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NOT applying to medicine at last minute
14

bluejeanius · 29/08/2021 18:17

DD has everything in place to apply for medicine next term: high predicted grades, volunteering, online courses, small amount of RL work experience, relevant paid job etc.

Now she has gone right off the idea (UCAT preparation all summer long might have made her lose the actual will to live) and is now thinking about Chemistry/Pharmacology degrees.

The issues I see are that she isn't doing an EPQ (not of benefit for most medicine degree applications) and many of the universities seem to give lower offers if you have an EPQ - so if you don't have an EPQ you are actually getting a higher offer and at a disadvantage.

Plus no relevant work experience and no relevant online courses (though that is being addressed now).

Only thing in her favour are the good predicted grades.

What can she do to boost her application and what 'good' universities don't care about EPQ? She is still very ambitious and aiming high so just making 'safe' applications won't be want she wants to do.

(ps she can't start her EPQ late because she is taking an A level with a coursework project that starts in September and makes up an important part of final mark, which is basically the same amount of work as an EPQ, plus of course getting the actual high predicted marks is going to be a huge endeavour. Plus of course she wasted the summer studying for a UCAT when EPQ students were working on their EPQs.)

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titchy · 29/08/2021 18:25

Is she definitely not planning med? Or is this a last minute wobble? I wouldn't worry about the lack of EPQ or experience for Chem - it's a low demand subject and she's almost guaranteed an offer and place if she's a medicine grade calibre student. Pharmacology I don't know about - not many places do Pharmacy (higher demand than supply) and Pharmacology maybe the sort of subject would-be Pharmacists do if they don't get the pharmacy offer. Again though I don't imagine lack of epq would be an issue.

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bluejeanius · 29/08/2021 18:30

No it is a wobble, but a pretty big one. The offers in the prospectuses are like A*AA or AAA - so look the same as medicine to me!
These aren't even Oxbridge - which another matter all together - her predicted grades would be enough but presumably she won't have accomplished any of the other rigmarole required for Oxbridge.
When I say Chemistry I mean more applied stuff e.g. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, Natural Sciences etc, not pure Chemistry. Sorry if that was misleading.

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bluejeanius · 29/08/2021 18:39

And what to do about a CV that makes it clear that the previous intention was to study medicine? All the school subject references are also focussed on this!
It is having to start again from scratch.
Is it worth coming clean on UCAS application that there was a change of mind or just start from scratch with a rather bare application!

There was no careers advice in year 12, that was just for year 13. So we have been going it alone.

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mumsneedwine · 29/08/2021 18:49

For her PS just mention v briefly that she had wanted medicine but realised not for her as interests lay more in research/lab work/drugs. But grades required will be the same as medicine at most Unis for Pharmacology. Subject references can easily be tweaked by whoever is finalising her application.
Has she sat the UCAT already ? Worth doing it anyway and then see how she feels after that. Might be fear of failure (v v common).

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TheRoomWhereItHappened · 29/08/2021 18:53

She won’t be alone as quite a few potential medics change track last minute to a different subject. Application process is nowhere near as rigorous for the subjects mentioned so she needn’t worry. Also if she’s applying for a course like biochemistry or pharmacology then a lot of her medic stuff may well still be relevant, and certainly will show her interest in the area.

One thing it’s worth her noting is the difference between a pharmacology degree and a pharmacy degree, as they are not the same although they do have crossover. Pharmacology links a lot with biochemistry and is all about drug mechanisms, toxicity and methods of drug development. Pharmacy has elements of this, but is I believe an accredited degree that helps you become a pharmacist and as such contains a lot more on drug interactions, side effects and dosing requirements. They’re both good degrees she just needs to make sure which one she’d want.

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bluejeanius · 29/08/2021 20:50

Thanks, some of it is fear of the blooming UCAT (plus some burnout after really full-on pressurised year 12 exams that will probably turn out to be harder than the actual A levels next years) and some of it is the fact that it will be even harder than normal to get in 2022 due to all the deferrals from 2021, so why give 4 of 5 options to a course for which there just aren't that many places and those places will be decided quite arbitrarily since many candidates will be exactly what the courses will be looking for but there isn't room for them all, and she's not willing to put life on hold for a year to reapply for 2023 (or get asked to defer by university if she does get a place for 2022, which happened this year and due to the domino effect will happen again next year).
But definitely not Pharmacy, the life of a high street pharmacist is not appealing to her and the hospital pharmacists are stuck on the rubbish NHS pay scale which means they can never earn as much as even a newly qualified medic fresh out of med school.

