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Open University

(34 Posts)
MacNcheese87 Mon 12-Mar-18 21:41:53

Please bear with me, I don't know what the mumsnet stance is on this or if it's worth a go, but I wanted to ask before I start my journey!

I'm stuck at home for a few years (disabled children- maybe one day they'll be off on their own paths but for now it's hospital appointments/therapies etc) but recently I've been thinking about my own future. My partner works different shifts every week so it's hard to study around him but I'm very keen to start something!

Is open university worth a go? Are there any realistic job opportunities from it?

retirednow Mon 12-Mar-18 21:45:32

It can be expensive to do a ou degree. What interests do you have. What sort of job would you like to do.

unweavedrainbow Mon 12-Mar-18 21:47:44

It's as valued as any other degree, in fact some employers value it more as most people who do OU have something else going on in their lives at the same time that means that they can't attend a brick uni. To finish an OU degree takes time, dedication and commitment.
Have you thought about what do you want to study? Would you fund it through Student Finance? Good Luck smile

thesandwich Mon 12-Mar-18 22:28:09

Would it be worth looking at futurelearn or other MOOCS which offer free on line courses to get you back into studying to see how you find it? And perhaps look at something vocational if you want to get into a career?

MacNcheese87 Mon 12-Mar-18 23:09:02

I'd happily look at other routes back into study. I'm not in a rush but I don't want to sit on my hands and wait until I suddenly have nothing else to do.

I'm interested in mental health, psychology, counselling.

It's so overwhelming knowing where to begin but I really want to start. I feel I've focused on my children long enough to be stable enough to juggle both, but not enough to actually go out just yet.

I haven't looked at funding yet but i could possibly fund it myself.

retirednow Mon 12-Mar-18 23:12:11

What about the local adult education centre

MacNcheese87 Mon 12-Mar-18 23:19:15

Honestly I've not looked at much because I don't know where to look. At the moment it's all theoretical. I will have a look at the local education centres. Not sure what to expect?

I've not long had a baby, so even during school hours I'm limited, until she goes off to school. That's why I've been leaning towards home learning.

wowbutter Mon 12-Mar-18 23:20:54

It's fab, I've done two degrees with them. I advocate and advertise for them.
You can get student loans which makes paying easy. Have you done a degree before?
There's loads of subjects, support is ace, and employers respond to it exceptionally well.

MacNcheese87 Tue 13-Mar-18 07:41:41

I've not had a degree before. Highest academic level was GCSEs, very good ones atleast. Then I did an apprenticeship and worked but I didn't get any formal qualification out of it and I don't want to go back into that trade.

Since I'm not planning on working for a few years, can it be done mostly at home for those few years? Will the open university be able to help me choose a path? I've looked on their website but with so many courses and modules it's very confusing which ones to do and where to begin. I think I will do a couple of free courses in the beginning to get back into the swing of it.

unweavedrainbow Tue 13-Mar-18 09:24:23

Give them a ring and talk to one their advisors, they're very helpful.

Just as a rough idea though, to complete a degree you need 360 "credits". Each module is 60 credits and most people take 1 module a year, so it will take 6 years to complete a degree. Degrees are made up of 120 credits at level 1 and the same at level 2 and level 3. Level 1 starts at roughly A level standard to make it easier for those who haven't studied in HE before whilst level 2 and level 3 are equivalent to their corresponding years at a brick uni (brick uni degrees are 3 years long as they cover double the material to the OU in the same year, this is because full time students have time to do nothing but study whereas OU students usually have work or children going on as well). The OU also offers Access courses which are pitched at a level lower than Level 1 and don't count towards a degree. They are very confidence boosting though and a good idea if you don't know exactly what you want to study.
As for funding, OU degree are funded through Student Finance England. You can borrow the full amount of the fees without having to pay for anything up front, and you won't have to pay anything back until you're earning more than 21, 000 a year and then only on the amount of earning that is over 21, 000. If you get to retirement age and you haven't paid it all it's written off. It's more of a tax really than "real debt" as if you can't afford to pay (for example, no or too little income, and, remember, it's on your earnings not the household income) you won't have to. Part time study doesn't affect benefits and doesn't have to be declared to the DWP.

unweavedrainbow Tue 13-Mar-18 09:28:06

OU study is done completely from home. There are a few tutorials but these are largely optional. A lot of the study is done online these days-they do send books but they largely enhance and support the online material. You will need a computer with reasonably decent specs-I know lots of people MN from their phone these days and don't have a PC at home, but, for OU, regular access to a computer is non negotiable. If money is an issue then they offer PC grants for people on lowish incomes.

RatOnnaStick Tue 13-Mar-18 09:34:00

If you aren't sure you can opt for an access course, the cost of which can be offset if you go on to begin a degree. Have a look here and definitely speak to an advisor. They are lovely helpful people used to answering all sorts of questions.

thesandwich Tue 13-Mar-18 09:51:32

Have a look at these

MacNcheese87 Tue 13-Mar-18 10:43:18

Thanks for the information! Sandwich I will definitely try a few of those free courses to get back into the swing of things.

