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Looking for online college/courses to help me prepare

As the title suggests I’m looking for some good online courses or colleges to help me do my bare bones math and English GCSES and potentially enroll in other areas

I have level 3 autism so (at the time of my diagnosis) was deemed unfit for work and work related activity, I’m now at 23 feeling like I am ready to get out there but I don’t have my GCSES or any qualifications due to not being in school (was pulled out at a young age) though I do feel like I have started super late

I’m looking at online colleges such as the Open college etc. but would appreciate anyone else’s suggestions
(edited 11 months ago)
Original post by CrystalDeet
As the title suggests I’m looking for some good online courses or colleges to help me do my GCSES and potentially enroll in other areas

I have level 3 autism so (at the time of my diagnosis) was deemed unfit for work and work related activity, I’m now at 23 feeling like I am ready to get out there but I don’t have my GCSES or any qualifications due to not being in school (was pulled out at a young age) though I do feel like I have started super late

I’m looking at online colleges such as the Open college etc. but would appreciate anyone else’s suggestions

You would want to note which GCSEs you would need for what you want to do e.g. work, further study, etc.

The key ones for any purpose are English Language and Maths. These can be done for free at adult colleges (there's no point in getting online GCSE courses for these when you can do them at lower cost, quicker, and with more support elsewhere). For most purposes, these 2 GCSEs are all you will need.
For other purposes, you're looking at most 5 GCSEs. I don't know what you need the GCSEs for, so I don't know which subjects you want to take. For some selective STEM courses (which are usually accommodating to people with autism) would expect you to have done GCSEs in the sciences as well as the 2 above. Other GCSEs subjects aren't usually requested for further study.
It would be very rare for you to require anything more than 5 GCSEs, and most don't have any purposes other than for apply to 6th form (which you're not likely eligible for due to your age). However, if you do choose to do further GCSEs for anything other than personal interest, then I would say anything in languages are worth looking into since they will help you with other qualifications and language certificates later on (not that they are necessary to recognise your fluency in the language).
Do note, most level 3 qualifications (e.g. A Levels, Access, BTECs) won't ask for anything more than GCSE Maths and English Language, hence why adult colleges most likely only offer Maths and English Language to adult learners.

If you do choose to do online GCSEs, these are normally just for the course material and teaching support. To get the official certificates for these qualifications, you would need to do the exams and coursework, usually at a proctor exam centre approved by your chosen exam centre.

To get yourself registered for exams, you would need to do the following:
Go to the exam board's website and look for their private candidates section
Find their list of approved exam centres and contact a list of them (probably prioritising the ones closest to you)
Liaise with the exam officier of the exam centre
Pay for your exam and admin fees for each subject


As you have not done level 2 qualifications before (or something equivalent to GCSEs), you should be eligible for funding so long the institution is one of the recognised education institutions in the country (I forgot what the list is called, but it would take a while for me to find it). The problem with most online colleges (as I have found) is that they might not be, whereas most brick and mortar adult colleges you come across are. In other words, you are not likely to get funding for online college courses, but you will likely get it for offline college courses. You will need to check with student finance.
Where possible, I would do the GCSEs at adult colleges to avoid the fees.

The other thing that you would have to bear in mind with online GCSEs is that if the subject you are studying requires you to submit coursework or do practicals (i.e. not 100% exams), it's going to be a pain and every expensive to get them organised. If you can do these at offline colleges, it's going to be a lot easier and smoother.

If you're more specific about what your intentions are with your studies, I should be able to point you in the right direction.

If you want a list of online colleges that do UK GCSEs (not to be confused with international GCSEs, which are still valid but they follow specific syllabi), then you have colleges like:

Oxford Home Learning

Distance Learning Centre

National Extension College

Open Study College

Online Learning College

UK Open College

Stonebridge

CloudLearn

ICS

NCC Home Learning

Bestgrade Education

LearnDirect

Distance Learning Centre


You can otherwise then look at offline colleges that do some courses online. There are hundreds of these, so I don't know whether you have any specific preferences.

The quality of the course will vary from course to course, not college to college. You might have a brilliant tutor for one course, but a horrible one for another even if they're from the same college (look for online reviews specific for certain courses to check e.g. trust pilot, then filter the results by institutions and search by course). Each of these courses will be tailored to one specific exam board, so you would want to pick your exam board carefully before you pick the course.

UK exam boards are AQA, EdExcel, and OCR. International exam boards are OxfordAQA, Cambridge CIE, and EdExcel.

