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Orthoptics Applicants 2012

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Interview Discussion 30-01-2014
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    Hi There!
    For the past 3 years, there has been a thread on here for all the potential orthoptics students applying for uni, the first year, being my own. Seeing as orthoptics is such a small profession, I felt (at the time) that it was difficult to find other people doing the course, and to talk about when we were receiving offers, what to expect when we got there and that sort of thing.
    So I've started this years one, so hopefully it will come up in google (I'm very sure it will) and that you can ask questions when you apply, or are thinking of applying.

    I'm going to link to the previous years threads, so you can read through them.
    2009: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=716713
    2010: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1110323
    2011: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1456172

    I'm a Liverpool student going into my third year. If you have any Sheffield-specific questions, post them up anyway, I know there is at least one past Sheffield orthoptist on here.

    I also want to say that if I sound patronising by telling you something you already know or putting it in laymens terms, I don't intend to be, but try to understand that people may be looking on here without knowing very much about the profession and I'm trying to to give them enough basic information for them to try and form an opinion, and then go and have a little look around on the internet themselves.

    Before some of you ask, I'm just going to put a few commonly asked questions

    Q. What is Orthoptics?
    A. Orthoptics is (to put it very broadly) the diagnosis and management of ocular motility disorders, and other visual problems. This may sound a bit scary, but we see people with squints (a turn in the eye), amblyopia (a lazy eye), diplopia (double vision), people who have poor ability to use the eyes together as a pair. Sometimes this could be children, who have a turn in the eye, or it could be an adult who has had some trauma, and as a result may have double vision.
    We see lots of children, but we see plenty of adults too. Some hospitals only see adults, and some only children.

    Q. I've stumbled across Orthoptics when looking at applying for Optometry, are they the same/similar thing?
    A. No, Orthoptics and Optom aren't the same thing. Orthoptics is specialising in ocular motility and binocular function (who your eyes move and work together as a pair), whereas Optom is specialising in refraction, optics, and prescription of glasses, and checking fundus and media for abnormalities and referring on and that sort of thing (I'm not an optom, I'm just trying to give a brief description). They are very different professions, and it's important that you understand the difference, because if you do end up doing Orthoptics if you chose Optom as your first choice but didn't get it, then for your own sanity and piece of mind it's important to know what you're getting yourself into. I'm just trying to say do your research into each profession first

    Q. Is there a difference between Sheffield and Liverpool? The entry requirements are higher for Sheffield so that must mean it's better? Does that mean it'll effect me getting a job???
    A. No. Think about it now, there are only two universities doing the degree, do you really think in such a small profession such as orthoptics, it really matters which university you have gone to? Entry requirements depend on how many applicants they get, and if they get more, they can increase the requirements. Both unis are moderated by the NHS and are made to study exactly the same things at both universities.
    Orthoptics is commonly in clearing, and I think (not definately sure) that both Liverpool and Sheffield where in it this year.
    When I've spoke to lecturers at uni, they've said that one of the reasons Liverpool has lower entry grades, is that because they accepted people with a lot lower grades, through clearing, and found that the students could cope with the workload just as much.
    Also, some people say students are biased from where they're from. It honestly doesn't matter to me where you go, especially seeing as I'll have left by then. I'll try and give everyone all the answers they can, because at the end of the day, there are a lot of decisions made when applying to uni, and you need to make them all yourself.

    Q. I’ve not done A levels, I’ve studied _____________ Can I still do Orthoptics?
    A. I honestly do not know, go on the UCAS website and look at the entry requirements, and if you’re still unsure, email the admissions tutors asking.
    As an alternative to A levels, you can do a foundation year (again, I don’t know if this is the same for Sheffield) to health sciences, which is a year at a college and providing you have completed the year and passed it, you will then be accepted onto Orthoptics.
    Here is a link to the foundation degree at Liverpool:
    http://www.liv.ac.uk/study/undergrad...urse-overview/

    Q. On the universities websites, it says I should go and have a day observing in an Orthoptic department, is this really necessary?
    A. Yes. Many people may have never been seen by an Orthoptist, and even if they have, weren't old enough to remember it. It's important to go and see the job first hand, to know if this is what you really want to do. The unis ask for it, because yes, they want to know you're committed and you've done your research. But you should actually want to go and do it yourself, to see what you're going to be doing. If you're wondering how to go about this, sending an email to your local department explaining you're applying and you would like to observe for a day, should be fine. I would advise trying to go somewhere that sees a mixture of children and adults, as this will give you the best well rounded view of the job.

