Money is a big factor - have been looking at a professional studies loan from the HSBC so that I can pay off my debts before starting. These loans allow you to defer payments until back in the world of work but the cost is massive. If you borrow the maximum of £25,000, the repayments work out around 400 per month for eight years. Scary!
I have had a few emails from people who have read my blog (It's a nice feeling to think that someone would want to plough through these posts) asking how an oldie gets into medicine. If any of you have been watching the recent ITV programme "Vital Signs", you will be under the assumption that one day you can wake up, decide to be a doctor, walk into the nearest medical school and ask for a place!
Hmmmmm.....today I am going to be a doctor!
If only this were the case.....getting into medicine as an oldie in a labour of love and much jumping through hoops is needed, although there certainly more opportunites than there were ten years ago. I qualified as a nurse in the mid nineties and went to Kings College to complete my nursing degree. One day, I knocked on the dean's door to speak to him about becoming a medical student. He laughed at me - no joke! His words were along the line that in his experience, nurses struggled to do medicine and so he would not be happy to consider me (He was eating an egg sandwich as he said this and at one point he spat some egg onto my sleeve)
I remember walking out feeling like shite on his shoe and pretty much come back to Wales with my tail between my legs.
Anyway, then it was unusual for schools to look at non-traditional students but now things have changed. There are opportunites for older students from non-traditional backgrounds, but the competition is fierce. I found out most of my information on two helpful internet forums:
There are two options for the oldie wanting to study medicine:
- Applying to medical school for a traditional five year course (Will need A Levels or degree or access course)
- Applying to one of the newer Graduate entry programmes (GEPs) A 2:1 degree is normally needed, unless it is one of the schools that use the dreaded GAMSAT test - you can apply for these schools with a 2:2. Georges and Notts use GAMSAT - not sure if any others do
Both of these courses have the same outcome, but GEPs attract an NHS bursary in years 2,3 and 4 and allow you to start work as a doctor a year earlier. For a traditional five year course, graduates will not be able to get a student loan to cover course fees and so will need to find £3000 each year from 1-4, and then an NHS bursary in year 5.
Either way, a massive amount of debt seems to be the only way of getting through medical school as an oldie!