DD got a rejection a week after her interview :-(

(23 Posts)
cactusisblooming Thu 17-Dec-20 19:57:42

Last week dd had an online interview for physiotherapy, which she said went really well. She did a lot of research beforehand and answered well, there were no awkward silences and she was fairly confident that she was going to get an offer. The interviewer told her she wouldn't hear until February after all of the interviews were completed. Tonight she got a UCAS notification that she was "unsuccessful, rejected or the course is full". It was a bit of a shock to the system and she has emailed for feedback, but I can only assume that something went very wrong for her to get rejected so early? Her predicted grades were above what the univeristy was asking for.
Any advice/possible reasons from those with experience would be greatly appreciated.

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smashedspuds Thu 17-Dec-20 20:22:54

Sorry to hear that your daughter wasn't successful, it can be so disheartening.

A rejection doesn't mean that anything has gone wrong however or that she has done anything wrong. Like many healthcare related courses, it's likely to be very competitive. For example, subjects like Midwifery tend to attract upwards of 1000 applications at some universities for just 50 places on the course. I also suspect it's not a course offered at more or less every university in the country.

In truth there are very often more good candidates than places and you can't offer everyone a spot. It is typical for it to take 2 or more application cycles to get a place on a competitive course. It's also a course I suspect is as popular with mature students as college leavers. Those who are younger I would argue are perhaps more likely to receive rejections as time is on their side and it also gives them a year to go away and get some experience- something that mature students quite often already bring to the table.

Just for peace of mind also, it's not early to receive a decision. Applications have been open for a few months for many courses now and close in only a few weeks time. Most universities are interviewing, giving out offers and rejections at this point. Some do choose to wait until around March to give out places, but in practice rejections and offers do usually go out along the way too.

I would wait on the feedback she receives and go from there.

cactusisblooming Thu 17-Dec-20 20:30:59

Thanks smashed. Surprisingly within an hour of her emailing she received very detailed feedback, and they stated that applicants are rated A, B or C and due to exceptionally high numbers of applicants this year they are only considering A (exceptional). They also said that several of her responses were not what they were looking for, eg she was asked about a difficult situation where she resolved it and dd mentioned about a very difficult situation with her boss and a customer in her retail job. She used the NHS core values in her answer as part of the resolution, but the feedback said they were looking for a situation/resolution that included team playing. Apparently some of her answers were superficial and did not include enough scope of physio across all areas, but dd said that she was specifically asked what area of physio she wanted to specialize in and to talk about that hmm The feedback was very detailed and therefore helpful, I just hope that she gets at least two offers and her confidence isn't too crushed. I knew it would be very competitive but not that much so, I feel like I have let her down by not getting her coached for the interview now (if such a thing exists?)

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JacobReesMogadishu Thu 17-Dec-20 20:35:44

I’m a lecturer on a similar health degree and the places available are so small that sadly we have to turn good candidates down. Out of people we interview I’d say only about 20% get offered a place.

Has she got more interviews elsewhere? Can she remember what she got asked and what she talked about in her answers?

I don’t know anything about physio specifically but I’d expect a healthcare applicant to be able to talk about the role of the profession they’re applying for so they demonstrate understood the job. Talk about why they’d make a good physio and back these things up with examples of when they’ve shown compassion, communicated well, etc. I’d want them to be able to articulate about why they want to be a physio. I’d expect them to have some know of current nhs topics such as the 6 Cs, I’d also expect them to have researched about any current issues in physiotherapy.

JacobReesMogadishu Thu 17-Dec-20 20:36:46

X posted with your last post.

JacobReesMogadishu Thu 17-Dec-20 20:42:32

It’s a shame she didn’t realise that question was about team work. Sometimes an applicant will go off on a tangent and talk about the wrong thing such as conflict resolution and as an interviewer I will then always try and bring it back to what I’m wanting them to talk about.

So when they said she didn’t talk enough about the scope of the physio in all areas I would imagine what she’s done is just answer the question rather than expand it which is what I see a lot of people doing.

So for example if a question is asked about giving an example of team working a lot of applicants will simply do that. An exceptional applicant will do that and then go on to talk about why team working is such an important part of a physio’s role, talk about inter professional working, name some of the other job roles, talk about how team working can improve outcomes, talk about how the patient is an important part of the team and should be considered at the centre of the team and involved in decisions about their care, etc.

cactusisblooming Thu 17-Dec-20 20:44:15

Thanks @JacobReesMogadishu. I knew it was competitive but not to that extent, but I do feel that dd was well prepared and well researched. She had her second interview a few days ago which she also felt went well (!), a third in January and one university doesn't interview but does a cognitive test instead (which is her first choice). She hasn't heard back yet from the fifth uni, which is her second choice but I think that will be the most competitive.