    Q. I read that you go on placement at university? Is this true? How often do you go on placement? Where do you go?
    A. Yes, you do go on placement throughout your three years at uni. They are essential to your learning, because unlike Optometry, you do not have a pre reg year, you finish university and go straight into a job. So placement is important to know that you are clinically capable and competent. It is also crucial, because you spend so much time in university learning about all of the conditions, but chances are, you won’t see someone with these conditions, until you're on placement, and I feel (personally) that it really helps to set in stone your theory and link it in with your clinical.
    When you go on placement is different at each university (and I don't know the ins and outs of Sheffields), but I do know that altogether, both universities have the same amount of placement overall.
    In first year at Liverpool, you go for 1 week observational placement in January.
    2 weeks around easter time.
    And 2, 1 month placements, in summer.
    Second year is 2 weeks at easter
    and 2, 1 month placements at summer.
    Third year, is 2, 1 month placements between September and Christmas (back to back, we only have one month in uni) between September and Christmas
    and then 1 month around easter.
    Please bear in mind, that this is for Liverpool not Sheffield. And I don't know the placement times for Sheffield, this is so you have a rough idea.
    Regarding where placement is, it can literally be anywhere in the country. As I’ve said, Orthoptics is a very small profession, so understandably departments can only tend to take students, if there is no one on mat leave, or no one on sick, that sort of thing. So far I’ve been to Birmingham, Huntingdon (Near Cambridge), Salisbury (Near Bath), and closer to home, Wigan and Warrington. If you desperately want to go on placement near home, the university (again, Liverpool here, unsure about Sheff) will try and get you a placement near home if they can.
    Travel and accommodation costs are reimbursed by the NHS.

    Q. Will I need to buy books?
    A. It is advised that you should, yes. There are books in the library, but not enough to go around a whole year, and if everyone didn't buy them, then there wouldn't be enough for everyone.
    Suggested books are:
    Diagnosis and Management of Ocular Motility Disorders, by Ansons and Davis
    Clinical Anatomy of the Eye, by Snell and Lemp
    Clinical Orthoptics, by Rowe
    Dictionary of Opthalmology (I can't remember who by)

    Yes, they are expensive, but when you start university, (I know at Liverpool) the Blackwells does a deal on the books for you. I don't know if Sheffield recommend any different/addtional books.
    Also, if you want to have a read, and try and get a feel for what orthoptics is about, and see what these books are like, I know the first three are available on google book preview, and I think some are available on amazon preview too.

    Some useful websites:
    BIOS - The British and Irish Orthoptic Society
    These are who we need to register with to study, go on placement, and when we practice. They are our governing body if you will, who decide on clinical standards and that sort of thing.
    http://www.orthoptics.org.uk/degrees
    There explains the degree courses, which I suspect you should have already looked at. If you look on the left hand side, it also has links to information on grants and bursaries.

    Liverpool University Orthoptics
    http://www.liv.ac.uk/orthoptics/
    Sheffield University Orthoptics
    http://www.shef.ac.uk/medicine/prospective_ug/bmedsci
    Both universities have some information on there about Orthoptics, and the course itself. And I’m pretty sure that both the admissions tutors emails are on there too, should you need to ask any questions specific to you.

