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    Hi

    I was just wondering if anyone has been in a similar situation to my own? Sorry for the long(ish) read, Any and all advice is greatly appreciated

    I applied for a place at university a few months ago to study for a degree in podiatry, but recently discovered that my application had been rejected on the basis of me not having an Access to HE qualification.

    I am 34 years old and for the last decade I have worked within the health care sector, specifically geriatric and disabled care for various private and NHS governed companies. My role encompasses many facets and areas and has taught me to understand and fulfill the requirements of the very varied client base that I work with, coupled with instilling within me a wide knowledge of aspects of health and the human body. Additionally, I truly believe that the positive methods of interacting with people under your care is not something that can be taught, but rather developed over time. In that regard especially, I am very good at my job.

    This was not my initial career choice. I originally worked in the IT sector and attained a degree in subject in 2005. However, since having to care for a family member in 2007, I "fell" into health care and have never looked back. More recently however, I started becoming frustrated with my lack of career progression, and decided to embark upon a change.

    In 2015 I made the decision to return to university with an ultimate goal following graduation of establishing my own private podiatry business. In order to do this, I would need registration with the health council, which in turn would require a degree...

    Despite my experience I am now being told that I would need to take an HE course and then reapply. This would cost me 3k, but more worryingly, an additional year of my life in which I wouldn't be bringing in an income. I would be forty years old upon graduation. I'm incredibly frustrated by all this. I have maintained my education through various training courses and recognized qualifications, yet feel as though I have been sidelined into taking a course which by all accounts, serves only to transition people into education.

    I'm not sure if I can afford to add another year and an additional 3k to my plans, but I really don't see any other option. If other options exist, I would love to hear about them. I feel as though I have ranted a bit here. If anyone knows of any alternative paths into university that wouldn't require me to undertake an HE course, please let me know. I really feel as though I have fallen at the final hurdle. If anyone else has been in a similar situation, what did you do?


    Thanks
    James.
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    I'm surprised that you need an access qualification as you already have a degree. Have you spoken to the admissions tutor/university or contacted other universities?

    If you have to do the access course, you can contuine to work. I knew people who worked part/full time during mine and outside of the time you need to be in college, there wasn't a huge amount of work to complete.
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    The requirement for Access is intended to be proof of recent successful study - an indicator that you would currently be able to cope with uni-level study. It sounds like your last formal education was your degree, eleven years ago and it could be that your chosen uni thinks that's too long ago to give them an idea of your current potential. A lot can change over that span of time.

    It would be worth contacting the course leader directly (you can usually find their name/email address with a bit of googling) and double-checking whether your professional experience could be taken into account. It may be that their hands are tied by a blanket uni policy, but there's a chance that they have the discretion to make exceptions to admissions criteria for mature students with a relevant working background.
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    Thanks for your response Unfortunately, there is no other university that offers the course within a reasonable distance from where I live. I mentioned my previous degree, but was told because it wasn't health science focused, it was essentially worthless for application to the course. I feel like I'm being forced into proving my competence in a field that is not to far abstracted from my present vocation. And, with all due respect to those students fresh out of college who have been accepted, I simply can't see how my experience wouldn't stand me in good stead in comparison to someone with zero work experience.
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    Whilst the end result of your new degree would be employment, the uni will be more interested in your current capacity for uni study. I suspect that's another reason why your past degree is being disregarded (unrelated subject and too long ago) and your recent professional experience is being discounted (does not include study/formal qualifications).

    Sorry this is happening. All I can think of is to speak direct to the course leader instead of the Admissions Office. If you've done that, then I don't know of an alternative other than fulfilling their Access requirement.
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    I think i might just have to bite the bullet and do the course, Out of curiosity though, is there an "expiry" on Access courses? Only reason I ask is that I might have to do the Access to HE course then take a year to save more funds. I'd hate to take it only to then be rejected again because of some apparent diminishing ability to learn when one gets older
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    (Original post by Saiper)
    I think i might just have to bite the bullet and do the course, Out of curiosity though, is there an "expiry" on Access courses? Only reason I ask is that I might have to do the Access to HE course then take a year to save more funds. I'd hate to take it only to then be rejected again because of some apparent diminishing ability to learn when one gets older
    At this point, it's probably best to ask the uni. I'm not sure about "expiring", but if the Access course is intended to prove *current* study potential, then you probably wouldn't want to delay uni for too long afterwards. But I can't see a year making much difference.

    If it helps, I started uni aged 44 then went on to a Masters and did three years of a PhD. Declining study capacity isn't inevitable with age
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    (Original post by Saiper)
    Thanks for your response Unfortunately, there is no other university that offers the course within a reasonable distance from where I live. I mentioned my previous degree, but was told because it wasn't health science focused, it was essentially worthless for application to the course. I feel like I'm being forced into proving my competence in a field that is not to far abstracted from my present vocation. And, with all due respect to those students fresh out of college who have been accepted, I simply can't see how my experience wouldn't stand me in good stead in comparison to someone with zero work experience.
    Well, first often it helps a lot to speak to a lot of people at university, to make sure, one is not just rejected, because one's application was to much work because of being different.

    Then, I also heard, that some want a proof of recent academic success, but then again, maybe you can do another less-time consuming qualification in terms of attendance (e.g. a open university course or an A Level, where you only come for exams), which you can do alongside work and still show, that you know how to write essays, do know, what you have to expect and which amount of work you have to expect of a Master?
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    (Original post by Saiper)
    Thanks for your response Unfortunately, there is no other university that offers the course within a reasonable distance from where I live. I mentioned my previous degree, but was told because it wasn't health science focused, it was essentially worthless for application to the course. I feel like I'm being forced into proving my competence in a field that is not to far abstracted from my present vocation. And, with all due respect to those students fresh out of college who have been accepted, I simply can't see how my experience wouldn't stand me in good stead in comparison to someone with zero work experience.
    It's not just about the work experience at university though, you have academic work to complete too
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    Btw do you have funding fro the degree itself sorted out?

    What they all said. You have restricted yourself to this course, so they get to decide.

    I'm not sure experience is going to equate to academic knowledge unless you can convince them. Rather than the access course, it may be more fruitful if you can convince them of some other qualifications that they would find acceptable and you feel would be more useful?
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    I was in a similar position 2 years ago, I spoke to Podiatry admissions at my local uni who said I need evidence I can cope with recent study. (I graduated in 2001 with various employment courses to date). It was suggested I do an open university module, SK277 Human Biology.
    I completed it in June and have just today been offered a Podiatry place to start this September! I wasn't expecting to start until 2017. The bonus with OU is that it cost me little over £400. Far better than £3k access course!
    Age, I was 40 in May. I have 3 young kids also.
    A podiatrist I shadowed early this year, was in her 60's when she started the course!
    Have a chat with course admission tutor, not main uni admissions. Get your name known! (The tutor I spoke to remembered me from last year and we'd only met once and emailed once!!)
    Good Luck.
 
 
 
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