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Suggestions for 33 year old family man with no A levels

Discussion in 'Mature Students' started by tiredtraveller, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. tiredtraveller

    tiredtraveller New Member

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    Hi there

    I'm preparing to begin my path to get entry into a med school in the UK or Ireland.

    My education and career path has been unique to say the least.

    My qualifications are
    9 GCSEs with A-C grades including double award science
    Ordinary Degree in Marine Communications systems from Ireland: Award was a Distinction
    Various marine qualifications which enable me to captain fairly large vessels. Part of this qualification also included courses such as sea survival, first aid and fire fighting
    Various small one day courses in customer service, communications etc
    Completed 1 year of a Business Degree in the USA while working there with a GPA of 3.8. Couldn't finish due to not being able to change my visa conditions

    Registered and authorised OISC immigration consultant 2009 - present

    My work experience has been:

    On and off approximately 8 years as captain of several commercial trawlers operating in international waters in-charge of crews of up to 8. Although not medically related I did deal with anything from minor cuts to severe wounds, cracked ribs and broken bones to life threatening situations where crew are air lifted off the vessel.

    3 years customer service work at a bank in the USA

    In my most recent years I trained and qualified as an immigration consultant which is relatively easy if you can prove you are competent. I now run a small immigration firm and deal with the UK Border Agency and Home Office on a regular basis including representing clients from all over the world.

    Although relatively successful in my current field I have decided to work towards becoming a doctor.

    I've only started researching the processes involved in gaining entry to med school such as the UKCAT tests and various entry methods.

    My questions are:

    1. Would my current background even get considered for entry to any medical schools?
    2. If not, would I be better off completing A levels for two years or doing an access course?
    3. Would an access course even accept me?
    4. Any other suggestions would be welcome.

    If more information is required just let me know.

    Thanks
     
  2. Profanius

    Profanius New Member

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    Hi Traveller

    I think you'd be classified as an acceptable candidate in the UK. Your experience as a sea captain and now working in immigration could be spun to demonstrate people skills, leadership, responsibility etc. Although not a science degree your qualification would be acceptable to many GEP universities in the UK.

    This is a good place to start looking. Medschoolsonline - Medical Course Guide for Graduates - Graduate Entry 4-Year Courses

    It's a bit out of date but gives you a good idea of what medschools are available to you. I would also look seriously at taking the GAMSAT exam as this will open up universities that would suit your degree and educational background.

    I wouldn't bother with A-levels or an access course as you look like a good candidate for graduate entry - although this is much more competitve. However, there are five year degrees which accept graduates and don't require A-levels (Plymouth, Kings, Newcastle)

    Three caveats I would point out are:
    1. You'll need to get dedicated medical work/volunteer experience. Your first aid experience is ok from a clinical perspective but you will need to demonstrate a commitment to medicine which includes finding out what a medical career entails - and showing it.
    2. I'm entirely ignorant of how Irish degrees are regarded in the UK. I know the UK and Eire have reciprocal arrangements for just about everything but I'm not sure if an Irish degree would be regarded as an international or a domestic degree. Before embarking on anything contact the universities you're interested in and ask what qualifications they accept. Believe me, this can save you a lot of time and money.
    3. I'm not sure how you stand with funding. As a graduate you would normally not be entitle to tution fee loans for the 5 year degree - but I've no idea how this relates to Irish graduates. I would advise you to contact Student Finance England but they're about as much use as a chocolate teapot and any advice they give will probably be wrong.

    Hope this helps.
     
    #2 Profanius, Mar 13, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  3. scottydoc

    scottydoc New Member

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    I don't think an Ordinary Degree is acceptable for GEP, I thought only Honours degrees were accepted. It would be worth contacting the universities you are interested in, explaining your circumstances, qualifications and experience and see what they say.

    Good luck.
     
  4. tiredtraveller

    tiredtraveller New Member

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    Thanks Profanis and Scottydoc.

    Yes my Irish ordinary Degree is similar to HND I believe. It was a 3 year full time course. Based on that I don't think the GEP route would be suitable. I'm thinking foundation programmes who accept mature students would be my best shot.

