I'm a mature student and I REALLY want to become a CP

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I'm a mature student and I REALLY want to become a CP

Postby BenTheBlue » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:20 pm

Good Afternoon All,

I've posted this to 3 forums as I'm not sure what category to put it under.

I'm a 25 year old male looking to become a Clinical Psychologist after my own life experience dealing with my own OCD and anxiety - I want this more than anything i've ever wanted and so I'd do anything to get there despite the fact it's really competitive.

Whilst at school however, I was very lazy, had no idea why I was there and to me it was a place to mess about and have fun. I've since regretted my previous life :( HOWEVER, i'm a new person and I have a different attitude to education and my career now, so whilst i'm still relatively young at 25, I've decided it's time to make waves on my dream.

There are two routes I can take to get there. One to me seems to stand out more than the other at this stage purely because of the level of competition for jobs and also for a place on the doctorate.

The first route I was looking into was to jump straight into an access to higher education course in humanities and social sciences. The reason for this was because I achieved terrible GCSE grades - I got a Grade C in English, Maths, Core Science, English Literature and Short Course ICT. That is terrible and I feel like i'm not competing based on my GCSEs already. The access to he course is suited to people with grades like mine who want to study for a degree. That's fine, but when it comes to being picked for a job and a doctorate, I have this horrible feeling my previous grades will be counted against me.

The second route was the more patient route that I feel will strengthen my hand considerably. I'm looking into just wiping the slate clean so to speak and retaking 5 GCSEs over the course of a year (English, Maths, Double Science/Biology, Pyschology and English Literature). Maths, English and Science would be done via a local college and the Psychology and English Literature would be self taught in preparation for A Levels. Following my GCSEs, I plan on taking 3 A Levels over 2 years (Psychology, Biology and English Literature). If I went this route, I'd be competing rather quite well and in addition to that, it would be even better if I did these as a mature student, taking time out from full time employment.

It would be great to hear from Psychologists/Clinical Psychologists with a similar story to mine or anyone with advice on the above :)

Thank you,
Ben
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Re: I'm a mature student and I REALLY want to become a CP

Postby sweetpea » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:23 pm

Hi Ben,

I could be wrong, but as far as I'm aware, although some courses do take A Level qualifications into account, they do not look at your GCSE grades. Therefore, I can't see that retaking your GCSEs would better your position. I would recommend focusing your efforts on a relevant Access to HE course to get you onto an accredited degree programme.

I took an Access course as a mature student to make up for not completing my A Levels, before working my butt off at uni to gain marks that were truly reflective of my ability. I gained a training place this year on my second application, so they obviously didn't hold my old grades against me.

That said, if you're concerned about your academic background, it's worth looking at the requirements for different courses and applying to those which play to your strengths. Likewise, a solid performance at undergrad or conversion level will significantly help your chances. When you're eventually ready to apply for DClin, don't be afraid to reflect on your journey and experiences, particularly if it gives a sense of narrative and learning to your "alternative" academic background.

Hope that helps.
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Re: I'm a mature student and I REALLY want to become a CP

Postby BenTheBlue » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:32 pm

sweetpea wrote:Hi Ben,

I could be wrong, but as far as I'm aware, although some courses do take A Level qualifications into account, they do not look at your GCSE grades. Therefore, I can't see that retaking your GCSEs would better your position. I would recommend focusing your efforts on a relevant Access to HE course to get you onto an accredited degree programme.

I took an Access course as a mature student to make up for not completing my A Levels, before working my butt off at uni to gain marks that were truly reflective of my ability. I gained a training place this year on my second application, so they obviously didn't hold my old grades against me.

That said, if you're concerned about your academic background, it's worth looking at the requirements for different courses and applying to those which play to your strengths. Likewise, a solid performance at undergrad or conversion level will significantly help your chances. When you're eventually ready to apply for DClin, don't be afraid to reflect on your journey and experiences, particularly if it gives a sense of narrative and learning to your "alternative" academic background.

Hope that helps.


Hey!

