276
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Got AAA in my A-Levels, which is good enough to get me into a highly-ranked uni. The issue is that this would mean moving away and leaving behind a small business I started with my friend during A-Levels, so I’m not really too keen on going. When looking into alternatives I came across the Open University, which allows you to complete a fully accredited degree from home. On paper, this sounds great to me because it’ll allow me to be flexible and fit my studies around our start-up. However, if an OU degree would be seen as inferior to a degree I could obtain at a Russell Group uni, I don’t really see the point of investing in one. So my question is, how highly regarded/respected are degrees from the OU?
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by 276)
Got AAA in my A-Levels, which is good enough to get me into a highly-ranked uni. The issue is that this would mean moving away and leaving behind a business I started with my friend during A-Levels, so I’m not really too keen on going. When looking into alternatives I came across the Open University, which allows you to complete a fully accredited degree from home. On paper, this sounds great to me because it’ll allow me to be flexible and fit my studies around our start-up. However, if an OU degree would be seen as inferior to a degree I could obtain at a Russell Group uni, I don’t really see the point of investing in one. So my question is, how highly regarded/respected are degrees from the OU?
The reputation of the OU is pretty good, however, the margin of benefit really relies with mature students, because it is derived from them working alongside study, plus having a family etc. Unless your business is running full time, employers might wonder why. Also, do you need a degree if you are already employed with this business?

Alternatively, do the math. Look at the earnings benefit data - how much more do you get in salary from a RG degree than an OU degree and multiply that up over the course of a 50 year career - is your business making you more than that?
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
The reputation of the OU is pretty good, however, the margin of benefit really relies with mature students, because it is derived from them working alongside study, plus having a family etc. Unless your business is running full time, employers might wonder why. Also, do you need a degree if you are already employed with this business?

Alternatively, do the math. Look at the earnings benefit data - how much more do you get in salary from a RG degree than an OU degree and multiply that up over the course of a 50 year career - is your business making you more than that?
It’s only a small business. We don’t make enough to live on and it’s unlikely to become anything huge, it’s more of a ‘side hustle’ if anything. Still, though, I put a lot of effort into building it, marketing it, managing its finances etc. and it’d be a real shame to leave it all behind. As I say though it’s unlikely we’ll ever be able to make a living off it, hence why I want a degree (in BSc Business and Economics). Do you think I’d be better doing it at a Russell Group and leaving the business behind or would it be worth doing one at the OU?
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by 276)
It’s only a small business. We don’t make enough to live on and it’s unlikely to become anything huge, it’s more of a ‘side hustle’ if anything. Still, though, I put a lot of effort into building it, marketing it, managing its finances etc. and it’d be a real shame to leave it all behind. As I say though it’s unlikely we’ll ever be able to make a living off it, hence why I want a degree (in BSc Business and Economics). Do you think I’d be better doing it at a Russell Group and leaving the business behind or would it be worth doing one at the OU?
Leave the business, go to the most reputable university you can, which is a decent RG. You could see if you could make the business work remotely, or sell your share, but a side hustle that isn't making decent money isn't worth impacting a 50 year career for.
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
Leave the business, go to the most reputable university you can, which is a decent RG. You could see if you could make the business work remotely, or sell your share, but a side hustle that isn't making decent money isn't worth impacting a 50 year career for.
Wow. Is the OU really that bad compared to a Russell Group that it would jeopardise my entire career?
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threeportdrift
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Wow. Is the OU really that bad compared to a Russell Group that it would jeopardise my entire career?
No, you are reading it in the wrong direction. It won't jeopardise your career, but it won't enhance it, because you don't have the usual challenges that make employers value a OU degree.

A start up that isn't providing a sustainable career income and that has no growth potential should not be allowed to impact a the value 40k investment in a 50 year career. You've learnt how to make a start up work, take that learning and next time start something that makes money.
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
No, you are reading it in the wrong direction. It won't jeopardise your career, but it won't enhance it, because you don't have the usual challenges that make employers value a OU degree.

A start up that isn't providing a sustainable career income and that has no growth potential should not be allowed to impact a the value 40k investment in a 50 year career. You've learnt how to make a start up work, take that learning and next time start something that makes money.
Just to be clear, I didn’t say it has no growth potential, but rather “it’s unlikely to become anything huge”. And yeah, it doesn’t make anywhere close to enough to live on. But give us the benefit of the doubt, it was a side project we did during A-levels. Maybe if we devoted more time to it then it would. But I do suppose you make good points, I just didn’t realise RG would put me at such an advantage compared to the OU.
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Veet Voojagig
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
The reputation of the OU is pretty good, however, the margin of benefit really relies with mature students, because it is derived from them working alongside study, plus having a family etc. Unless your business is running full time, employers might wonder why. Also, do you need a degree if you are already employed with this business?

