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AIBU to be looking at OU?

(44 Posts)
OrangeIsMyNewBlack Thu 16-Jun-16 19:09:54

Hi, posting here for quick responses, as I'm stretched to near breaking point.

I am in a dead-end job that I cannot stand. It is an utter pittance, I am under-appreciated, screamed at and generally abused on a regular basis by management and other members of staff (and a grievance did nothing!), I am over-qualified for the position that, frankly, a monkey could do, and the only reason I have lasted this long is because I've been reciting "think of the money think of the money" over in my head.

I have been wanting to do Higher Education for years, and I do mean years, but due to a lot of personal circumstances and having my DS too young, I've never managed it. I have found a course from the OU which I absolutely love and it's something at which I would excel.

I want to do the course full-time, as part-time work in my area is extremely hard to come by, and my job is not flexible with hours in any way. But I don't want to get accepted for the course, only to find I have no time to study because I'm constantly working to try and pay the bills, rent, council tax, etc.

DP works as well, however is shift-based and a zero-hour contract, so his income is not enough to sustain us both. Does OU offer some kind of support for funding for living expenses, so that I'm able to study without becoming homeless in the process? I know they do student loans, however I don't know if that's just to cover the course.

Any info would be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance!

MumOnTheRunCatchingUp Thu 16-Jun-16 19:12:19

when i did ou courses the loans were just to cover the fee's

then i got a small bursary of around £50 for materials....thats it

BillSykesDog Thu 16-Jun-16 19:15:52

It's just to cover the course for OU. They strongly, strongly advise against combining work and FT study hours because the drop out rate is huge. Do you have a local uni that might offer a similar course?

OrangeIsMyNewBlack Thu 16-Jun-16 19:18:36

I have a local Uni, but the courses aren't the same at all. I'm so gutted. I could do the OU part-time, but with juggling a full-time job and DS too, it's gonna be so much to handle...

Would a normal university be different from the OU in terms of grants or loans?

OrangeIsMyNewBlack Thu 16-Jun-16 19:20:35

Also, the local university is always ram-packed, as it does all sorts of popular courses in my area. I have no idea if I would even get accepted!

SouperSal Thu 16-Jun-16 19:24:24

Very hard to get anything but a loan for the course fees.

situatedknowledge Thu 16-Jun-16 19:25:49

I've just completed an OU degree and found family life and part time work hard enough with doing one module at a time (two would be full time). Some people managed to do it part time with a full time job, but not many. Those that did either had no kids, or a partner who worked short hours so could take up the slack. Those that I know of that did it full time generally didn't work and had no, or grown up children.

Give them a call though, and discuss the possibilities, it possibly varies by course.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Thu 16-Jun-16 19:25:56

Sorry, a bit confused, would you pack in your job to do the OU full time, or still try and work? I would say doing both full time would be virtually impossible even without DCs. They might not let you register fulltime anyway, the courses are designed to be oart time.

calamityjam Thu 16-Jun-16 19:32:26

What course is it that you want to do? I transferred from a good uni to a local college. Most local colleges do a variety of degree courses now. Mine is only 13 hours a week so most students work at least part time as well.

NapoleonsNose Thu 16-Jun-16 19:38:20

I went back to uni as a mature student OP. If I were you I would consider a bricks and mortar establishment as I think you have to be very disciplined to undertake self-study. I really enjoyed meeting the other students on my course, being able to discuss lectures with them and having easy access to an onsite library was an advantage. Having said all that, I am currently looking at doing a Masters with the OU but think I am much more self-motivated having done my undergrad now.

There aren't any grants available any more, its all loans but there is a .gov website where you can do a quick calculation to see how much you might get. As a mature student with dependents, you may also be entitled to parental learning allowance, adult dependents grant and money for childcare costs. Student income isn't taken into account for tax credits purposes either.

Good luck of you do decide to do it. I loved my degree - I was 41 when I graduated and the sense of achievement was fantastic.

OrangeIsMyNewBlack Thu 16-Jun-16 19:40:12

Course I wanted to do would be BSc (Honours) Health Sciences. With a possible second being BSc (Honours) Psychology with Counselling.

Trouble is, my local university has three campuses. On eis near to me, the other two are not even close by. We're talking at least two buses or a train and quite a walk to and from stations. Something akin to Health Sciences isn't studied at all and Psychology is only studied at the furthest campus from me.

I may be able to do something in the Classical Studies area, but I have no idea how to apply as a mature student, nor would I know how to go about doing so. Also, they seem to be pushing for start in 2017 which is not ideal.

I just cannot do this for another year.

NapoleonsNose Thu 16-Jun-16 19:40:14

I also worked part time alongside my degree . I was in Uni three days a week and worked another two. I was lucky that at the time I did have a very flexible employer though.