I'm guessing I'd need to start at level 1 to do a degree with OU? I have good GSCEs but no A levels. I'll give them a call, maybe after I do some free courses.

Thanks so much for the help!

Daffydil Tue 13-Mar-18 10:48:08

I also have two OU degrees, and am a massive fan.

It can be hard work, and feel lonely at times, but most courses develop a great online community that can be very supportive.

I definitely second the idea to talk to their advisors.

EchidnasPhone Tue 13-Mar-18 10:48:38

I completed my degree in 5 years with a year off to have a baby. OU was excellent for my family and my own learning. I’m a SAHM and there were many late nights and working during naps but it was the only way I could realistically learn. They do have tutorials although most are switching to online and the psychology faction of the OU is super supportive. I started a postgraduate distance learning with another and honestly there is no comparison on the resources afforded to the OU. In Scotland there were no fees dependant on your personal income so I didn’t need to pay. I finished with a 2:1 honours and along with raising 3 children have a real sense of achievement and an avenue to go back to work when they start school.

Dontfuckingsaycheese Tue 13-Mar-18 10:49:03

I am getting towards the end of my 5/6th module. I have loved it. Work load ramps up level 2/3 but starts pretty gently. I have found student support and tutors very helpful, approachable and human!
I'd definitely recommend attending tutorials if possible.

Purplerain101 Tue 13-Mar-18 10:50:13

I’ve done a psychology degree with the OU. It was all done from home (the occasional tutorial was optional and I never went to any of them). It cost me about 6k in total to do and I paid it in monthly instalments (there are funding options available but i didn’t qualify for any of it).
There are some sit down exams you have to do for various modules, and some of the others don’t have exams but just have end of module essays which you do at home.
It hasn’t particularly helped me get a good job though, but I might just be unlucky with where I live. Some of the people on my degree who went onto do further post grad training in various things have secured better jobs

FoofFighter Fri 16-Mar-18 11:11:15

Remember you can also do entirely online/distance degrees at brick universities too.

MacNcheese87 Mon 19-Mar-18 18:03:28

I feel so defeated already. sad I just want to learn slowly and gain the necessary theory work now that I'll need in the future when I look at placements, but seems a lot of money for not much!

I'd like to train to become a counselling psychologist. I spoke to the advisor and they said I can either do a course at the local college for a few years and then do their foundation degree while working, (not doable) or I can do the diploma which is all online, takes 6 years part time and costs £17k.. after that I won't be qualified until I find work as a volunteer (which I'd be happy with if I knew who would take me on?!) and then it's another 4 years for the foundation degree I mentioned before.

Sounds like the £17k is pointless! I can't attend a college at the moment, maybe in a few years but I don't want to spend 6 years studying for a course that only starts the ball rolling.

Anyone have any advice? Anyone in this line of work?

FoulMouthedMotherFigure Thu 22-Mar-18 12:33:09

Looks like there may be major restructuring (i.e. downsizing) within the OU soon:

OP, I hope you find a course which works for you and your own circumstances and leads to something satisfying. I know from experience that when you're a full-time carer, having something more to do that you can call your very own (e.g. studying towards a degree) can save your sanity.

You mentioned that you have DC with disabilities: could you perhaps get the necessary volunteering experience working with a charity that supports/campaigns for people with those particular conditions?

PersianCatLady Wed 28-Mar-18 09:51:53

I completed my OU BSc (Hons) Computing and IT in December 2017 and I am going to start teacher training in September 2018.

I definitely think that the OU is worthwhile!!

ferrier Wed 28-Mar-18 11:10:19

I also think the OU is invaluable to people like you and me who have stepped out of the workplace for a while. Even if the subject is not relevant to the field you eventually intend to work in (probably not the case for you, the OU is quite strong on health/social care/psychology) it shows employers that you can work at degree level, have got commitment etc etc.

I second pp - ring them up and chat to one of their advisors. It may be that an access course is best for you as you don't have A Levels and it will give you an idea of whether the OU and the subject you're interested in are right for you.

NextInLine Wed 28-Mar-18 11:21:32

I'm studying with the OU. I think it may be cheaper than an actual brick university. I get a student loan to fund my course. Hopefully, by the time I finish my degree my youngest child will be in full time education, then I can start teacher training.

Bekabeech Wed 28-Mar-18 17:52:07

I would strongly suggest you start by looking at FutureLearn and Coursera and Edex courses first. Choose one that interests you (and isn't too advanced- eg maybe not quantum mechanics yet).
See if this kind of study works for you? Get used to learning again.
There are ways to get help with funding, but don't commit until you know it suits you, and try to get some work experience to check it is what you want to do.

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