The Student Room Group
Student at the Open University
Open University
Milton Keynes

what is it like to study with OU ?

hi, if anyone has any experience please let me know. thanks!
i self teach my a-levels and love it. if i wanted either be a psychology teacher or sociology teacher would me studying at OU put me at disadvantage when applying? are these teachers in demand or are the positions competitive?
i would like to work as a teaching assistant when i get my drivers license and i will want to study full-time would that work or not? should i complete in 3 or 4 years?
do i get loans too?

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Reply 1
Original post by Anonymous
hi, if anyone has any experience please let me know. thanks!
i self teach my a-levels and love it. if i wanted either be a psychology teacher or sociology teacher would me studying at OU put me at disadvantage when applying? are these teachers in demand or are the positions competitive?
i would like to work as a teaching assistant when i get my drivers license and i will want to study full-time would that work or not? should i complete in 3 or 4 years?
do i get loans too?


I'm starting my studies with OU in September so can answer some of your questions.

"would studying at OU put me at a disadvantage when applying?" I was also afraid that OU would be seen as less valuable than a degree achieved through a brick uni, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Whilst I have heard about a couple bad experiences in this forum (mainly regarding plagiarism investigations), I have also heard some good experiences with OU regarding supportive tutors and the student support team are polite and helpful (as helpful as they can be) too. When I was sorting out my student finance application the student support team were really helpful as I was a little confused about the process. The only thing I suppose that would put you at a disadvantage would be not making time for other stuff to develop your CV like volunteering or hobbies, a lot of people work part-time while studying with OU which helps develop their CV as well.

"I will want to study full-time would that work or not? should I complete in 3 or 4 years?" The OU is very flexible as they offer both full-time and part-time study. Full-time study takes minimum 3 years to complete but if you don't complete the degree within that timeframe it's not a big deal as the uni offers a 15 year time limit to complete your degree. If you have questions about part-time study I'd be happy to elaborate on this as I'm taking the part-time route.

"Do I get loans too?" As long as you haven't used up any of your student finance entitlement on previous higher education study, you'll be eligible for a tuition fee loan to cover the whole course. You'll have to apply for the loan for each year of study though as each student finance application only covers 1 academic year. FYI though, all OU students are considered part-time students and automatically aren't eligible for maintenance loan except in some circumstances. For example if you have a disability that makes it harder for you to study at a brick uni.

I don't know much about the job prospects of the teaching sector though as I'm planning to work in a different sector. If you have any more questions though feel free to ask :smile:
Student at the Open University
Open University
Milton Keynes
Reply 2
Original post by Anonymous
I'm starting my studies with OU in September so can answer some of your questions.

"would studying at OU put me at a disadvantage when applying?" I was also afraid that OU would be seen as less valuable than a degree achieved through a brick uni, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Whilst I have heard about a couple bad experiences in this forum (mainly regarding plagiarism investigations), I have also heard some good experiences with OU regarding supportive tutors and the student support team are polite and helpful (as helpful as they can be) too. When I was sorting out my student finance application the student support team were really helpful as I was a little confused about the process. The only thing I suppose that would put you at a disadvantage would be not making time for other stuff to develop your CV like volunteering or hobbies, a lot of people work part-time while studying with OU which helps develop their CV as well.

"I will want to study full-time would that work or not? should I complete in 3 or 4 years?" The OU is very flexible as they offer both full-time and part-time study. Full-time study takes minimum 3 years to complete but if you don't complete the degree within that timeframe it's not a big deal as the uni offers a 15 year time limit to complete your degree. If you have questions about part-time study I'd be happy to elaborate on this as I'm taking the part-time route.

"Do I get loans too?" As long as you haven't used up any of your student finance entitlement on previous higher education study, you'll be eligible for a tuition fee loan to cover the whole course. You'll have to apply for the loan for each year of study though as each student finance application only covers 1 academic year. FYI though, all OU students are considered part-time students and automatically aren't eligible for maintenance loan except in some circumstances. For example if you have a disability that makes it harder for you to study at a brick uni.

