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Conor Thorne

Conor Thorne is due to graduate this summer from RGU with a Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree. Conor joined RGU through UCAS Clearing and his story demonstrates resilience, perseverance and never giving up on your dreams.

Did you always want to study Pharmacy?

I always had a passion for healthcare and a great interest in science so I wanted to do something within those fields at university. I had originally wanted to study Dentistry but unfortunately did not have the relevant grades at SQA Higher. I then turned to Pharmacy which looked interesting and would incorporate my passion for healthcare and science, however I was advised by my school teachers that it was unlikely I would be accepted, given my grades. Now, 4 years later, I have successfully completed the Master of Pharmacy degree. Pharmacy is such an attractive course, full of opportunities post-graduation.

What was your application journey like?

After being told my desire to study pharmacy was a non-starter, I applied for subject areas that were as far away from health and science-related degrees as you could imagine! I received two conditional offers, and made my firm and insurance choices, in the hope I would meet these conditions when result’s day came in August.

As luck would have it, I missed both my conditions! As a young school-leaver, who had worked very hard, I was devastated.

I called Skills Development Scotland and spoke to a really helpful advisor there who explained my options to me. They emphasised that I could still attend university that year. My desire to study Pharmacy was still as strong as it always had been. It was a brilliant moment when I realised that just because I didn’t have the entry requirements stated on the university prospectus, it didn’t mean that I couldn’t apply!

I logged onto the UCAS clearing platform and spotted that RGU still had places available for courses offered by their School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences. I spoke with a member of the Admissions Team, during that call I was reassured that my school qualifications were enough to study Pharmacy. Within a matter of hours I had received an unconditional offer and had accepted it!

What advice would you give to students who are thinking of applying through Clearing?

Don’t be afraid to get in touch with the RGU Admissions Team. The worst that can happen is they say, ‘sorry but we cannot offer you a place,’ however I found them to be as flexible and understanding as possible.

RGU looked at me for the individual I am. Your experiences and what you have to offer matter to everyone at the university. It was helpful to speak to them directly about my situation. It’s understandably quite daunting, but the Admissions team were very empathetic and took the time to ease my anxieties.

I also strongly recommend that you follow your dreams. Do not give up on a course which you have an authentic interest in pursuing. I am so happy that I ended up at RGU studying Pharmacy, despite all odds.

If it wasn’t for the UCAS Clearing process, I would have taken a different path after leaving secondary school. I certainly would not be in the position I find myself in right now, excited and ready to start my training year as a Pre-registration Pharmacist!  

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