Alternatively, do the math. Look at the earnings benefit data - how much more do you get in salary from a RG degree than an OU degree and multiply that up over the course of a 50 year career - is your business making you more than that?
I can see your point. Under normal circumstances, there will be employers out there who will wonder why a young student, fresh out of A levels and with no other challenges to deal with would choose the OU over a RG uni. However, these are not normal times.

The OU is definitely seeing more school leavers enrolling during Covid, due to the fact that traditional unis are moving to an online/distance tuition model, yet still charging 9k in fees. Now of all times is when the OP would have a pretty good answer for any would-be employer who asks "why the OU?" He would not be the only one coming to the conclusion that, if he is to end up being taught online anyway, he may as well pick a uni that has been doing it a long time and save some money whilst he's at it. Running a business on the side is a bonus which, again, can only be seen as a positive trait during these times when job security is scarce. As a business owner myself, I like that kind of get up and go.
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(Original post by Veet Voojagig)
I can see your point. Under normal circumstances, there will be employers out there who will wonder why a young student, fresh out of A levels and with no other challenges to deal with would choose the OU over a RG uni. However, these are not normal times.

The OU is definitely seeing more school leavers enrolling during Covid, due to the fact that traditional unis are moving to an online/distance tuition model, yet still charging 9k in fees. Now of all times is when the OP would have a pretty good answer for any would-be employer who asks "why the OU?" He would not be the only one coming to the conclusion that, if he is to end up being taught online anyway, he may as well pick a uni that has been doing it a long time and save some money whilst he's at it. Running a business on the side is a bonus which, again, can only be seen as a positive trait during these times when job security is scarce. As a business owner myself, I like that kind of get up and go.
Spot on mate! This is exactly my thought process. Congrats on also starting a business btw, it’s a great feeling isn’t it?
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(Original post by 276)
Got AAA in my A-Levels, which is good enough to get me into a highly-ranked uni. The issue is that this would mean moving away and leaving behind a small business I started with my friend during A-Levels, so I’m not really too keen on going. When looking into alternatives I came across the Open University, which allows you to complete a fully accredited degree from home. On paper, this sounds great to me because it’ll allow me to be flexible and fit my studies around our start-up. However, if an OU degree would be seen as inferior to a degree I could obtain at a Russell Group uni, I don’t really see the point of investing in one. So my question is, how highly regarded/respected are degrees from the OU?
Hi 276,

Firstly, congrats on your amazing A Level results! You should be so proud of yourself.

At Arden University we also run fully online degrees, and I think you running a small business on the side will be fantastic experience alongside a degree, as you are developing real-world business skills alongside your study, and show that you are able to juggle multiple priorities! So do not think that an OU/online learning degree will hold you back if you are keen to continue your business. Just have a think about what you want to do in the future career-wise and what kind of university experience you want (online vs on-campus learning). What's the most important thing for you? I studied myself at an RG uni and now work for an online uni so feel free to ask any questions if I can help you compare.

Thanks,
Amy
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FRS500
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An Open University degree carries an immense amount of weight.

They are well-regarded qualifications. Teaching is of a high standard and the support network is very strong for a distance learning program.

Employers value the fact that students are self-motivated enough to do a degree outside a classroom and alongside other commitments.

People have become senior civil servants within their profession; academics and all sorts in between with an OU degree...

It's what you make of it.
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Veet Voojagig
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Hi 276,

Firstly, congrats on your amazing A Level results! You should be so proud of yourself.

At Arden University we also run fully online degrees, and I think you running a small business on the side will be fantastic experience alongside a degree, as you are developing real-world business skills alongside your study, and show that you are able to juggle multiple priorities! So do not think that an OU/online learning degree will hold you back if you are keen to continue your business. Just have a think about what you want to do in the future career-wise and what kind of university experience you want (online vs on-campus learning). What's the most important thing for you? I studied myself at an RG uni and now work for an online uni so feel free to ask any questions if I can help you compare.

Thanks,
Amy
You do love to spam OU threads...
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What an interesting thread. If your side hustle can scale do OU and scale your business alongside that, shaping your degree around skills you need to help your business grow.

If it can't Scale pack it in and go to an elite uni if you can. You'll get a better start in corporate life which if you're not working for yourself is the place to be.
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https://ounews.co/science-mct/ou-aca...343oUohmhTg6bw

It's pretty good, it certainly didn't stop this man getting a PhD and being recognised by the Queen and getting an MBE for his work. The OU work with the BBC for a start to make greatly educational programmes.

It's literally the same as any other degree but you simply do it at home. I don't know why that changes anything or makes something less credible for people. If that's the case, then does that mean everyone who's now working from home are producing work that isn't recognised or legitimate enough unless they're physically sat in their office?

My degree is still BPS accredited which means it's checked to be of high standards by the BPS and will be recognised. If they found any kind of fault with the OU or found the degree to be lesser in some way, they wouldn't have accredited it.

Really it all depends on what you want to do with the degree afterwards and if going to a top uni will somehow improve your prospects in a certain job market. But honestly, it's the same as any other degree and often cheaper on top of that. I don't know of many jobs nowadays that actively want people from top unis specifically. A degree is a degree.

