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    Hi everyone, I was just wandering if any of you guys could provide me with some advice with regards to applying to vet school please?

    So here's my predicament.....

    I'm 25 years old and obviously a mature student, long story short, I want to become a vet. In order to do this I need to achieve the entry requirements. I have researched and emailed uni's etc to which I have found that there are 3 uni's which accept a student having completed an access course (rcv, Bristol, Cambridge). However, the uni's with preliminary year courses only accept students with A levels.

    I could quit my job and enrol onto a science access course in September, but I would also have to work part time to pay bills. This course is only a year long so I could gain relevant work experience the following year.

    Or I could stay in my current job and complete my A levels through distance learning, which would take 2 years and be more expensive.

    Do any of you have experience with applying to vet school as a mature student?
    Is it more preferable to apply with A levels?
    Do you thinks its worth the extra time and money to do the A levels?

    I really appreciate any advice

    Thanks, Jade
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    (Original post by jade.b)
    Hi everyone, I was just wandering if any of you guys could provide me with some advice with regards to applying to vet school please?

    So here's my predicament.....

    I'm 25 years old and obviously a mature student, long story short, I want to become a vet. In order to do this I need to achieve the entry requirements. I have researched and emailed uni's etc to which I have found that there are 3 uni's which accept a student having completed an access course (rcv, Bristol, Cambridge). However, the uni's with preliminary year courses only accept students with A levels.

    I could quit my job and enrol onto a science access course in September, but I would also have to work part time to pay bills. This course is only a year long so I could gain relevant work experience the following year.

    Or I could stay in my current job and complete my A levels through distance learning, which would take 2 years and be more expensive.

    Do any of you have experience with applying to vet school as a mature student?
    Is it more preferable to apply with A levels?
    Do you thinks its worth the extra time and money to do the A levels?

    I really appreciate any advice

    Thanks, Jade
    Universities and other people usually use the context of 'mature student' as someone who has a degree already, not by age.

    I can't speak from personal experience but I would think that doing A levels would give you more of a choice of where you can apply. This might increase your chances- for example you could apply to 4 unis per cycle rather than just 3 and could pitch your strengths differently e.g. if you don't feel you would do well in the BMAT exam which is required for Cambridge and RVC then it may play against you.

    Certainly I don't think the unis will discriminate against you if they say they accept an access course compared to A levels so long as you get the grades.

    Choice is yours. Hopefully you might hear from an access student here.
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    I was a "mature student" but had a previous degree, so I am not really much help.

    However, in addition to what Skatealexia said, I think people have asked about access courses on here before, an been told they are VERY competitive. Perhaps do a search?

    There is also another thread on access courses running right now: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=2659186

    Good luck!
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    (Original post by SilverstarDJ)
    Universities and other people usually use the context of 'mature student' as someone who has a degree already, not by age.

    I can't speak from personal experience but I would think that doing A levels would give you more of a choice of where you can apply. This might increase your chances- for example you could apply to 4 unis per cycle rather than just 3 and could pitch your strengths differently e.g. if you don't feel you would do well in the BMAT exam which is required for Cambridge and RVC then it may play against you.

    Certainly I don't think the unis will discriminate against you if they say they accept an access course compared to A levels so long as you get the grades.

    Choice is yours. Hopefully you might hear from an access student here.
    Do they? I thought it was anyone over the age of 21.
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    (Original post by qwertyking)
    Do they? I thought it was anyone over the age of 21.
    That's my definition

    also UCAS http://www.ucas.com/how-it-all-works/mature-students
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    (Original post by jade.b)
    Hi everyone, I was just wandering if any of you guys could provide me with some advice with regards to applying to vet school please?

    So here's my predicament.....

    I'm 25 years old and obviously a mature student, long story short, I want to become a vet. In order to do this I need to achieve the entry requirements. I have researched and emailed uni's etc to which I have found that there are 3 uni's which accept a student having completed an access course (rcv, Bristol, Cambridge). However, the uni's with preliminary year courses only accept students with A levels.

    I could quit my job and enrol onto a science access course in September, but I would also have to work part time to pay bills. This course is only a year long so I could gain relevant work experience the following year.

    Or I could stay in my current job and complete my A levels through distance learning, which would take 2 years and be more expensive.

    Do any of you have experience with applying to vet school as a mature student?
    Is it more preferable to apply with A levels?
    Do you thinks its worth the extra time and money to do the A levels?

    I really appreciate any advice

    Thanks, Jade
    Do you have much relevant voluntary/work experience?

    Because if not you are going to have to get that in as well as your A-levels.
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    Thanks for your replies, Yeh I have had a look through the other threads and I think the general consensus is that doing an access course will limit options compared to A levels. I'm lucky as I get a lot of time at work which I could utilise as study time. I just hope my brain hasn't turned to mush!