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smashedspuds Thu 17-Dec-20 20:44:53

Oh bless you. This is one of those things sadly where as much as you feel you want to support her (and by all means do) ultimately she has to get there on her own. She will be a much stronger candidate for it.

Youtube is a great resource for a lot of healthcare roles as many current students and lecturers provide free resources for interview prep. You can usually find free mock interviews, practice questions and so on which are a good place to start.

As it is an even more competitive year than usual and the fact that she may really have to shine extra bright this year I would recommend that she does some further reading outside of the NHS core values if she has not already.

Specifically- what are some current hot topics in Physiotherapy? She should be able to find these on the CSP's website.
Are there any new studies, new research, or big issues being discussed at present? Covid and how that has impacted the Physiotherapy world this year would be a good one.

If she can find a way of relating something current into her answers, she will stand out as someone who goes above and beyond.

JacobReesMogadishu Thu 17-Dec-20 20:48:34

Yes, this year is definitely more competitive. For some reason a global pandemic has made people think they want to come and work in the nhs!

cactusisblooming Thu 17-Dec-20 20:56:39

It’s a shame she didn’t realise that question was about team work

How would she have known though? She was asked to talk about a difficult situation she has experienced and how she resolved it. They were hoping for a team playing answer but the question could have obviously been answered in many (appropriate) ways.

*Specifically- what are some current hot topics in Physiotherapy? She should be able to find these on the CSP's website.
Are there any new studies, new research, or big issues being discussed at present? Covid and how that has impacted the Physiotherapy world this year would be a good one*

This is really good advice, thankyou.

When they ask at the end of the interview if you have any questions, as a health care profession Jacob is there anything specific they are looking for here?

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JacobReesMogadishu Thu 17-Dec-20 21:14:44

No, I agree. And if someone hadn’t answered it about team working and that’s what I was looking for after their answer I’d prompt them with something like “how do you think team working might help in this situation “. Obviously every uni has different questions and I’d hope ours are really quite clear what the answer should be focusing on.

As for questions at the end. Anything she wants to know about the course at that specific uni, so whether that’s about placements, teaching , modules, assessments, simulation opportunities, etc. Just try and avoid anything she could have easily found out via the website or at an open day, etc. Also remember technically she’s interviewing them as well, she could end up with more than one offer. Sometimes applicants will ask me why I’d recommend their uni above others, or something similar. I never mind those sort of questions.

Middersweekly Sun 20-Dec-20 13:17:45

I hope your DD isn’t too disappointed. She’s applied to a further 4 choices right? NHS courses are heavily over subscribed (not sure they are even funded these days but they used to be so were very popular). I did my course some years back but essentially we were told there’s 30 places and 3000 applicants had applied! That was a 1/100 shot! I’m sure they turned away some very good candidates! There was also an unwritten rule that applications should be in, in October even though the deadline was January! I hope she gets an offer from one of her other choices very soon!

TheMarzipanDildo Sun 20-Dec-20 13:22:24


Bloody hell I’m glad I never had to do interviews when applying for uni courses, I think you have to have a degree in interviewer-psychology before you get there.

dsaflausdhfiushdfakdsf Sun 20-Dec-20 13:31:21



Bloody hell I’m glad I never had to do interviews when applying for uni courses, I think you have to have a degree in interviewer-psychology before you get there.


Interviews can unfortunately filter out many great candidates who would have been brilliant at the job but not great at interviews due to the misguided notion that the people who would be best at the job would put the most work in/intrinsically come up with the best answers. This is a load of rubbish - it’s by and large a completely different skill set and part of the reason you’ll find so many incompetent people pleasers in high level roles in companies - they said all the right things in the interview.

cactusisblooming Sun 20-Dec-20 14:36:08

Whilst this sounds quite dramatic it has made me really sad, as you say there is definitely an art to these interviews and although we both did a lot of research it clearly wasn't enough. I think schools should help with AHP interviews in the same way that they coach for medicine. It is very likely that a lot of potential 'exceptionals' slip through the net just because they are not great at talking or even know what is expected of them.

