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 Post subject: Extra gap year?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:31 pm 
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If anyone is involved in university admissions, or has any thoughts on the following dilemma, I would really appreciate your input.

DD is submitting a repeat application for veterinary medicine having failed to secure an offer last year. She meets all the academic and minimum work experience requirements but is considering asking for deferred entry for 2013, in other words taking a second gap year, largely because of next year's fee increase which brings the total cost of a 5-year course to eye-watering proportions for a student such as her from an ordinary family - ineligible for any bursaries etc. but likewise unlikely to receive much by way of financial help from us, being the eldest of four.

DD plans to spend this first year in increasing her work experience including some overseas travel, but how would admissions officers view her plan to work during the second year in order to save enough to cover her first year's fees - or at least her maintenance costs, thereby saving on interest later? We've done the sums and it could make quite a difference. However, DH thinks it might be interpreted as lack of commitment and is also worried that she will lose motivation through being away from study. I don't think this is a problem as she plans to do some OU modules to keep the study skills going, and an offer on the table for 2013 would be an enormous motivator - but I do worry that the admissions tutors won't have encountered this before (an extra gap year) and will not understand why she feels she has to take this approach. We have asked the various admissions departments about it and they all say it's OK, but is that what they really think, I wonder? :?

Edited to add - DD is only just 18, being at the young end of the cohort with an August birthday. She would only just be out of her teens on starting the course - might this also be taken into account?

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 Post subject: Re: Extra gap year?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:48 pm 
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Marylou wrote:
her plan to work during the second year in order to save enough to cover her first year's fees - or at least her maintenance costs, thereby saving on interest later?


Why would you do that? Vets are reasonably well paid, so what she'd be doing is working for a year in order to finish repaying the loan (remember, the repayments are geared to income, not amount outstanding) a few years earlier, perhaps at 40 rather than 43. It would make more sense to save for a larger initial deposit on a house, for example. She would have exactly the same amount of money in her pocket week by week for twenty or so years, and then would have a small increase (around 9%) in her take-home pay in her forties. If she didn't make it as a vet, and ended up working in something lower paid, she might never repay the debt prior to the write-off point, so all that would have happened is that she would have exactly the same amount of money all the way through to 53 (or whatever) and then less would be written off: the money she earned would have been completely wasted. Sit down and work out, year by year, the effect of doing what she's describing: I think you'll find at best it improves her income slightly in middle-age, but is far more likely to just be a complete waste of money.


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 Post subject: Re: Extra gap year?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:17 pm 
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Thanks for your input....

xyzzy wrote:
Vets are reasonably well paid


a common misconception, at least for the early part of the career. Vets don't earn as much as doctors or dentists but also don't benefit from NHS assistance for part of their course (no NHS for animals!) They have little chance to do vacation work due to the heavy requirements for (unpaid) work experience placements in addition to termtime study.

Regarding the potential impact of the tuition fees increase for veterinary admissions (and I really don't want to get into an argument about that here :wink: ) see http://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content ... source=mfr for the situation straight from the ....errr...horse's mouth, if you'll excuse the cliché.

She might well decide to keep the money and use it for a deposit on a house - she'll probably need to as leaving university with that much debt will affect what she can borrow as a mortgage, no matter what they say. We've done the sums and have decided that thirty-odd thousand plus living costs payable after about 20 years or so if she manages to fund 1-2 years of her course is preferable to 74 grand plus living costs that won't be paid off until she is five years older than I am now!

The question is really about how her application will be viewed. And would admissions tutors really consider someone wanting to start a long and demanding course on a better financial footing, as being in some way irresponsible?

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 Post subject: Re: Extra gap year?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:26 pm 
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Most university entry procedures only have provision for one year's deferral. You'd probably need to apply in a year's time. Few universities will, in general, commit to places and/or courses and/or entry requirements holding constant over longer periods. Simply apply as soon as she has A Levels (ie in the next cycle) but request deferred entry then.


