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    Here goes.

    I’m a mature student looking to study dentistry in September 2017. I’m a 30 year old guy who has worked in retail since I was 17 and currently an assistant manager of a small store, I left school after my AS-Levels (I did badly, three ‘D’ grades) and obviously didn’t complete the full A-Level. I just wanted to get out in the world and start earning money, which I have done and slowly worked my way up. The thing is, I’m bored to death of it. I want something challenging and a whole new career, and have always had a curiosity with dentistry. At GCSE I achieved 4 A grades, 3 B grades and 4 C grades.

    So, I’m taking the plunge and I want to study dentistry. The easy part was deciding, the hard part is getting there.

    I started an Access to Healthcare Professions HE diploma through the Distance Learning Centre back in January and it’s going completely fine, no problems. I am studying 45 graded credits in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. I have read on most universities’ websites that accept Access courses, that I need to achieve a distinction in the majority of those credits - again, it’s achievable. I need to take the UKCAT test later this year too as well as gaining placements/work experience in dental surgeries.

    I’m aware that dentistry and medicine is SUPER competitive, something like 1 place for every 12 applicants.

    What I’m also concerned about is the following:

    - Will having achieved poor AS Levels (all ‘D’ grades) 13 years ago affect/hinder my chances?

    - Will having dropped out and not completed my A-Levels intentionally 13 years ago affect/hinder my chances?

    - I never achieved higher than a C grade for any science or maths subjects during school (GCSE/AS), but studying a Level 3/Access course primarily in sciences - will this affect my chances?

    - Am I wasting my time?

    Either way I’m enjoying this new crazy chapter in my life. I know my chances are slim, but you’ve got to be in it to win it. God knows how I’ll stand up next to all of the really keen, super smart high school kids with 3 A* A-Levels in science subjects. My biggest concern is that I fail to be offered a place for any of my choices and am left with no other options - I don’t want to enter clearing and complete a degree in something I have no interest in.
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    Hi there, I'm not able to answer your questions but this thread caught my eye and I have a suggestion. Go onto UCAS/Uni website and get all the email address for each institution that offer Dentistry. Email them and tell them everything, what you've done in the past, ALL your qualifications, your work experience and the course you're on now/any future plans. They should then tell you whether you're eligible to apply or not. I would also ring them to confirm that what you've been told by one person, matches what you're told by someone else...

    I was on an access course and applied for Medicine. I did this to make sure I didn't apply to anywhere where I didn't stand a chance or I didn't meet the criteria, therefore I didn't waste any of my options! I know of people making the mistake of applying to somewhere and wasting that choice due to misinformation!

    Another tip, if you leave your 5th option blank (since you can only apply to 4 places), if you are rejected from them all you can use UCAS Extra, which comes before clearing and I think it means you can apply to any course of your choice and see what happens (except Med/Dent/Vet Med), whereas with clearing, you can only apply to the courses that are available.

    Hope that all makes sense! Good luck!
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    (Original post by sjgreenwood2)
    Hi there, I'm not able to answer your questions but this thread caught my eye and I have a suggestion. Go onto UCAS/Uni website and get all the email address for each institution that offer Dentistry. Email them and tell them everything, what you've done in the past, ALL your qualifications, your work experience and the course you're on now/any future plans. They should then tell you whether you're eligible to apply or not. I would also ring them to confirm that what you've been told by one person, matches what you're told by someone else...

    I was on an access course and applied for Medicine. I did this to make sure I didn't apply to anywhere where I didn't stand a chance or I didn't meet the criteria, therefore I didn't waste any of my options! I know of people making the mistake of applying to somewhere and wasting that choice due to misinformation!

    Another tip, if you leave your 5th option blank (since you can only apply to 4 places), if you are rejected from them all you can use UCAS Extra, which comes before clearing and I think it means you can apply to any course of your choice and see what happens (except Med/Dent/Vet Med), whereas with clearing, you can only apply to the courses that are available.

