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    Hi,

    The background to my question is that I live in Northern Ireland (where it is nigh on impossible to get any relevant experience with a clinical psychologist) and I am studying at a university that offers a placement year. Due to family commitments, I took a placement at my university which offered flexible days, working from home and great opportunities to gain transferable skills - yet it isn't clinically relevant.


    I had expected to go into final year as usual when I seen a posting for a placement within CAMHS in the NHS on an unpaid basis for 12 months. I applied and was offered the position.


    My issue is that I expected my university (as did two of my supervisors) to allow me to undertake a second placement year (so that I could obtain student finance for the year) which they have refused citing it as no one has ever taken a second placement year therefore a progress code doesn't exist for it. They insist I take it as leave of absence. However, during leave of absence it is my understanding that I will not receive student finance.


    Due to having to relocate for this NHS placement and my family financial situation I reckon I will need to borrow around £7000 plus the money I have saved from my part-time job, in addition to finding a part-time job when I get there.


    The only alternative is if I don't submit my placement report. In this case my university will regard that as me failing placement year and I will have to re-sit it (using my NHS placement as my re-sit but having my record besmirched)


    As someone desperate to get into clinical psychology I don't know what to do in this situation. I can't even get clinical research experience as there are no clinical psychologists at my university.


    Do you think it's worth it taking out the loan/having a fail on my record?
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    Having a good academic mark is really important for clinical psychology selection. There will be some courses that do not regard anything below a mid 2:1 and evidence of academic ability will be taken into consideration by all courses.

    The majority of clinical psychology applicants gain their experience after their BSc, mainly because several graduate routes allow you to gain experience such as assistant psychology positions or IAPT, but also because employers would usually prefer a full time candidate rather than someone part time or temporary.

    You can check out www.clinpsy.org.uk for more details about the sort of path people take, but I doubt anyone would suggest having a mediocre academic track record plus an extra years undergraduate experience would be the way to go forward.
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    The module I would be failing and re-sitting is a placement module for a placement diploma, which wouldnt affect my directly psychology related academic modules. I wholeheartedly agree with your point though. I'm just afraid because I have no other relevant work experience, just transferrable skills (Society Chairperson, Mentor, Mental Health campaigning). I just wanted to give myself more of a chance when it came to getting those IAPT and AP positions. I don't know if that indirect experience will cut it without the direct experience I could have.
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    Most people don't. They only start accruing experience once they graduate, which is why average training age is 27 at the moment. Most start off in low level roles like HCAs and NAs which don't even need a degree.

    From my experience, its really not worth rushing this, as you do need time and variety in order to reflect on the process well, which is what panels look for in interview. Its not about doing a lot in a small period of time, but its about how it develops you as a person.

    Remember courses request whole academic transcripts when you submit your app, and a "Failure" anywhere is unlikely to be seen in a good light.
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    I really appreciate the advice. It's just so competitive here because there isn't the breadth of services available here (such as IAPT) for students and graduates to get experience with. In addition to everyone continually telling you you won't make it because your English/Scottish counterparts have more opportunity. I agree with what you said, get a good degree and sort the experience afterwards. You've calmed me right down. Thank you!
 
 
 
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