(Original post by 276)
Got AAA in my A-Levels, which is good enough to get me into a highly-ranked uni. The issue is that this would mean moving away and leaving behind a small business I started with my friend during A-Levels, so I’m not really too keen on going. When looking into alternatives I came across the Open University, which allows you to complete a fully accredited degree from home. On paper, this sounds great to me because it’ll allow me to be flexible and fit my studies around our start-up. However, if an OU degree would be seen as inferior to a degree I could obtain at a Russell Group uni, I don’t really see the point of investing in one. So my question is, how highly regarded/respected are degrees from the OU?
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Arden University
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(Original post by 276)
Got AAA in my A-Levels, which is good enough to get me into a highly-ranked uni. The issue is that this would mean moving away and leaving behind a small business I started with my friend during A-Levels, so I’m not really too keen on going. When looking into alternatives I came across the Open University, which allows you to complete a fully accredited degree from home. On paper, this sounds great to me because it’ll allow me to be flexible and fit my studies around our start-up. However, if an OU degree would be seen as inferior to a degree I could obtain at a Russell Group uni, I don’t really see the point of investing in one. So my question is, how highly regarded/respected are degrees from the OU?
276
The Open University has been open since the 1960's, I think it was Harold Wilson's Government that introduced it! I have done a management course with them a few years back and it was very professional. Distance learning is a growing area, with other providers such as Arden University offering degree and masters programs in areas like Sociology, Business, Psychology etc.

I would say that it is important to reflect on what you want from your University experience. If you want your stereotypical student experience of student halls, pizza vouchers, student nights etc. then distance learning is not for you. I will say, that it has been perfect for me in it's flexibility. I'm 34, I work full time and I am currently doing my MSc in Psychology at Arden and I am having a really fun experience

Marc
Arden University Student Ambassador
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Let’s be honest. For several recruiters/jobs, having a good uni on your CV is something that makes them want to hire you. Because it is well known that some unis require all As to get in, whereas the Open University does not, having some unis on your degree will signal to companies that “this person has to be smart because they got into this uni” regardless of what you studied. Getting into the OU is something literally anybody can do, so you don’t get that automatic assumption from hirers.

I don’t know why lots of people act like this isn’t the case or isn’t obvious. It’s very obvious and the jobs market is massively biased in this respect. A highly regarded university that requires very high A level grades to get into is obviously worth more on your CV than an average uni.

However the OU is still a well regarded university. But let’s not be ridiculous and claim it’s the same as say, St Andrews or Kings College or any number of well known, far more difficult to get into universities.
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Let’s be honest. For several recruiters/jobs, having a good uni on your CV is something that makes them want to hire you. Because it is well known that some unis require all As to get in, whereas the Open University does not, having some unis on your degree will signal to companies that “this person has to be smart because they got into this uni” regardless of what you studied. Getting into the OU is something literally anybody can do, so you don’t get that automatic assumption from hirers.

I don’t know why lots of people act like this isn’t the case or isn’t obvious. It’s very obvious and the jobs market is massively biased in this respect. A highly regarded university that requires very high A level grades to get into is obviously worth more on your CV than an average uni.

However the OU is still a well regarded university. But let’s not be ridiculous and claim it’s the same as say, St Andrews or Kings College or any number of well known, far more difficult to get into universities.
See what I don’t get about this is that, ok yes, anyone can get in. But just because anyone can get in, doesn’t mean everyone can succeed. I mean, seriously, I’m not even an OU student (I’m at an RG) but I probably have more respect for them than I do most of my fellow students. Why? Because all u hear about now is students complaining about how hard online teaching is, (and rightly so), and here OU students are doing the ENTIRE thing online. That’s mad impressive that, more so than the brand name of a university.
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Muttley79
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hi muttley -
No-one respects posters who post anon for NO logical reason at all.

The OU is 50 years old with more experience of online teaching than any other uni - it supports students with all sorts of additional needs by providing spoken texts -
No respected employer would not take an OU degree seriously especially as the marks needed for a 1st etc are higher than at a brick university.
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The OU is a very respected institution and it looks impressive if you can get a First whilst studying entirely from home. I once asked a Cambridge tutor about this and he told me that they encouraged OU grads to apply for postgrad. There's no door that it doesn't open IMO that a degree in the same subject from a RG does.
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Llamageddon
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(Original post by shak101)
The OU is a very respected institution and it looks impressive if you can get a First whilst studying entirely from home. I once asked a Cambridge tutor about this and he told me that they encouraged OU grads to apply for postgrad. There's no door that it doesn't open IMO that a degree in the same subject from a RG does.
True and not true.

I have almost finished a degree in maths and econ at the OU but would not be able to apply for economics at LSE or Oxbridge (or even Manchester for that matter) owing the the subject content of my degree (in particular lacking econometrics).

The syllabus matters so much more than the institution when it comes to analytical subjects. Employers care about what you can *do*.
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