We look at ways to tailor your application, personal statement and interview in order to give yourself the best possible chance of getting a place on a midwifery course. About Matt Farrah - follow me on Google+

Midwifery courses are one of the hardest university courses to get a place on, and that’s mostly because they are hugely popular and receive a large volume of applicants for a limited number of places on each intake. For example, the 3 year Bmidwif course at the University of Manchester has only 61 places on the 2012 course entry. Your application and personal statement have to fulfill many requirements for the admission tutor, who will often be a qualified midwife and lecturer, including your passion for the course and your understanding of the career path you’ve chosen.

Being a midwife is about being committed to the care of the woman throughout the pregnancy and assisting with the birth of the baby. A midwife will offer support and guidance to the woman and her partner from the confirmation of the pregnancy through to the post-natal period, which is not less than 10 days after the birth. You will need skills such as patience, the ability to listen and a tactful approach to communication. It’s essential that you demonstrate your understanding of the role of the midwife in your course application as well as your determination to become a midwife after you graduate.

Crafting your application

All applications for university level courses are handled via UCAS, so everyone submits the same information through the same online form. Your application must be absolutely 100% accurate and inclusive of everything it asks of you. Don’t leave anything out because you think it might not be relevant, wherever possible include all the qualifications and experience you have, even if they are not directly related to healthcare or midwifery. Where you do have unrelated employment experience, such as a part time job in a local supermarket, try to relate the skills you learned to your future career in midwifery and how you can apply those skills as a midwife. For example, it may be that you learned excellent customer skills and were able to calmly and quickly resolve customer queries. Responding with the correct course of action under pressure is a key skill for a midwife, and the fact that you’ve learnt that skill in a different environment is definitely relevant to your application.

Take time over your personal statement

Your personal statement is perhaps the most important part of your application because it can make or break your chances of being shortlisted for interview. It should showcase your experience, your qualities and above all your passion and understanding for the role of midwife. Your place at interview is subject to intense competition from several other rivals each as desperate as you to be selected so it has to be absolutely brilliant. It should read coherently, speak through your voice about why you want to become a midwife and why you are committed to the course and the eventual career.

Writing an excellent personal statement can be time consuming and daunting, especially if you sit down with the intention of writing it from start to finish in one go. I would recommend you draft out the points you want to cover before you begin writing and put them into an order that coherently conveys all the information necessary. It’s crucial that the admissions tutor who reads your personal statement gets a clear indication of your determination to undertake the course, your understanding of the hard work that will be involved, the nature of the role of the midwife and your commitment to the job when you graduate. It’s their role to sift out applicants who don’t display one or more of these qualities, because they want to ensure the maximum number of people who are offered a place on the course will complete it.

Once you’re got a draft of your midwifery personal statement written, make sure you proof read it several times to ensure you’ve written it as well as you possibly can, making the best use of your experience, qualifications and absolute desire to become a midwife.

Survive the shortlist sift

The chances of being offered an interview depend entirely on the quality of your application, the number of UCAS points you have achieved, previous healthcare experience and a clear insight into the profession. Even if you have a wealth of previous experience in healthcare and have experience of working with midwives, you can’t be shortlisted if you don’t have the required number of UCAS points.

Your application has to be absolutely stunningly prepared and presented in order for you to be shortlisted. That includes a unique and well written personal statement with no spelling or grammatical errors, and all the information requested on the application form completed in full to same high standard.

If you can complete it to that standard, then you should be in with the best chance possible of getting an interview.

Be successful at interview

University interviews often consist of two parts – a group exercise or discussion and an individual interview, but you may also have to complete a short maths tests. You should be prepared to answer questions about the following topics, among others:

- What do you know about the requirements of the midwifery course?

- What’s your understanding of the role of midwife?

- Why do you want to become a midwife?

- Why do you want to study here?

- How do you manage stress and pressure?

- How would you react if a woman in your care had a stillbirth?

- What are the important elements of good teamwork?

- What does a community midwife do?

- Give us your opinion about something you’ve seen in the media recently about midwives or healthcare

You should always be smartly dressed when attending an interview, a suit or smart trousers and a shirt are essential. The interviewers want to see that you know how to present yourself in a formal situation, especially because you will be required to wear a university uniform while undertaking placements.

Remember to be yourself in the interview. The panel are not trying to catch you out with anything complicated, they simply want to hear about who you are as a person, the things you done in preparation for undertaking this course and why you're committed to becoming a midwife.

Follow this link to view all current midwife jobs advertised to get an idea of the employment you could get when you become a fully qualified midwife.