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Student at the Open University
Open University
Milton Keynes
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is open uni advisable?

I want to do a degree, but unsure where to go for one.

I'm academically capable (predicted 5A*s in maths, FM, chem, phys and bio), and have applied to the top unis. But, if I did OU, I'd have a fraction of the debt and be in a much more stable position financially.

Also, I'm not looking to go to university for the parties and drinking; I'd be there to learn. I'm not fussed on the social life.

My only problem is some people have said OU is only really intended for mature/disabled students or those who are retraining.

Should I, a high-achieving, self-disciplined 18 year old, attend OU or a brick and mortar uni?
Might be wrong but I think you won’t get some/all of the student loan if you attend the OU. You’d need to evidence some reason why you couldn’t attend a brick uni.
Student at the Open University
Open University
Milton Keynes
Visit website
Original post by Anonymous
My only problem is some people have said OU is only really intended for mature/disabled students or those who are retraining.

Should I, a high-achieving, self-disciplined 18 year old, attend OU or a brick and mortar uni?


As an OU student myself I can tell you that is not the case. Yes the OU does have an excellent disability support team but you don't need to fit that criteria to attend the open university. There are students straight out of sixth form who prefer to attend the open uni over a brick and mortar uni. Someone on my course is straight out of sixth form, they didn't want to attend a brick uni out of personal preference.
Original post by Admit-One
Might be wrong but I think you won’t get some/all of the student loan if you attend the OU. You’d need to evidence some reason why you couldn’t attend a brick uni.


OU students get the standard tuition fee loan but aren't eligivle for maintenance loan unless they have evidence of why they can't attend a brick uni.
Original post by Anonymous
I want to do a degree, but unsure where to go for one.

I'm academically capable (predicted 5A*s in maths, FM, chem, phys and bio), and have applied to the top unis. But, if I did OU, I'd have a fraction of the debt and be in a much more stable position financially.

Also, I'm not looking to go to university for the parties and drinking; I'd be there to learn. I'm not fussed on the social life.

My only problem is some people have said OU is only really intended for mature/disabled students or those who are retraining.

Should I, a high-achieving, self-disciplined 18 year old, attend OU or a brick and mortar uni?


The University experience is a lot more than just 'the social life'. It's a transition to independent living, managing your own timetable, your own priorities, your own finances, your on decisions etc. It's about learning how to walk into a room of strangers and make connections, how to work in an adult team dynamic where there are no teachers/parents to guide, how to take responsibility, what responsibility feels like etc etc etc. You get next to none of this if you live at home and do a degree through the OU.

Uni is not all about thr drinking, loads of students don't drink heavily nowadays. it's about the ability to join sports clubs, societies etc and develop skills outside formal education, to work out how to dress, how long to stay, when to leave, how to leave, who to like, how to like them, who to dislike, how to dislike them etc. And just looking around TSR, it's obvioulsy about how not to be the one that steals food from the fridge, or how to deal with the person that does, how not to leave washing up around, or how to deal with the person that does.

All in all, university is about an easy, transitional opportunity to leave home and grow up. Doing a degree with the OU does not provide that (in the same way that remote working does not educate people in how to fit into the workplace).

The OU also isn't 22-year-old graduate focussed in terms of careers support. A brick uni, especially if you get into a competitive one, will have companies visiting to discuss recruitment, and will have a large, well-funded careers service aimed specifically at your recruitment situation.

The OU is a great Uni and offers good degrees, but it is for people who for whatever reason, haven't gone to Uni at the conventional post-school time and who cannot, for whatever reason, move to a brick uni. It is not a straight alternative to a brick uni.
Reply 5
Original post by threeportdrift
The University experience is a lot more than just 'the social life'. It's a transition to independent living, managing your own timetable, your own priorities, your own finances, your on decisions etc. It's about learning how to walk into a room of strangers and make connections, how to work in an adult team dynamic where there are no teachers/parents to guide, how to take responsibility, what responsibility feels like etc etc etc. You get next to none of this if you live at home and do a degree through the OU.

Uni is not all about thr drinking, loads of students don't drink heavily nowadays. it's about the ability to join sports clubs, societies etc and develop skills outside formal education, to work out how to dress, how long to stay, when to leave, how to leave, who to like, how to like them, who to dislike, how to dislike them etc. And just looking around TSR, it's obvioulsy about how not to be the one that steals food from the fridge, or how to deal with the person that does, how not to leave washing up around, or how to deal with the person that does.

All in all, university is about an easy, transitional opportunity to leave home and grow up. Doing a degree with the OU does not provide that (in the same way that remote working does not educate people in how to fit into the workplace).

The OU also isn't 22-year-old graduate focussed in terms of careers support. A brick uni, especially if you get into a competitive one, will have companies visiting to discuss recruitment, and will have a large, well-funded careers service aimed specifically at your recruitment situation.

