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UNSW Vis Sci/Optom or USYD Physio? (1 Viewer)

gudetamago

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Hi everyone :)

So I am currently stuck between choosing USYD Physio and UNSW Optom as a program to commence undergraduate study in 2020. My long-term goal is to ultimately pursue medicine. I didn't get any interview offers this year so I'm re-taking the UCAT this coming July.

I've been stuck between the two for many weeks now and I don't have anyone to ask for their experiences at the respective unis (or even better, for the listed degrees).

I really enjoy the idea of studying health and the human body hence why I was particularly attracted to Physiotherapy as my immediate backup plan if I fail to get into Medicine. However, I had completely forgot that UNSW had the Optom program and I remember wanting to study it at the beginning of Year 12 but deciding against it due to a lack of confidence I'd be able to receive such a competitive offer. Also, I want to study Health Science and I read that Vision Sci is more of a 'natural science' degree. Another reason why I'm stuck is because I had initially wanted to choose UNSW for Medicine as I had always dreamed of studying there, and so not being offered a place in Med made me desperate to choose a course at UNSW. I had previously chosen Med Sci or Pharm at USYD as a backup but I'm so glad I decided not to pursue those after reading forums and articles regarding lack of job opportunities.

UNSW is a really attractive university to me. Just looking at the way student and campus life is organised and run makes me want to study there. However, USYD has a lot more prestige and higher rankings, especially in health, and their main Camperdown campus is offering some physio courses in their new Health building which is opening in 2021 (the building looks so good). USYD Physio courses (most of them) are held at Cumberland campus and I've heard that it's a relatively small campus that lacks vibrancy in the student life sector (but in first year, I'll be going to both main and cumberland campuses). However, since I'll be taking the UCAT in July, USYD academic year holidays will allow sufficient time for me to prepare and peacefully take my exam without the stress of uni due to their mid-sem break, while UNSW has trimesters and teaching periods running throughout the entire month of July. This means I would have to take the exam on a weekend while having to juggle uni work and study at the same time.

Also, transport times and costs to UNSW is another factor I'm heavily taking into account. I know there's a cap for transport on Concession cards, but I feel that going to uni 5 days a week with classes that start at 9am will soon tire me out. I might end up being exhausted and burnt out from just commuting to uni and back home (I live 1hr and 20mins away from UNSW). I don't want to feel as though Uni is a chore. The only thing that will make it seem like a chore is if I don't enjoy the subjects I'm studying. This is hard, because for UNSW Optom, most first year classes are basic chem, maths, phys and some vision sci, and I heard that it shouldn't be too hard to get a high WAM to make me competitive for med offers. But for USYD Physio, all first year subjects are targeted at anatomy, muscoloskeletal, neuroscience, health behaviours in society and the lot and I just feel like they sound much more interesting albeit current and past students telling me how difficult they can be. I also feel like they go hand-in-hand with medicine subjects. I just... don't know.

I also want to factor in life after uni so graduate salaries for both professions, and while I've seen from most sources that Optoms get paid more than Physios, I've heard that both are pretty much in high demand due to Australia's aging population / technological developments. Some sources have said that while Optoms have better work hours, their job can become repetitive and lacklustre, while on the other hand physios get a lot of patient contact but work is physically demanding.

Any guidance or any experience in either two degrees will be greatly appreciated.:inlove: I just need to make a decision before the end of Jan. I don't want to start uni in Degree A and look back and regret not choosing Degree B.

TL;DR: Stuck between UNSW Optom and USYD Physio. Wants to pursue medicine and don't know which degree to study for first year. If Med route fails, want to have an enjoyable uni life with a high-paying job after graduation.
 
Last edited:

Hithcock

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Hey did you end up making your decision? Sorry did know what else to add on to your knowledge- you have extensively researched this! :)
 

gudetamago

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Hey!

Not yet :( I'm still waiting on any responses.
 

