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    Hi Guys

    I'll try and be brief with my issue but got needs a fair but of detail to explain.

    Graduated from university in 2010 with a Masters degree (2/1) in the biological sciences. Worked for a while in an unrelated job then went on got a voluntary position in a science lab at Bristol uni 2013-14 was planning to move on into a PHD. Sadly I got seriously physically ill during this time. I managed to stay working however it put a halt to my career for a number of years.

    Eventually recovered. I had been working in care a lot and had plenty of experience with physiotherapists and so decided that I would do a two year conversion masters in physio. These courses are extremely competitive and have very few places so I studied hard and got loads of experience. I was doing well getting interviews and got on some reserve places however the gov cut the bursaries and I couldn't get a loan.

    At this point I decided that the only option was to cut my losses and start again. I applied to do an undergraduate degree in this cycle of the UCAS applications. To my horror I was instantly rejected from all my choices without even an interview.

    I've tried to get some advice on how to move forward with this. The universities are not really telling me anything apart from 'I didn't meet the criteria' when pressed they say my masters is simply too old and that my work experience in academia doesn't count as its not academic study.

    Really hit rock bottom with this, I'm mid-thirties and my only option seems to be to completely start again as though I were 16. I feel like years of my life have just been suddenly written off.

    Is my only option to go back to college and pay 5 grand to do an access course. This just seems ridiculous I've already got two degrees in a relevant subject and I have been studying myself for the last year an a half to compete at a level with other graduates for the Physio Msc.

    Has anyone got any advice on what I should do I would be really grateful?
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    (Original post by Rubbra)
    Hi Guys

    I'll try and be brief with my issue but got needs a fair but of detail to explain.

    Graduated from university in 2010 with a Masters degree (2/1) in the biological sciences. Worked for a while in an unrelated job then went on got a voluntary position in a science lab at Bristol uni 2013-14 was planning to move on into a PHD. Sadly I got seriously physically ill during this time. I managed to stay working however it put a halt to my career for a number of years.

    Eventually recovered. I had been working in care a lot and had plenty of experience with physiotherapists and so decided that I would do a two year conversion masters in physio. These courses are extremely competitive and have very few places so I studied hard and got loads of experience. I was doing well getting interviews and got on some reserve places however the gov cut the bursaries and I couldn't get a loan.

    At this point I decided that the only option was to cut my losses and start again. I applied to do an undergraduate degree in this cycle of the UCAS applications. To my horror I was instantly rejected from all my choices without even an interview.

    I've tried to get some advice on how to move forward with this. The universities are not really telling me anything apart from 'I didn't meet the criteria' when pressed they say my masters is simply too old and that my work experience in academia doesn't count as its not academic study.

    Really hit rock bottom with this, I'm mid-thirties and my only option seems to be to completely start again as though I were 16. I feel like years of my life have just been suddenly written off.

    Is my only option to go back to college and pay 5 grand to do an access course. This just seems ridiculous I've already got two degrees in a relevant subject and I have been studying myself for the last year an a half to compete at a level with other graduates for the Physio Msc.

    Has anyone got any advice on what I should do I would be really grateful?
    How very frustrating and demoralising for you.

    It clearly does not make sense for you to go back and do an Access course (it's unlikely they'd accept you, even as a paying punter), and I assume that what they meant was that your master's degree was too long ago to count as recent study. It may be that they've used this as screening criteria to whittle down the number of applicants. A better way of dealing with that problem than doing an Access course would be to do an OU module or two, but only when you've checked with your target unis what they would accept.

    It would help if you could get some better information out of the unis that would be considering your application. Who have you had 'feedback' from so far? If it's not the admissions tutors directly, perhaps it would be a good idea to try and speak to them, to find out if there was anything else about your profile that undermined your application.

    Finally, on the funding issue - if you couldn't get a bursary or loan for the conversion course, you may be stuck with the same problem for a standard undergraduate degree. As you already have a degree, you will be caught by the "ELQ" rules unless the new degree is on a limited list of subjects, mostly STEM. I'd suggest getting some specialist advice on this one.
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    Thanks for the reply.

    I've checked the funding and its fine. Basically certain undergraduates degrees (think mainly healthcare related) are counted as exempt, what this basically means is anyone can get a loan to study for them. This is not the case with the postgraduate degree.

    I been trying to get in touch with people from the university but this hasn't been easy.
    I emailed my first choice asking for feedback and they sent me a standardized letter just saying 'Sorry you did not meet our criteria' and further said that they would not give any further feedback. I have tried again to contact but they are careful not to provide contact details for any of the admission tutors.

    As for my second choice they sent me a rejection letter which has on it that they would not provide feedback. The best I could do here was contact a receptionist in the department who was pretty clueless, after explaining my predicament repeatedly I managed to get him to speak to his superior (he refused to put me in touch with an admissions tutor). He passed on a message from his superior which was basically 'do an access course'.

    Think my only option at the moment is to go up to the universities in person and just hope they don't boot me out.
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    PGCE training?
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    (Original post by Rubbra)
    Thanks for the reply.

    I've checked the funding and its fine. Basically certain undergraduates degrees (think mainly healthcare related) are counted as exempt, what this basically means is anyone can get a loan to study for them. This is not the case with the postgraduate degree.

    I been trying to get in touch with people from the university but this hasn't been easy.
    I emailed my first choice asking for feedback and they sent me a standardized letter just saying 'Sorry you did not meet our criteria' and further said that they would not give any further feedback. I have tried again to contact but they are careful not to provide contact details for any of the admission tutors.

