Is Going Away to University Your Only Choice?

Coming to the end of your school career can be daunting. Everyone is probably talking about their first and second choice universities, as well as what grades they’ll need to get into them. If you don’t have these aspirations, you might be feeling a bit left out. I know I was. All of my friends were upping sticks and moving on to all ends of the country in a matter of months – leaving me all on my lonesome. 

However, there are other options for you after school – things that your teachers don’t always talk about (mine certainly didn’t!) I chose the Open University for my studies, which appealed to me because I knew I could work at the same time. They offer a fantastic range of subjects and the website and modules are incredibly user friendly. You will save money by not moving away, the fees are lower and you have the option of gaining experience in your chosen field. 

On average, graduates end up with £44,000 worth of debt – something that many of them will never pay off. On the other hand, OU students have much lower debts than this, and they offer alternative ways of paying for your studies, if you don’t fancy owing Student Finance for the rest of your life. Obviously, you will miss out on the social aspect of being at a more traditional uni. You won’t meet new housemates or course mates, you won’t get to experience Freshers’ Week - but sometimes this isn’t for everybody. The OU offers tutorials which gives you the chance to meet other students in your area, there is normally a dedicated Facebook group for your module – full of supportive and likeminded students. I found these groups to be invaluable during my time studying there, and I never felt like I missed out on the traditional university experience.

There was a time when The OU wasn’t considered a viable choice or even a ‘real university’. Times have changed, however, and The OU now has over 2 million alumni, including some famous faces! This means its credibility is better than ever. So, for whatever reason you have for not going away to uni, be it the financial burden, wanting to gain experience while studying, or even not feeling ready to leave home just yet - the Open University is definitely worth considering. 

- By Kym Darragh 
  Facebook – Kym Darragh https://www.facebook.com/kym.darraghlee

Fri 07 Jul 2017