    Hope that all makes sense! Good luck!
    Thanks - I've already emailed all of the universities with specific questions about GCSE/Access requirements and had a few positive responses already. I haven't mentioned my poor AS-Level results, but from what had back so far there seem to be different criteria for Access applicants than school-leaver/A-Level applicants, it seems a bit more flexible which is good as I wouldn't stand a chance otherwise. Had a reply from Newcastle who state the only requirements for an Access diploma application is a certain amount of credits at distinction - no GCSE requirements.

    Thanks for the UCAS Extra tip, I'll keep that in mind.

    By the way - did you manage to get an offer for medicine with your Access course?
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    (Original post by mcr2016)
    Thanks - I've already emailed all of the universities with specific questions about GCSE/Access requirements and had a few positive responses already. I haven't mentioned my poor AS-Level results, but from what had back so far there seem to be different criteria for Access applicants than school-leaver/A-Level applicants, it seems a bit more flexible which is good as I wouldn't stand a chance otherwise. Had a reply from Newcastle who state the only requirements for an Access diploma application is a certain amount of credits at distinction - no GCSE requirements.

    Thanks for the UCAS Extra tip, I'll keep that in mind.

    By the way - did you manage to get an offer for medicine with your Access course?
    Ah fair enough, you will have to put them (AS Levels) on your UCAS application so they will see so it might be best to check they're okay about it!

    I've been declined from 3 out of 4, awaiting feedback at the moment, but I've actually dropped out of my access course this year anyway due to a few circumstances, but I plan on starting it again in the future!
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    (Original post by sjgreenwood2)
    Ah fair enough, you will have to put them (AS Levels) on your UCAS application so they will see so it might be best to check they're okay about it!

    I've been declined from 3 out of 4, awaiting feedback at the moment, but I've actually dropped out of my access course this year anyway due to a few circumstances, but I plan on starting it again in the future!
    To be honest I was considering whether to omit my AS-Level results and just leave my GCSEs, but decided against it as no doubt they'd find out eventually.

    Good luck with your future plans.
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    Hi, thought I'd give some advice. Always have a plan B, maybe a course that is similar, or a foundation year or something.
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    (Original post by Dmar167)
    Hi, thought I'd give some advice. Always have a plan B, maybe a course that is similar, or a foundation year or something.
    Plan B will be DipHE Dental Hygiene & Therapy, which if I get the required level for my Access course should be more than sufficient (hopefully).

    Still 100% set on Dentistry. It's definitely possible, I just know everything is going to have to go my way if I am to stand a chance. Still waiting to hear back re which Access courses are accepted at each university and whether my circumstances are worth still applying with.
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    (Original post by mcr2016)
    Plan B will be DipHE Dental Hygiene & Therapy, which if I get the required level for my Access course should be more than sufficient (hopefully).

    Still 100% set on Dentistry. It's definitely possible, I just know everything is going to have to go my way if I am to stand a chance. Still waiting to hear back re which Access courses are accepted at each university and whether my circumstances are worth still applying with.
    Good luck with it
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    My plan is as follows for the next 12 months:

    1. Complete my Access course (I have checked with several universities who will all accept it)
    2. Gain work experience (at least 2 weeks) in a dental surgery shadowing a dentist or hygienist
    3. Register and revise for the UKCAT exam
    4. Take the exam as early as possible (July-ish)
    5. If my UKCAT result is too low then I will apply for a DipHE Dental Hygiene & Therapy (aka 'Plan B') which also accepts the Access course and slightly lower entry requirements without UKCAT needed.
    6. If my UKCAT result is good enough then I will continue and apply for Dentistry
    7. Hope for the best!
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    If so much rests on UKCAT then get a private tutor for a few sessions, some of them tutor for that. Really, if you need to reach a certain grade its worth the money!! Admissions tutors seem to really like volunteering, so apply to volunteer somewhere for example Red Cross, it will really make you stand out! Don't worry too much about your past poor grades, I can't speak for medicine, but for radiography my dodgy a level grades haven't come into it at all, as long as you have half decent GCSEs. Certainly don't omit them! Make sure you get 45 distinctions though. Finally, write a really good personal statement.
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    (Original post by iioii)
    If so much rests on UKCAT then get a private tutor for a few sessions, some of them tutor for that. Really, if you need to reach a certain grade its worth the money!! Admissions tutors seem to really like volunteering, so apply to volunteer somewhere for example Red Cross, it will really make you stand out! Don't worry too much about your past poor grades, I can't speak for medicine, but for radiography my dodgy a level grades haven't come into it at all, as long as you have half decent GCSEs. Certainly don't omit them! Make sure you get 45 distinctions though. Finally, write a really good personal statement.
    I have plenty of books and online resources for UKCAT, private tutoring for it sounds very expensive!