    I have seen how much work experience some of the unis require and have therefore attempted to get some. However, no where will accept me until I'm enrolled at an institution.

    Does anyone know if distance learning A levels cling as being enrolled? I called up the company I'm planning to start with and they had no idea. Although the man on the phone was about as friendly as a rock!
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    (Original post by jade.b)
    Thanks for your replies, Yeh I have had a look through the other threads and I think the general consensus is that doing an access course will limit options compared to A levels. I'm lucky as I get a lot of time at work which I could utilise as study time. I just hope my brain hasn't turned to mush!

    I have seen how much work experience some of the unis require and have therefore attempted to get some. However, no where will accept me until I'm enrolled at an institution.

    Does anyone know if distance learning A levels cling as being enrolled? I called up the company I'm planning to start with and they had no idea. Although the man on the phone was about as friendly as a rock!
    You're considered a mature student if you're over the age of 21, not just people that have had a degree. I'm considered a mature student as I'm 27 (I don't have a previous degree).

    I personally recommend doing A-levels. I was in the same situation as you are before vet school. I always felt that if I did an access course I would limit the number of unis I could apply to. However, If you want to take your chances then go for it. Personally I only know 2 people in my year that had access courses.

    I started doing As levels and applied as soon as I started college as I also had a BTEC I had done previously. Continuing on to A2s was my back up plan just in case I didn't get an offer first time round (Liverpool would take me on with my BTEC and As-level in Chemistry).

    I went to college to do my As-levels as I found it very difficult to find distance learning courses that did chemistry or physics because of the lab practicals. It might be different now tho.

    I would also strongly recommend getting as much work experience as possible and not just the minimum. I had 22 weeks when I applied. Variety is also extremely important e.g think in terms of each domestic species for husbandry placements and then large and small animal for vet placements.

    All the best on your journey. I found it extremely hard getting into vet school but if you have determination then I don't see why you can't get there




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    (Original post by qwertyking)
    Do they? I thought it was anyone over the age of 21.
    Sorry, my mistake!


    On another note, there is a good thread on here (sticky) which has details on work experience and what bases you should cover. Worth a look!
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    I think perhaps the confusion gets between "mature" (over 21) and graduate (which is almost guaranteed to be over 21, but specifically means prior degree).

    I am slightly confused by the 'no one will take me until I am enrolled at an institution" comment. Did they say why? Institution for A levels? Or for university/vet school? Because obviously other vet students have to get work experience BEFORE going to vet school. I know it gets harder all the time, with insurance etc. etc., but no one accepting you until enrolled seems a bit odd, even if just enrolled in A levels.

    What area are you in? Perhaps other students on here would know good placements in your area.
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    Well done for getting in DJvet! Are you enjoying the course? Is it everything that you expected?
    20 weeks of experience, wow! Did you work as well?

    When a university states the amount of weeks required is that 9am-5 pm for 5 days of that week? I would have to leave my job in order to gain this and work evenings maybe.

    Tarnia, sorry I meant educational institution. It's because they need some forms signing by them apparently. It could be school, college or uni, possibly for insurance purposes...... The few who I've asked told me top get back in touch when I've enrolled but not confirmed whether distance learning will count as enrolling.
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    (Original post by jade.b)
    Tarnia, sorry I meant educational institution. It's because they need some forms signing by them apparently. It could be school, college or uni, possibly for insurance purposes...... The few who I've asked told me top get back in touch when I've enrolled but not confirmed whether distance learning will count as enrolling.
    Keep trying - lots of places do take people when they aren't at school/college/uni. Loads of people take gap years and specifically plan lots of work exp in that time - and don't have a place at uni yet either (reapplying in their gap year). I had time out in between my first degree and vet med and did work exp at vets, a pig farm, zoo and lambing - none of them were bothered that I wasn't in education. Most of the time the main problem is age - places not wanting to take people under 15/16/18, which obviously isn't the problem for you.

    So keep trying - make it clear to people that you are a bit older - not just a 16yo school leaver and that might help :-)
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    I agree with Kookabura. And yes, it can be hard with insurance, but I also would say keep trying. You say the 'few you've tried'...beat down the doors of every animal facility or vet clinic within your access, and maybe even some without!

    Also, a work week tends to be 40 hours for work experience. So if you work at a vet clinic for 8 Saturdays 10am to 3pm, that would count as "1 week".
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    Hi Tarnia,

    Your first post is the EXACT situation I was in one year ago!
    I'm 26, I've finished my access course now, just a few exams to sit, and have an offer at Bristol .

    It's such a difficult decision trying to figure out how to get the grades you need.

    Firstly look into the Foundation to Health and Veterinary Studies (Year 0) at Liverpool. I'm not sure what the entry requirements are etc, but its worth a look and you don't need to have done A-Levels. You would get student finance for this too so it'd be a lot more "liveable" than going to college!