    NHS Student Grants
    Should you decide you do want to do Orthoptics, then you will be able to apply for a student bursary. This is a means tested bursary, meaning it depends on your household income. There is a bursary calculator on there, so you can calculate approximately how much you could get. And all the forms are on there too, and just some general information, it's well worth a read.
    http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/Students.aspx

    NHS Orthoptist Careers
    http://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/details...lt.aspx?Id=283
    This explains the role of an Orthoptist in the NHS, and what we do, where we work, how much we get paid and a bit about applying too

    Phew! That was alot of typing! Anyway, hopefully this will help you all, and give you a good basis to start having a look and deciding if you really do want to do Orthoptics. Feel free to post any questions, or PM me if you would rather.
    If you do post on here, please use the quote button if you are replying to someone. (unless you're replying to this post, in which case, just press reply because it is a huge post ). And I know I've talked alot about Liverpool here, but I don't want to say the same for Sheffield if it's different and give you the wrong information.
    Thanks for reading, and good luck with your applications!
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    Thanks for putting this thread up, The info looks useful.

    I'm applying to both Liverpool and Sheffield although I am putting three optometry places in as well.

    I'd like to ask how you find the staff at Liverpool - they seems to have quite a bad reputation among some people? Is this true? Liverpool is the one I'd rather go to, so I'm quite anxious to know.
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    (Original post by TheWorldEndsWithMe)
    Thanks for putting this thread up, The info looks useful.

    I'm applying to both Liverpool and Sheffield although I am putting three optometry places in as well.

    I'd like to ask how you find the staff at Liverpool - they seems to have quite a bad reputation among some people? Is this true? Liverpool is the one I'd rather go to, so I'm quite anxious to know.
    Oh good, feel free to ask any more information as and when you feel the urge!
    And sounds good, that's the pretty standard application that most people I speak to seem to have done.
    And I find them all really nice, it really shocks me you've heard that to be honest. I know there was a girl on here last year who had been in my year, who failed her exams and came on here a bit bitter? I don't know if the posts are still on here but that might be where you've read it?
    They're all really helpful anyway, willing to give you a hand if you feel you're struggling with anything, and are always there if you need to talk to someone (their offices are all in one place and if they're available the doors will be open). I've had friends who have had issues with family being ill and things and assure me that those who she's spoke to have all been really supportive which I think is great if you're living away from home. (I live at home you see, but wouldn't hesitate to go to them if I did have an issue). All in all I think they're lovely, fun to have a bit of a laugh with aswell. (I did all of the open days last year so had plenty of time to have a natter with them)
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    (Original post by foundintransmission)
    Oh good, feel free to ask any more information as and when you feel the urge!
    And sounds good, that's the pretty standard application that most people I speak to seem to have done.
    And I find them all really nice, it really shocks me you've heard that to be honest. I know there was a girl on here last year who had been in my year, who failed her exams and came on here a bit bitter? I don't know if the posts are still on here but that might be where you've read it?
    They're all really helpful anyway, willing to give you a hand if you feel you're struggling with anything, and are always there if you need to talk to someone (their offices are all in one place and if they're available the doors will be open). I've had friends who have had issues with family being ill and things and assure me that those who she's spoke to have all been really supportive which I think is great if you're living away from home. (I live at home you see, but wouldn't hesitate to go to them if I did have an issue). All in all I think they're lovely, fun to have a bit of a laugh with aswell. (I did all of the open days last year so had plenty of time to have a natter with them)
    Oh wow, thank you for answering.

    It might have been that girl you mentioned, I'm not sure. I suppose I'll find out soon enough anyway.
    Thanks for the information, (I think it's biased me towards Liverpool now if I'm honest).
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    (Original post by TheWorldEndsWithMe)
    Oh wow, thank you for answering.

    It might have been that girl you mentioned, I'm not sure. I suppose I'll find out soon enough anyway.
    Thanks for the information, (I think it's biased me towards Liverpool now if I'm honest).
    Yeah, it really annoyed me and the others on here to be honest, we're here trying to give people a well rounded opinion of everything, and here someone comes slating everything and saying everything that just isn't true really. Anyway, one of the lecturers read it and spoke to everyone, and asked, does anyone actually feel like that, because if that's the case, they want to know, but no one did. And one of my friends in first year, she dropped out because she felt it just wasn't for her, but they really tried to keep her on, were offering her extra placements and everything but she just said it wasn't for her. And even though she dropped out she said that they all couldn't be nice enough and they tried to help her out.
    Ahh, I don't want to actively bias you :p: Have you visited Liverpool before? Are you local or? I'd definitely still say go and see both (even though I didn't :p:) Have you sent off your application then?
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    I've visited Liverpool before, yeah. With my mum, lol. I've been for three 'long weekends' if that makes any sense. (We originally went just because I love the Beatles, lol), and I love the place now. And the people, they're great.

