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Alternatives to medicine
33

Newgirls · 28/06/2019 09:02

Hi wise people

DD is in y12 and hoping to apply for medicine. She’s done good work experience and is hoping to be predicted As after the recent mocks and is entered for the ucat. My question is what courses do students apply for as ‘back-ups’? Did your teens put down say 3-4 medicine options and then one eg Biology? She’d like to work with people/children rather than laboratory work so she doesn’t think bio sciences is quite right? Midwifery appeals but seems v focused so young? She is realistic that even with good grades etc she needs a back up plan - any advice from people who have been there would be v welcome! Thanks!

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goodbyestranger · 28/06/2019 09:06

My own DS didn't put down a fifth choice as he was clear he wanted to do Medicine and would have re-applied had it come to it.

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Starryskiesinthesky · 28/06/2019 09:07

My son had physics as his back up - just because that was what he enjoyed as a subject. He also thought about psychology.

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moreismore · 28/06/2019 09:07

It’s less of a back up and more of an alternative but how about chiropractic? Have a look at AECC University College.

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Stopyourhavering64 · 28/06/2019 09:13

Neuroscience....I have friend whose dd didn't get into Medicine first time round, so went to Cardiff to do study neuroscience....she got a first and then entered graduate Medicine course at Liverpool ( entered 2nd yr of course) and finally graduated as Dr....

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DianaBlythe · 28/06/2019 09:19

It depends how she wants to play things. She doesn’t have to fill all her choices. If she doesn’t get in her backup plan might be to reapply next year. Previously people often used to put things like biomedical sciences with a view to either changing during or after the course. With tuition fees as they are now graduate entry medicine is more complicated financially but again that might be something she’s considering.

Many years ago I put my two backups as Pharmacy and Medical Genetics with a
view to going on and doing genetic counselling. It was useful to have a couple of extra interview practices and the offers came through earlier which was a nice confidence boost.

We have pharmacists at work who do their own clinics.

Other things people don’t immediately think of - Radiography (diagnostic or therapeutic) - involved with taking images and scans or giving radiotherapy.

Cardiac Physiology - involved with pacemakers, echo scans, assessing the heart during angiography.

Physician associate - 2 years postgraduate after a healthcare or science related degree and have functions similar to middle grade junior doctors or find their own little niche.

Operating department practitioner - work closely with anaesthetists in theatre. I think you can now do a degree in this directly.

Embryologists have quite a bit of patient contact during IVF.

There are millions of different careers in Nursing.

Occupational therapy, dietetics, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy.

It’s usually pretty obvious if someone’s applying as a backup to medicine and I think different courses and institutions view this differently.

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bruffin · 28/06/2019 09:26

Dd is doing Occupationsl therapy T its a very practical course, with just one exam in first year and mostly spent doing placements. (Dd first year was forensic mental health and a stroke ward)
For OT you have to have an interview and show lots of experience

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Needmoresleep · 28/06/2019 09:32

Mine put down four medicine choices only, as her fall back was a gap year. If your DD really wants to study medicine I would recommend this, as there is a chance she might get a late offer. (It is far from unknown for Med Schools to go back to rejected applicants through the summer, indeed it happened to a friends son a couple of weeks back.) Plus a year's maturity away from the stress of A levels, with the experience of going through it before, normally means you are a stronger applicant, and should start University with some savings and wider experience.

Taking medicine as a graduate is one option, though funding can be a problem and entry can be very competitive. Perhaps better to seek out a course that allows transfers at the end of the first year. Graduate entry also makes intercalation (taking a year out to study something different/specialist - a third of DDs year will do this) more difficult if not impossible.

Alternatives will also depend on what A levels she is studying, and where her strengths and interests lie. DD would have opted for engineering, but she had more flexibility as she took more than three A levels and was strongest in maths/physics.

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AuntieStella · 28/06/2019 09:34

Can you manage a gap year? If so, I'd not put down any fall backs this time round, and if it doesn't come off, then take stock in light of actual grades and research options then.

The two main lines of attack would be to do a degree allied to medicine (many suggestions here), but would that feel like 'second best' if it was the upshot of the same application that was really aimed at medicine? If so, a year out for more thinking time might be a good idea. Or a completely different degree, in her preferred/best A level subject, or another one that intrigues her and which she can start ab initio? And then she can work out where it will take her in slower time.

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Kilash · 28/06/2019 10:54

What about Physiotherapy or Radiography?

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Newgirls · 28/06/2019 10:55

What brilliant replies thank you all. Will read through again and make notes. Lots of roles there I don’t know about and I imagine she won’t either.

Good point about the gap year. It seems a wise move to get on the right course but if all pals go away a bit tough - we def need to have that as a positive option.

