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Yet another career question

  1. May 1, 2006 #1
    I am inspired make this thread partly because of the fact that I must resign myself yet again to at least one more years wait before starting Uni (found out that because of a HND I hold in Graphic Design (really wish I didn't) I will not get either a student loan or a tuition fee loan for my first year of study...and the chances of raising part of the cash this year are very slim indeed), partly because of what was said in a different thread about graduate job prospects and the reputation that different universities hold, and partly because if I assume that I make it into university next year I shall be 29 when I leave with just a B.S.c and will be slogging it out against people far younger than me with masters or PHDs.
    If I do have to wait another year I'm hoping that my knowledge in maths and physics by that time will be enough that I could survive an engineering, or physics course at a different University. (My current course is still partly rooted in the creative sector, and the university doesn't have many science based courses)

    My question is though...would my manual labour and short lived graphic design jobs encrusted c.v coupled with my age severely limit my chances not only of breaking into a decent job after graduation but also finding my way into a uni that is well respected for its science based courses? (I still don't know what I really want to be yet but I just love figuring out why things work the way they do..and have no intention of stopping)

    Finding out that I probably wouldn't be getting to uni this year was a major blow, but it won't stop me from preparing myself even further for next year. Is struggling against all those brilliant youngsters out there chomping at the bit going to be a mega challenge?
    Is self learning enough or must I complete the relevant A-Level exams to even apply for an engineering or physics course..are there any reasons why certain courses are going to be completely out of the question?..what sort of graduates are high in demand?...

    Finally a bit of a silly question perhaps but would anyone take me seriously if I just strolled up to a careers advisor and asked them for advice? (I have this view that they are for young people)
  2. jcsd
  3. May 1, 2006 #2

    matt grime

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    There are many ways into universities. The best bet is to talk to an admissions officer. There are also special considerations for mature students, and people who have taken time out of academic study for various reasons.

    I'm saddened at the loan situation. Firstly because education is not free and secondly because it seems like a stupid idea on behalf of the government. What about the Open University?

    What do you want to do after your degree? Science, technology and english teachers are in high demand.
  4. May 1, 2006 #3
    I have given some thought to Open University, and it may well turn out to become the best option.
    Thing is though I live in this back of beyond area of Lancashire (Bacup) with which there are no decent job prospects, and if there are any people that share my interests I have yet to meet them (the dinosaurs didn't get wiped out here)...that alone motivates me to want to actually live university life, and get the hell out of this hole I'm stuck in.

    As for what I want to do after getting my degree I'm still not sure, I know I have an aptitude for problem solving, am fascinated with science, am reasonable with maths, and am not scared of technology...would love to end up in a discipline that paid me for putting these skills to good use...The idea of teaching is attractive but not at high school level and though I have ambitions to go for a masters I expect that it will take a few years after the degree to save up enough cash. I really don't have an optimistic idea of whats in store for me once I graduate.

    I'm also hampered by my lack of practical or lab experience, and am betting this will tell if I embark on any Engineering or Physics degree.
    Last edited: May 1, 2006
  5. May 1, 2006 #4
    Although I think that your 4 or so years older than me-- as I'll be 25 when I receive my undergrad in physics, I can relate to you somewhat and you'll be surprised how much people actually appreciate the manual labor you have performed in the past. I got my current job as an intern in an astrophysics lab simply because I worked as a roofing foreman for a few years after high school. They told me that since I know my ass from my elbow when it comes to working with tools, I'll be a lot more useful in the lab. This doesn't even necessarily apply to working with lab tools and whatever instruments I have no idea how to use etc. They get some students in there that barely know which way to turn a screwdriver.

    I'm in a similiar situation myslf with financial aid. I'm 21 years old, live on my own, pay my own rent, pay my own tuition, and am completely independent of my parents, but yet they still mark me as having an expected family contribution of somewhere in the ballpark of 20,000$ a year. Try looking into LEAF loans. Their interest is higher than government loans, but they are better than not getting an education at all.
    Last edited: May 1, 2006
  6. May 2, 2006 #5


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    There seem to be two problems here which combine to one...