    I think I only received £500 in total towards the course I had saved up before and paid most of my way which wasn't much back then. I don't think this would exclude me from financial assistance. I should also be able to work part time (10-15 hrs) at my current job and bring in some income to keep me going.

    My qualification can be seen here at this link as level 7 Framework Levels & Award Types - About the NFQ - National Framework of Qualifications

    I will make an application with Naric anyway to get their feedback since that is their department and it's probably better I provide the equivalency to the Unis in case there is delay in them making the comparison.

    I've just made an application for volunteering at my local hospital and will be doing an interview this week hopefully. That should get me some form of caring or patient experience by application date.

    I reviewed some Unis such as Bristol, Nottingham Liverpool and a few others who show HND is accepted for mature students even if not a science qualification as long as grades are high. Once I revise my current CV this week to make it more medically focused I will email it to these Unis and see what feedback they can provide. I'll let you know what responses I get if any.
     
  5. tiredtraveller

    tiredtraveller New Member

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  6. tiredtraveller

    tiredtraveller New Member

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    Thanks Profanius and Scottydoc for the information.

    You're correct Scottydoc after searching on the internet I found a proper website that provides the Irish and UK equivalencies for each level from GCSE right up. It shows my ordinary degree in line with a HND in the UK. I tried posted the other day with the links but as a new member it rejected my posts due to the links and spam protection so if anyone wants me to PM the links for posting to them I can.

    For funding I called student finance who said I should have no trouble getting funding. They also don't have me in their system for using any funds either in the past. I paid my own way through college back then through working, oblivious to financial aid.

    So far I've sent my CV to some of the admissions department for clarification on Entry requirements for my background.

    Sheffield: Stated they need AAA or equivalent so that rules them out.

    Nottingham: 6 year course doesn't accept previous higher education students

    Lancaster: Still providing more information so no final advice yet

    UAE: Unsure at this time as their Entry requirements are under review but advised to keep an eye on the website

    and I'm still waiting to hear back from some others.

    I'm wondering should I try for an access course if I don't get enough positive feedback at least that way it gets me a years experience in that direction and chance to move into a course at the connecting universities.

    I've started my application with the local health trust to volunteer so I should have some experience in that area soon.
     
  7. scottydoc

    scottydoc New Member

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    Manchester gave a 6 year course and I know that they take students who have been in Higher Education before. I did my masters there and loved it!
     
  8. rachel6286

    rachel6286 New Member

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    Dundee university also have a 6 year course and take mature students from various backgrounds.
     
  9. Obs or peads

    Obs or peads New Member

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    Find your favourite med schools and then call them up to find out just what you would have to do to get in. That is what I did, they told me just what I would need to do to get an offer, I did it and I just got my offer! It sounds to basic, but really, do it. Nothing compares to having someone spell it out to you, after hearing your background.
     
  10. new2newmedia

    new2newmedia New Member

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    Hi,

    I'd double check this first with the places you are interested in. If your degree is level 5 (I think, the level below normal degree/honours degree) then you should be OK. If it is considered the same as a UK bachelors degree (level 6 I believe: Qualifications: what the different levels mean : Directgov - Education and learning) then you won't get funding (tuition fee) regardless of whether you've had any before. It's a rule about "equivalent qualifications" rather than previous access to funding.

    Student finance are woefully incompetent unfortunately.

    Hope your application is going well.
     
  11. tiredtraveller

    tiredtraveller New Member

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    Hi Obs or Peads, thanks for the tip. Most are responding via email but some are busy due to admissions currently and the phone may be one way to get more information.

    Hi New2newmedia, thanks for taking the time to respond and provide links. My qualification comes in at level 5 according to some of the available Irish to UK qualification charts shown in Google (can't post links yet but easy to find). I know in Northern Ireland it is accepted as the equivalent to HND.

    I'm trying for access courses starting in 2012 which should also give me a good path to medicine or at least provides one year study before going/trying to enter med school.
     

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