When thinking University…think the Open University (OU).

I feel so sorry for the young people of today who want to go to University, and due to the Lib Dems have to pay extortionate prices….but politics aside, there is also the problem of how to do it in the middle of a pandemic, and currently the Universities are not offering value for money. Indeed I have lost count of the number of times I have heard that the young people have to do online lessons, pod casts and no interaction and are still getting charged the full price. That is outrageous and shame on those Universities for doing that. Give these youngsters a break……

I had always wanted to go to University but when I was younger it was only available to those who had money in effect. I know you didn’t pay for the tutoring but the cost of living was something far out of the reach of my parents. I don’t blame them…. it is what it is…..but fast forward some 40 years later and the missing part of my education is now complete. The University degree.

I looked at all the Universities and decided at the time that they were still out of my grasp as with a family myself I just did not have the money, but then someone mentioned the Open University and it made perfect sense.

You complete a module of 60 points a year, and I know it takes up to 6 years but I have not looked back. You see it allows you to work whilst you are doing it, (there is no need for halls of residence, bills etc…)and it can impress the company who employ you as it shows self motivation and it is so easy to apply for. I would hate the thought of going through any clearing house for a University as that would be soul destroying, and really demotivating for any person regardless of their age in these difficult times.

All I had to do was look through which course I wanted to do and there are so many it is unbelievable and then apply. It takes you to the relevant pages and you fill in the details and to the Student Finance England where it only takes minutes, and with your first application you either need your passport number or someone to sign a form for you that you are who you say you are….and you are good to go. It is as easy as that.

My books arrive in August so that gives me plenty of time to read and get to know my way around the subject, and there could be a set book which if you buy early gives you a bigger insight and then the course itself opens at the beginning of September and officially in the first week of October. The first two modules are there to guide you and educate you on how to write assignments and referencing etc. It is totally fascinating at how you can grow from the 1st year to the 4th and on after that.

You have a full listing of all the assignments you need to produce and you work your way through the course module by module. There is an online forum that is manned by one of the tutors and the help you get there can be the difference between a mediocre score or getting a really good one. If you every have a problem and put it on the forum there are so many people to help that you do not feel alone, and everyone is so kind and just want to help.

You have the same access to a University library as you would if you physically went and there is no extra cost, as this is all made available to you from day one.

There is no stress and you interact with the other people studying the course, and the cost never goes up…and the cost of the books to buy each module has never been more than £50 as it is aimed at those who for whatever reason want a degree but costs, time and family restrictions might prevent it. Infact I think I have only need to buy 2 books todate, the rest were sent to me from the OU.

I needed to work when the children were younger and the University Degree was always a pipe dream, but not now and the design of the course, the help and the feedbacks have made it something I will always be grateful for as it has opened my horizons and it is so exciting even at my age.

You can interact online or attend lessons where listed…or both. I have difficulty during Winter with my mobility and online lessons meant I never missed out. They were informative and full interactions from all in the room, questions and answer sessions were relevant and the whole thing was made available within the course on a pod cast for you to listen to again and again.

My son who has had to go to University for his qualifications as he is science will be left with a bill of some £50k plus, whereas mine which covered Politics, Philosophy and History will be £15k…a considerable difference. My Masters will only cost £6,480 and it will be over 3 years and again I know that to some that is too long, but if you think about the fact that you can earn and study and have something to offer a company that those who go to University full time don’t….work experience.

I do know the majority of science courses, nursing, medical degrees need you to attend University but take a step back and think if you are studying maths, English, English Literature, History or Politics then the Open University would be the ideal way to study and less stressful.

I cannot recommend it highly enough as it has opened so many doors for me….even in my 50s and the one comment made is always that people are impressed that I can juggle so much of my time to complete it. I just smile as the course was a labour of love for me…..and I know my Masters will be and even though it is another number of years….it is learning and nothing is lost on education….