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    Hello all! My first post here. I'm a "mature student" (ha! - in age but not behaviour, LOL) with a previous BA degree in Journalism from NYU in the States. I've given the whole media industry a few years and decided it's not for me, so I've been planning to go back to school to re-specialise for a new career.

    My main interest for the longest time has been Law, as I worked as a paralegal in Manhattan for a year and really enjoyed it, so I've been getting together my applications for 2010 intake into a few graduate-entry legal programmes. But lately my thoughts have started wandering towards another profession entirely - namely the health sciences.

    For one, it seems as though every country in the world is brimming over with qualified solicitors. I really don't want to be yet another faceless LLB grad vying for billable hours (my interest mainly lies in public advocacy and humanitarian-type law, but good luck finding a job in THAT sector that pays more than pennies).

    On the other hand, health professions seem to be the ONLY recession-proof occupation these days - and that, combined with the ability to work in the public service, does make it a very attractive option to me. I don't like the idea of my hard-earned skills not being in demand; if I'm going to go to the effort of slogging through university, I want a job offer at the end of it! (Thankfully I have managed to remain pretty steadily employed on the basis of my BA, but not necessarily in the positions I wanted to be in.)

    However, the problem of course is that although I have a previous degree, it's not in a health science. So I'm wondering, if I did decide to go this route, what the best way of making up these prerequisites would be - I presume I would need at least one successful course in biology, chemistry, and anatomy. I've heard about "foundation years" but they seem to be geared more for individuals who have few or no prior qualifications. Is my best option to take some A-level bio and chem, or are there better options for converting a liberal arts degree to a health science one?

    Also to keep in mind is the fact that my partner will likely also be starting full-time university education this autumn, so as the primary income-earner (at least for the first year), a part-time study option for me would be ideal.

    Thoughts? Ideas? Am I making any sense?
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    You can do an Access course, which is a year long (or possibly part-time over 2 years). Check your local college to see what's available, but generally you can do them in Applied Science or Health Sciences, depending on which health profession you are interested in. The course is equivalent to 3 A levels, covers appropriate topics and is ideal for mature students. I did one and loved it.

    Or there is always the option of studying with the Open University.
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    Thanks for the advice. I'm slightly hesitant to go the Access route, mainly because 1) it will take two years to complete part-time, and 2) I get the feeling it would include a lot of material that would be redundant for me, having previously studied at the BA level.

    I noticed that you are able to actually take A-levels even as a mature student, and that this option can feasibly be done while working full-time. The college I was looking at charges £700 per course. I wonder if I would be accepted simply with two A-levels in biology and chemistry (or even just one?? I might be asking too much, lol). They only offer chemistry at the A2 level (bio is available at A2 or AS)...could anyone explain the difference between the two levels?

    ETA: Sorry, that'll teach me to post at 7am. Yawn. I didn't realise that A-levels were a two-year deal in the UK (the American equivalent, AP exams, are just one year of blood, sweat, tears and nervous breakdowns).

    Any thoughts (positive or negative) about distance learning outfits like NEC? At first glance it seems like it's half the price of doing an A-level at a college - £350-ish versus £700 in the classroom - but I'm not sure how much to add on top of that in terms of booking your test slot, books, etc.
 
 
 

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