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To assume I can jump straight into an OU degree at the age of 36....

(32 Posts)
Mollie85 Fri 26-May-17 07:26:08

.... with no previous higher education or history of studying since my GCSE's 20 years ago?

I assume I am, but I suppose I am after anyone's experience really of part time study for a degree...

- BA Criminology and Psychology
- six years part time

It's just me. No family. Live alone. Full time employment but my hours are such that I would have time to study.

This isn't a recent flight of fantasy, it's been something I've been considering for years but money has prevented it (I live in the Channel Islands and therefore will not be funded. Also my current employer will not fund this as it is in a completely different field)

I have a lot of free time and spend it watching documentaries on the above or reading books on it, so can transfer that time to study.

What do you think? Am I bonkers?

chaplin1409 Fri 26-May-17 07:28:31

Yes you can. OU do an access course which I have just completed. It gives you a good idea of how you will study and also refreshes study skills. This might be worth looking at.

UndersecretaryofWhimsy Fri 26-May-17 07:29:01

Will the OU accept you with your current qualifications?

If so, crack on and enjoy. The OU are great at supporting people back into education and through a degree. I've studied with them and rate them very highly. If not I have no doubt they will have channels and ways of supporting you into the degree.

Sign up now and do it!

ExplodingCarrots Fri 26-May-17 07:32:06

I'm currently doing the exact same course OP. I'm 28 and a SAHM. There are people on my course double my age and nailing it. Most havnt done any form of study for 20 years plus. I'd also recommend an access course. It's just to help you prepare for university study. You're never too 'old' for education.

Polter Fri 26-May-17 07:32:47

Yes, go for it!

But, I would suggest dropping the criminology and doing straight psychology as it is BPS accredited and will give you more options should you choose to pursue a career in the field.

Mollie85 Fri 26-May-17 07:34:43

Thank you so far!

Yes it does state there are no formal qualifications to start... which i suppose is why I'm asking if it's reasonable to assume I can just "jump straight in" as it were grin

Flisspaps Fri 26-May-17 07:34:56

Yes, do it. The first level modules usually give you a good grounding/refresher, and there are mostly no entry requirements re other qualifications.

I did a BA with only GCSEs behind me.

HidingFromDD Fri 26-May-17 07:37:50

If you're looking at straight Psychology, don't discount the amount of maths required. Not sure about the OU course but it can get quite heavy

FittonTower Fri 26-May-17 07:39:14

My dad did an OU degree in his 30s/40s after leaving school at 14 with no qualifications. He did their "foundation year" first I think, which introduced him to the subject a little, so he'd understand the terminology used and stuff and some study skills stuff. But he really enjoyed his degree and got a 2:1 while working full time in the steel works and raising 5 kids. Did most of his study on the night-shifts! Go for it, OU is designed for people without traditional university entry requirements

SunEgg Fri 26-May-17 07:39:28

Yes go for it! Some OU students are in their 60s and 70s.

UndersecretaryofWhimsy Fri 26-May-17 07:39:58

The OU is set up specifically to handhold and help you navigate through degree level study, plus make sure you have all the resources you need. If you like the course and you know how to work hard, you'll do great. Sounds like it is probably worth doing an access course too to boost your confidence.

Enjoy! I have really enjoyed studying as am adult. I have the self discipline to make the most of it and the motivation to know why I'm doing it. Picture yourself collecting that degree. You'll get there.

OneInEight Fri 26-May-17 07:40:18

Yes, but do not overload yourself. Recommend you only do one module the first year. Better to do it slowly and successfully than rush and drop out (as most of my students who took on too many modules used to do).

RedSkyAtNight Fri 26-May-17 07:42:15

The OU will recommend you start with an Access course based on your previous study. Success rates for students that do an Access course first (in your circumstances) are substantially higher than for those who don't ...

Mollie85 Fri 26-May-17 07:43:29

Thanks for all the help so far. At work now so won't reply. Because of the cost, I thought I'd jump straight in. I was considering the diploma in HE first, but that's £11,500 ...

SootSprite Fri 26-May-17 07:48:55

i did OP, I was 39 when I started studying for my BA Open with the OU. I hadn't studied for around 15 years. It came as a bit of a shock, (I had previous credit transfer so went straight in at level 2/3) but it was more the shock of having to read or study rather than the actual work.

The level 1 modules are designed to ease you in, and your first assignments will be marked with an understanding eye.

