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to ask you what you think of OU Degrees...

(131 Posts)
SilverDoe Tue 24-Apr-18 10:24:36

Trying to decide what degree to, and will be studying with the OU. I'm struggling to decide between a Law degree and a Business degree, and I wanted to hear some opinions on their degrees in general.

I don't technically need a degree for my dream career, but naturally it would be useful to have one. For context I really want to be PA/EA, so am thinking a Law/Business degree would be most relevant? Please correct me if I'm wrong!

TIA smile

Greypaw Tue 24-Apr-18 10:29:06

I love OU. Currently halfway through a psychology degree, and much prefer it to when I went to university when I was younger. I think the way they structure things and present the material is fantastic.

KeneftYakimoski Tue 24-Apr-18 10:30:45

For context I really want to be PA/EA, so am thinking a Law/Business degree would be most relevant?

It will take you six years to do, at a pretty intense part-time load. Does that fit with your aspirations?

SilverDoe Tue 24-Apr-18 10:34:11

I'm glad you're enjoying it! smile

I am actually signed up for a Psychology right now, but I need to have a big change that's more in line with the work I want to do.

It's good to hear the source materials are high quality; may I ask how much time you are spending studying during the week? I have a baby and toddler and am returning to work, but only for 24 hours a week.

BrazzleDazzleDay Tue 24-Apr-18 10:34:30

I'm doing business management accounting route, business management standard route was dull as fuck imo

SilverDoe Tue 24-Apr-18 10:37:38

Sorry Keneft cross posted with you, that's a genuine consideration as I know a degree is not required, however I do think I can fit a part time study in as I only plan to work PT while the kids are young.

I am already in an administrative role so I am hoping that even if I can't move jobs yet, it will be worth while experience.

SilverDoe Tue 24-Apr-18 10:38:33

Brazzle that was what I worried about too! I am considering the Business Management with the economics route. What do you think of the work load?

OyO Tue 24-Apr-18 10:41:10

If I were you, I would do business.

Law is an industry in which where you studied is often more important than the actual result of your studies.

Although a law degree can develop a diverse range of skills, I think a business degree would be more appealing to a prospective employer hiring a PA/EA.

Fintress Tue 24-Apr-18 10:43:36

With a baby, a toddler and working 24 hours a week you might find it tough to put the hours in, especially with a law degree. I did math & computing degree when my daughter started school and I didn't work. It was still hard work getting motivated at times. Worth it though. If you do it part time it will take a lot longer too.

Ceinwen2 Tue 24-Apr-18 10:45:13

I can't judge between those two degrees, but as someone who has done quite a lot with the OU I'd say the standard is very good indeed. I was at three Higher Education / Uni places, and the OU stuff was several times better than what we were offered. This view is widely shared by employers.

KeneftYakimoski Tue 24-Apr-18 10:46:39

I have a baby and toddler and am returning to work, but only for 24 hours a week.

Two small children, 0.6FTE part-time work and an OU degree at 60 credits a year? From, by implication, not having done any post-18 study before?

Good luck. It's do-able with a huge amount of support from your partner, but you shouldn't underestimate the commitment.

Polarbearflavour Tue 24-Apr-18 10:46:40

You don’t need a degree to be a PA although many of them have degrees.

OU is great - I did English. But hard work! I did prefer distance learning to a brick university. I wonder if an NVQ3 at your local college in business administration will be of more help though? Some colleges do a Level 3 PA/EA diploma too.

IamtheDevilsAvocado Tue 24-Apr-18 10:46:55

OU materials are brilliant!

VladmirsPoutine Tue 24-Apr-18 10:49:35

I have no experience of the OU but I have heard good things about them. But I suppose that's neither here nor there.

I think @OyO makes a good point:

Law is an industry in which where you studied is often more important than the actual result of your studies. Although a law degree can develop a diverse range of skills, I think a business degree would be more appealing to a prospective employer hiring a PA/EA.

I second this. A law degree from a long established redbrick would stand you in very good stead but in as much as PA/EA roles go a Business degree might offer more relevant skills.

PinkyBlunder Tue 24-Apr-18 10:55:57

I also did English but can vouch that the OU is a very high standard of further education. My degree has always served me very very well. I completed it with a part time job, very young child and largely absent DH. Complete nightmare but doable and totally worth it.

Greypaw Tue 24-Apr-18 10:58:13

I'm not actually sure how much time I spend studying, which I realise is odd and unhelpful. I tend to motor ahead with the materials when I first get them, so I will work flat out every day for a few weeks until I'm months ahead of myself, and then I coast and just do an hour here or there. I don't really stick to their schedule apart from the assignments because I like to get ahead in case life gets in the way. Also, it just doesn't feel much like studying; I love the subject so I just feel like I'm reading a good book.

