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Part Time Undergraduate Study

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    Im a high achieving A Level Student who is going to begin studying part time on day release in September. It was a huge scary decision for me as I gave up my russel group goals for this. There seems to be no information anywhere about studying part time so I decided to make a post on it.

    Its obviously bias as I chose part time but I'm trying to be balanced!

    What I found difficult:
    - Its really hard to find any courses near where I live/anywhere
    - Its even harder to get indepth information on the courses (Email the head of subject)
    - Coming to terms with not getting involved in clubs and societies at university

    Why I chose to study part time
    - Its free for me!
    - Combining a degree with actual work experience makes sence
    - people go to uni to get a job, it dosent make sence to go if you already have an offer for your dream job
    - I'm a strong believer that you can build the life you want around yourself. Yes there is not going to be easy access to friends, sports clubs and societies, but I can find similar things closer to home it I make more effort
    - For some reason I feel more confident at job interviews and in meetings and around professionals than I do at opendays and things.

    What is difficult about studying part time:
    - Self motivated
    - I have to take a very long train ride every week and stay in a B&B
    - All my friends have gone!
    - Its not as good a university as I could have gone to

    Going to a less prestegious university
    - You can always do a masters or PHD elsewhere
    - Employers will see why you chose this option, and your A Level grades are proof of this
    - I have read many things which say why the university you go to dosen't matter and loads saying the opposite. If you do well in the course and have the experience too, I don't think it will make as devistating effect on your future prospects as you might think. It might make some but I don't really know.
    - You still get networking opportunities with any clubs you join and through work

    Types of Part Time Study:

    Day Release:
    This is when you have one long day at university a week. Its usually a very long day. The Bristol UWE day release courses run from 9:00-7:30. Usually work 4 days a week. Employers sometimes send people to day release degrees.

    Common for HNC/HND courses and top-up degrees. Many colleges offer day release HNC/HND Courses with a partner university offering a top up option. You are eligible for 2nd or 3rd year entry into degree courses after HNC, HND, or foundation degree courses.

    Bristol UWE, London Southbank and University of Chichester offer courses.

    Contact with lecturers and other students
    Can work while studying
    Employers often pay for you to study this way
    Access to any specialist equiptment during the day

    Usually from lower ranking universities
    Very long days
    May have to travel far to find a university to study like this
    Working 52 hours a week (Job- 32, Uni - 20 (half of a full time degree))
    Lack of face to face tutor support when you need it
    University life
    Not likely to get involved in clubs and societies

    Evening Classes:
    You study only in the evening, usually while working full time. You can do this either part time or full time. It is usually about 1-4 evenings a week depending if you are studying full time or part time.

    Birbeck, London is the most well known university offering evening class undergraduate courses.

    Contact with lecturers and other students
    Can work full time
    Access to any specialist equiptment during the evening periods

    Usually from lower ranking universities
    Need to be very Self motivated
    May have to travel far to find a university to study like this
    Minimal contact time
    Working up to 60 hours a week (Job- 40, Uni - 20 (half of a full time degree))
    Lack of face to face tutor support when you need it
    University life
    Not likely to get involved in clubs and societies

    You basically do half the units each year and just attend those units like a full time student. Its normally about 2-3 days a week.

    Oxford Brookes offer this way of studying.

    There are also some rumors that more high ranking universities can take students like this, but I didn't find anywhere that did, so don't pin your hopes on this!

    Contact with lecturers and other students
    Can work part time
    Access to any specialist equiptment during the study periods
    Less intense than other courses
    More time to get involved in university life
    Good amouth of contact time
    Easier to fit like around
    More cost effective as you can work more

    Usually from lower ranking universities
    May have to travel far to find a university to study like this
    Less invovled in university life
    Not likely to get involved in clubs and societies

    Distance learning:
    Can study either part time or full time and fit it around a full time job. You can go at any pace you want. all courses from HNC to Undergraduate and above can be studied this way.

    Sometimes offer residentual weeks to complete any practical exams/learning.

    The Open university and Teesside University offer distance learning courses.

    Can work full time Can study at own pace
    Easier to fit life around
    More cost effective as you can work more
    Distance learning courses are often cheaper than full/part time course
    No travel costs assiciated
    More flexible degree courses avaliable
    Employers like self motivational aspect

    Usually from lower ranking universities
    Less invovled in university lifeNot likely to get involved in clubs and societies
    Tutor support can be unreliable
    Less practical experience avaliable

    How to find the courses
    This was the hardest thing about the process. Most universities only advertise part time courses on their website. There was a lot of sifting through information, and THEN finding that they don't do the course you want or it's a top up degree rather than an undergraduate degree, then finding out its the wrong sort of part time and that its not accredited by the right people ARGH.

    If someone could make a list of all the courses or universities that offer part time Undergraduate degrees it would make everyones life easier.

    I would start with the Which search, it can filter only part time courses
    UCAS also have a search which you can filter by part time
    Just google 'Part time (insert subject) BEng/BSc etc and sift through all the information

    How to find information on the courses

    This was also hard
    Just find the course head (not the admissions/information emails, its quite a specialist area) and email them a list of questions, then when they have only replied to 5, email the remainder back until you have everything.

    Example questions:
    How long does it take to complete?
    How many hours/days a week do I have to come in?
    How long are the days I have to go in for?
    Is it the same course as the full time course, if not why, and whats different?
    Is it accredited by ....?
    What day is it taught on?
    Can I have a copy of the specification?
    Which units are taught at what time?
    How do I apply?


    Applications are not normally done through ucas. Its normally an online form where you fill in your grades, work experience and personal statement.

    Personal statements tend not to have the word limit of UCAS ones (woo!)

    References are normally uploded in a PDF document. You need to ask your college tutor/employer to give you a reference before summer

    Apparently there is no deadline for applications, but you have to check the individual website. But still get them in ASAP!

    Things I dont know

    How exams work

    Are there any reviews of any part time courses ANYWHERE?

    I think I covered everything I learned/didn't learn. If anyone has anything more to contribute please do, and if anyone has any questions I would be happy to answer them!

    It sounds like you put a lot of thought into going part-time and it was the right decision for you. There is more information about part-time and distance learning study in these forums: Open University, Mature Students and Distance Learning.

    I'm curious, why is your degree free? Is your employer paying for it?
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