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Middersweekly Sun 20-Dec-20 16:48:06

@cactusisblooming if your DD can get some NHS work experience it will really boost her application if she wishes to try again next year. Even in a voluntary capacity. Also normally universities will have full interview days for NHS related courses where candidates are put through their paces. It isn’t just an interview, it’s group collaboration and task management, mathematics, English then topped off with an interview (sometimes two). That’s how lecturers gage each individual candidate fairly. One interview is sadly not going to tell them all they need to know about that person so as you say they’ll be loosing many good candidates this year that way alone.

cactusisblooming Sun 20-Dec-20 17:19:25

midders she did actually get work experience, although it was in a private practice (this wasn't elaborated on her UCAS) rather than NHS. The interviewer did say she was very lucky to get a placement as many candidates this year didn't. Unfortunately our health Trust most likely won't be accepting work experience candidates this academic year, most physios are still working via telephone appointments.

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Groundhogdayzz Sun 20-Dec-20 17:27:55

Tell her to keep going and not to take it too hard, it isn’t any reflection on her. When there are a lot of applicants they are sometimes looking for a particular key word/theme and work off a tick list. I trained as a Physio (good number of years ago now) but got turned down at one interview because they asked me to talk about a time I’d failed at something....I’d done well at school/sports even my driving test, and never failed anything....but that was seen as a negative. I did get accepted at several other uni’s though, and took up a place elsewhere. In retrospect, the uni that turned me down wasn’t right for me anyway, the one I ended up at I loved. If she really wants that particular uni she could try working in healthcare for a year and then reapply with more experience.

LaLaFlottes Mon 21-Dec-20 11:34:09

@cactusisblooming I’m sorry to read this, it sounds like your DD answered well but they were looking for something very specific- such a shame they didn’t/wouldn’t guide her in that direction. I thought that was how follow up questions were used, to keep things on track.

DD has applied for medicine and knows how competitive it is - however as an example one of her choices has said on their website that they interview 650 people for 450 places, so it sounds like physiotherapist is eve more competitive for places if only 20% of those interviewed are made offers.

I’d take comfort in some comments on here where it sounds like other universities may be more willing to guide the candidates back to where they want them to be. It doesn’t sound like it was clear that “tell me about a time you had to resolve conflict” was actually a question specifically looking for a teamwork response. I can see how you are both a bit surprised. It seems like a very specific answer that they were looking for when in fact it’s the candidate’s own experience they have been asked about.

I hope your DD keeps her chin up and gets good news from another of her choices very soon.

For what it’s worth, coaching and so on often seems to be frowned upon, leading to scripted answers. So it’s maybe best you’ve not gone down that road - DD sounds prepared and maybe this Uni just wasn’t for her smile

jamimmi Mon 28-Dec-20 17:47:00

Physio is a very competitive course. The students we now see coming through have often been encouraged to apply for medicine but changed to physio. She needs to pehaps expand her knowledge of physio further or reference this in an interview if her only experience is private practice . I notice you mention most of the local NHS physios are doing phone call clinics only. You will find that actually most are working on the ward and intensive care managing respiratory issues due to COVID. When I interviewed students a few years ago my concern was school leavers only being aware of physios doing backs ,necks and shoulders but with no knowledge of physios in respiratory, neurology etc. Mention of wanting to work in sport quite
often results in a place not being offered as it is such a small area of specific interest and was thought to show limited knowledge. If she interviews again she needs to show intrest in a
all areas. So an answer may be. I think I might want.to work with athletes but feel I would need experience in respiratory and rehabilitation to help with this. Knowledge
of respiratory would help me identify any issues with breathing that may need rffering to a medic and rehabilitation of patients with long term neurological issues or post heart attack would benefit me by teaching me about normal movement and exercise progression The 1st 2 to 3 years of her graduate employment will be spenr doing all of these things.. Also referring to the team.and how.we all work as part.of that team giving examples of how she thinks physios relate to this may help. So comments like the physio is important to help the patient move post hip replacmwnt but they.need to work with nurses and pharmacist to ensure.pain relief is appropriate and the occupational therapists to ensure.the patient has the correct adaptations to managing at home. Shes unlikely to.have seen this.in private practice.

cactusisblooming Wed 30-Dec-20 09:08:48

jammimmi that is very helpful, I'll send that on to dd, she has her final interview in late January. She hasn't been offered an interview from Birmingham (her 2nd choice) so I assume she isn't getting one.

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jamimmi Thu 31-Dec-20 18:03:50

Hope it helps. Just in from work so only just seen this. Not sure when Birmingham interviews as I'm in Lancashire normally its after Christmas for most unis

charlotteawhitehouse Mon 18-Jan-21 10:00:19

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