Could I ask when you completed the access course, what access course it was and your previous GCSE grades? :)

Also, would your academic life before Access affect your chances of getting a role as a qualified clinical psychologist after the doctorate?
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Re: I'm a mature student and I REALLY want to become a CP

Postby sweetpea » Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:28 pm

I completed my Access to HE in 2008/09. The "psychology pathway" included psychology, biology and health studies. I don't know if the structure or content has changed more recently, but it is still a widely recognised qualification, and will allow you to progress to degree level study.

And to be honest, no, I can't imagine a situation where your doctoral training would be questioned in the context of your GCSEs. That said, jobs along the way may require you to have Cs in Maths and English. It may be worth talking to a careers advisor if you have more specific concerns though, as we can only ever talk from personal experience here. Good luck. :)
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Re: I'm a mature student and I REALLY want to become a CP

Postby workingmama » Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:14 am

Hi Ben,

I had a similarly unfocused route to clinical psychology, and have a lovely selection of lacklustre Highers (Scottish) and a terrible first undergrad. My spouse failed all their A-levels. We are both qualified now, having both done an OU psychology undergrad. Personally I'd go whichever route appeals to you now, and go absolutely hell for leather on getting a 'first'. Spouse and I did, and we both felt it went a long way to reassuring potential future employers that we were academically able. (Other people may have a different view, but I'll offer this up as our opinion on it). We both worked whilst doing OU, me full time, and it is do-able (but jolly hard work). Spouse went on a foundation year access to uni year, so that might shortcut your GCSE plans, but it may be worth phoning some courses to get their view on what they prefer.

Completely do-able, heads down for the next few years and keep your eyes on the prize. Happy to be PM'd if you want to chat further.

WM
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Re: I'm a mature student and I REALLY want to become a CP

Postby maven » Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:37 am

BenTheBlue wrote:I've posted this to 3 forums as I'm not sure what category to put it under.
With my moderator hat on, I want to ask "Why?" - Not only is this against the forum rules, it just annoys members and doesn't generate any additional responses. Imagine if every person who made a thread put it up three times, it would make the forum ridiculous, so why is your thread so special? I don't mean to be mean, but this is a pretty rude way to join a forum. It is like going to a new pub and trying to make friends by approaching a group of people and asking a question, but not waiting for their answers before going to another group to ask, and another...

I've merged your threads and deleted the duplicate posts.
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Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare
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Re: I'm a mature student and I REALLY want to become a CP

Postby BenTheBlue » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:14 pm

maven wrote:
BenTheBlue wrote:I've posted this to 3 forums as I'm not sure what category to put it under.
With my moderator hat on, I want to ask "Why?" - Not only is this against the forum rules, it just annoys members and doesn't generate any additional responses. Imagine if every person who made a thread put it up three times, it would make the forum ridiculous, so why is your thread so special? I don't mean to be mean, but this is a pretty rude way to join a forum. It is like going to a new pub and trying to make friends by approaching a group of people and asking a question, but not waiting for their answers before going to another group to ask, and another...

I've merged your threads and deleted the duplicate posts.


I understand :) I'm sorry. I'm just really eager to get going and rushed my post whilst selecting various other subforums to post it under.
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Re: I'm a mature student and I REALLY want to become a CP

Postby Alex » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:39 pm

Have you spoken to any qualified clinical psychologists in terms of what it is like day to day? Your statements 'I want this more than anything i've ever wanted' and 'I've decided it's time to make waves on my dream' worry me. My initial advice is not the idealise the profession.
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Re: I'm a mature student and I REALLY want to become a CP

Postby workingmama » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:56 pm

Alex wrote:Have you spoken to any qualified clinical psychologists in terms of what it is like day to day? Your statements 'I want this more than anything i've ever wanted' and 'I've decided it's time to make waves on my dream' worry me. My initial advice is not the idealise the profession.


Whilst I hear your thoughts, Alex, I could have used the same words more or less myself at that stage (I'm not quite the same generation, I reckon, so the 'waves on my dream' probably wouldn't have been quite my phrasing :wink: ). I would worry about anyone idealising anything, but if I hadn't idealised this career at least a little, I'm pretty convinced that I couldn't have got through a degree whilst full time working and parenting, or the doctorate. If the chap was saying 'My goodness, the grass over there looks so green and yummy, I can't imagine a single thing that might be anything less than a fun filled paradise of unicorns and rainbow dust in clinical psychology', then I'd worry.