    That's a good a point re volunteering, it's a good option, something like the Red Cross would certainly be beneficial and tie-in with everything else.

    The universities I have spoken to have said my GCSE results are suitable as a mature student, and that my poor AS-Level results (all Grade D) would not be looked at in too much detail as the subjects were non-science based (History, Art, ICT). A good UKCAT score combined with passing my Access course to the level they require will be my best chance of getting an interview, as well as nailing the personal statement and getting some good work experience and voluntary roles in.

    Glad that universities seem to take the common sense approach form mature applicants, and not taking much consideration of GCSE/AS-Levels I completed 13/14 years ago when I had completely different interests and motivations and was a different person altogether.
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    (Original post by mcr2016)
    My plan is as follows for the next 12 months:

    1. Complete my Access course (I have checked with several universities who will all accept it)
    2. Gain work experience (at least 2 weeks) in a dental surgery shadowing a dentist or hygienist
    3. Register and revise for the UKCAT exam
    4. Take the exam as early as possible (July-ish)
    5. If my UKCAT result is too low then I will apply for a DipHE Dental Hygiene & Therapy (aka 'Plan B' which also accepts the Access course and slightly lower entry requirements without UKCAT needed.
    6. If my UKCAT result is good enough then I will continue and apply for Dentistry
    7. Hope for the best!
    Sounds good For the UKCAT I would advise you to sit the exam you feel ready, rather than be too caught up and getting it done as soon as possible. Medify, UKCAT courses and books are all helpful resources to help you do well
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    Hi I'm in a similar position I'm 30 and never did my GCSEs so enrolled at college last September I'm doing 5 GCSEs just taking exams at mo. I'm going to do maths GCSE from this September and hopefully get on an access course into medicine or dentistry . I'll be doing the UKCAT test all too
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    Hey all

    Thought I'd kickstart this thread again.

    I'm 36. My background is in public health and medical anthropology. Have an MSc and a PhD and currently work as a postdoc, mainly health research in Africa - but am now thinking of a dramatic change of direction.

    Hoping to get into dentistry at Birmingham Uni for 2017, though most likely 2018 entry. Managed to get a UKCAT sitting for the 4th of October.

    UKCAT:
    Anybody been through 'How to master the UKCAT' 2nd edition. Byron et al.
    Does anyone have any views on this book? I'm finding some of the VR answers suspect ... and some of the AR questions seem so ridiculously obscure with multiple contignecy rules. Any prep advice from more mature students would be great.

    Shadowing:
    Also does anyone have an inkling how selectors might favour shadowing experience in Africa. I'm applying to Birmingham only and I'm not sure I will have enough time between now and UCAS submission to get enough shadowing experience in a UK GDP. However I am currently in Kenya doing research and should be able to get some experience here before I return to the UK in Sept.

    Would be great to hear from any mature students plotting a career change!
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    Hi there,

    So nice to hear another 30 + out there having a career change. I am like you, coming from a healthcare background; although clinical. Well done on getting the Oct UKCAT. Speaking with a specialist dentist ( secondary care dentistry) work that is health related and even more so of a caring nature I imagine would be of benefit and hold you in good stead. You could also contact the British dental asociation and ask them too.