I don't know much about the job prospects of the teaching sector though as I'm planning to work in a different sector. If you have any more questions though feel free to ask :smile:

hi, wow thanks for this!! this is really helpful and informative! im thinking of either the brick uni or open uni but would rather work & also
study and travel sometimes. i looked into teaching assistant but i need a degree for that so ill just get a job in a nursery maybe as atm i work in a fast food restaurant. hopefully i can complete it in 3-4 years. what degree are u thinking of doing and what career path are hoping to follow?
Reply 3
Hi, just finished my first year at the OU and would definitely recommend, especially if you are used to a lot of self study. I do private tutoring alongside my full time studies and have found it quite good, just make sure to plan and balance out your schedule.
I think working at a nursery is a good start, as alot of the people I studied with do, and they were able to refer back to their experience whenever it was necessary in their assignments. And then maybe after a year once you've built up experience like working and interacting with children- you can apply in schools.
With it being online you'll have more freedom to work alongside studies more than students in brick uni, so when applying for jobs, it will definitely come in handy as you'll have more experience in the field than others.

Let me know if you have any questions!
Reply 4
Original post by Anonymous
Hi, just finished my first year at the OU and would definitely recommend, especially if you are used to a lot of self study. I do private tutoring alongside my full time studies and have found it quite good, just make sure to plan and balance out your schedule.
I think working at a nursery is a good start, as alot of the people I studied with do, and they were able to refer back to their experience whenever it was necessary in their assignments. And then maybe after a year once you've built up experience like working and interacting with children- you can apply in schools.
With it being online you'll have more freedom to work alongside studies more than students in brick uni, so when applying for jobs, it will definitely come in handy as you'll have more experience in the field than others.

Let me know if you have any questions!


hi, that’s excellent!!! what course did you do ? what were the pros & cons from ur experience? also did u do full-time or part-time? also do you get summer breaks, christmas breaks and half terms etc?
thanks for ur help:smile:
Reply 5
Original post by Anonymous
hi, wow thanks for this!! this is really helpful and informative! im thinking of either the brick uni or open uni but would rather work & also study and travel sometimes. i looked into teaching assistant but i need a degree for that so ill just get a job in a nursery maybe as atm i work in a fast food restaurant. hopefully i can complete it in 3-4 years. what degree are u thinking of doing and what career path are hoping to follow?


A couple benefits about OU is the flexibility it gives in terms of study and the tuition fees are 25% cheaper (source: https://www.open.ac.uk/courses/fees-and-funding) compared to a brick uni. You can study on the go and away from home as well just as long as you don't leave the country you're studying in for long periods of time (holidays abroad are fine).

Brick unis are a good option as well, it's about personal preference tbh. There's more decisions tied to studying at brick unis because of the UCAS process and finding accomodation as well if you plan to move for uni.

Finding a nursery job sounds like a good idea as it'll give you experience, make sure to talk about the skills you use in your current job whilst applying for a new job.

What degree are you thinking of applying for? Keep in mind the deadline to apply for October 2023 start is 7th September.

The dgeree I've applied for is BSc Computing, I'm still figuring out what career path to take but getting a degree should help with that as I'll be able to explore different arears of Computing. For now I'm trying to get a job in a supermarket/retail shop so that I'm earning £££ alongside my studies.
Reply 6
Original post by Anonymous
Hi, just finished my first year at the OU and would definitely recommend, especially if you are used to a lot of self study. I do private tutoring alongside my full time studies and have found it quite good, just make sure to plan and balance out your schedule.
I think working at a nursery is a good start, as alot of the people I studied with do, and they were able to refer back to their experience whenever it was necessary in their assignments. And then maybe after a year once you've built up experience like working and interacting with children- you can apply in schools.
With it being online you'll have more freedom to work alongside studies more than students in brick uni, so when applying for jobs, it will definitely come in handy as you'll have more experience in the field than others.

Let me know if you have any questions!


I've got some questions but want to know what course you're doing first? In case you're studying a different course to what I've applied to.

Also do you do private tutoring online or in-person?
Original post by Anonymous
hi, if anyone has any experience please let me know. thanks!
i self teach my a-levels and love it. if i wanted either be a psychology teacher or sociology teacher would me studying at OU put me at disadvantage when applying? are these teachers in demand or are the positions competitive?
i would like to work as a teaching assistant when i get my drivers license and i will want to study full-time would that work or not? should i complete in 3 or 4 years?
do i get loans too?

