Should I continue my Level 3 ICT BTEC or go onto a Level 4 Foundation Course? Watch

CollegeStudent99
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So I’m currently halfway through my two year BTEC level 3 ICT course.

However, for the past year, I’ve been unhappy at my current college.


Last year, I had to go in five days a week with no time off. I was also bombarded with assignments left, right and centre.

My classroom (and the whole college for that matter) was full of noisy boisterous Asian lads who are constantly messing about and only seem to be interested in two things - their phones and fast cars. I wondered how any of the work got done. Last year, people only just finished their work on-time, and a few had to be given extra time.

The classrooms are usually either boiling hot or freezing cold. And I just don’t like the atmosphere of the college or the attitude of the staff in general. A lot of the students look, act and are dressed in a mature and studious manner which makes me look bad in comparison. I’m often in trickiest and a hoodie because I don’t feel like wearing anything else.

There seems to be too much emphasis on attendance, punctuality and “standing out”. I also hate the colleges moto which is “be the best version of you”. Whatever that means.

I should also add that I suffer from autism, anxiety, shyness, dyspraxia and for the last 2-3 years have also been suffering from chronic tiredness and irritable bowel syndrome - it really is making my life a misery and it’s making everything 10 times more difficult.

I was nearly always late last year but I told the college I had IBS and often have to go to the toilet before class so my tutors were told and are understanding. Towards the end of last term, I even had to start getting taxis because I was struggling to get ready on time in the mornings - and even then I was still often late.

I found it difficult to concentrate in class as I was always tired and the work/assignment briefs were complicated and so I was nearly always behind with my work - by some miracle, I just about managed to finish all my units off (bar one distinction) and got a D* D* for my first year.

But my god the work was repetitive and boring. It was nearly always the same thing - research some information, write about it in your own words, make a table, provide evidence etc, day in, day out. My life consisted of just staring at a computer screen for five days a week, and then going home and looking at more screens.

My college attendance last year was very low (around 75%) because I was always taking time off because of extreme tiredness, IBS or I was just feeling plain miserable. At school my attendance was always above 90%.

So I told my parents a few days ago and they rang up another college. I have done a link course there a few years ago with my school and I enjoyed it. They invited me to come down and I did. I explained my problems to them.

Originally, I wanted to do the second year of my level 3 ICT course at that college, but they explained that it would not be feasible because they do the units in a different order and the guy also explained that all of the students at the college had done two exams last year whereas I hadn’t done any exams last year.

So he suggested that I could do a Foundation ICT course at level 4 which would be the equivalent of doing the second year of my BTEC level 3 course and would open the door to an ICT course at university. He warned me however that the level 4 Foundation course would be difficult.

He also suggested that I could do a foundation course at level 3 but I’m not too keen on that because it would effectively mean starting again.


Any advice?
Last edited by CollegeStudent99; 2 weeks ago
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TMWEe
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(Original post by CollegeStudent99)
So I’m currently halfway through my two year BTEC level 3 ICT course.

However, for the past year, I’ve been unhappy at my current college.


Last year, I had to go in five days a week with no time off. I was also bombarded with assignments left, right and centre.

My classroom (and the whole college for that matter) was full of noisy boisterous Asian lads who are constantly messing about and only seem to be interested in two things - their phones and fast cars. I wondered how any of the work got done. Last year, people only just finished their work on-time, and a few had to be given extra time.

The classrooms are usually either boiling hot or freezing cold. And I just don’t like the atmosphere of the college or the attitude of the staff in general. A lot of the students look, act and are dressed in a mature and studious manner which makes me look bad in comparison. I’m often in trickiest and a hoodie because I don’t feel like wearing anything else.

There seems to be too much emphasis on attendance, punctuality and “standing out”. I also hate the colleges moto which is “be the best version of you”. Whatever that means.

I should also add that I suffer from autism, anxiety, shyness, dyspraxia and for the last 2-3 years have also been suffering from chronic tiredness and irritable bowel syndrome - it really is making my life a misery and it’s making everything 10 times more difficult.

I was nearly always late last year but I told the college I had IBS and often have to go to the toilet before class so my tutors were told and are understanding. Towards the end of last term, I even had to start getting taxis because I was struggling to get ready on time in the mornings - and even then I was still often late.

I found it difficult to concentrate in class as I was always tired and the work/assignment briefs were complicated and so I was nearly always behind with my work - by some miracle, I just about managed to finish all my units off (bar one distinction) and got a D* D* for my first year.

But my god the work was repetitive and boring. It was nearly always the same thing - research some information, write about it in your own words, make a table, provide evidence etc, day in, day out. My life consisted of just staring at a computer screen for five days a week, and then going home and looking at more screens.

My college attendance last year was very low (around 75%) because I was always taking time off because of extreme tiredness, IBS or I was just feeling plain miserable. At school my attendance was always above 90%.

So I told my parents a few days ago and they rang up another college. I have done a link course there a few years ago with my school and I enjoyed it. They invited me to come down and I did. I explained my problems to them.

Originally, I wanted to do the second year of my level 3 ICT course at that college, but they explained that it would not be feasible because they do the units in a different order and the guy also explained that all of the students at the college had done two exams last year whereas I hadn’t done any exams last year.

So he suggested that I could do a Foundation ICT course at level 4 which would be the equivalent of doing the second year of my BTEC level 3 course and would open the door to an ICT course at university. He warned me however that the level 4 Foundation course would be difficult.

He also suggested that I could do a foundation course at level 3 but I’m not too keen on that because it would effectively mean starting again.


Any advice?
I think the level 4 foundation course is a great idea for you. As you are halfway through the year at your current college, have you sought any help from them with regards to your IBS and your anxiety/ shyness problems? I know you said that they have been more understanding but have they done something like put you in a different classroom. And also are your classmates bothering you to the point that you want to leave the college? And finally can you continue the course somehow as an independent candidate?
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TMWEe
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Also a level 4 foundation course is not that more difficult than a level 3. As you are getting distinctions you seem to be coping quite well considering the circumstances with your condition and the college environment.
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CollegeStudent99
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(Original post by TMWEe)
I think the level 4 foundation course is a great idea for you. As you are halfway through the year at your current college, have you sought any help from them with regards to your IBS and your anxiety/ shyness problems? I know you said that they have been more understanding but have they done something like put you in a different classroom. And also are your classmates bothering you to the point that you want to leave the college? And finally can you continue the course somehow as an independent candidate?
I haven’t really. I remember someone from the college spoke with me about how I could manage my problems, I explained that my IBS often makes me late for class and that I like to sit near the tutor so it is easier to ask for help. I remember they offered to show me where the college nurse is but I never got round to going.
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CollegeStudent99
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Okay, so I’ve decided to go onto the Level 4 Foundation Course at Burnley UCLAN and I’ve enrolled and I start on Monday. Wish me luck everyone.
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