets to writing your personal statement or to interview season, make sure to use specific examples tailored to demonstrating the skills and qualities that you’re mentioning.

Final word

As this page demonstrates, the Duke of Edinburgh Award provides so many opportunities to boost your medical application. The key take home message is: when you discuss the award, be specific with your examples and show what skills/attributes each example demonstrates. If you need help doing this, use our ultimate guide on analysing your own skills and attributes.


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