I'm now doing a Masters degree with the OU in my mid 40s 😊

Go for it! 👍🏻

KnobJockey Fri 26-May-17 07:54:23

I've just completed my degree with the OU, and would also recommend them. I've just completed my BA while a single parent working between 30/40 hours.

I also wouldn't be necessarily say you should do an access course. Are you a studious/academically minded person anyway? The level 1 courses are meant to babysit you a bit and teach you skills, and the grade you get doesn't affect your grade in the degree at all- if you choose the most general of your modules as your first one, use that to get to grips.

Final tip- DONT start any modules until September! I took an openings module first, just for something to do, enjoyed it so decided to do a degree. Because I had taken that openings course in the March, I essentially lost the first 6 months of my degree, and had 5.5 years to complete it. Doesn't sound like much, but when you get to level 3 courses that all only start in September, it means that you may have to sit 2 level 3 courses together- not fun!

AstrantiaMajor Fri 26-May-17 08:07:50

My OH left school with no qualifications. He did an OU course at 62 and loved it. I say go for it.

imisschocolate Fri 26-May-17 08:41:36

I finished an OU degree 2 years ago. I made a friend on the course who had left education at 16 and hadn't done anything academic in the almost 20 years between.

She did fantastic and got her degree.

Go for it! You can do it!

RiojaHaze Fri 26-May-17 08:45:38

I'm 37 and 4 years into my part time OU course, no studying since GCSE's.
The tutors are mostly brilliant and supportive, there are loads of forums on the website and Facebook for your specific course too.

I'm pretty sure that once you complete the first 4 years that's the equivalent to a diploma in HE anyway?

Hairyfairy01 Fri 26-May-17 08:52:04

I went straight into level 1 course having not studied for years. I found them great at getting you back into studying, referencing etc. You can do some free ou mini courses online o see how you get on. If you want to change your career into the psychology field make sure a psychology based course is bps approved.

SukiPutTheEarlGreyOn Fri 26-May-17 08:56:26

Congratulations on deciding to do an OU course. Like many others here, I found them supportive and courses are well structured to ease you in. To get you in the zone before you start your course it might be also worth taking a look at MOOCs - free, open, online short courses designed and delivered by universities on a wide range of subjects/topics (have completed quite a few of these and highly recommend). Coursera and Future Learn both offer a long list of courses from a range of unis - including aspects of psychology/criminology. Edex is also good (mainly top USA unis) as is Iversity (European unis). If you'd like to refresh academic learning skills the Future Learn free 'beginners guide to writing in English for university study' would be worth a look. It's designed to help students studying academic subjects in English (as a second language but at high level) and covers useful steps such as essay writing (course started May 1st but they are usually structured so you can jump in and catch up). Wishing you best of luck with with your OU course - it's a great thing to do!

heyduggeeallday Fri 26-May-17 09:00:09

I'm currently doing an access course at my local Uni and am doing a degree in sociology in September. No previous qualifications. Mature students are always excepted because they bring life skills etc

PurpleMinionMummy Fri 26-May-17 09:06:40

Go for it. How did you do in your gcses? If you got decent grades you won't need to bother with the access course (unless you want to).

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Fri 26-May-17 09:15:57

You'll manage fine but a couple of tips: as a pp has said, only do the foundation module in the first year, it'll be worth around 60 points and broken up into short sections and there's a temptation to think 'this looks easy' and add something else on that year - don't! They design it very carefully to enhance your study skills and help you set your own rhythm for studying - so for eg, lots of short assessments rather than one big one at the end. You'll probably find the first year tests your time, commitment and study skills rather than your brain power, iyswim.

Second, get involved in your tutor group online groups but (ime) the course-wide groups just end up going south and sucking up time. Ignore or only dabble briefly when things are kicking off.

Third, you get a lot of tutor time in first year compared to other years (again ime) so use them - ask questions, get tips, listen to their feedback. Essentially my main advice is to treat the first year as learning to study and be a student, rather than learning your subject.

Fourth, there used to be some free online courses on the OU's website which you can do over the summer, just to get you in the swing of things.

OU is brilliant. I think it's one of the best things the UK has and I'm always so chuffed to read a thread from someone wanting to join because it has quite honestly changed my life. flowers

PurpleMinionMummy Fri 26-May-17 09:17:42

I'm pretty sure that once you complete the first 4 years that's the equivalent to a diploma in HE anyway?

This is right. Best to sign up for the whole degree from the off anyway. Sometimes the modules which count towards the degree change. OU will ensure you're on the right track the whole time if you sign up for the full degree and any module changes won't affect you if you've already started.

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