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Dentistry or Languages?

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    Hi I'm in year 12, continuing with Biology, Chemistry and French for A2 (dropping English Lit), and I'll be applying for university this year. I'm really torn between Dentistry and either Chinese or French. All these courses appeal to me. Obviously, they are completely different though (and cannot be combined in a joint-honours degree anywhere...), and I only have one personal statement. I've listed a few of pros and cons:

    Dentistry: excellent job prospects, it's a caring and fulfilling profession, it's a 'stable' job, downside is that I really want to apply for Oxbridge as my teachers are very encouraging and think I am a strong candidate (you can't do dentistry at Oxbridge though)

    Chinese/French: can apply for Oxbridge, opportunity to work abroad, cons: not sure what job I'd do after graduating

    I have to draft a personal statement soon, and I'm just so stuck!! Maybe it'd be best if I studied one course first, then go back to university to study the other course, so that I have two degrees? In this case which would be best to study first? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance
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    the main thing is that your personal statement has to show your passion for the subject, and you have to be able to say why you want to study it, why you love it and maybe what you hope to do with it in the future and why. I wouldn't base your decision upon the fact you can study at Oxbridge; obviously if you really want to go there and love the course do go for it, but remember that it is difficult to get into and you'd need to have other universities that you'd want to go to, so the course really is the most important part. Also, if you do consider languages, the degrees can vary across universities quite a lot - I didn't want to apply for Oxbridge as I don't want a very literature based course, but other universities focus more on language and culture for example

    For Dentistry, don't just go on the excellent job prospects (although these are important). Do you want to be a dentist and can you see yourself in that career, such as with the people skills etc? Maybe you could try to get some work experience as you'd be able to learn a bit more first-hand and it'd be great on your personal statement if you do decide to go for that course!

    With languages, so many careers are open to you such as teaching, translation/interpreting, media, international business etc and languages are a desirable skill, so there is a lot you can do with it

    I don't think that going back to study two degrees is the best idea; it will cost you as I think you can only get financial support for your first degree and it's not really necessary to do two undergrad degrees.
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    lanuages i like french
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    That's two pretty diverse degree choices there.

    There are lots of jobs that require or can benefit from having a language, from journalism to PR to banking. Saying that I just graduated with a degree in French and history (just missed out on a 1st) and the job prospects are slim and ultra competitve and many of my coursemates are having to bite the bullet and take some less than desirable jobs, I'm hoping to get onto an Mphil then move towards Phd. I also know quite a few people who did French and chinese and they found it incredibly difficult, esp if you are taking ab initio (beginners) Chinese, they ended up working so hard on their beginners level language they neglected their other language.
    I had a dilemma between philosophy and French and I am so glad I chose French, I have learnt more than I ever thought I would have. But I have to tell you, university level French/core language examinations are tough from the get go more so if you feel you have an apptitude for languages, specifically grammar you will be fine. Also the year abroad is an incredible experience and I can honestly say the BEST year of my life.
    I agree with Kayleigh. jane, two degrees especially two long degrees (you would be an undergrad for 9 years!) is a good idea, there is the cost and then the inevitable age gap between you and your coursemates not to mention the loss of 'savoir faire' in which ever subject you chose to do second.

    Best of Luck
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    Do you really love Dentistry enough to invest all the time & effort. You will have to spend a mini. of 5 years at uni., 2 years on the job training & then if you want to specialise, more studying. Commitment is the key. If you are capable & committed on both, I would choose dentistry personally because I need fianancial stability but if you might not need to.

    By the way, you can always switch to language course if you found out dentistry is not your cup of tea but it will be difficult to do the other way round.
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    Thank you for the detailed replies I greatly appreciate them. I've done lots of dentistry work experience (i was thinking of dentistry before I started considering languages), so I feel I have a good knowledge of the profession. I am not afraid of hard work or anything - it may be nerdy, but i genuinely love learning. I just can't narrow my focus to one thing - I'd love to study both! But I am leaning more to dentistry now, and I'll just have continue reading French literature and watching French films!


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    (Original post by emiliecx)
    Thank you for the detailed replies I greatly appreciate them. I've done lots of dentistry work experience (i was thinking of dentistry before I started considering languages), so I feel I have a good knowledge of the profession. I am not afraid of hard work or anything - it may be nerdy, but i genuinely love learning. I just can't narrow my focus to one thing - I'd love to study both! But I am leaning more to dentistry now, and I'll just have continue reading French literature and watching French films!


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
    It definitely sounds like dentistry is the better choice for you! I have always loved languages and lived in Spain as an au pair for a year before starting a joint degree in Spanish and Politics. I eventually dropped the Spanish part of my degree as I realised that I didn't need to study it in the way that the uni required in order for me to have a good understanding of the language - I much preferred to read the books that I was interested in and watch the films that suited my tastes. There are plenty opportunities to take extra curricular languages whilst at uni and employers will be impressed that you chose to do this and widen your knowledge, plus there is always the option of spending time abroad either during the summer or as part of your course. Languages can be learnt formally or informally outwith your degree and if you eventually sit internationally recognised exams (ie Alliance Francais' DILF) you will often be able to work in the countries where the language is spoken.

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Updated: June 28, 2012
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