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 Post subject: Re: Extra gap year?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:32 pm 
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xyzzy wrote:
Most university entry procedures only have provision for one year's deferral. You'd probably need to apply in a year's time. Few universities will, in general, commit to places and/or courses and/or entry requirements holding constant over longer periods. Simply apply as soon as she has A Levels (ie in the next cycle) but request deferred entry then.


She has her A-levels and has already started a gap year. This is precisely what she plans to do - apply for the year after next, but with grades in hand.

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 Post subject: Re: Extra gap year?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:51 pm 
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Last edited by Belinda on Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Extra gap year?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:50 pm 
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Thanks, Belinda - I'm hoping that this is one area where common sense will prevail...

It's an ill wind, of course, that blows nobody any good, and one possible glimmer of hope from the increased fees is that the courses might not be as heavily oversubscribed as they are currently. We're also hoping that the new rules on AAB students will mean that the vet schools can open up a few more places to home students that were previously only available to non-EU applicants (though they are now worrying about how they are going to meet their "widening participation" remit by doing so :roll: ...)

It's likely that DD will have to explain her plans at interview, if she gets that far (might have to be very diplomatic in Edinburgh :? ) but the general impression we have had so far is that taking a bit of extra time out before embarking on such a long, intensive as well as expensive course is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as the student remains committed to and interested in the subject. After all, lots of people return to study after much longer gaps. Not something I could have done, but many do.

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 Post subject: Re: Extra gap year?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:59 pm 
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Marylou wrote:
DD is submitting a repeat application for veterinary medicine having failed to secure an offer last year. She meets all the academic and minimum work experience requirements but is considering asking for deferred entry for 2013


I work in a university and do admissions as part of my role. The first thing I'd want to know is why she failed to secure an offer last year. If it was related to perceived gaps in her experience, or if her results were borderline, or if she did not come over well at interview, then these should be addressed before trying to secure a place for 2012 or 2013.

If, however, all these have now been addressed and she is a shoo-in for entry then by all means ask for deferral. You don't need to explain exactly how the gap year will be spent. No harm done, however, in dropping in plans to work in that animal sanctuary on the Isle of Wight as well as that job in Top Shop. Competition for places is likely to drop in most institutions next year. And that may just work in your favour.


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 Post subject: Re: Extra gap year?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:41 pm 
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Marylou....I'd be tempted to go for it for 2012....I agree, apparently applications will be down due to widespread indecisiveness. These fees are ridiculous, but as also a parent of four, I would say get on with it now, and worry about repaying after. The job market is not great either. Plus as she gets used to earning, she might not want to give that up to go to university. There can be no reason if she has the requirements (ie A Levels in hand) for her to not get offers. Good luck with whatever she decides. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Extra gap year?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:05 pm 
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Thanks, Kesteven, your comments are reassuring - love the expression "shoo-in" :lol: - not sure if she fits that category owing to the intense competition, but she is certainly hoping to get a bit further than last year and is certainly in a better position than she was then. The main problem then was, quite simply, stronger candidates with more work experience (she only had 7 weeks at the time) and probably more persuasive personal statements as a result. Her predicted grades were good and in the event she lived up to them at A2, but previous performance at AS and GCSE, though reasonable, might have cast some doubts in admission tutors' minds as to whether the predictions were accurate.

LFH - thanks, yes - I wouldn't mind if she does start next year and that is indeed a possibility as she has included Edinburgh, which does not accept deferred applications. If she only gets one offer and its from there to start in 2012 she will take it, though Dublin is still on the cards but they don't make offers until August when the exam results are out. If she gets a place there she would still have the option of deferring but the financial need would not be as pressing, as the fees are much lower...but we would have to work out how to finance it as non-UK courses are not financed by the Student Loans Company. It looks as though we are helping to contribute to the widespread indecisiveness you mention! :lol:

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