    1. You don't have the relevant prerequisites, ie. A-levels.

    2. You can't get financial support because of 1.

    Solution seems to be to get those A-levels done.

    Do night classes and you can get the A-levels in less than a year. Doing them may even alter your perception about further study.

    With all the applicants they recieve, I don't think an admissions person will give your other experience much of a glance - that's they way I see it, but could be wrong. However, more importantly, without doing the A-levels and getting that grounding, you'll find yourself at a massive disadvantage to other pupils. You already see this with the overseas students who don't have A-levels. They're not meant to, but a lot of common methods/pratices naturally flow from what is taught at A-level and what is taught at uni - even if they may seem different at the time.

    For the age thing - I can't see it being easy to get on a graduate type scheme - those companies want them straight out of uni so they can teach them from zero - after wiping away what they're taught at uni :wink: .

    Get the A-levels tho', go to uni, it'll be fun for you and it's something to do :smile:
  7. May 2, 2006 #6
    Thanks for your replies...With regards to the A levels thing, I'm not quite there yet with regards to a 'further maths' A level but I think I have already covered enough material in my spare time such that I have an unofficial normal A level in maths, I'm starting over again with calculus (because what I had studied so far wasn't very much in depth) and once I finish the last 100 or so pages of my mechanics textbook I'll be starting with an A level Physics text...though I know that I would benefit perhaps from a night course in A level Physics..will see about maybe doing night classes in this (the hands on experience should do me some good maybe)

    With my other experience...I don't rate it much myself and so I would be surprised if anybody else did! :redface:

    The financial support problem stems from the fact that after contacting my LEA last year I was told I wouldn't be eligible for a student loan because I was not entering on to a degree in the second year...but due to changes in the system I would not have to pay my tuition fees from 2006 onwards until after I graduated with a job paying a certain amount. What they didn't tell me...and I must admit they tricked me good and proper with this, is that in order to be able to pay your tuition fees after graduation you must be eligible for a tuition fee loan...This I learned about 3 weeks ago. They have almost tripled the cost of paying for tuition fees and without the means to pay for it upfront I'm knackered (though as far as I know I just have to survive the first year...not possible this year :frown: )
    Without the stupid Graphic Design qualification I'd be fine...with it a lot of doors have been shut...though I have figured out what industry I absolubtely hate so that I can look elsewhere...Just don't want to be at a stage where despite all my efforts it shall be all for naught.
  8. May 2, 2006 #7


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    Seriously, you need that piece of paper from the exam board - if you think you're up to scratch, perhaps go to your local college and ask them if you can be entered for the exam (you'll probably need to pay around 50 quid if they let you just do the exam - I think around 1000 quid for a full course).

    Don't think of the GD thing as a waste - people change careers all the time, at all ages.

    If you want to persue a degree you need those A-levels. I can't see any other way of entry, unless you go OU, as stated earlier.

    Finally, I'd hate to go through all the **** the students have now with the loans and such. Blair's got a lot to answer for :mad:
  9. May 2, 2006 #8
    Thanks for the tip off J77...will see about trying to enter for just the exams, and get the pieces of paper. (I'll be gutted if I have to fork out for courses though)... Just how much practical experience does one get in a Physics A level...is it worth £1000?
    Last edited: May 2, 2006
  10. May 3, 2006 #9


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    It's not really about the experience but about the paper.

    Having said that, my gf was in the office when I posted last. She's an English teacher, teaching A-level literature. Even though she has a firm backing in it and went to a top-class university to do English, she took an English Language A-level last year - night classes lasting about 8 months. Point is, she was quite shocked at the amount of work she had to put in to achieve the top mark, even though she has studied Language in countless books.

    So there must be some experience gained there...
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