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OU - is it worth it?

(26 Posts)
sparkle789 Thu 02-Jun-16 02:47:40

I have been thinking about doing an OU course when I make a decision about what I want to do career wise. Is it worth it, do employers value the qualification, Or would I be better going to an actual uni?

sunbeamer Thu 02-Jun-16 02:57:13

Well, the first thing to realise is that the OU is an actual uni, it has a campus and staff and departments that conduct research and so on! wink

In my experience as both and employee and an employer, OU degrees are very highly valued. I have had my OU course commented upon favourably in interview on more than one occasion. Similarly, if I see an OU course on a CV, that tells me a lot. It says that you are self-motivated, committed, tenacious, organised, keen to improve yourself, and so on and so on!

Another thing I like about the OU (speaking as a student) is that they encourage tutors to give you marks across the whole spectrum. At a brick uni it is very hard to get above a 70 and if you are doing a Masters the pass mark is 50. So you get a lot of people bunched up in the 50-70 zone and it's hard to really get true differentiation. The OU on the other hand really do mark equally from 0-100, so you can really see your progression and relative scores.

I would go for it. Good luck!

sparkle789 Thu 02-Jun-16 03:17:45

Sorry badly worded, I meant a brick uni as opposed to online.

That's good to know, thanks. I'm a bit scared I've been out of education for 12years and not sure I'd manage.

Kuriusoranj Thu 02-Jun-16 03:58:38

It's a wonderful experience and absolutely worth it. I too have had employers comment favourably on it - it shows a lot of good stuff about your determination, your drive and your organisational skills! I'm constantly idly thinking of yet another degree I could do, but I count as overseas students now so it's that bit more expensive.

sunbeamer Thu 02-Jun-16 04:03:36

How long have you been overseas Kuriu? If you can show them it's only temporary they let you pay the Home fee, made a lot of difference to me smile

sunbeamer Thu 02-Jun-16 04:03:57

What subject/course are you thinking of, Sparkle?

Kuriusoranj Thu 02-Jun-16 04:22:05

Thanks sunbeamer but 3+ years and it's definitely not temporary! I probably will just bite the bullet anyway one day. I totally have the bug.

sparkle789 Thu 02-Jun-16 05:25:59

I'd like to study psychology.
I can either do an ou course between 3 and 6 years (and I'm not in a huge rush), or do an access course for a year and then go to a university. The uni where I live offers the course as a 3yr option, or there are another 3 all within about 30min drive that offer it and 2 so a 6yr part time one.

I can see OU would be easier to juggle with work (part time) and kids, but I worry about motivating myself and tbh it would be nice to be with other people doing the same course.

I am so torn, dd2 starts her 15hrs at play school in September so I will have some free time and I am so ready to do something for me, but maybe I'd be better waiting until she is at school full time. Although I don't know if it'd make it easier or just a different set of difficulties?!

I have been awake all night with my mind spinning with the options.

ItsyBitsyBikini Thu 02-Jun-16 06:25:11

I've just finished my first module with OU. I love it!
I hadn't studied for 12 years before I joined OU and you do a level 1 module to ease you back into studying.

You fit it in around your life. As long as you get you assignments in on time, they don't really bother you! I'm doing another module now, due a baby and worked full time (and bought/renovate a house) in my first year.

You can do it, you just have to want to do it.

RatOnnaStick Thu 02-Jun-16 06:34:16

I've just finished the first year of a part time English degree with OU. I have one child at school and one at nursery and I would never have managed it full time. The OU study guides all say you need between 16-18 hours/week for part time and around 32-35 hours full time. Its not always true of course, some weeks I can whizz through in an afternoon or a couple of late nights but when the assignments are due and the end of year essay or exam it all gets a bit intense.

Having said that, the level one modules are all geared towards people who haven't studied in a long time. The assignments are short and easy to begin with, you learn study skills a bit and it's not crucial if you don't get top marks as long as you pass the module at.thia point.

My plan is to do the first two years part time so 60 credits a year, then when both children are at school I can choose to go full time or keep part time and work. If you are unsure about studying from home you could always do the first level through OU then apply to transfer to brick uni when you're ready to commit to full time.

Curiousmum69 Thu 02-Jun-16 06:52:50

As a flip side. I am at a bricks uni. I went the access course route.

If you treat it like a full time job then you can fit it all in easily. And the major advantage is you can get student finance so less need to work part time (partner income dependant).

I did look at the OU but decided I needed more contact and wanted the experiance.

sparkle789 Thu 02-Jun-16 15:02:29

Thank you for the replies, there is certainly a lot to think about.

RattieOfCatan Thu 02-Jun-16 15:14:55

Sparkle I'm looking at psychology too smile I was planning to start this September as DH has been doing his degree and we decided it'd be better for just one of us to be a student at a time! Though I think it'll be September next year for me now as other things have come up! (Baby due in November). The best bit about the OU is that you can start in September or February and you can take breaks if you need too.