    I'm working on my PS tonight, am probably sending the forms off at the end of the month. I hear the orthoptics places get back to you really quickly - any truth in that rumour?
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    (Original post by TheWorldEndsWithMe)
    I've visited Liverpool before, yeah. With my mum, lol. I've been for three 'long weekends' if that makes any sense. (We originally went just because I love the Beatles, lol), and I love the place now. And the people, they're great.

    I'm working on my PS tonight, am probably sending the forms off at the end of the month. I hear the orthoptics places get back to you really quickly - any truth in that rumour?
    Ooh good, so you know the city a bit then It is nice, I do like it here, (even though strictly speaking I don't actually live in Liverpool but still :p:) There's plenty to do and from a student point of view, it's great, it's a cheap night out and one of the biggest Primarks in the country :p: What more could you want? :p:
    Yeah I sent mine off about that time I think *consults the thread that I made years ago* Yeah I got an offer off Liverpool within 6 days of sending off my application. Bear in mind though, it wont necessarily be that fast so don't worry if you don't hear back straight away! And I only heard from Sheffield a few weeks after that, but it's highly unlikely you'll be waiting for months on end like you might find some of your friends are at college.
    If I remember rightly I'd already done my personal statement by this point but college weren't ready to send off my application, how annoying!
    Are you actually hoping to do Optom then or have you just put them in to fill up the gaps?
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    Haha. My PS.. I've done a first draft sort of thing, but my careers tutor scribbled over a lot of it and told me to change quite a few thins. Oops, haha.

    As for optom... I'm not really sure, tbh. I'm getting some work experience with an orthoptist around Halloween though. Although by that stage my forms will have been sent off... I suppose it'll help me decide if I'm outing down optom as a first you've and orthop as a second or whether I'll put down two orthops, in any case. Right now though, I may be sliiiiightly leaning towards optom. But there are a whole lot of pluses to the orthop course too and I'm really confuse about the whole thing, haha.
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    (Original post by TheWorldEndsWithMe)
    Haha. My PS.. I've done a first draft sort of thing, but my careers tutor scribbled over a lot of it and told me to change quite a few thins. Oops, haha.

    As for optom... I'm not really sure, tbh. I'm getting some work experience with an orthoptist around Halloween though. Although by that stage my forms will have been sent off... I suppose it'll help me decide if I'm outing down optom as a first you've and orthop as a second or whether I'll put down two orthops, in any case. Right now though, I may be sliiiiightly leaning towards optom. But there are a whole lot of pluses to the orthop course too and I'm really confuse about the whole thing, haha.
    I ended up ignoring my tutor, because I had alot of experience stuff to put on she was telling me to take it off. So I just kinda did my own thing in the end, but had to make some changes so she would be happy enough to send it off.

    Have you had some Optom experience aswell? It's a shame you haven't been to an orthoptic department already tbh, it helps to have stuff to talk about on your ps. I was like that at first, with optom I mean. I've worked in an opticians since I was 15 and they where really pushing for me to do optom, promised me my pre reg and a job when I'd finished (which they had done twice before with optoms that now work there). And what I did, was write a big list of pros and cons. I say big. I only had one pro for optom and it was the money. I've been there a long while now and I know that it's definitely not what I want to do. But I found the list helped, especially when I was so confused at the time! I'd definately recommend that you do that first, it'll help you to get some perspective on things! (though again, difficult if you haven't been to an orthoptic department yet!)
    I'd also think about your grades, are you going to get the optom grades? And where are you applying for optom? (If I remember rightly some are very particular about what grades you get in what?) Ermm, what else was I going to say?
    Oh yeah, alot of people assume orthoptics and optom are similar because they're both about eyes, (I'm not saying this is you, because it does sound like you've done your research, but just saying for anyone who reads this in the future! ) and also bear in mind, what sort of optom are you wanting to work in as an optom? I spoke to someone at an open day last year who only wanted to do optom if she got a job in a hospital, but optom hospital jobs are few and far between (In comparison to retail opticians), and in my experience I've saw more Orthoptists in hospitals than I have Optoms. So that's just something else to bear in mind. Hope this helps! Just try and not get too overly stressy about it and just think about everything logically.
    Feel free to ask anything else, I'll try my best to answer
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    Wow, you're really being so helpful, thank you!