    I am considering Birmingham...
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    Hello everyone,
    I am a mum of 4,i got average grades at gcses as well as alevels, they used to AVCE's then, which i did bio chem and physics and achieved a grade b, i went on the do an undergraduate degree in diagnostic radiography, and achieved a 2.2, (i got married and had my 2 children during my university time), now its been 10 years on since i graduated, i'm 32 with all my kids gone to school full time. so im doing some soul searching. i would love to study medicine or dentisry, just to prove to myself that i can. i got a d in gcse maths all those years back, so am redoing that now. would i benefit from taking up the access course or redoing my a levels? i feel now that i have matured, and gained life skills too i would do better now than all those years back. my husbands a doctor, so he would be a massive help in tutoring me on subjects i may struggle on
    Would like to hear about people who got onto their desired course.
    Advice would be much appreciated.
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    (Original post by maryam_can)
    Hello everyone,
    I am a mum of 4,i got average grades at gcses as well as alevels, they used to AVCE's then, which i did bio chem and physics and achieved a grade b, i went on the do an undergraduate degree in diagnostic radiography, and achieved a 2.2, (i got married and had my 2 children during my university time), now its been 10 years on since i graduated, i'm 32 with all my kids gone to school full time. so im doing some soul searching. i would love to study medicine or dentisry, just to prove to myself that i can. i got a d in gcse maths all those years back, so am redoing that now. would i benefit from taking up the access course or redoing my a levels? i feel now that i have matured, and gained life skills too i would do better now than all those years back. my husbands a doctor, so he would be a massive help in tutoring me on subjects i may struggle on
    Would like to hear about people who got onto their desired course.
    Advice would be much appreciated.
    Maryam, you CAN! You really are like the perfect mature student/Access route story. Do the Access now and don't look back!
    Are you limited with what schools you can apply to, or would your husband and kids be fine to pick up and go wherever you get a place?
    I ask this because I'm limited to one uni only and it has made things a challenge for me since missing my offer last year.
    All the best to you*
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    (Original post by Angel-A)
    Hi there,

    So nice to hear another 30 + out there having a career change. I am like you, coming from a healthcare background; although clinical. Well done on getting the Oct UKCAT. Speaking with a specialist dentist ( secondary care dentistry) work that is health related and even more so of a caring nature I imagine would be of benefit and hold you in good stead. You could also contact the British dental asociation and ask them too.

    I am considering Birmingham...
    Hi there. Glad I'm not the only potential mature student for dentistry! What's you're clinical background?Thanks for the advice! Will definitely contact thet BDA and get some advice on this.
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    Wow glad am not alone! thank you guys for sharing this x

    Am 30, also planning a career change from Buiness onto Dentistry.
    Done GCSEs and got all Bs in Scrnices , maths and English.
    A levels : I took Chemitaty and up first year then dropped out of them both due to finishing. He sorry hard ( maybe I wasn't revising well at that time) . Ended up taking nine science subjects and done adegree eventually in Business.

    Now am thinking of a career change. Would taking my A levels in Chemistry / Biologybe a better choice than taking Access course? As not all universities accept access courses.
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    (Original post by Moochi1)
    Wow glad am not alone! thank you guys for sharing this x

    Am 30, also planning a career change from Buiness onto Dentistry.
    Done GCSEs and got all Bs in Scrnices , maths and English.
    A levels : I took Chemitaty and up first year then dropped out of them both due to finishing. He sorry hard ( maybe I wasn't revising well at that time) . Ended up taking nine science subjects and done adegree eventually in Business.

    Now am thinking of a career change. Would taking my A levels in Chemistry / Biologybe a better choice than taking Access course? As not all universities accept access courses.
    You would be shocked how many universities accept access courses. I would do the access course as I am planning on doing. If you do A-levels you get to be part of the same competition as the A-level students in 6th form when universities are looking at admissions, that is what a medicine admission tutor told me at Durham Uni as I was in same dilemma as you. An access course is covering as an a-level. You also get to be with other mature students all aiming to be near around the same thing whether it be dentistry, medicine or pharmacy. I have a conditional offer on the base I get a B in maths so hopefully will know by August if I make it.
 
 
 
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