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College Chaos watch

    • Thread Starter

    The title is a big exaggeration, but it sums up how I felt about this week.

    I've paid an under-24s fee to study Access to Humanities at a college, but I am having doubts about going ahead with the course.

    The main problem is that I had no clear information on the course or course structure until the first week in, despite researching the course comprehensively and consulting staff (perhaps not enough), I received mixed messages, incorrect information and only recently discovered I will not been able to study the combination of subjects I ideally wanted to study. While I am happy that the course offers what I want to study, and I am impressed by the likable tutors, the overall reception of students and organisation of the subjects has been sub par.

    I am upset that there has been a great deal of confusion for a number of the students, not just for me. Incorrect timetables, conflicting information, lack of explanation on course structure and a lack of communication between staff have been the main problems, and I haven’t even got my courses or timetable sorted due to this.

    Here's the worst part…

    I chose a college that was not local, so I have to commute to and from college, which is not in itself a problem. The problem is that I found the commute acceptable because I was told A. that I would need to attend college only three days per week, and B. assumed that I would be able to apply for a student oyster card,or student rail card to help with the costs of commuting.

    Because I was told that I would only need to attend the campus for 3 days per week, I was content that with travel discounts the cost would be acceptable for me, however I cannot apply for a student Oyster card because we were notified that the course is not long enough to be eligible (despite the fact we will be attending college for 15 hours for a number of weeks).

    On top of this, it is likely that I will have to attend lessons on either 4 or 5 days per week, because the lessons are not limited to three days, but in fact vary depending on subject combination. This means I will have to commute four or five days per week,the rail card will not be of much use because I will likely have to pay for monthly travel cards, which are not eligible for discount. I am just upset at the lack of cohesion, and the fact that even after I had paid for enrolment the staff were still changing and amending the course even after it had officially started, causing confusion and some disappointment.


    The subject (unit/module) enrolment has been problematic, I may have to attend college five days a week and I’m paying quite a lot of money for this. I am having doubts about being prepared for this course, but it is too late to back out(and get a refund)…Opinions? This is more something I wanted to get off my chest, but I'm looking for reassurance, advice on travel costs or studying. etc. Wondering if anyone has been in a similar situation and what they did. Thanks. :yy:

    Is there any kind of bursary fund you can apply for? Mine has help for travel costs. Also with the course content itself this seem to be consistent with Access. There is very little out there about the content that you can discern as its all dependent on the college.

    Tbh, I think the key things you need to focus on are:

    (a) Can you get what you need out of this course and use it to get to where you want to be? I.e. Will you get a fulfilling year's study out of the course, which will also get you onto a degree course you want to do?
    (b) Is it logistically and financially viable for you to attend this particular Access course at this particular college?

    All the logistical niggles about timetables and what-not you mentioned sound very similar to the issues I and my fellow students had on our Access course, and from what I've picked up from this forum, most Access students experience a few bumps in the road during the year. My feeling is if you go through all the hassle of getting a refund and transferring to another college, you'll probably just find the same or similar problems there anyway. I think you just have to accept that the level of organisation at a typical FE college isn't going to be all that fantastic. That's not to say that you shouldn't feel entitled to speak up or complain about it to them if you feel things have been handled particularly badly, but I just don't think it's worth getting too bent out of shape about it.

    Basically, focus on your goals and don't sweat the small stuff.
    • Thread Starter

    Thanks for the responses guys, I appreciate it.

    John, I'm not aware of any bursaries there I'm eligible for but I will make my case for a student oyster since my total class time initially will amount to 15 hours.

    Jimmy, the real issue is the cost. I accept that there will be issues in any college (I have previous experience of that!), but it's just that I'm kicking myself because if I go through with this without support on travel costs I'll be spending more money on travel than I spent on the course itself. Financially I can take it, but it's a big blow to me expecially when I consider there are a few more local colleges which run this course.

    Obviously its different for every college but id be interested to hear from someone who has dropped a course and gone through the peocess for receiving refund of some sort

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