The Student Room Group

MSC Orthoptics - return to uni feasible after a long break from studying?

Hello, I'm thinking about applying for the MSC Orthoptics course at UCL. I have a Biology degree, but graduated 35 years ago, and I'm wondering whether I will have the skills to study at this level. Does anyone have any experience of this course (or a Masters in general)who could advise on how challenging it might be to return to uni after such a long break? There is quite a bit of learning through work experience and placements, which I'm hoping might make it more attainable than a purely academic course. Thanks
I just finished an MSc and so my two cents are that I think as long as you feel that you would be able to follow and keep up with the content of a postgraduate degree; by this I mean that how capable do you feel in research/research methods, following scientific journal papers and writing? What was your professional experience? Did you stay in a related field?

I think the best thing to do is really just look at the course website and get an understanding for what will be expected of you - it sounds like you've already done this since you mention the focus on work experience/placements that are part of the course, if this sounds like something you'll be capable of then I'm sure you'll be fine! I think the biggest challenge after such a long time out of formal education is just remembering what it's like to be an academic and especially with postgrad, the level of focus and detail can be a bit daunting.

On a semi-related note, I've just helped my mother apply to a master's program after spending 30+ years in finance so I can empathises with both your hesitancy and keenness.

In terms of applying generally, postgrad is a lot more about suitability to the course and showing you have the necessary skills to complete it i.e. it's not about being perfect grades and they tend not to be trying to catch you out in the same way undergrad sometimes felt. Focus on your transferable skills and unique perspective that other applicants won't have.
Original post by Gimmer
Hello, I'm thinking about applying for the MSC Orthoptics course at UCL. I have a Biology degree, but graduated 35 years ago, and I'm wondering whether I will have the skills to study at this level. Does anyone have any experience of this course (or a Masters in general)who could advise on how challenging it might be to return to uni after such a long break? There is quite a bit of learning through work experience and placements, which I'm hoping might make it more attainable than a purely academic course. Thanks

Hi Gimmer,

I completely agree with everything that Lawling404 said above. Particularly this part:
Original post by lawling404
postgrad is a lot more about suitability to the course and showing you have the necessary skills to complete it i.e. it's not about being perfect grades and they tend not to be trying to catch you out in the same way undergrad sometimes felt. Focus on your transferable skills and unique perspective that other applicants won't have.


Everyone comes into a postgrad with different experiences. Their undergraduates will be different, some will have hands-on experience and other won't. Many people take breaks between their undergraduate and postgraduate to work, travel, or get some experience in other ways like internships. Many others go to a new country and have to learn a new language and culture.

What you may find difficult is getting back into the 'studying' mindset after being in a 'working' one for so long. If you're also worried some of your info may be out of date, why not find an online course to do (there are so many free ones!) that can remind you of what it's like to sit in a lecture for an hour (or several), taking notes and then going and researching that topic further?
Depending on what it is you want to learn, and your level, one I like to use is Kahn academy. I'm a biology postgrad, but any time I come up against a problem using analytical chemistry I find it really useful to quickly revise the basics there.
https://www.khanacademy.org/
If you have access to LinkedIn Learning, that's also a really popular one. They have plenty of coding courses there (which is what I used it for), but also soft skills and plenty more to choose from! It is usually paid, but many institutions give access to their students and staff (I have mine through Cranfield University).
Youtube has endless videos, as long as you make sure the information you're getting is reliable!

Hope this helps, and let us know how you're getting on!
Ciara
2nd year Agrifood PhD student
Cranfield Student Ambassador
Reply 3
Original post by lawling404
I just finished an MSc and so my two cents are that I think as long as you feel that you would be able to follow and keep up with the content of a postgraduate degree; by this I mean that how capable do you feel in research/research methods, following scientific journal papers and writing? What was your professional experience? Did you stay in a related field?

I think the best thing to do is really just look at the course website and get an understanding for what will be expected of you - it sounds like you've already done this since you mention the focus on work experience/placements that are part of the course, if this sounds like something you'll be capable of then I'm sure you'll be fine! I think the biggest challenge after such a long time out of formal education is just remembering what it's like to be an academic and especially with postgrad, the level of focus and detail can be a bit daunting.

On a semi-related note, I've just helped my mother apply to a master's program after spending 30+ years in finance so I can empathises with both your hesitancy and keenness.

In terms of applying generally, postgrad is a lot more about suitability to the course and showing you have the necessary skills to complete it i.e. it's not about being perfect grades and they tend not to be trying to catch you out in the same way undergrad sometimes felt. Focus on your transferable skills and unique perspective that other applicants won't have.


Thank you so much for your helpful reponse.
Original post by Gimmer
Thank you so much for your helpful reponse.

You're welcome and I'm glad you found it helpful! Best of luck x
Original post by Gimmer
Hello, I'm thinking about applying for the MSC Orthoptics course at UCL. I have a Biology degree, but graduated 35 years ago, and I'm wondering whether I will have the skills to study at this level. Does anyone have any experience of this course (or a Masters in general)who could advise on how challenging it might be to return to uni after such a long break? There is quite a bit of learning through work experience and placements, which I'm hoping might make it more attainable than a purely academic course. Thanks


Hi there!

Hope you are well? I'm a current undergraduate Orthoptics student at the University of Sheffield so thought I would pop in and offer any help. Although I don't study at masters and I am not a mature student, if you have any questions about the course in general I am more than happy to help!

Alisha
3rd Year
BMedSci
Reply 6
Masters are hard, really hard. But with enough commitment, motivation and resources, anybody can graduate, regardless of their age. Don't be discouraged, age is not a central factor. More importantly, you will need time to study and the financial means to support yourself through your studies.
(edited 9 months ago)

Quick Reply