Hithcock

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If you would like to know, I’m in the same boat as you in terms of medicine and I have chosen physiotherapy at ACU. I’ve chosen this because of the subjects, just as they have listed to prepare me for the medicine course. While this would inevitable make it harder to achieve a good wam, it would undeniably prepare me for med school and beyond. Also, I’m not sure about usyd physio but you get to do placement at acu physio first year, which is kind of helpful as it prepares me for patient interaction and how to deal with patients (kinda useful for UCAT+interviews). Also, not sure about usyd, but ACU also has subjects where you extensively learn ethics of being a physiotherapist and treating people, which would presumably be invaluable experience for interview stuff.
I’ll come back to you once I think of more stuff :)
 

gudetamago

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If you would like to know, I’m in the same boat as you in terms of medicine and I have chosen physiotherapy at ACU. I’ve chosen this because of the subjects, just as they have listed to prepare me for the medicine course. While this would inevitable make it harder to achieve a good wam, it would undeniably prepare me for med school and beyond. Also, I’m not sure about usyd physio but you get to do placement at acu physio first year, which is kind of helpful as it prepares me for patient interaction and how to deal with patients (kinda useful for UCAT+interviews). Also, not sure about usyd, but ACU also has subjects where you extensively learn ethics of being a physiotherapist and treating people, which would presumably be invaluable experience for interview stuff.
I’ll come back to you once I think of more stuff :)
Hi Hithcock!

Thank you for your insight :) I've happily decided on Physiotherapy at USYD due to similar reasons you've listed above. In fact, I had initially chosen physio as my immediate backup and so Vision Sci was literally a decision I made on impulse. I chose it because I was desperate to study at UNSW, and because they were offering me a $5000 scholarship. But after thinking long and hard, I don't think I'll feel happy seeing myself work as an optometrist for the rest of my life. I want to thrive on patient interaction, on improving the lives and wellbeing of the elderly, on making a difference in my local community. I think Physio at USYD will prepare me really well for medicine, since opening my own practice is what I dream of doing. And yes, I do think that physio subjects will prepare you better for the medicine course. Also, minor thing but I just found out that I would be only going to uni 4 days a week, so I could focus on UCAT as well :) It all works out in the end!
 

Nikolerak

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If you would like to know, I’m in the same boat as you in terms of medicine and I have chosen physiotherapy at ACU. I’ve chosen this because of the subjects, just as they have listed to prepare me for the medicine course. While this would inevitable make it harder to achieve a good wam, it would undeniably prepare me for med school and beyond. Also, I’m not sure about usyd physio but you get to do placement at acu physio first year, which is kind of helpful as it prepares me for patient interaction and how to deal with patients (kinda useful for UCAT+interviews). Also, not sure about usyd, but ACU also has subjects where you extensively learn ethics of being a physiotherapist and treating people, which would presumably be invaluable experience for interview stuff.
I’ll come back to you once I think of more stuff :)
Did you get into physiotherapy at ACU through the ATAR or an early offer (CAP or SRS)?
 

Hithcock

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Are you happy doing physio at ACU?
For sure, I’m even considering doing the full degree! At the time, I only knew physio as a way to get into med, but now I see how impactful of a career it is. At times, it’s a bit tiresome because of how much stuff there is, but I don’t think I would trade it for anything.
 

Nikolerak

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For sure, I’m even considering doing the full degree! At the time, I only knew physio as a way to get into med, but now I see how impactful of a career it is. At times, it’s a bit tiresome because of how much stuff there is, but I don’t think I would trade it for anything.
That's great to hear! What year are you? Must be challenging doing placements due to COVID?!
 

Hithcock

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That's great to hear! What year are you? Must be challenging doing placements due to COVID?!
I’m a first year, so my placement was just clinical observation 1 day a week for 4 weeks for semester 2, but unfortunately that got cancelled (not really too detrimental tbh). The most challenging part about COVID is the practical side of physio, which is a bit unfortunate. It would have been so much easier in the labs tbh. It is what it is :)
 

Jolteon

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I luv cumbo campus :(
It's more tight-knit and less walking time
 

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