(Original post by TuesdaysChild)
I hope I'm posting this in the right place, and I apologise if I'm not!
At the moment I'm on my gap year, having applied for medicine twice and failed to gain a place both times. The first year I applied with pretty much no work experience (This was partly due to a chaotic year family-wise and partly due to the fact that I had little guidance about my appliaction soon enough.) and didn't even get an interview (no suprise there in hindsight!). The second year I packed my bags and volunteered on a medical/HIV programme in Kenya for 8 weeks, and gained other useful work experience as well. Subsequently I was invited to 2 interviews, both of which I then flopped.
While I was in Kenya, I was able to observe several paramedics/community workers/nurses in action. They were awesome - I'd never really seen that side of medicine portrayed to me, so the whole experience was certainly an eye opener!
Anyway, currently I have an offer (which I've accepted) to study biochemistry at the University of Surrey. I chose biochem, because I know it leads well into forensics, which was my original plan B.
But now I'm thinking more and more about becoming a paramedic. I don't really want to apply for medicine for a third year in a row. I just don't. I think I need to let this sleeping dog lie. A paramedic course would only last for 3 years, and honestly, the shorter period of study time is appealing to me. And the thought of being stuck in a lab all my life is also getting to me.
What I'm wondering is this:
1) How does funding work (especially since paramedic studies are funded by the NHS) if you switch from one degree to another. Say I went from biochem after the first year and jumped into a paramedic course (which Surrey also has)...does anyone know what would happen with funding? What about if I were to do this after my biochem degree? Would I still get any NHS funding?
2) How competitive is it to get into a paramedic degree? I mean, in comparison to getting into med school. I have the grades for med school, and a truck load of work experience, but I do know I'd have to get better at my interview skills.
3) What, really, is the best route to go down? University degree or on the job training?
4) About that work experience...do you think I could use the same examples I had for my med school application? (I also attended St John training sessions for about a year). If not, what work experience do you need to become a paramedic?
Sorry for the long winded-ness! I'd really appreciate any nuggets of wisdom people could throw my way!