Did anyone's dc do OU instead of brick uni?

(22 Posts)
OneofPansPeople Thu 25-Apr-19 14:21:20

As title said, wondered if anyone's dc had chosen this option and if so how did it/is going?
Is it likely to be a massive disadvantage employment wise do you think?

OP’s posts: |
titchy Thu 25-Apr-19 16:13:37

No maintenance loan might put them off. I guess it depends what else they do with their time. If they're also working that would look great. If they're not, it wouldn't seeing as OU is supposed to be only part time.

OneofPansPeople Thu 25-Apr-19 16:17:26

Is it not being viewed as a full time alternative in order not to generate a huge debt?

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Thu 25-Apr-19 16:19:47

It’s a completely different experience and is designed for people who are not necessarily up to date with learning and missed out earlier in life. The only people I know who have done it have been working or retired and speed of learning can be tailored to circumstances. It’s rarely chosen by the young. Usually better off people who can afford the fees and live at home whilst they study at home. It’s a bit isolating in my view and suits older people who don’t want or need a university social life!

HappyDinosaur Thu 25-Apr-19 16:25:04

I think the OU is not an exact swap, however a number of unis do distance courses that might be worth looking into.

Hollowvictory Thu 25-Apr-19 16:28:14

You need to be incredibly motivated to do OU. Learning by yourself at home is very difficult. As an employer it does not hugely impress me if someone has an OU degree that took 7 years or whatever.

titchy Thu 25-Apr-19 16:28:21

Is it not being viewed as a full time alternative in order not to generate a huge debt?

No not at all - not least because OU is not full time, plus what bubbles said. Degree apprenticeships are however if this is of interest?


MaFleur Thu 25-Apr-19 16:31:03

OU can be full time equivalent if you want it to be. It just doesn’t have to be. Plus you only “go at your own pace” to the extent that you choose how many modules to do at a time. There are set dates for starting, assessments and exams, just like a brick uni.

SoHotADragonRetired Thu 25-Apr-19 16:32:02

Going straight into OU would seem a bit of an odd choice. If finances are tight a degree apprenticeship or a blended/distance approach from a bricks and mortar university might be a better choice.

I love the OU FWIW, have a qualification from there, but this was postgraduate and while I was working. As PP say it is geared to helping people who are not traditionally set for higher ed to get them over the humps, and it does this very well. It would not be a great choice for a bright young person straight out of A-levels who might want to stretch further or follow their own interests more.

summerevenings2019 Thu 25-Apr-19 16:32:51

@titchy You can do full time with the OU actually, they offer degree courses over 3 years and part time over 6 years.

OU is great for people with medical issues too (like me!) I'm doing my Higher Education access course with them as I'm too anxious to go out at the moment. Considering a degree too but I would love to get better and attend a brick uni.

(Oh and I'm 20 so not old, I also know quite a few young people using it!)

BubblesBuddy Thu 25-Apr-19 17:28:03

Well, yes, it would suit students who cannot leave the house but obviously that’s quite a small number of young people and, as I said, suits people who don’t expect a social life. It is difficult to evaluate employment prospects in those circumstances. If anyone is comparing it to “red brick” (which are traditional universities usually founded in the 19th century) it is not a comparison because the OU was set up for those who missed out or are time poor. It was not set up to be equivalent to red bricks.

It also is worth saying that the fees for traditional universities are really a grad tax. You don’t need to pay them up front. Many students pay very little of their degree “loan”. You have to earn £25,000 before you get “taxed” at all. Therefore OP, you need to understand how the student “loans”
work because so few pay them off. They are not loans at all! See Martin Lewis on Money Saving Expert for the best advice on student finance. Your DC might be better advised to get standard student finance and go to a red brick for better career prospects.

OneofPansPeople Thu 25-Apr-19 17:28:41

@summer it sounds like you are in a position similar to the person I am making enquiries for.
Some medical issues which have led to anxiety may scupper brick uni plans.
Motivation isn't an issue for the poster who brought that up.

OP’s posts: |
titchy Thu 25-Apr-19 17:44:50

I'd suggest a year out, or going to a local uni before OU for a 18 yo with MH issues tbh.

OneofPansPeople Thu 25-Apr-19 17:49:38

If she can get into the local uni.

OP’s posts: |
MarchingFrogs Thu 25-Apr-19 21:14:56

There is a programme about the OU on BBC4 at the moment:

StrugglingOn13 Thu 25-Apr-19 21:21:03

I started my degree with the OU at 18 whilst working full time.

Graduated at 24 so it took me 6 years. Got a job starting at 30k at 24 🤷🏻‍♀️

It’s hard, but it shows absolute dedication and if anyone doubts someone who took 6 years to do a degree while building a successful career then that’s up to them. It was the best path for me and I’m so glad I did it!

GoldenBlue Thu 25-Apr-19 21:26:00

A lot of the degree apprenticeships use the OU alongside working. My son is doing one and it's going well. The employer pays the fees and pays the apprentice, win win.

Fredscheesethins Thu 25-Apr-19 22:13:40

My DN started her OU degree 12 months ago, aged 19. Her mum got a 1st from the OU a couple of years earlier, because she was unable to go to university due to accessibility issues in her teens. My DN was training as a special constable wnen she started and now does that alongside a teaching assistant role whilst studying. Apprenticeships, let alone degree apprenticeships only exist in the care and hospitality industries where she lives and there are no universities within commuting distance.

She tends not to attend the tutorials, because the travel costs are prohibitively expensive for her. However, she actually attended some sessions as her DM's carer a couple of years earlier on the same modules, so she doesn't feel she is missing out. I think the OU inevitably limits the social impact of studying in a physical university, but it suits her situation & future plans.

BubblesBuddy Thu 25-Apr-19 22:35:37

Don’t forget, StrugglingOn13, that you had 6 years full time work experience by the time you were 24. That counts for a great deal. Most grads don’t have this but do start in grad jobs at 21/22 at more than £30,000. Some substantially more.

However, having worked and studied at the same time, I know it takes real determination and personal organisation to do that! But someone else does the cooking, cleaning and other chores whilst you work and study! My DH did quite a bit of this for me.

StrugglingOn13 Fri 26-Apr-19 00:53:57

Sorry should have mentioned that grad schemes in my area without a 1.5 hour commute into the nearest city, or without the need to relocate don’t exist, but if I did apply to the ones that were relevant to my degree they generally start at around 22-24k (without moving 200+ miles to London where it’s more like 28-30k)

Oh and that where I currently work I’m the youngest person at my level by about 10 years wink

But really OP, it does depends on the personal situation. Employers haven’t looked down on my degree just because it was from the OU, it’s always been a point of interest. Like BubblesBuddy said though, you need fantastic support at hone as it can be all consuming and your personal life can be out on hold

Freudianslip1 Fri 10-May-19 10:34:13

I did my degree through Ou and a MSc at a RG red brick. I cannot praise the OU enough, the text materials are brilliant for one. I did my degree PT and most of the students were young-ish; either with caring responsibilities or working FT. I personally was very disheartened with my red brick experience, it was much lonelier than my OU days.

bibliomania Wed 22-May-19 13:47:36

I work at a university, and I come across certain of our students who would be far better off studying with the OU. Some can barely bring themselves to leave their room and they try to treat the course like a distance learning programme, but it's not designed that way and it doesn't work out well. It's even more isolating because they hear their flatmates out socialising and feel they "should" be doing it too. They're wasting money on accommodation and honestly, they'd be better off back in the family home and doing OU or some other distance learning course.

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