    A-Levels are difficult and require a lot of work (I did biol, chem and pychology in 2006... didn't do very well :/). I thought about re-doing them this year by distance learning, but I think I would have struggled. Also it takes an extra year, and finding somewhere to do your practicals can be difficult. There are a lot of shady looking distance learning companies out there charging a lot of money, so if you choose this make sure the material and support they provide is high quality! I chose not to do this as I felt I'd benefit from face to face teaching, and it would have costed a fortune! (which I don't have lol)

    So I chose an access course. They can be a bit of a grey area and some aren't so good, but if you can get on a good pure science one I'd recommend it. Student Finance England do a 24+ advanced learning loan too, which covers tuition fees, and is written off once you go to Uni and get a degree, so this was much cheaper!

    I study at Leeds City College and my course is Access to HE (Science). In semester one we do 2 modules in chemistry and 2 in biology. These are mainly AS stuff and really helped me get back into the swing of things! Especially in Chemistry where one of the modules covers a lot of basics and sets you up for the more complicated stuff. In semester two we again study 2 more biology modules and 2 chemistry. Its a little more difficult, like A2, but you are well prepared with a lot of support.
    Each of these modules is at Level 3 (this is important - level 2 credits won't count for much!) and is worth 6 credits. So you have a total of 48 level 3 credits in biology and chemistry, graded distinction, merit, pass or fail.
    Bristol ask for 30 credits at Distinction and 15 at merit.
    You also do academic skills which is worth 12 credits and makes up the 60 you need to pass the diploma.

    The college have sent students to Bristol, RVC and Liverpool in the past, and were helpful through the UCAS application process too.

    I have rent and bills to pay, and it has been a struggle this year, but I have been able to work 25-30 hours a week and still get distinctions. I'm only in college Monday 9-4, Tuesday 9-4 and Weds 9-11. It helps to go over your notes when not in classes, and there are a few assignments to complete, but nothing horrendous or too time-consuming, its very manageable.

    Your university choices are more limited... but its not that bad. This is based on what I found for 2014 entry...

    Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cambridge will not accept Access courses for Vet Med. (With the exception of Glasgow who would accept Access to Veterinary which is only run at Glasgow college... with v. limited places by the sounds of things)

    The RVC and Surrey do accept Access, but I didn't really look into these as I can't really afford to live in these places!

    Nottingham accept Access students onto their 6 year course. (I couldn't apply as I have previously done A-Levels)

    Bristol and Liverpool also accept access students. They seemed very positive when I talked to them on the phone and at open days I didn't feel discriminated against. But... I didn't have enough work ex for Liverpool

    I would contact the Universities and check though as Access courses are quite "up and coming", so things may have changed.
    Also Liverpool have a list of accepted courses and colleges, so you'd need to check yours was one of those.

    Doing it this way meant I could apply to vet school pretty much as soon as I started college! I've been lucky enough to get a place, so its saved me a year, but if I hadn't I would have had my grades in the bag and could do more work ex and reapply. I did have a lot of work exp... although not massively varied. But I'd advise you get building that up now!

    I do agree that A-Levels are the more traditional way of getting in and feel I'd have had it easier if I had them. But its not just about doing the A-Levels, you need to get amazing grades, which might be harder distance learning. I think without actually going to college and having face to face lectures and support I would have struggled with assignments and exams as I have been out of education a while. I also didn't want to wait 2 years!!!

    Anyway... I've rambled enough haha...

    Good luck!
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    Thanks so much for your responses everyone. I keep going back and forth in my decisions!

    That was so interesting to read your responses Aliceblue, it's really encouraging to hear off someone in a similar position. From speaking to the universities I have found that Bristol and Liverpool seem to be the most open to access courses. Congratulations on your offer from Bristol!

    I think I am going to do the access course, it is a straight science access. I've decided, similar to you Aliceblue, that I don't think I could achieve as good grades through distance learning. It was also turning out to be very expensive with all the practicals and people didn't seem to have particularly great experiences with the college's. I think an access course will ease me into it better, especially as my brain had probably turned to mush!

    I'm just waiting to hear back from Liverpool to make sure my access is approved, also from Lucy Cavendish at Cambridge as apparently they do accept access courses according too the general admissions team. They said that I may also need A level chemistry though.

    I'm going to do the same as you and work part time during my course. Which means I'll have to quit my current job in September, so I won't be able to apply until a year later as I can't get enough work experience before October applications.

    What a journey it will be! Very exciting though

    (Original post by aliceblue)
    Hi Tarnia,

    Your first post is the EXACT situation I was in one year ago!
    I'm 26, I've finished my access course now, just a few exams to sit, and have an offer at Bristol .