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LaLaFlottes · 29/08/2021 21:28

I can’t help with the question about other courses but wonder if perhaps she should do the UCAT seeing as she’s done all of the preparation? Then if she scores highly it might boost her confidence in her application and she might change her mind back to medicine again?

Not suggesting that she needs to change her mind back - but just that it sounds like a wobble rather than a complete change of heart. It sounds like she’s put in all of the ground work.

After going through the application process with DD for 2021 entry I totally understand how it can seem like such a long shot.

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SeasonFinale · 30/08/2021 15:32

The dropped grades for EPQ are only really relevant if she was unlikely to meet an A*AA offer anyway. So it won't matter as you say she is performing at that or higher anyway.

If she was preparing for medicine I would assume that she has at least 2 out of Maths Chemistry and Biology which means she also has the requisite A levels for her new choice too so there is no need to explain away her choices.

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bluejeanius · 30/08/2021 16:16

Thanks for the replies.
UCAT has already been pushed back once and DD currently at refusal stage. I think there is also an element of the overpreparing for the UCAT. It probably would have been fine if taken 3 weeks ago. But people say to allow 6 weeks, which she did, just ran out of steam after 4!

I get very contrary now reading prospectuses that mention reduced offers for EPQ, especially since one of DD's A levels has a significant piece of coursework.

I think she is fine with the application process being harder, but not with it being worse if that makes sense (earlier deadline, hearing back later, only one backup choice not medicine etc).

It is a shame there has been so little opportunity for real-life work experience as that might give motivation for the medicine application or resolve the doubt.

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mumsneedwine · 30/08/2021 16:25

@bluejeanius only a v few places give lower for the EPQ. Majority places require AAA and some AAB if that helps. Get her to sit the UCAT as she's done the hard work by even looking at it. If she gets a bad score then she can look at other courses. If she gets a good score (& SJT counts for a lot in some places this year so get a 1 and lower score not as bad), then she can think medicine or not. But she will have the option.
It's always hard, it's always tough to wait for interviews and offers. But if she is still keen then it's worth a try maybe ? Ask her if she'll always ask 'what if' if she doesn't try. Someone has to get those offers & why not her 😊

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HopelesslydevotedtoGu · 30/08/2021 18:43

I would sit the UCAT and see how she scores. She has presumably wanted to do medicine for some time and be motivated to do work experience and revise for UCAT. I'd not move away from that plan just yet. If she scores well she can consider what to do, if she scores poorly then that is at least helpful information for making decisions.

On my medical degree some students transferred to a related degree course during y1 and y2 as they decided medicine wasn't for them. It is easier to move out of a medicine degree than into it!

others did an intercalated year in y3 and some chose to leave with their intercalated BSc degree.

One benefit of medicine is that it's a very broad career, with many career options available. If you are on a doctor payscale you will earn more than many non-doctor colleagues in hospital, research etc.

Obviously she may decide medicine isn't for her, but given her strong motivation thus far, I'd be wary of changing her mind when she's embroiled in exam revision.

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Millylovespuddles · 31/08/2021 07:23

DD's school has never offered the choice of doing an EPQ, so it never occurred to her that it might be a disadvantage.
I'm inclined to second others' responses by saying give the UCAT a go and see how she feels.

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Abetes · 31/08/2021 07:58

Not having an EPQ won't be a disadvantage. Lots of schools don't offer it so Universities don't expect it.

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Dancingdreamer · 31/08/2021 20:47

Just to advise that if your DC decides not to do medicine at the moment and wants to later do a grad conversion to medicine, do look carefully at which undergrad course they take. Chemistry isn’t always accepted as a suitable preparation for post grad medicine by some schools. Bio chemistry may give wider choices.

Alternatively, has your DC considered taking a year out and working as a health care assistant in a hospital for 12 months? This would give a real insight into the world of healthcare (the culture and bureaucracy is often a shock and isn’t for everyone) but would also look great on the application afterwards if they like what they see.

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