I have debated with myself a lot about OU vs Brick uni, I think the main thing that concerns me is the networking opportunities, my long-term goal is to go into clinical psychology, so a 'normal' uni may hold opportunities that the OU don't in that respect, but equally the OU will be big proof that I can study and research without prompting, which is a 'requirement' of clin psy doctorate candidates, so depending on what you are thinking about afterwards it could be a bonus.

Also, the part-time vs full time, you may not be able to do a brick uni part time, it depends on the cours eof course but some don't offer that as an option, the uni I'll be moving near too doesn't and that's something that's a big con for me, though it may not be for you.

The psychology units look very interesting though don't they? I'm so ready to get started!

grounddown Thu 02-Jun-16 15:21:26

I have experience of both. Did half a degree in a brick uni then had issues with childcare and increasing hours so had to withdraw. I contacted the OU and they awarded all my previous credits so I didn't lose out and found me a suitable degree. I had my first exam this morning grin which was great but normally do assignments which are submitted online.

The OU is great, it fits brilliantly around my life as a working single mom. Last year I did 60 credits but this year my job has been a bit more stressful so I only did 30. This does make the whole thing longer but ill be finished in a few years ready to start my new career smile

RubbishRobotFromTheDawnOfTime Thu 02-Jun-16 19:37:20

RatOnnaStick have you just finished AA100 like me?

sparkles I can highly recommend the OU from my own experience, two years in to a 6 yr PT degree (stage 1 psychology DE100 and intro to humanities AA100). The teaching and materials are good and they cover study and other academic skills as well as the subject. I love it.

I wouldn't try it FT, not with small DC.

RatOnnaStick Thu 02-Jun-16 20:05:13

I have Robot! Are you on the Facebook group?

RubbishRobotFromTheDawnOfTime Thu 02-Jun-16 20:09:27

I am. Could tell a TMA was due in when that started filling up my timeline!

How did you find the EMA? I went for leisure and social status and have no idea how good/bad it was confused

RatOnnaStick Thu 02-Jun-16 20:22:27

I went for option 3 too. Couldn't give a shit about stonehenge etc and I hate the seaside so leisure it was grin. I think the first 1200 words were good, went to pot when I waffled on for a bit to get the word count up then it all came back together for the conclusion. Oh well, time will tell and it's just a pass/fail module.
I tended to ignore the fb group except for.the week of the tmas too. There are some loudmouths on there who seemed to be on every post...

MuddhaOfSuburbia Thu 02-Jun-16 20:53:54

in case you didn't know (I didn't!-had lurked for years on the site but was put off by the fees) you can apply for a student loan to study at the OU

I've just enrolled for AA100 for next Sep smile

sparkle789 Thu 02-Jun-16 21:33:54

Rattie - that's one of my thoughts, would a brick uni offer more opportunities for after I get the degree. The uni where I live does offer the course as a 4 year with the 3rd year being placement which I think would be a great chance, but my issue is how full time is a full time uni course?

Fantastic Muddha! I didn't realise until I started looking recently that had always put me off.

Does the OU course run all year or do you get holidays like in a brick uni?

I am so excited now, I've definitely been reassured that OU is worth considering. I'm not sure what would be best yet because I'm not sure I'd be able to motivate myself enough and I worry about being stuck at home on my own. (Depression gets worse if I don't go out much) but it's exciting to feel like I've got options. I'm not sure exactly what I want to do after the course, something in the mental health field so I think a psychology degree is a good place to start smile

ItsyBitsyBikini Thu 02-Jun-16 21:54:48

Ooh robot & rat i have just finished aa100 too! Did option 1 for ema as i had given up by then!

Were you on the aa100 starters fb group or the common room? Potentially outing now!

RatOnnaStick Thu 02-Jun-16 22:26:29

I'm in both, the common room is more relaxed. Muddha look for a Facebook group for Oct 2016 aa100 starters. They are far more useful than any of the OU forums. What degree pathway are you on?

bojorojo Fri 03-Jun-16 12:42:43

If you wish to be a Chartered Psychologist, then post degree training is vital. How good is the OU at getting students into these training opportunities? They are like hens' teeth I belive and really sought after and difficult to get. The other universities, I believe, do offer an advantage if you need training after the degree and their links may help you achieve this. Very many universities offer Psychology and it is a crowded market and lots of students donot make it to a professional status.

Therefore what do you want to do afterwards? How important is it that you are a Psychologist? What other jobs might you want? Would you consider teaching for example?

RattieOfCatan Sat 04-Jun-16 09:31:39

Sparkle I'm having the same thoughts about motivation too! grin

One thing that's doing it for me with it being part time and flexible is that I can work whilst I study. For my doctorate I'll need a range of experience with service users, so I can do that part time whilst I study part time, best of both worlds!

TrinityForce Sun 05-Jun-16 16:41:11

I'm on my 2nd level of courses now, in an IT & Business degree

I've found it hard going, you have to be so self motivated because some of the courses are literally "here's the book. here's a lecture. here's the assignment."

It eats up a lot of time, you think "I have an hour on friday, I'll do this and this" and find that by the time you're sat down, books out, and working there's little done in an hour, and when it's time for the next hour it's already been forgotten.

Of course this is just my experience, I'm struggling with it but I do think it's worth persevering.

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