    Yeah, I'm peeved I'm bible getting the experience earlier, but I didn't even realise the corse existed until a few months ago - which was too late for the school to help me organise anything, you see. And with summer etc.

    I've done some optom work experience, yes. It was quite good, and I got to try the equipment out which was great. And I'm more than happy to go into retail optom, I'm not fussed about being one in a hospital.

    I'm not sure for the grades - I'm on BBCC right now though I was predicted AABB. One of them I can definitely pull up to an A (maths), but I'm resitting some biology to pull the grade up. (one of the Cs). I've economics as my third, it's a solid B, so I'm not tooooo worried, though I know most places ask for AAB+.

    If I get an offer from somewhere for optom (and I'm not worried about getting offers from Orthoptics, but maybe that's being cocky) I'm definitely doing the pro/con list.
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    (Original post by TheWorldEndsWithMe)
    Wow, you're really being so helpful, thank you!

    Yeah, I'm peeved I'm bible getting the experience earlier, but I didn't even realise the corse existed until a few months ago - which was too late for the school to help me organise anything, you see. And with summer etc.

    I've done some optom work experience, yes. It was quite good, and I got to try the equipment out which was great. And I'm more than happy to go into retail optom, I'm not fussed about being one in a hospital.

    I'm not sure for the grades - I'm on BBCC right now though I was predicted AABB. One of them I can definitely pull up to an A (maths), but I'm resitting some biology to pull the grade up. (one of the Cs). I've economics as my third, it's a solid B, so I'm not tooooo worried, though I know most places ask for AAB+.

    If I get an offer from somewhere for optom (and I'm not worried about getting offers from Orthoptics, but maybe that's being cocky) I'm definitely doing the pro/con list.
    It's fine! I like to help, I remember how scary it was when I applied and there not being anyone there to ask questions to!
    Yeah that does suck, my college didn't even know/care what orthoptics was, they where the sort that unless it was medicine/vet med/dentistry or oxbridge, then they didn't wanna know . You didn't need to wait on school though I went and just emailed the local hospital and they said yeah come in on such a day and I did.

    Oh I'm glad, just I know hospital jobs and pre reg's are hard to come by so I wouldn't want you setting your heart on them!

    As far as grades go, I was in a similar position to you when I did my AS's, I got BCC, and just kinda thought, well I could strive for optom (If I was going to go I was only going to go to manchester which ask for an A in bio) and I thought there was just no way. Regardless, I resat some bio exams in the next summer and it was just soo much work. I gave myself far too many exams to do, and it was ridiculous. In the end I hardly improved at all. Anyway, when I applied I applied for optom at manc (college forced me) and orthoptics and Liv and Sheff, and got rejected outright for Manc, no wonder considering I didn't have the predicted grades and didn't even mention optom on my PS
    Anyway, it sounds like you might be one of those where it's going to come down to the grades at the end of the day, so make sure you're prepared for either outcome. And don't get too cocky They've rejected people with ample predicted grades before now who they felt weren't right for the course. They're used to duel PS with optom and orthop, but make sure you mention them both equally and try and come across that you do have a passion for both subjects :P.
    Anyway, by the time you have your Jan A2 marks, you'll have a pretty good idea of what you're going to get so you can feel more prepared in what you want to do then, not to mention you'll have your offers too, and, may have come to Liverpool to have a look round hopefully I think I'm on placement in Dec so wont be at that open day.
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    Yeah, my school's pretty similar for oxbridge/med etc - they do help everyone, but they have hundreds of talks and extra 'hands-on' time (like helping them with their PS and getting visitors from unis that do the courses/Oxbridge). My tutor had no odes what Orthoptics was though and I spent ten minutes trying to explain the difference between that and optom. :')