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Needmoresleep · 28/06/2019 11:00

OP, DD built Gap year plans into her thinking right from the outset. (Working, then ski season then Camp America.) She only got an offer at the end of March, and by then was really looking forward to a year away from studying, so deferred and took the gap year anyway. She has not regretted it. Indeed some of her peers regret not doing the same.

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Newgirls · 28/06/2019 11:14

Googling the courses - medical genetics looks right up her street. I had no idea that was an option at undergrad. Going though the others too / mumsnet is a wonder thanks!

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oneteen · 28/06/2019 11:22

@DianaBlythe - What an excellent post.

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Newgirls · 28/06/2019 16:50

Agree a fab post and quite fancy that gap year myself 🎿 ☀️

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RedHelenB · 28/06/2019 17:50

Dd is doing dentistry and only applied for that. She was going to take a gap year if she disnt fet any offers and apply with results in hand.

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peteneras · 29/06/2019 08:20

Everything being equal, your DD should seriously consider Dentistry instead of Medicine. I've many close family members who are dentists - as well as many medical doctors - and I see the dentists are usually more relaxed and have more leisure time. That's not to mention they earn more money too.

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IDontGiveABagOfDicks · 29/06/2019 08:24

University of Leicester do Medical Microbiology, Medical Genetics (and 2 others) - and if you pass the first year with good enough grades you can move onto Medicine.

I applied there last year and was offered a place, it was my ideal (as I’m older and was doing an Access Science course so couldn’t apply directly to Medicine) however I had to turn it down due to logistics.

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lljkk · 29/06/2019 09:14

School put on a prospective medics talk including 2 of their ex-pupils talking about their applicant journey. The ex-pupils both said they left the 5th choice blank. DD expects to do that, too. She has zero interest in alternatives right now.

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Newgirls · 30/06/2019 08:55

My lovely dentist def has a nice life. Will mention! Interesting about the medical genetics I don’t - that you can switch. Surprised to hear that - do other unis take that approach too?

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Newgirls · 30/06/2019 08:58

Quite a few of you have mentioned don’t put a 5th. Is that because it’s a disadvantage? Or more that you might get it and then you have to take it? I guess student could always decide not to take the 5th place offer (it they get it)?

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Newgirls · 30/06/2019 09:00

Ps I don’t - hope your logistics worked out?

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lljkk · 30/06/2019 10:59

DD doesn't want the hassle of choosing a 5th. That's the only advantage, the decision is now made & not something to take up her mental energy with.

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HappyHedgehog247 · 30/06/2019 11:03

If she is interested in mental health, clinical psychology is fascinating. Psychology undergrad (which keeps lots of options open) and then 3 year Doctorate.

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alreadytaken · 30/06/2019 11:34

There were a couple of courses where you had a prospect of moving into medicine later if you did well, mine put down one of them. Times change so you'd have to do your own research on what places currently offer. It is sometimes used as an inducement to get good candidates onto Biomedical courses.

There is no disadvantage to the student putting down a 5th choice, you dont have to go there if you decided a gap years suits you better. In fairness to other candidates you should decide that before clearing. In general a gap year and reapply makes more financial sense.

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SirTobyBelch · 30/06/2019 20:06

Depends on what she realistically expects to happen. If she's confident of getting the required A-level grades and would reapply next year if she doesn't get any medicine offers, there's no point using the fifth choice. If she isn't confident of getting the grades and would want to apply for medicine as a graduate later if she doesn't, using the fifth choice for a course she would actually want to do is a good idea as it cuts out fretting over clearing.

I would rarely recommend biology as a choice of undergraduate degree as it is much too broad and no course will cover all of it. There are hundreds of courses that cover more focused areas of biology, some of which have been suggested. Ecology & conservation and cell & molecular biology, for example, both come under the heading of biology but most students would be much more interested in one than the other, and particular careers - including medicine-related ones - might require something towards one end of this spectrum. Whatever someone chooses as a degree to possibly take her into medicine as a graduate (and many medicine courses don't require science degrees), it has to be something she can use if she still doesn't succeed in getting into medicine second time around. She neeeds to have a plan B and work out what would be the best degree for that, while keeping an eye on whether it would also be acceptable to get her into medicine as a graduate.

While biomedical science degree courses are often full of people who didn't get into medicine, I would recommend thinking very carefully before going down this path. The career that a biomedical science degree specifically prepares you for is not one that most people aspiring to be doctors would want to follow. Universities do good business recruiting disappointed medics onto biomedical science courses, but it's rarely the best option for them.

Using the fifth choice for another health profession course (e.g. pharmacy or physiotherapy) can be a bit risky. Physiotherapy admissions tutors might look a little askance at a personal statement that is clearly written for medicine. Pharmacy might be a bit more forgiving, given the huge oversupply of places and desperation of some universities to fill them, but they will still want to see at least the tiniest spark of interest in pharmacy.

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