I got a 2:2. What can I do?

Information about qualifications, experience and the typical career path

I got a 2:2. What can I do?

Postby miriam » Mon Apr 09, 2007 9:38 pm

Nettyb and Mr. M have given some useful thoughts on this topic I thought I would compile.

Oh no! I got a 2:2

Getting a 2:2 in your undergraduate degree is likely to be incredibly disheartening if your dream is to become a clinical psychologist. All through my A level Psychology and undergraduate degree it was made very clear that if you wanted to progress onto the clinical psychology training course you had to have a 2:1.

When I got my 2:2 I thought it was the end of the world and considered changing my career plans because I thought I would never get anywhere within Clinical Psychology. I then heard a rumour that some doctoral training courses do accept people that have 2:2s and I decided to investigate and give Clinical Psychology a go.

Is the rumour true?

Well, the stats from the clearing house website do suggest that people do get on to clinical training courses if they have a 2:2 (I am one of them). The vast majority of these people will also have good, relevant post graduate qualifications at Masters or PhD level. A scan of the course info from the clearing house website indicates that some courses will accept applications from people with a 2:2 as long as they have completed a Masters level qualification that is relevant to clinical psychology. Some courses however will not consider applicants with 2:2s at all.

What do I need to do to get on the course with a 2:2 then?

There are a number of things that you can do to increase your chances of getting on a course.

1. Get a good post grad qualification

First things first you need to complete a relevant masters or PhD level course. The advice that I was given (and have since passed on to other 2:2 applicants) is that you must choose a course those interests you. There is a vast array of master’s courses out there, but most people tend to study masters courses in Psychological Research Methods, Applied Psychology, Health Psychology and Mental Health. Ultimately you need to aim to get at least a Merit for your masters as this shows that you have a good level of academic ability.
When I asked courses about my chances of being short listed for interview I was also told that your masters needs to confer GBR status, simply because the courses need to know that you have received a good grounding in Psychology.

If you are thinking of doing a PhD look here for more advice.

2. Get good clinical experience and learn how to reflect on it!

This advice goes for those who have 2:1s and above too. Get as much clinical experience as you can, preferably supervised by a clinical psychologist. Try and get some support work experience or a voluntary AP post whilst you are finishing your masters.

Some people argue that it is impossible to get an AP post with a 2:2; however the evidence suggests that this is not the case. Most AP posts I have seen lately have advertised for a psychology degree alone or will specify that if you have a 2:2 then your application will be considered if you also have an MSc. Getting that first AP post can be difficult for even those with 1sts so try to get some relevant experience from other posts, E.g. NA, support worker, GMHW etc till that elusive AP post comes along.

If you have a 2:2 when applying for AP posts you need to really sell yourself - show the potential employer that you have a great personality and what you have learned from any relevant experiences you have had. Use the experience of being disappointed about your degree result as an experience that you have learned from to demonstrate how you cope with disappointment and adverse situations. Strictly follow the person specification to structure your application and wow them with how you match all the requirements. Also refer to the job description and demonstrate your knowledge of the area you are applying to work in.

Once you have started gaining your experience start to reflect on it. Think about theory to practise links, how what you have done has affected the client, how what happens at work affects you, how you could do things differently if you face similar situations in the future etc. Some people find that keeping a diary of their learning really helps them to focus their course and job applications.

Working as a Research Assistant may also help in that courses will be clearer about your research skills.

3. Write a good course application

This is of course relevant to all applicants but in particular to applicants with 2:2s; put across as much of your personality in the form, let the selectors see that you are an interesting individual and not a clinical clone, this will definitely help separate your application from the hundreds of others that all sound the same.

If you only just missed on a 2:1 write in your overall percentage score next to your grade in the qualifications box. This demonstrates that you are a stronger 2:2 applicant. The from also provides you with some space to explain why you feel you have underperformed so use this if you feel you have a valid reason for your underperformance.

4. Apply to sympathetic courses

Try contacting the admissions tutors of courses that you are interested in and ask them what they think of your situation. They may be able to provide you with advice on specific forms of experience that you may be missing or could build on. Make a list of the sympathetic courses and narrow your choices down to courses that will accept people with 2:2s and which suit your orientation.

Here's what the courses in England and Wales have to say about 2:2 applicants:

We do not specifically target applicants with a 2i or higher degree class. Applicants with a 2ii or lower will need to show evidence of further academic ability such as your MSc, a distinction would be better however a high pass and distinction in a clinically relevant research project such as yours is acceptable.

Selection is also dependent upon at least one years clinically relevant experience, clinical research is also see as appropriate.

You will not be disadvantaged by having a 2ii, however due to the level of competition you may find it difficult to reach the interview stage. Although you do have a MSc I advise you to gain some more relevant clinical experience (NB I have very little to none) and maybe look to other courses as the most successful candidates selected at Bristol will have an upper second and at least one years relevant clinical experience within the NHS.

Coventry & Warwick
We normally look for at least a 2i honours degree, however your result in the MSc will compensate for this. More focus is placed upon clinical experience, so I advise you to gain some more experience before applying for the course.

Unfortunately due to the level of competition we do not consider applicants with a 2ii, the clearing house handbook clearly states the essential criteria. Applicants must hold at least an upper second class honours degree, where a Phd or a first class degree is desirable, we are particularly interested in applicants with clinically relevant research experience

Although you have supplemented your degree with a post graduate qualification, competition for places is high, we recommend you apply for a clinically relevant post and gain a range of experiences before you consider applying at UEL. Good Luck.

Applicants such as yourself with a 2ii may be considered if they have demonstrated further academic ability through a relevant higher degree, however this is under exceptional circumstances, your application may fare better with other courses. I recommend you supplement your application with plenty of clinical experience.