    Tbh the grades.... I'm kind of just hoping I do better, but I'll probably end up with, like, BBB or something, nowhere near enough for optom.
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    (Original post by TheWorldEndsWithMe)
    Yeah, my school's pretty similar for oxbridge/med etc - they do help everyone, but they have hundreds of talks and extra 'hands-on' time (like helping them with their PS and getting visitors from unis that do the courses/Oxbridge). My tutor had no odes what Orthoptics was though and I spent ten minutes trying to explain the difference between that and optom. :')

    Tbh the grades.... I'm kind of just hoping I do better, but I'll probably end up with, like, BBB or something, nowhere near enough for optom.
    Yeah, and if you're really stuck on here, there is the personal statement help thing aswell Which is good because no one else sees your ps except the ps helper. Just make sure you post it in the right place!
    Well stay positive! And as long as you're content to do either, you're in a very good position . See how you get on, and don't be hard on yourself, there is nothing wrong with BBB at the end of the day. As long as you know you've tried your hardest then that's what matters, so don't beat yourself up about it!
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    Haha.

    I forgot about the PS Helper thing, I'll have to look into it.
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    (Original post by TheWorldEndsWithMe)
    Haha.

    I forgot about the PS Helper thing, I'll have to look into it.
    Yeah, just helps you tidy up your ps and loose some stuff you dont need. There's defo no Orthoptics ps helpers, not sure about optoms, but I think a Medical student helped with mine?
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    (Original post by 9427S)
    Thank you so much for all the info :top: Yes I'm trying to get into optom but only putting 3 down so orthoptics is my other 2. I've tried at a few hospitals but none wil give me any work experience Just wondering where you did yours because I think that will be my downfall quite a bit even if i get the grades.
    It really surprises me that you're struggling to find somewhere for you to shadow. I went to Liverpool Royal for mine. All I can suggest is that you keep trying, and possible email the admissions tutors and ask if they know of anywhere locally for you to go? Let me know how you get on
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    hi,

    is it true that orthoptics is predominantly a career that has more women than men...

    thanks
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    (Original post by Malsa)
    hi,

    is it true that orthoptics is predominantly a career that has more women than men...

    thanks
    Hi, In my year at the moment there are 30 of us altogether, and there are 7 men.
    It is true that there are more women than men, but there are plenty of men too, and I wouldn't let that put you off
    In the year below (because I just checked ), there are 46 students altogether, and there are about 10 men? Hope this helps? Like I said, don't let it put you off.
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    (Original post by foundintransmission)
    Hi, In my year at the moment there are 30 of us altogether, and there are 7 men.
    It is true that there are more women than men, but there are plenty of men too, and I wouldn't let that put you off
    In the year below (because I just checked ), there are 46 students altogether, and there are about 10 men? Hope this helps? Like I said, don't let it put you off.

    Thanks for that, lol, i just read somewhere that orthoptics is literally a all female career, so was just enquiring really. its actually not my first choice, am wanting to go into audiology, but with the modernising scientific careers plans going into place, a lot of universities have taken that degree off, so im unsure whats really going on, and ive got to make a decision asap, so am just browsing other allied health professions similar to audiology that i could possibly put as part of my top 2, tis a pain but gotta get it done! anywayz thanks again
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    (Original post by foundintransmission)
    It really surprises me that you're struggling to find somewhere for you to shadow. I went to Liverpool Royal for mine. All I can suggest is that you keep trying, and possible email the admissions tutors and ask if they know of anywhere locally for you to go? Let me know how you get on
    Hey =] I am currently looking to get into Moorfields - the other ones say they give uni people preference. I am considering a year out maybe but do you think entry requirements are likely to increase next next year?

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