Access to HE or Open University

Badges: 3
Report Thread starter 8 months ago
Good morning!
My name is Hayllen and I’m VERY confused. I’ll explain:
I studied the equivalent to A-levels in Spain and my grades are extremely bad, nowhere near to any university entry requirements. I did this 8 years ago and haven't touched an academic book since then.
I’ve been researching information about distance learning.
I know Open University doesn’t have specific entry requirements and I believe other unis ask for either A-levels or Access to HE-GCSE maths and English.
I really want to start studying again, but I’m unsure of where or how to start.
I signed up for an English course in my local college, took a level assessment and they told me my English is quite good and recommended me to do four classes and take the IELTS if I wanted to go to Uni. I was really excited to start but then lockdown started and everything stopped.
My ideas are:
-OU Access module (to get used to study again), followed by an OU Certificate of HE and maybe be able to access other university that way (I tried contacting Newcastle university to make sure they would accept the certificate but I’m still waiting for an answer).
-OU Access module, followed by a degree at OU.
-An Access to HE online course (I’m not sure which centre to choose), GCSE English and Maths and then apply to an university.
I’m not really interested in studying to have a career, it’s more of something I want to do because I love learning and I want to invest on myself, that’s why I thought OU was the right option for me, but at the same time, if I change my mind and DO want to make a career out of it, I want to make sure I didn’t waste my money on an university that won’t take me anywhere. I have this misconception of OU because they don’t require any qualifications to start a degree.
What do you recommend me to do? What path should I follow? Is OU a good place to start? Does an OU degree “worth” the same than one from other uni? What access to HE centres do you recommend?

I hope all this makes sense!
Thank you so much for your help
Last edited by Volpe13; 8 months ago
Badges: 21
Report 8 months ago
Just a warning - do NOT take an OU CertHE if you want to progress to a brick university. Part time study that results in a qualification is taken off your funding years for full time study. So if you took 2 years to get a CertHE from OU and then wanted to start a degree then you wouldn't get a tuition fee loan for the first year of the new degree.
If you just start OU modules and don't get an award from it and use those modules for entry to a brick university then that part time study doesn't count against your full time funding. Only part time study that results in a qualification is counted.

I would say take the OU open access modules and do some research into different degree subjects and module options to narrow down more what sort of subjects and degree might best suit you before you commit to either OU modules or an Access to HE diploma. It may be than a open or distance learning degree from OU is exactly right for you but it's important to do as much research as possible to be sure before you commit to too much
Badges: 5
Report 8 months ago
I was having the same deliberation. I went to college and got an equivalent of 1.5 A-Levels a few years ago but you need at least 3 A-Levels or equivalent to get into university.

I haven't done any studying for more than 5 years so I was debating whether to go for Open University or to go for an Access to HE. I have been looking at OU and a distance learning access to HE with Middlesbrough College.

I was having the following arguments with myself:
Pros for OU degree
-Would start at Level 4. I have not studied at level 4 before so it would be new and would be 'progression'
-I would get a degree right away (if I studied the 3 years) and again, I would feel like I am working towards something that progresses me.

Cons for OU degree
-I have never studied at level 4 before so it is a scary jump. I am unsure how much support I will need.
-Starting a degree means taking up student finance funding so if I find that OU doesn't suit me, I have wasted some funds.
-A larger commitment of my time.

Pros for Access to HE
-Access to HE is level 3. I have studied at level 3 before so it should be comfortable.
-Usually in a college setting so lots of support if needed.
-Funding for Access to HE is separate from university student finance if you qualify for the Advanced Learner Loan.

Cons for Access to HE
-I have already studied at Level 3 so I wouldn't feel as though I was 'progressing'
-You have to study some level 2 maths and English in the ungraded units. I already have Level 2 maths and English both at grade As so I feel as though this might be a waste of my time.

Overall for me personally, I am going for the Access to HE course. Just because I haven't studied for more than 5 years and I feel as though it will be a good place to start as I know I will receive much more support and it will e more comfortable for me. I qualify for the 'Advanced Learner Loan' so that means my Access to HE course will be funded for me which is separate from university student finance. If I complete the access course and go on to study at university, the cost of the Advanced Learner loan is written off and only the university student finance stands.

Ultimately, it is up to you. These are just some of the things that I have thought about when deciding for myself.

Let me know if you have any questions

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