Doing an OU degree is no disadvantage for going into most professions, and teaching is a particularly popular destination for OU grads I understand. Whether teachers are "in demand" or not depends a lot on your subject. I suspect psychology and/or sociology will be less in demand than core national curriculum subjects like English, the sciences, and maths, but there will probably be some demand for it I would guess.

I don't think it's realistic to aim to study full time while working as a teaching assistant part-time if you haven't experienced studying there before. I would suggest starting off part-time and seeing how the workload goes - you can easily increase or decrease the number of credits you study each year with the OU so it's quite flexible :smile: Fortunately as noted also since you don't have formally timetabled lectures, and tutorials have a range of times and days available, it's fairly easy to slot part time OU study in alongside a part time job. If you find the workload manageable you can always take more modules the following year(s)!

You can get tuition fee loans for an OU degree if you are entitled to funding from SFE. If you have a disability which prevents you attending an in-person course and can demonstrate this through medical evidence and documentary evidence that you have contacted all unis in your region and they advised they cannot accommodate your disability, you can get maintenance loans as well. Very few end up eligible for these due to the requirements though - usually people are just entitled to a tuition fee loan.
Reply 8
Original post by artful_lounger
Doing an OU degree is no disadvantage for going into most professions, and teaching is a particularly popular destination for OU grads I understand. Whether teachers are "in demand" or not depends a lot on your subject. I suspect psychology and/or sociology will be less in demand than core national curriculum subjects like English, the sciences, and maths, but there will probably be some demand for it I would guess.

I don't think it's realistic to aim to study full time while working as a teaching assistant part-time if you haven't experienced studying there before. I would suggest starting off part-time and seeing how the workload goes - you can easily increase or decrease the number of credits you study each year with the OU so it's quite flexible :smile: Fortunately as noted also since you don't have formally timetabled lectures, and tutorials have a range of times and days available, it's fairly easy to slot part time OU study in alongside a part time job. If you find the workload manageable you can always take more modules the following year(s)!

You can get tuition fee loans for an OU degree if you are entitled to funding from SFE. If you have a disability which prevents you attending an in-person course and can demonstrate this through medical evidence and documentary evidence that you have contacted all unis in your region and they advised they cannot accommodate your disability, you can get maintenance loans as well. Very few end up eligible for these due to the requirements though - usually people are just entitled to a tuition fee loan.


PRSOM
Reply 9
Original post by Anonymous
I've got some questions but want to know what course you're doing first? In case you're studying a different course to what I've applied to.

Also do you do private tutoring online or in-person?

either sociology, psychology or social psychology but idk which is better as i want to be a teacher but idk which subject yet. psychology teachers are more popular (a-level teaching) than sociology teachers i reckon. i do enjoy sociology more though but also like social psychology in a-level so not sure. both psychology & social psychology are both BPS accredited so both are good.
i dont do any tutoring yet unfortunately wbu??
Reply 10
Original post by Anonymous
A couple benefits about OU is the flexibility it gives in terms of study and the tuition fees are 25% cheaper (source: https://www.open.ac.uk/courses/fees-and-funding) compared to a brick uni. You can study on the go and away from home as well just as long as you don't leave the country you're studying in for long periods of time (holidays abroad are fine).

Brick unis are a good option as well, it's about personal preference tbh. There's more decisions tied to studying at brick unis because of the UCAS process and finding accomodation as well if you plan to move for uni.

Finding a nursery job sounds like a good idea as it'll give you experience, make sure to talk about the skills you use in your current job whilst applying for a new job.

What degree are you thinking of applying for? Keep in mind the deadline to apply for October 2023 start is 7th September.