    As for my second choice they sent me a rejection letter which has on it that they would not provide feedback. The best I could do here was contact a receptionist in the department who was pretty clueless, after explaining my predicament repeatedly I managed to get him to speak to his superior (he refused to put me in touch with an admissions tutor). He passed on a message from his superior which was basically 'do an access course'.

    Think my only option at the moment is to go up to the universities in person and just hope they don't boot me out.
    That is deeply unhelpful. Are there any other unis you could consider applying to? It might be worth contacting them - as a potential applicant, even if it's unlikely you would actually do so - to see what their expectations are. I really don't think the "advice" to do an access course was at all considered or appropriate for someone in your situation..

    PQ have you got any suggestions for getting past this really poor stone-walling?
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    I would suggest that instead of asking for feedback you contact them as a new applicant asking for advice for someone who has no recent studies on what they recommend. While an access course feels like a step backwards these courses are enormously competitive and they can afford to insist that everyone they interview has a year of full time study in the last year or so if that’s something that they think is required to succeed on the course.

    Are you 100% set on physio? There’s a lot of other health professions courses that are less oversubscribed.

    If you do take an access diploma then an Advanced Learner Loan would pay the fees and would be written off once you have a degree. It’s still not great (no funding for living costs) but might work out financially better than the alternatives (and would give you the widest range of options).
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    (Original post by PQ)
    I would suggest that instead of asking for feedback you contact them as a new applicant asking for advice for someone who has no recent studies on what they recommend. While an access course feels like a step backwards these courses are enormously competitive and they can afford to insist that everyone they interview has a year of full time study in the last year or so if that’s something that they think is required to succeed on the course.

    Are you 100% set on physio? There’s a lot of other health professions courses that are less oversubscribed.

    If you do take an access diploma then an Advanced Learner Loan would pay the fees and would be written off once you have a degree. It’s still not great (no funding for living costs) but might work out financially better than the alternatives (and would give you the widest range of options).
    ie the physio courses?!

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    Rubbra
    A great suggestion from PQ to consider alternatives.

    Years ago someone once explained to me the difference between a physio and an occupational therapist. The physio works to maintain or restore physical function, while the OT helps you to make the most of what you have, mentally and physically, and to find workarounds for the limitations you can't change. OTs, for instance, play an essential part in keeping older frail people out of hospital and care homes. You will never be out of work.

    I know an OT who trained as a mature student (with three young children and a husband whose job took him away from home for weeks at a time) qualifying a little over ten years ago. She had A levels but no recent study, so worked as an HCA in a hospital locally and did an OU module over a year. Since she qualified, she has been promoted at least twice. When she has moved from one part of the country to another, she has been able to get agency work in minutes, and had a choice of substantive posts. With the increasing numbers of older people, I don't see this changing much, assuming you are competent and personable .

    OTs are also much needed in paediatric and mental health services. You can work for local authorities as well as the NHS, and some OTs even go into private practice.
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    Yeah - physio gets so many applications it's ridiculous. I've known courses get nearly 1,000 applicants for 20 places - that means 800-900 getting rejected without any interview which is the sort of scale that means no feedback and that the people making those initial decisions aren't academic staff - they'll be admissions staff who are working through a set of fixed criteria set by the academic staff to score each application.

    There's physio courses that are less selective - looking at Which? East London and Wolverhampton both make offers to over half their applicants - that implies that they're either less swamped with applications or they know that even if they make a lot of offers they're less likely to be picked as firm (compared to Liverpool which only offers to 4% of applicants).

    It's also worth waiting to see whether there's any vacancies in Extra - there's always the chance that a university will realise that they've been too picky or similar and will need to find a few extra students.
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    And in terms of other health professional courses:

    dietetics, occupational therapy, orthoptics, orthotics and prosthetics, physiotherapy, podiatry/chiropody, diagnostic radiography, therapeutic radiography, speech and language therapy and operating department practice

    Someone with an interest in physio may well be able to pursue that through OT or orthotics (and podiatry can include specific physio specialties)
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    (Original post by PQ)
    Yeah - physio gets so many applications it's ridiculous. I've known courses get nearly 1,000 applicants for 20 places - that means 800-900 getting rejected without any interview which is the sort of scale that means no feedback and that the people making those initial decisions aren't academic staff - they'll be admissions staff who are working through a set of fixed criteria set by the academic staff to score each application.

    There's physio courses that are less selective - looking at Which? East London and Wolverhampton both make offers to over half their applicants - that implies that they're either less swamped with applications or they know that even if they make a lot of offers they're less likely to be picked as firm (compared to Liverpool which only offers to 4% of applicants).

    It's also worth waiting to see whether there's any vacancies in Extra - there's always the chance that a university will realise that they've been too picky or similar and will need to find a few extra students.
    Crazy.

    (Original post by PQ)
    And in terms of other health professional courses:

    dietetics, occupational therapy, orthoptics, orthotics and prosthetics, physiotherapy, podiatry/chiropody, diagnostic radiography, therapeutic radiography, speech and language therapy and operating department practice

    Someone with an interest in physio may well be able to pursue that through OT or orthotics (and podiatry can include specific physio specialties)
    PRSOM again :tongue:

    Rubbra I would add to this list audiology (although it's a narrower field in every sense).
 
 
 
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