Unless you have exceptional circumstances as to why you did not perform to the best of your ability we will not consider a 2ii applicant. Your MSc does provide evidence of further academic ability however due to the level of competition it is not likely that you will be successful in securing a place at Exeter.

Your application will be considered as you have demonstrated further academic ability, however this will be under the assumption that you gain or in the process of gaining at least one years relevant clinical experience. Good Luck with your applications.

A minimum criteria for entry is a 2i honours degree, however as you have demonstrated academic ability with an MSc we may consider your application. My advice to you would be to further your experience with an assistants post.

We will consider your application as you have demonstrated ability at postgraduate level. We advise you to obtain some relevant experience through employment.

We do accept applicants with a 2ii if they have demonstrated the ability to work at postgraduate level. You will however require some clinically relevant experience, good luck with your application.

Applicants with a low 2i or a 2ii, like yourself, may be considered if they have completed a relevant postgraduate qualification which has included a significant research component. Successful applicants in the past have had strong clinical research experience and demonstrate a the ability link theory with practice.

Everyone was busy here, so the secretary said that from what she knows it is the same as Leicester

Your application will be considered should you gain further experience within the NHS and obtain a greater insight into the role of clinical psychologists, your best option would be to gain an assistants position.

Although you have supplemented you hold an MSc you may still find it difficult to gain a clinical training place as many candidates who hold an upper second class degree also go on to strengthen their academic profile with a postgraduate qualification. We advise you to consider an alternative course, and perhaps consider whether you have the academic ability to complete clinical training.

We do not consider applicants with a 2ii, this is due to the level of competition for training places. It is only in exceptional circumstances and with clear evidence that the degree is unrepresentative of applicants academic ability that we consider applications from 2ii candidates.

We also take A Levels into account.

Should you gain some relevant experience with a clinical psychologist as your supervisor we will strongly consider your application. Ideally you should have a 2i however since you have demonstrated postgraduate academic ability your 2ii should not be a problem.

Our applicants must all hold a upper second class degree at least, due to the level of competition we do not advise applicants with 2ii to apply at Oxford, however they may be considered if their degree is unrepresentative of their academic ability, this is under exceptional circumstances.

2ii applicants may be considered with a further postgraduate qualification, however you must bear in mind the level of competition from other applicants. Each application is taken on its own individual merits, we advise you to obtain at least 12 months clinically relevant experience before you apply for clinical training.

Royal Holloway
Only applicants with a good academic record are considered, that is applicants with a minimum 2i degree and experience of at least 12 months as an AP or RA. We do not consider applications from 2ii candidates.

Applicants with a 2ii are considered with a further postgraduate degree. If you combine this with outstanding relevant experience you will have a strong application. Good luck

Your application will be considered, however you may wish to strengthen you application by gaining some clinically relevant experience.

Shropshire & Staffs (Keele)
WE do not normally consider applicants with a lower second class degree due to the level of competition for training places, however you have demonstrated ability to work at postgraduate level, and if you gain some clinical relevant experience within clinical psychology this will not go against your application.

We do not consider applicants with 2ii degree class, relevant higher degrees are only taken into account if the applicant has obtained a good undergraduate degree. I advise you to try one of the other courses.

Each application is considered upon its own individual merits, there are exceptional circumstances in which we consider applicants with a 2ii, in these cases it is necessary to complete an additional postgraduate qualification, and if possible gain a publication from this. Furthermore we advise you to have more paid clinical experience, it will be beneficial if this is supervised by a clinical psychologist or is within clinical practice and research.

Cardiff (south Wales)
Your application will be considered as you have demonstrated an ability to work at postgraduate level, you would do well to gain some clinically relevant experience before you submit your application.

A final point:

Remember that your application form is key! If you are selected at interview your degree class won’t be a factor in their decision making … your performance on the day however will!

Finally, I’d like to wish you good luck. This process is a difficult one for everyone who wants to become a Clinical psychologist and whilst having a 2:2 is a disadvantage it certainly isn’t a disaster!

Some other thoughts on whether clinical psychology is the be all and end all

If you are only begining your final year you still might have a chance to improve your overall grade, as the final year is usually the most important. Whatever amount of effort this will take is worth it, as compensating later is going to be much harder. If you do end up with a 2:2 you might be able to repeat a year of university, or retake exams, to try to improve your classification. Otherwise you will need to aim for publications and/or a postgraduate qualification, and be willing and determined to have a harder longer path into clinical training.

I don't mean to be negative, but you have to give a realistic appraisal to what your chances of getting qualified in clinical psychology are. After all, if in the academic chances you have had so far you have not managed to excel and you are unsure of whether you could manage a post graduate course, AP posts, and the doctoral course itself you need to take a step back and think about what impeded you so far, and if these are things you can or cannot change. If you cannot change them then maybe you need to consider other career paths. Bear in mind that self-funding through a masters degree is a long and expensive commitment even if you have sufficient motivation and ability, and that will only put you "in the running" and only for some jobs and courses.

A realistic look at the competitive nature of the path to qualifying in clinical psychology says that it is pretty darn tough even for those with a 2:1 or first. To compensate for a 2:2 will take time and determination in even bigger amounts than normal, and this might mean more years before you qualify, when you could be a mental health nurse or social worker in only a year or two, so it is well worth going back to basics and deciding whether clinical psychology is the only career that would fulfil you. Not many people really know what CPs actually do, so it would be good to try and learn more about this, perhaps meet up with one or shadow them if you can, and also to learn about other related professions. It might also be that you could work in another profession and then move across into CP in time, if that is still what you want to do. I've met some great CPs with previous careers as nurses, social workers, teachers etc.

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