With most of the world switching to remote work it makes sense that online degrees are becoming popular. The open university has been around for many years now but sometimes people are unsure if it’s as valuable as a traditional degree where you study at university.
Today we will look at the Open University to see if it’s worth attending and if it can improve your career prospects.
The open university is a distance learning course where on successful completion you end up with a university degree without having to attend a physical university.
According to the open university website over 2 million students have studied with them and with a wide variety of courses including English literature, social science, an MBA degree, a law degree both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
It’s easy to see why distance learning is a choice for many students.
Open University degrees are respected. They require the same level of commitment as a regular degree and at the end of your course, you will be awarded a bachelors degree or masters degree depending on your level of study.
An OU degree is often judged by other students and is seen as an easier degree, however, this simply isn’t true and each higher education course will have its entry requirements that students will need to hit to be accepted onto the online course.
OU Students can be assured that their degree programme is no harder or easier than a traditional degree. Instead, it simply offers them a more flexible way of learning if they have other commitments. An open university course can be studied full time, part-time or over several years that suit you.
A prospective student can take anywhere from 2-6 years to complete the course material depending on the level of the course. Most degree courses will require you to have studied your A-Levels or BTEC equivalent.
When it comes to education there isn’t a one size fits all approach that’s best for everyone. Some university students need the structure of a traditional university to keep motivated to pass their degree. Younger students may need the structure of traditional uni, while older students may not.
There is also the social side to university. Some students go to university for the social aspects. Meeting new people, living on your own for the first time, budgeting your own money and everything else that comes with moving to university is exciting and challenging for most students.
If the above is what you look forward to when becoming a student then the open university or distance learning probably isn’t going to be for you.
On the other hand, if you are a mature student with commitments such as children, having a full-time job, or not being able to move out of your home then the open university is made for your situation.
When considering if the Open University is worth it, you will want to take into consideration tuition fees.
In some areas of the country, you can get a student loan from student finance England for your study, but in other areas, you will need to self-fund or see if there are grants available.
To study a degree course at the OU you will need to complete credits for each module. 60 credits cost £1284 at the time of writing. Part-time students will complete 60 credits a year while full-time students will complete 120 credits a year.
In terms of costs compared to other universities, the open university is cheaper. You can expect to pay up to £9000 for a full-time course for each year of study in the UK.
Depending on your area of study, you may be expected to attend a certain university to work at certain companies or firms. However for the majority of degrees, your employers are going to respect your degree like it is any other degree, after all, it’s a degree.
When people think of distance learning they may have negative ideas where students aren’t sitting down and learning, but lazing around doing nothing. This isn’t the case with distance learning as part-time students will need to dedicate up to 18 hours a week while full-time students will need to study up to 36 hours a week.
Working while studying as most students do who partake in distance learning shows a person to be dedicated which is a quality that all employers will see as a positive trait.
If you don’t have a job but want to get some work experience while studying at the Open University check out our work experience ideas post.
Open learning is still a relatively new way of learning too and it may bring up some interesting conversations during an interview. If you have the qualifications needed for the job and you are memorable in the interview it could give you an opportunity over others.
While university in itself is a valuable experience, most students would probably agree that real-world experience is different from what you learn in University and if you can get work experience in a similar field to your career choice while studying you are going to be more valuable in the eyes of a potential employer.
Even if your job isn’t in the same field as your eventual career path, it still bodes well for you if you are working and studying. Not only does it show you are good at managing your time but it also shows you are motivated to succeed.
We can’t speak for every graduate but during our research and checking student forums and other question and answers sites, we have seen that most of the posts were positive and highly recommended the open university.
We noticed most of the comments from the students were positive around the fact they could learn whenever they had time and that the course fitted around their schedule. This would allow the student to still work on their other commitments while studying at the same time.
Other students found that distance learning was far more affordable than traditional study and breaking down their course over several years would allow them to be able to afford to learn while not getting in debt.
Another student we found on a message board mentioned that they had disabilities which made moving around a traditional university campus difficult. They chose to get a distance education as it made it easier to learn at home with all of the adaptations they needed.
From our research students of the OU had positive things to say about studying with them. If you are thinking about distance learning then the OU could be a great choice for you.
Distance learning can be a great option for those with other commitments and past students talk highly of the Open University. If however, distance learning isn’t for you and going to a traditional university is going to give you the structure you need to study and learn that’s ok too.
Distance learning vs traditional learning doesn’t need to be a competition they can supplement each other, by giving those who may not have had the chance to go to university in the past a chance to do so.
Whether you choose distance learning or traditional study, at Urban Locker we can help students with their storage needs. We understand that no one wants to carry around their belongings at the end of each term as it can be hard work and not worth the hassle. If you would like to learn more about student storage check out our page on this website which will give you more information about the service we offer.