The dgeree I've applied for is BSc Computing, I'm still figuring out what career path to take but getting a degree should help with that as I'll be able to explore different arears of Computing. For now I'm trying to get a job in a supermarket/retail shop so that I'm earning £££ alongside my studies.


hi, that’s really good that it’s cheaper. yes, im wanting to travel a couple days a month possibly or even a day travel as that’s something i want to do. i like being independent so OU is great for me, but i also fear of missing out from a brick uni but i know i wouldn’t enjoy it. would doing that be okay?
can the OU reject your application? do you need to write a personal statement?
ill be applying for 2025 september so i have a while to decide but either sociology, social psychology or psychology. i want to become a psychology or sociology teacher for a-level stage.
i’m going to wait until i get my license which should be from Jan/Feb/March so i can get a job in a nursery im so excited!
that’s great you know what subject you want to take and you have a long time to figure out what part of computing you’d like to do. also are you doing it full-time or part-time?
thanks!!
Reply 11
Original post by artful_lounger
Doing an OU degree is no disadvantage for going into most professions, and teaching is a particularly popular destination for OU grads I understand. Whether teachers are "in demand" or not depends a lot on your subject. I suspect psychology and/or sociology will be less in demand than core national curriculum subjects like English, the sciences, and maths, but there will probably be some demand for it I would guess.

I don't think it's realistic to aim to study full time while working as a teaching assistant part-time if you haven't experienced studying there before. I would suggest starting off part-time and seeing how the workload goes - you can easily increase or decrease the number of credits you study each year with the OU so it's quite flexible :smile: Fortunately as noted also since you don't have formally timetabled lectures, and tutorials have a range of times and days available, it's fairly easy to slot part time OU study in alongside a part time job. If you find the workload manageable you can always take more modules the following year(s)!

You can get tuition fee loans for an OU degree if you are entitled to funding from SFE. If you have a disability which prevents you attending an in-person course and can demonstrate this through medical evidence and documentary evidence that you have contacted all unis in your region and they advised they cannot accommodate your disability, you can get maintenance loans as well. Very few end up eligible for these due to the requirements though - usually people are just entitled to a tuition fee loan.

hi, thank you!!! yes, i did think english, maths, science would be in demand more so than psychology and/or sociology. would being an a-level teacher be better? i am also considering doing education or something in case i want to teach in primary instead. i’ll probably do more research to choose.

yes, i will probably do part-time first in the first year and instead of teaching assistant as i haven’t got the qualifications for that, i will apply to work in a nursery. i know nurseries aren’t related to a-level teaching or primary teaching but its still in a similar setting i suppose. i will just get some work experience/ volunteer at a school. i will probably do part time in first year and then complete the rest in full-time.
oh ok, thanks! i just didn’t understand the loans and stuff.
appreciate ur help!!! :smile:
Original post by Anonymous
either sociology, psychology or social psychology but idk which is better as i want to be a teacher but idk which subject yet. psychology teachers are more popular (a-level teaching) than sociology teachers i reckon. i do enjoy sociology more though but also like social psychology in a-level so not sure. both psychology & social psychology are both BPS accredited so both are good.
i dont do any tutoring yet unfortunately wbu??


Apologies,that post I made (post #7) was meant for anon #3.

I replied to you in post #6 here: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showpost.php?p=98666081&postcount=6
Original post by Anonymous
hi, thank you!!! yes, i did think english, maths, science would be in demand more so than psychology and/or sociology. would being an a-level teacher be better? i am also considering doing education or something in case i want to teach in primary instead. i’ll probably do more research to choose.

yes, i will probably do part-time first in the first year and instead of teaching assistant as i haven’t got the qualifications for that, i will apply to work in a nursery. i know nurseries aren’t related to a-level teaching or primary teaching but its still in a similar setting i suppose. i will just get some work experience/ volunteer at a school. i will probably do part time in first year and then complete the rest in full-time.
oh ok, thanks! i just didn’t understand the loans and stuff.
appreciate ur help!!! :smile:

The impression I got was that secondary teachers usually teach A-level and pre-A-level topics, so you might also end up teaching GCSE classes on those subjects, and/or other supporting classes like citizenship or what have you. @04MR17 is far better placed than me to advise on career planning for teaching though!

My impression is that primary teaching is a bit more competitive to get into though?
Original post by Festus m
Hello everyone.


As of my last update in September 2021, the "OU" most commonly refers to The Open University, a well-known distance learning institution based in the United Kingdom. Studying with The Open University offers a unique and flexible learning experience, and here are some aspects of what it's like to study with them:

Flexibility: One of the most significant advantages of studying with The Open University is its flexibility. Students can study from home or any location with an internet connection, allowing them to balance their studies with work, family, or other commitments.

