The BU admissions team score Health and Social Care courses on the following five criteria: Determination, Resilience, Insight, Values and Experience, or DRIVE for short​. Below are some tips and further detail on what we are looking for in each criterion. 

For any health and social care course, it is also really important that you can demonstrate that your qualities include the ‘six Cs’, a set of values that the NHS expect all staff to have.

They are: Care, Compassion, Competence, Commitment, Communication and Courage​.


We want you to clearly explain what has motivated you to apply to the course​.

You could show us:​

  • Why you are enthusiastic about the subject area​
  • What your career plans are​
  • The future employment opportunities you are considering.​


We are looking for your ability to cope with the demands of studying a Health & Social Care course. This means demonstrating:

  • Strong organisational skills ​
  • An ability to work independently ​
  • An ability to cope under pressure​.

It doesn’t matter where you draw your examples from, we just want to hear about them. They could be from your studies, work experience, volunteering or any employment you have undertaken.​


We want you to demonstrate a clear insight into the subject area and/or relevant profession you are applying for, and demonstrate your ability to reflect on any independent research you have undertaken, showing us you have a good understanding of the profession you want to go into.​

Now is your chance to demonstrate:​

  • That you have spoken to professionals in the field to get an insight into the role, or you have proactively attended relevant lectures or talks
  • That you have read around the subject area and have a good understanding of what it involves. It is a great idea to familiarise yourself with academic journals related to the profession you are interested in, and doing this research helps show how dedicated you are to the role​.


We want you to show that you understand the values and skills required by the course and profession

Give us some examples of:​

  • Your ability to problem-solve and work as part of a team​
  • Your strong communication and writing skills​
  • If you are applying for a healthcare course, how you share the NHS values.


We look for applicants that have undertaken relevant work experience through work, study or volunteering. If you don’t have any at the time of applying, you will be required to demonstrate at interview that you have a clear insight into the nature of the profession that you will be training to enter.​

Tell us about any work experience you have gained and how it relates to the course or profession:

  • If you are applying for a Nursing course, this would ideally be related to the field of nursing practice that you are interested in​
  • If you are applying for Operating Department Practice, it is strongly recommended that you can demonstrate that you have insight into working in an operating department​
  • For Paramedic Science, we like to see experience related to an ambulance, first response, care or healthcare environment, but also consider other types of experience such as lifeguarding, the St John Ambulance or Red Cross​
  • Social Work applicants should demonstrate experience in a social work or social care capacity​
  • We understand that getting experience in some settings, like a Midwifery setting, can be difficult. There are a few different ways of gaining an insight into the role of a midwife that we recommend, including: talking to midwives, talking to women who run support groups relating to breastfeeding, child health, or family care, or reading relevant Midwifery journals
  • If you are applying for Occupational Therapy you should be able to demonstrate insight into the role. You could arrange to shadow an occupational therapist and/or gain voluntary experience in health care settings or charities where you can gain some experience working with groups of people you may work with as an occupational therapist. Some NHS Trusts run virtual shadowing opportunities that you can access. You could speak to an occupational therapist over the phone/Zoom, explore the Royal College of Occupational Therapists website or read relevant Occupational Therapy books and journals
  • If you are applying for Physiotherapy you should be able to demonstrate insight into the role and ideally applicants would have some experience shadowing physiotherapists. However, if this is difficult to acheive then any experience in a healthcare environment e.g. nursing home, elderly care home, special needs school, voluntary work as a support worker with individuals with disabilities etc. would be considered. 

If you do not have any relevant experience, you will be required to demonstrate that you have a clear insight into the nature of the profession that you will be training to enter.

Please check the relevant course pages for other helpful information. 

We appreciate that for a couple of years it has been particularly difficult to undertake work experience. If you have limited experience, you might be able to bolster this with:​

  • Shadowing someone in a relevant health career​
  • Caring for a family member or friend​
  • Volunteering experience. This could be in a whole range of different organisations including schools, day centres, hospices, or mental health services. Volunteering for a charity could also help you get experience with a particular group of individuals you are likely to work with in your chosen career, e.g. children’s charities, special educational needs charities, mental health charities, homelessness charities, or specialist addictions charities​​.

It is also worth remembering that you’ve probably had experiences in non-healthcare environments where you have developed relevant transferable skills​.