(You mean it's all unicorns where you work?? Show me where to sign up. :lol: )
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Re: I'm a mature student and I REALLY want to become a CP

Postby Alex » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:28 pm

workingmama wrote:
Alex wrote:Have you spoken to any qualified clinical psychologists in terms of what it is like day to day? Your statements 'I want this more than anything i've ever wanted' and 'I've decided it's time to make waves on my dream' worry me. My initial advice is not the idealise the profession.


Whilst I hear your thoughts, Alex, I could have used the same words more or less myself at that stage (I'm not quite the same generation, I reckon, so the 'waves on my dream' probably wouldn't have been quite my phrasing :wink: ). I would worry about anyone idealising anything, but if I hadn't idealised this career at least a little, I'm pretty convinced that I couldn't have got through a degree whilst full time working and parenting, or the doctorate. If the chap was saying 'My goodness, the grass over there looks so green and yummy, I can't imagine a single thing that might be anything less than a fun filled paradise of unicorns and rainbow dust in clinical psychology', then I'd worry.

(You mean it's all unicorns where you work?? Show me where to sign up. :lol: )


No unicorns, but it sounds like there are a couple of high horses where you work.
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Re: I'm a mature student and I REALLY want to become a CP

Postby workingmama » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:44 pm

Alex wrote:
workingmama wrote:
Alex wrote:Have you spoken to any qualified clinical psychologists in terms of what it is like day to day? Your statements 'I want this more than anything i've ever wanted' and 'I've decided it's time to make waves on my dream' worry me. My initial advice is not the idealise the profession.


Whilst I hear your thoughts, Alex, I could have used the same words more or less myself at that stage (I'm not quite the same generation, I reckon, so the 'waves on my dream' probably wouldn't have been quite my phrasing :wink: ). I would worry about anyone idealising anything, but if I hadn't idealised this career at least a little, I'm pretty convinced that I couldn't have got through a degree whilst full time working and parenting, or the doctorate. If the chap was saying 'My goodness, the grass over there looks so green and yummy, I can't imagine a single thing that might be anything less than a fun filled paradise of unicorns and rainbow dust in clinical psychology', then I'd worry.

(You mean it's all unicorns where you work?? Show me where to sign up. :lol: )


No unicorns, but it sounds like there are a couple of high horses where you work.


Hi Alex,

My response to your initial comment to the OP was written for two main readers. The OP, for whom I wanted to reassure that boundless-sounding enthusiasm isn't necessarily concerning for all of us that read his post. Second, for yourself. I wanted to make my point whilst including enough humour (e.g. my final sentence to you, and invitation to 'show me where to sign up'). This latter point was aimed to reduce any perceived criticism by you of my response, whilst allowing me to add my own opinion to the discussion.

Your response to me felt surprising. I aim to be a full and active participant on this forum, and to try (as much as is within my limited scope and social ability) to contribute to the forum being a friendly place to debate, dissent, and discuss our wee sphere of interest. Within that, I aim to post only the words that I would share with fellow forumites if I met in my professional setting.

If you felt that my response to the OP left you feeling shamed or criticised, I would like you to be assured that this was not my intent.

With best wishes,

WM.
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Re: I'm a mature student and I REALLY want to become a CP

Postby maven » Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:32 am

Alex wrote:No unicorns, but it sounds like there are a couple of high horses where you work.

Ouch! That was a rather antagonistic response to a friendly and helpful post. Whilst I agree with you that it is good to have a realistic sense of what the job is before starting down the arduous and uncertain path to get there, I read what workingmama wrote as simply highlighting that lots of people are enthusiastic about the idea of being a CP at the start, and that isn't necessarily a reason to be worried about an applicant.
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Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare
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Re: I'm a mature student and I REALLY want to become a CP

Postby Monroe » Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:05 pm

I think everyone idealises things they don't have yet. I'm fairly sure most people have thought that life would be wonderful if they could only get on training...

... and then they get on, maybe have a rubbish placement, realise that there's actually work to do to pass a doctorate (I conveniently forgot this part when I was dreaming of training), get exposed to more critical thinking around clinical psychology, as well as different kinds of psychologists (some of whom are not that great and won't work in a way that you aspire to), and that's when you begin to a develop a more realistic, balanced view of the profession.
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