Distance learning: As a distance learning institution, The Open University provides course materials online, including interactive activities, video lectures, and written resources. Students can access the content at their own pace, making it suitable for both full-time workers and part-time learners.

Personalized support: While distance learning may give the impression of isolation, The Open University offers various support channels to students. This includes tutor support through online forums, virtual tutorials, and email. Students can ask questions and get assistance when needed.

Diverse course offerings: The Open University offers a wide range of courses and degree programs, covering various subjects and academic levels. This diversity allows students to explore their interests and acquire new skills.

Assignments and assessments: Throughout the course, students are required to complete assignments and participate in assessments to evaluate their understanding of the material. These assessments can vary depending on the course and may include written assignments, exams, practical projects, or group activities.

Continuous assessment: Instead of relying solely on final exams, The Open University often uses continuous assessment methods, providing students with the opportunity to improve their understanding and performance throughout the course.

Study groups: The Open University encourages students to form study groups, both online and in-person, to collaborate and support each other in their learning journey.

Recognition and accreditation: The qualifications earned through The Open University are well-regarded and accredited, ensuring that the degree holds value in the job market.

Self-discipline and motivation: As with any distance learning program, studying with The Open University requires self-discipline and motivation. Students must manage their time effectively and stay committed to their studies to succeed.

Keep in mind that institutions and their offerings may evolve over time, so it's always a good idea to check the most recent information on The Open University's website or directly contact them for the latest details on their programs and study experience.


Is this information from the website?
Original post by Anonymous
Is this information from the website?


It's from ChatGPT. Disregard it as it hasn't been sense-checked.

artful_lounger above is a real human and their advice is very good though :smile:
Original post by Admit-One
It's from ChatGPT. Disregard it as it hasn't been sense-checked.

artful_lounger above is a real human and their advice is very good though :smile:


Thought so, the language sounded way too formal :smile:
Original post by Anonymous
Thought so, the language sounded way too formal :smile:


Yup, I'm getting better at spotting them myself too :smile:
Original post by Anonymous
hi, that’s really good that it’s cheaper. yes, im wanting to travel a couple days a month possibly or even a day travel as that’s something i want to do. i like being independent so OU is great for me, but i also fear of missing out from a brick uni but i know i wouldn’t enjoy it. would doing that be okay?
can the OU reject your application? do you need to write a personal statement?
ill be applying for 2025 september so i have a while to decide but either sociology, social psychology or psychology. i want to become a psychology or sociology teacher for a-level stage.
i’m going to wait until i get my license which should be from Jan/Feb/March so i can get a job in a nursery im so excited!
that’s great you know what subject you want to take and you have a long time to figure out what part of computing you’d like to do. also are you doing it full-time or part-time?
thanks!!


Travelling for a few days a month is perfectly fine and in the case you need to work while travelling you could take your laptop with you if you have one. If you don't think you'd enjoy a brick uni then there's no harm choosing the OU, it's better to look back on an undergrad experience that you enjoyed rather than hated :smile:

OU have a very open admissions policy, even people who have been out of touch with education for many years can study with them. All they ask of you is a "reasonable standard of written and spoken English" as mentioned here: https://www.open.ac.uk/courses/do-it/english-skills. You don't need to write a personal statement either as you apply directly through the uni website not through UCAS.

Good luck on whatever you decide, you can look at each course to get a feel of what modules are available and how you're assessed as some modules include online exams. Hope you get your license next year too :smile:

I'm studying part-time so only doing 60 credits a year. I've already enrolled on the modules I'll be doing for 1st year so I'm feeling both excited and nervous.
Reply 19
Original post by artful_lounger
The impression I got was that secondary teachers usually teach A-level and pre-A-level topics, so you might also end up teaching GCSE classes on those subjects, and/or other supporting classes like citizenship or what have you. @04MR17 is far better placed than me to advise on career planning for teaching though!

My impression is that primary teaching is a bit more competitive to get into though?

thank you!!! i appreciate your advice and help. i will definitely do some research.
also, do you think i could start part-time now alongside my a-levels considering im doing my a levels in 2 and a half years self teaching? i have almost covered year 12 content and started 5 months ago. i am doing exams in 2025.
i was thinking of choosing social sciences so i can pick psychology & sociology modules. or should i wait after my exams?

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