Weareboatsremember Thu 16-Jun-16 19:44:57

I did my ou degree full time while working full time, no bother. You just need to plan your study time and protect it so that you make sure that you have time to do the reading and essays that are required for the course.
I did a masters last year while working full time, and with a toddler, and again it was fine, but busy! Plan your time and do it!

NapoleonsNose Thu 16-Jun-16 19:45:08

You've probably missed this years intake. You would need to apply through UCAS - applications open in October I think. Universities like mature students. They are the ones doing it for all the right reasons and tend to do quite well. How far time-wise is the uni from you?

Quiero Thu 16-Jun-16 19:51:35

You can apply for 2016 entry to (local) uni until 30th June but obviously courses may already be full with offers made already. You wouldn't get any extra financial support.

I do OU part time and although I work part time I think it would be doable if you work full time as long as you are happy to plough in in the evenings and at weekends. I'm not convinced you could do full time though. Meeting the TMA deadlines would be really hard. You'll need to keep working though, you get a loan that meets your fees but nothing else.

Give them a ring, they're really good at helping you look at the time aspect of it.

ThomasRichard Thu 16-Jun-16 19:55:07

I'm studying with the OU, doing one module a year (a degree will take 6 years at this intensity and I've just finished my 2nd year). I work full-time and am a single mother to two small children. It's do-able.

calamityjam Thu 16-Jun-16 20:04:02

Can I ask what area you are in OP, I know of a BPS accredited psychology degree which is 2 evenings a week over 4 years near me at a local college.

grounddown Thu 16-Jun-16 20:04:22

I'm doing the OU health science degree part time whilst working part time and I'm a lone parent, it's ok. I do 60 credits a year so that's either one module or 2.
It would take you 6 years to complete your degree that way. I had 180 credits transferred from a previous degree I did at a 'normal' uni that I had to withdraw from after having DC and not being able to go part time.

You could do it part time whilst working full time if you were organised as your TMAs are spaced quite nicely throughout the year, my latest module had an exam and I found that quite tough as there was a lot of revising and i had to do lots of work with DC in bed. Sometimes I don't pick up a book for a fortnight though.

If you have a background in sciences you would be fine, I did A level biology and chemistry (a long time ago) and that helped immensely, some of the 3rd year stuff is really taxing!

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Thu 16-Jun-16 20:17:03

I think a lot depends on the age of your DCs, if they are in bed by say 7.30 every night then you've got plenty of time. Mine are 10 and 12 and I work school hours only but am on the go from pickup at 3.15 till they go to bed at 9.30 ferrying them here, there and everywhere, or doing homework (we all have to share the kitchen table). So realistically I only have 60-90 mins a day for studying plus weekends which I'm not prepared to give over to too much study. I have other hobbies too. I have just finished my first level 2 module which was one of the Health Science ones, 30 credits and not far off the amount of effort I needed to do a 60 credit level 1 module I did the year before. I really enjoy doing it, but couldn't manage it full time.

inaclearingstandsaboxer Thu 16-Jun-16 20:20:24

Just finished my Ba Hons Childhood and Youth - spent six years doing it with the OU a module a year..

I have no small children but I work a sixty hour week so time is pretty tight

Best thing I ever did... Missing it already!

IonaNE Thu 16-Jun-16 20:35:50

Just remember that whatever degree you do with the OU, when using the qualifications or the letters after your name, you have to add 'OU' after it. I.e. MSc if you do it anywhere else; MSc OU, if you do it at the OU. Otherwise it's misrepresentation on a CV, could be dismissible offence if discovered after you got a job, etc. This is why I would never touch the OU, because you won't be allowed to forget that you did it online, not at a "proper" university (even though "proper" universities also have 100% online courses). As you live near a university, I'd try to study something there.

inaclearingstandsaboxer Thu 16-Jun-16 20:44:17

You use (Open) after an OU degree just as you would use (Cantab) for a degree from Cambridge.

In my experience an OU degree is worth as much as a brick built uni degree as it shows dedication and commitment - which goes against general snobbery

IonaNE Thu 16-Jun-16 20:50:27

In my experience an OU degree is worth as much as a brick built uni degree - the issue is that you can't stand and look over the shoulder of every recruiter when they read your CV/job application for the first time, and say this. And even if you could, your experience might not be theirs. I think it's best not to have to put anything in () afteer your degree. (Well, 'Cantab' is not a disadvantage... grin)

MumOnTheRunCatchingUp Thu 16-Jun-16 20:52:15

iona you make it sound as though its something to be ashamed of

inaclearingstandsaboxer Thu 16-Jun-16 20:59:08

Mumontherun - I am not ashamed of my (Open) and that is what counts eh? grin

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