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Becoming a full-time student? Any experiences please?

(15 Posts)
ohwhatsinausername Sun 16-Oct-16 07:53:25

I keep drifting back to the thought if going back into education but I'm wondering how hard it would be?!

I missed the September 2016 courses (but baby was only 3 months old anyway!) so I have plenty of time to look into it for September 2017.

I don't know what it would entail though and I guess that's why I'm scared to start looking! (That and I'm not sure what I want to go do!)

Ex left me pregnant...so I'm currently on Income Support, which whilst I'm grateful for, it's a bit alien to me as I've worked from the minute I turned 16 and although I'm home looking after the kids (DD1 nearly 3yo and DD 4.5months) I feel like I want to be doing something!

I worry about returning to work with childcare costs etc so some form of studying might bridge the gap and even help me get a better career?

I think this would be a good opportunity for me whilst I could get funding towards courses but how would it effect things like my rent/housing benefit? How did you manage bills etc?

In terms of attendance, how often would I need to find someone to watch the kids if I go full-time? (DD1 starts school nursery in Jan 2017)

Can anyone offer their experiences please? I'm excited at the prospect but nervous. I have a tendancy to skip from one thing to the next, without thinking things through properly and I'm worried it could be something I'd regret! TIA x

Emochild Sun 16-Oct-16 07:57:06

When you say 'back to education' what level are you looking at?

mayaknew Sun 16-Oct-16 07:57:08

You don't have as much time as you think remember UCAS for 2017 will already be open and will close in mid-january. Still plenty of time but just something to.barw in mind when I applied for my second degree I forgot how early it closed and made it by the skin of my teeth.

Also it all depends completely on what degree you do. What are you thinking?

ohwhatsinausername Sun 16-Oct-16 08:03:54

Oh right, eek. Didn't know that, thank you!

This is where I'm going to sound like an idiot now...because I don't even know where would be a good starting place!

I only have GCSE's. I didn't complete my A-Levels because I found a paid apprenticeship with my local council (and a full time wage, which when I was 17 on £1k+ a month, it seemed amazing at the time ha!) and completed two NVQ's instead.

So I don't know whether I would have to go back and start with A-Levels again before I could progress to another course?

J0kersSmile Sun 16-Oct-16 08:14:30

You can either do an access course or speak to the tutor on the course you want to do and see what they say. I wanted to do a degree in youth work and the tutor from the course said I could either do a type of foundation/getting back to education and them depending on my grades I could then go on the course I wanted to do or do a level three qualification this year with 200hrs work experience and go straight on the honours course Sept 17. I couldn't do the first course as I couldn't go to the course one day a week as it would mean giving up my job so I'm now doing the level three with two paid placements waiting till September! Ring the uni you want to go to and ask to speak to the tutor of the course you want.

Open uni you don't need previous qualifications but for me I need a class to stop procrastinating and I wanted to make friends with people doing the same thing as me. Open uni seems quite lonely and it's only classes as part time even if it's full time so you won't get a maintenance loan.

ohwhatsinausername Sun 16-Oct-16 08:41:03

I did think about Open Uni, as I liked the thought of being able to study in my own time but like you say, I think I would benefit from the social aspect of it all, as it would encourage me to leave the house and make friends etc.

An access course might be a good place to start looking, if it opens the door to other things but I still wonder how that would effect benefits/childcare?

J0kersSmile Sun 16-Oct-16 08:51:57

Ring the national careers office up and make an appointment, they are quite good but the actual unis are better. They really will help you get where you want to go.

This may be wrong now but a few years ago you could get funding for an access course if you didn't have qualifications over a level three (I think) but you couldn't get a maintenance loan or sp bursary as it wasn't classed as a full time uni course so if your dc are under five you would be on income support and tax credits but no extras from uni. Then when you're in uni you will get tax credits, some housing benefit, students don't pay council tax (I think), and a maintenance loan which you get three times a year plus the loan that pays your fees. There is a government website that will work out what loans you will get. You may also get a single parent bursary which is another couple of grand.

I'm not sure if you can get income support whilst at uni.

Ausernotanumber Sun 16-Oct-16 08:53:27

Have a chat to your local uni. Some access courses like the one I did are specific to that uni.

niceupthedance Sun 16-Oct-16 09:00:04

I didn't have any qualifications and did an OU module which was accepted as recent evidence of study - it was shorter than doing an access course. But you would need to ring up your preferred uni first and see if they would accept it, some degrees are very competitive. Do you know what you want to do?

IMO the extra funding for lone parents was great, £1500 per year for extra bits and pieces plus all the loans and 70% of childcare paid.

mayaknew Sun 16-Oct-16 09:32:26

I'm in Scotland so I don't know if it's different but here someone in your position would go to college and do an Hnc then onto hnd then uni. In college 2.5 days is full time. Good luck with whatever you decidesmile

mayaknew Sun 16-Oct-16 09:33:51

Also college applications aren't done through UCAS they are don't directly to the college later than UCAS I think maybe April/may time?

ohwhatsinausername Sun 16-Oct-16 11:30:18

I've just had a quick look at my local college at Access Courses. Silly me assumed there would be a general one that covered all sorts and I could decide from there! grin

Just wondering if Business would be a good one to go down...

I looked into Marketing courses and it seems to suggest that they will accept a relevant access course, even though it's not enough UCAS points.

So out of my depth here haha...I really need to decide what to do...sorry for rambling!

Molly333 Sun 16-Oct-16 22:55:16

I had no qualifications two kids and alone with no support. Did access then a degree ( locally) first job 30k !!!! I Do it, It will change your life and you will meet loads of other single parents and great friends x

BaronessEllaSaturday Sun 16-Oct-16 23:04:32

I assume that you are going to need to study at your local uni since student accommodation won't be suitable for you so I would advise you look at what courses they offer and what they accept to get on those courses. Find out when open days are and go and talk to them.

LeoTimmyandVi Tue 18-Oct-16 16:18:12

I've just returned to university full time studying occupational therapy. I was lucky to get in on the last year of NHS bursaries as from next year it will be all loans!

My course has a huge range of people - older, younger, living at home, living away, single parents and all variations in between. I am nearly 40 with 2 children on my own and just fit in really well.

So from my experience I would say go for it when you are ready, it will hopefully lead to an exciting and well paid job for you and your children's future smile

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