The amount of time they predict I should spend on each task is way off though. Perhaps it's because I've studied before but the things they say I should set aside an hour for I can do in about 15 mins usually. Depends on the task, of course. Anything mathsy takes me much longer.

spiderlight Tue 24-Apr-18 11:05:38

I taught for the OU for about eight years and found them utterly brilliant - the materials were so thorough and the course I taught took a far more varied and insightful approach than similar courses at the ordinary university where I also worked. The students were fantastic - really keen and motivated, and they supported each other brilliantly. I have very fond memories of a lady in her eighties and a young lass of about 21 who used to meet at the pub to study every week and formed the most beautiful friendship, and I'm still in touch with several of my former students (one of whom is now my DS's godfather!) 15 years after leaving.

SilverDoe Tue 24-Apr-18 11:06:21

Thank you for all your responses!

OyO that is very sound advice and I agree, thank you smile Business Management it will be then!

Keneft I understand the commitment needed but I do have a very supportive DH who is taking time out to be a SAHD until the oldest is in school. My mum also worked full time and was pregnant with me (the youngest of 4) when she completed her degree, so I don't feel that my other commitments are reason not to go for it if it will enhance my career prospects!

SilverDoe Tue 24-Apr-18 11:07:57

aww spiderlight that is lovely smile You all have sold me, I've also read that the OU have a very respectable Business school so I'm looking forward to that.

Also I apologise for the amount of exclamation marks in my last post blush

Wisdens Tue 24-Apr-18 11:07:57

I'm taking a year off from doing Maths and Physics. I love the OU, and ignore all the crap in the media about it. Its not closing, has plenty of reserves and you will get a decent degree.

Its bloody hard work though. Trying to get your head round a tricky principle when you would rather be watching rugby/eastenders/panorama* can be a nightmare but when it all 'clicks' the feeling is superb.

I wasn't a facebook user but I did join up solely for the FB groups for each subject. The support you get is amazing.

*delete as appropriate

pigmcpigface Tue 24-Apr-18 11:08:20

My feelings about OU degrees are divided down the middle.

First of all, many people doing them are studying with significant other commitments. To achieve a degree in those circumstances is a phenomenal thing. If I were on an interview panel, I would be seriously impressed by the additional skills shown by someone who could juggle work, childcare and a part-time course like that, over and above the skills shown by a 'traditional' undergraduate. It shows drive, organisation and commitment well in excess of what many 21 years olds have.

That said, for complex personal reasons I have done both an OU degree and a 'traditional' degree and I was seriously unimpressed by the academic standards of the OU degree. I studied science, and the whole first year was basically doing stuff that we had done at a pre-16 level at high school. Not only that, but we weren't allowed to progress beyond the textbooks - we simply had to regurgitate what was written there, unquestioningly. We weren't allowed to use other sources or other information in our answers despite the fact that the internet allowed just about anyone to access this - the rationale seemed to be that the academic tutors couldn't really cope if we did because they wouldn't know what was right or wrong. Some didn't seem to be terribly qualified to teach at this level - no PhD, or anything equivalent.

By comparison, my 'traditional' degree (in arts and humanities) pushed me beyond all my limits - it got me to question the foundations of everything I knew, got me to read deeply and widely, and I was taught by absolutely cutting-edge people in their fields whose knowledge was more than a match for anything I could write.

I'm an academic myself, btw. smile

ThePieMother Tue 24-Apr-18 11:14:57

I did a degree with OU & graduated in 2016. Fitting it in was hard work but I wouldn't say it was anywhere near as hard as some people are making out.

For context, I was a single parent for most of it with 3 children. My oldest son has challenging SN, I worked full time & completed my degree in 4 years without going to a single tutorial. I got a 2:1. Undoubtedly I could have got a 1st if I'd worked harder! In actual fact, I was lulled into a false sense of security with how simple I found the process as I immediately launched into a distance learning MSc which I'm finding MUCH harder (3 months to go... confused)

Some of my modules were Law based which I was really looking forward to but hated the dryness of them in reality. I think a business degree sounds more appropriate for what you want to do.

Do think about the cost though as it's not a cheap 'hobby'!

Best of luck.

PinkyBlunder Tue 24-Apr-18 11:22:21

I think how difficult you find fitting it in is all relative really. It depends on your circumstances, who you are as a person, what degree you’re doing, what modules you choose, the list goes on....

I don’t think comparing how hard you found it against others is particularly helpful to be honest.

I genuinely found it bloody difficult actually ThePieMother. No ‘making out’ of anything here.

SilverDoe Tue 24-Apr-18 11:32:11

Really useful to hear of your own experiences smile

I think my main concern, given the heavy emphasis PA roles place on their ipplmportance, is indeed demonstrating my organisational and time management skills. So I do think based on what most of you have said, an OU degree will be really useful for this. It's a bit nerve wracking but I'm looking forward to it!

Those who have completed OU degrees, did you study 60 credits per year, or more?

SilverDoe Tue 24-Apr-18 11:32:57

(sorry, writing with a baby in one hand blush )

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