    It's such a difficult decision trying to figure out how to get the grades you need.

    Firstly look into the Foundation to Health and Veterinary Studies (Year 0) at Liverpool. I'm not sure what the entry requirements are etc, but its worth a look and you don't need to have done A-Levels. You would get student finance for this too so it'd be a lot more "liveable" than going to college!

    A-Levels are difficult and require a lot of work (I did biol, chem and pychology in 2006... didn't do very well :/). I thought about re-doing them this year by distance learning, but I think I would have struggled. Also it takes an extra year, and finding somewhere to do your practicals can be difficult. There are a lot of shady looking distance learning companies out there charging a lot of money, so if you choose this make sure the material and support they provide is high quality! I chose not to do this as I felt I'd benefit from face to face teaching, and it would have costed a fortune! (which I don't have lol)

    So I chose an access course. They can be a bit of a grey area and some aren't so good, but if you can get on a good pure science one I'd recommend it. Student Finance England do a 24+ advanced learning loan too, which covers tuition fees, and is written off once you go to Uni and get a degree, so this was much cheaper!

    I study at Leeds City College and my course is Access to HE (Science). In semester one we do 2 modules in chemistry and 2 in biology. These are mainly AS stuff and really helped me get back into the swing of things! Especially in Chemistry where one of the modules covers a lot of basics and sets you up for the more complicated stuff. In semester two we again study 2 more biology modules and 2 chemistry. Its a little more difficult, like A2, but you are well prepared with a lot of support.
    Each of these modules is at Level 3 (this is important - level 2 credits won't count for much!) and is worth 6 credits. So you have a total of 48 level 3 credits in biology and chemistry, graded distinction, merit, pass or fail.
    Bristol ask for 30 credits at Distinction and 15 at merit.
    You also do academic skills which is worth 12 credits and makes up the 60 you need to pass the diploma.

    The college have sent students to Bristol, RVC and Liverpool in the past, and were helpful through the UCAS application process too.

    I have rent and bills to pay, and it has been a struggle this year, but I have been able to work 25-30 hours a week and still get distinctions. I'm only in college Monday 9-4, Tuesday 9-4 and Weds 9-11. It helps to go over your notes when not in classes, and there are a few assignments to complete, but nothing horrendous or too time-consuming, its very manageable.

    Your university choices are more limited... but its not that bad. This is based on what I found for 2014 entry...

    Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cambridge will not accept Access courses for Vet Med. (With the exception of Glasgow who would accept Access to Veterinary which is only run at Glasgow college... with v. limited places by the sounds of things)

    The RVC and Surrey do accept Access, but I didn't really look into these as I can't really afford to live in these places!

    Nottingham accept Access students onto their 6 year course. (I couldn't apply as I have previously done A-Levels)

    Bristol and Liverpool also accept access students. They seemed very positive when I talked to them on the phone and at open days I didn't feel discriminated against. But... I didn't have enough work ex for Liverpool

    I would contact the Universities and check though as Access courses are quite "up and coming", so things may have changed.
    Also Liverpool have a list of accepted courses and colleges, so you'd need to check yours was one of those.

    Doing it this way meant I could apply to vet school pretty much as soon as I started college! I've been lucky enough to get a place, so its saved me a year, but if I hadn't I would have had my grades in the bag and could do more work ex and reapply. I did have a lot of work exp... although not massively varied. But I'd advise you get building that up now!

    I do agree that A-Levels are the more traditional way of getting in and feel I'd have had it easier if I had them. But its not just about doing the A-Levels, you need to get amazing grades, which might be harder distance learning. I think without actually going to college and having face to face lectures and support I would have struggled with assignments and exams as I have been out of education a while. I also didn't want to wait 2 years!!!

    Anyway... I've rambled enough haha...

    Good luck!
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    I've just realised I started my post with "Hi Tarnia"... But it was directed at jade sorry!!

    It would be fantastic if Cambridge would consider your application... I'd definitely pursue that one!
    I did find a page on their website with a list of courses that would accept access, but VetMed wasn't listed.... But in all honesty, I didn't look into it too much because my problem is that I have a dog, so can't really move to halls or a room in a shared house, so my university choices were limited by cost of living as I'd need to live somewhere that I could afford to rent my own house or flat, Cambridge would be way out of budget!!

    I really rate the course I did. The other problem I had with the idea of a-levels was choosing a third subject! You'd need at least three A-levels, and they must include biology and chemistry. For me the third one seemed a waste when I could get in with an access course doing just biology and chemistry.
    I really do recommend it, I've really enjoyed my year. It's been difficult financially, but doable, and I feel prepared and ready for uni

    Where abouts is your course?

    Also... See if you can find a job that doubles up as work ex. I got paid for milking at a local farm... Perfect

    Good luck and feel free to get in touch xxx
 
 
 
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