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Open university for 18 year old?

(18 Posts)
theredhen Wed 05-Jun-13 03:17:13

My dsd is in year 12. She's looked at going to Uni but seems put off by the traditional route.

She's now suggesting she works and gets a job at the end of year 13 and studies at home with the ou.

In theory this sounds great, earning money and getting a degree. I think the reality is that she will either get a part time job and therefore not really put much effort into her career for several years which won't look good on her cv or she will get a full time job and her degree will take many many years and she will probably give up.

She's like most kids and not always the most motivated. So I'm not convinced home study is for her. On the other hand I have read that many traditional degrees have only a few hours of lectures per week anyway.

Opinions please?

Dirtymistress Wed 05-Jun-13 03:39:59

I did my OU degree between the ages of 21-27, whilst working full time. I got a 2:1. It's perfectly possible though undoubtedly hard. Graduating was one of my proudest moments because I knew that I had really worked for it. My mother didn't think I could do it either, perhaps you shouldn't underestimate your daughter.

AdoraBell Wed 05-Jun-13 03:56:47

Why would she give up? Also, why would working part time while studying look bad?

theredhen Wed 05-Jun-13 04:11:33

Simply because its very hard to be motivated to study at home. By her own admission, she hasn't bothered with revision much for her gcse and as levels. She has told me she finds it really hard to study at home and be motivated.

I'm wondering if working part time from the ages of 18 to 24 would look bad if the employer couldn't see a traditional degree on the cv? Obviously a traditional degree might entail three years part time working rather than 6 which is how long she plans in doing ou degree.

Also a lot of life changes can take place in those six years, and maybe they might stop her from her studies.

They are just my initial worries and if course I might be proved wrong.

Bearandcub Wed 05-Jun-13 04:15:26

As an employer I would see this as evidence of self-motivation, initiative, dedication, maturity and conscientiousness.

AdoraBell Wed 05-Jun-13 04:24:46

Is there anything that could be changed, adapted, at home to make it easier for her. Maybe a space that's just for studying? Obviously I don't know your home situation, I'm not saying have should have to knock down walls or vacate your home to accommodate her, but my sister studied with OU from home without problems.

Some people can do it, some people work better in a classroom style environment, she must know which would suit her better. Revision, or lack of, for school exams isn't always and indicator for future studies.

RiaOverTheRainbow Wed 05-Jun-13 04:59:45

The OU does short courses which last a few months and may count towards a degree, depending on subjects etc. If you/she can afford it it's a good way to see if your dd can manage studying from home.

lovesmileandlaugh Wed 05-Jun-13 05:15:05

At 18, I was unmotivated and jumped from one course to another, including university. I always worked and enjoyed working, but could never quite discipline myself to study (other than a day release btec I did for my job!).

In my 30's, I am now studying towards a degree with the OU. I work, have children and many other commitments. My Mum said to me the other day that she wished I'd done it at 18 when it would have been easier (and free) for me.

I actually have few regrets. I'm doing something that is interesting to me and that I have work experience in, so I have the confidence to challenge some of the material. I think life and work experience means I get more out of it than I personally would have done at 18.

I think one benefit she might get from OU is being able to do modules and banking up the credits. She could try one, and if she just isn't enjoying it, not do another. Another thing is to not judge how much time she spends doing it. I don't spend anywhere near as much time as I am supposed to, but I do manage to get okay marks.

Another option would be to consider a vocational degree such as nursing, with on the job training.

Good luck to her!

UptheChimney Wed 05-Jun-13 08:16:04

By her own admission, she hasn't bothered with revision much for her gcse and as levels. She has told me she finds it really hard to study at home and be motivated

So why is she thinking of university at all? It's not compulsory.

And frankly, we'd far rather not have unmotivated, uncertain students, who are only at university because they can't think of anything else to do and it keeps them in the safe bubble of "school and home."

Nothing wrong with going out and working, volunteering, travelling doing something she actually wants to do, and then coming back to study. Or maybe not. Maybe she'll find out what she really wants to do?

BeckAndCall Wed 05-Jun-13 08:49:01

Is another option for her to go to a university within daily travel distance from home?

The OU approach would be very flexible but quite isolating. If she lived at home she could go to lectures and meet people on campus, use the library as study space if home doesn't work for her, and join in the 'life' there a bit more. And still get a part time job to fit around her study hours (unless she does a science or vocational course which has lots of contact hours or placements ). With a look, perhaps?

Slipshodsibyl Wed 05-Jun-13 09:42:07

Agree with Upthechimney. OU is great but it is really hard to be motivated to study alone. She is very young. Why not take a year or more out of education to work and to give her time to reflect and deciDe on her aspirations.

this category of student tends to do well when they return to study. She might also prefer to apply for a job which gives training without needing a degree.

UptheChimney Wed 05-Jun-13 09:55:12

this category of student tends to do well when they return to study


Personally, my dream job would be a university where everyone is there (no matter their age or [non]wealth) because that is where they need to be at that particular point in their lives.

theredhen Wed 05-Jun-13 12:12:00

I think a year of working is actually a very good idea before making any decisions. I'll mention that to her.

Basically her mother is doing the exact same open university degree that dsd says she wants to do. Whilst it might be great for mum, I'm not sure it's really right for dsd.

Just my thoughts obviously.

UptheChimney Wed 05-Jun-13 12:29:53

I'm a great advocate of the gap year. I was only 16 when I did my A Levels, and I'd had an acute illness in my final year as well. I took a gap year, partly to get healthy. But it also confirmed to me that actually, I wanted to be back learning & studying.

For others, it confirms that they want to do learning in another way, via work, or volunteering or whatever. I think it's important to take time to work all that out.

spiderlight Wed 05-Jun-13 12:36:34

I was an OU tutor for many years, I taught a student who had started her degree at 18 rather than going down the traditional University route and she was doing really well. She came to all the tutorials and clicked with a formidable and hilarious 80-year-old woman on the same course - they became study buddies and went to the pub after the tutorials every month. From that perspective the OU could be a fantastic experience, as she'll get to meet people from all sorts of backgrounds, and some courses do residential weeks so she'll get a taste of that side of student life as well, albeit with a mostly older group. Motivation is massively important though: OU study does call for a lot of self-discipline.

AdoraBell Wed 05-Jun-13 13:28:04

So do you think she's chosen that course because it's what Mum is doing, or has she often said she'd like to work in that field?

If it's a case of simply doing what her mother does then I think a gap year could be a huge benefit in terms of finding her own way.

theredhen Wed 05-Jun-13 13:50:47

She says she has absolutely no idea what she wants to do career wise. So I do think it's a case of doing what Mum wants.

I also feel although she is quite bolshy and "confident" on the outside, she is actually lacking in confidence about who she is as a person.

I do think a year out would really help her make some decisions that she wants to make rather than want her parents want.

zipzap Wed 05-Jun-13 14:56:31

Has she read any of her mum's study materials - and what does she think of them... fascinating? Boring? want's to know more? too difficult? Too obvious or easy?

if her mum is already doing the same course then she has the opportunity to look at it and think would she really like to be studying this in her free time...

If her mum is signed up but not yet started - how will she feel about doing it alongside her mum - what if she gets better marks or her mum does much better than her? Or if she discusses a great idea that her mum then uses to get great marks in an essay but she doesn't. or if they go to a residential or study group and she has to buddy up with her mum - or finds somebody else but then has to car pool with her mum and can't always meet the other person or stay as long as she would like?

Also she could probably look online and find lots of similar course materials to give her an idea of what was involved. Has she looked at every single course description on the OU website and still come up thinking that her mum has chosen what she has always loved to do? There are so many courses on there...

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