I have so far only been with Oxford Home Learning for A Level Maths and Further Maths (looking to do more A Levels later) and ICS for GCSE Business Studies, so I can't comment on the quality of other online colleges.
(edited 11 months ago)
Reply 2
Original post by MindMax2000
You would want to note which GCSEs you would need for what you want to do e.g. work, further study, etc.

The key ones for any purpose is English Language and Maths. These can be done for free at adult colleges (there's no point in getting online GCSE courses for these when you can do them at lower cost, quicker, and with more support elsewhere). For most purposes, these 2 GCSEs are all you will need.
For other purposes, you're looking at most 5 GCSEs. I don't know what you need the GCSEs for, so I don't know which subjects you want to take. For some selective STEM courses (which are usually accommodating to people with autism) would expect you to have done GCSEs in the sciences as well as the 2 above. Other GCSEs subjects aren't usually requested for further study.
It would be very rare for you to require anything more than 5 GCSEs, and most don't have any purposes other than for apply to 6th form (which you're not likely eligible for due to your age). However, if you do choose to do further GCSEs for anything other than personal interest, then I would say anything in languages are worth looking into since they will help you with other qualifications and language certificates later on (not that they are necessary to recognise your fluency in the language).
Do note, most level 3 qualifications (e.g. A Levels, Access, BTECs) won't ask for anything more than GCSE Maths and English Language, hence why adult colleges most likely only offer Maths and English Language to adult learners.

If you do choose to do online GCSEs, these are normally just for the course material and teaching support. To get the official certificates for these qualifications, you would need to do the exams and coursework, usually at a proctor exam centre approved by your chosen exam centre.

To get yourself registered for exams, you would need to do the following:
Go to the exam board's website and look for their private candidates section
Find their list of approved exam centres and contact a list of them (probably prioritising the ones closest to you)
Liaise with the exam officier of the exam centre
Pay for your exam and admin fees for each subject


As you have not done level 2 qualifications before (or something equivalent to GCSEs), you should be eligible for funding so long the institution is one of the recognised education institutions in the country (I forgot what the list is called, but it would take a while for me to find it). The problem with most online colleges (as I have found) is that they might not be, whereas most brick and mortar adult colleges you come across are. In other words, you are not likely to get funding for online college courses, but you will likely get it for offline college courses. You will need to check with student finance.
Where possible, I would do the GCSEs at adult colleges to avoid the fees.

The other thing that you would have to bear in mind with online GCSEs is that if the subject you are studying requires you to submit coursework or do practicals (i.e. not 100% exams), it's going to be a pain and every expensive to get them organised. If you can do these at offline colleges, it's going to be a lot easier and smoother.

If you're more specific about what your intentions are with your studies, I should be able to point you in the right direction.

If you want a list of online colleges that do UK GCSEs (not to be confused with international GCSEs, which are still valid but they follow specific syllabi), then you have colleges like:

Oxford Home Learning

Distance Learning Centre

National Extension College

Open Study College

Online Learning College

UK Open College

Stonebridge

CloudLearn

ICS

NCC Home Learning

Bestgrade Education

LearnDirect

Distance Learning Centre


You can otherwise then look at offline colleges that do some courses online. There are hundreds of these, so I don't know whether you have any specific preferences.

The quality of the course will vary from course to course, not college to college. You might have a brilliant tutor for one course, but a horrible one for another even if they're from the same college (look for online reviews specific for certain courses to check e.g. trust pilot, then filter the results by institutions and search by course). Each of these courses will be tailored to one specific exam board, so you would want to pick your exam board carefully before you pick the course.

UK exam boards are AQA, EdExcel, and OCR. International exam boards are OxfordAQA, Cambridge CIE, and EdExcel.

I have so far only been with Oxford Home Learning for A Level Maths and Further Maths (looking to do more A Levels later) and ICS for GCSE Business Studies, so I can't comment on the quality of other online colleges.


Hey thanks for your reply yeah I’m looking to study the fundamentals rather than anything specific at the moment as still not sure what areas I would want to further myself, but I’ll change it on the post thanks :smile:
As for in person vs online, I struggled heavily with mainstream school for the duration I was there hence why I was pulled out so I am a little worried I won’t be able to cope with a brick and mortar setting vs at home, but I will have a look around just in case I did find National extension collage and they do seem a good candidate for my GCSES even just bare bones maths/English

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