The OU is a great Uni and offers good degrees, but it is for people who for whatever reason, haven't gone to Uni at the conventional post-school time and who cannot, for whatever reason, move to a brick uni. It is not a straight alternative to a brick uni.

There's still the ridiculous debt that you have to get into though. I've done some calculations and the CHEAPEST brick uni I'd be able to attend would still leave me with just over £48k of debt. How is it that education should even cost this much to able students in a modern society??? (but that's for another argument!)

Back to the point- I'm already part of 2 sports clubs and a regular gym user, run my own business, have won national debating competitions, and have had 3 different office-based internships. I understand where you're coming from, but I cannot see how a brick uni is financially feasible if I can get exactly the same degree from the OU for a fraction of the price. If you're self-disciplined and don't need to be spoon fed career opportunities, then finding those opportunities is quite easy, as proven in my own experience.
Original post by Anonymous
There's still the ridiculous debt that you have to get into though. I've done some calculations and the CHEAPEST brick uni I'd be able to attend would still leave me with just over £48k of debt. How is it that education should even cost this much to able students in a modern society??? (but that's for another argument!)

Back to the point- I'm already part of 2 sports clubs and a regular gym user, run my own business, have won national debating competitions, and have had 3 different office-based internships. I understand where you're coming from, but I cannot see how a brick uni is financially feasible if I can get exactly the same degree from the OU for a fraction of the price. If you're self-disciplined and don't need to be spoon fed career opportunities, then finding those opportunities is quite easy, as proven in my own experience.


Assuming you're in Endland, open uni would leave you with only £21k of debt.
Original post by Anonymous #2
OU students get the standard tuition fee loan but aren't eligivle for maintenance loan unless they have evidence of why they can't attend a brick uni.

Thanks for clarifying. PRSOM.

—-

I can see the OP referring to the debt from taking out loans, but it’s not a traditional debt in most senses of the word. It’s more a graduate tax and the chances of paying it back are slim whether it’s 20 or 50k so I would not make that a primary factor.

That said, if OU suits them otherwise I don’t see any issues if they are going in with their eyes open.
Original post by Anonymous
There's still the ridiculous debt that you have to get into though. I've done some calculations and the CHEAPEST brick uni I'd be able to attend would still leave me with just over £48k of debt. How is it that education should even cost this much to able students in a modern society??? (but that's for another argument!)

Back to the point- I'm already part of 2 sports clubs and a regular gym user, run my own business, have won national debating competitions, and have had 3 different office-based internships. I understand where you're coming from, but I cannot see how a brick uni is financially feasible if I can get exactly the same degree from the OU for a fraction of the price. If you're self-disciplined and don't need to be spoon fed career opportunities, then finding those opportunities is quite easy, as proven in my own experience.


I feel going to a brick uni wouldn't really benefit you since you have all this experience and a professional network under your belt.

Depending on your availability you've have the option to study full-time or part-time. Your A-levels are varied so if you're unsure which course you'd like to do it would be wise to take the time to figure this out. OU applications don't require a personal statement, references or predicted grades.
Original post by Anonymous
I want to do a degree, but unsure where to go for one.

I'm academically capable (predicted 5A*s in maths, FM, chem, phys and bio), and have applied to the top unis. But, if I did OU, I'd have a fraction of the debt and be in a much more stable position financially.

Also, I'm not looking to go to university for the parties and drinking; I'd be there to learn. I'm not fussed on the social life.

My only problem is some people have said OU is only really intended for mature/disabled students or those who are retraining.

Should I, a high-achieving, self-disciplined 18 year old, attend OU or a brick and mortar uni?


So I'm generally in favour of the OU having done some study myself.

However I think you're looking at doing OU study for the wring reasons.

Fundamentally student "debt" in the UK is a graduate tax in all but name. It doesn't affect your credit, you only make repayments when earning over a certain amount, and the repayments are proportional to your income. It is also written off after 40 years anyway.

There are lots of reasons to choose OU study or even not to go to uni but the idea of the "debt" is not a good one, if you're a home student eligible for SFE funding.

Also note as above you can't get a maintenance loan with the OU unless you have a disability which prevents you attending other regional universities in person and you will need proof not only if the diagnosis but also from the regional unis stating after you have explained that they can't facilitate your accessibility needs. Very few are able to meet these criteria and get a maintenance loan while doing OU study.
Original post by artful_lounger
So I'm generally in favour of the OU having done some study myself.

There are lots of reasons to choose OU study or even not to go to uni but the idea of the "debt" is not a good one, if you're a home student eligible for SFE funding.

I see your point. One of my reasons for choosing the OU was the flexibility and personal preference, I'm currently 22 so younger than most of the students I'm met on my course but I feel I wouldn't have been able to handle a brick uni for reasons unrelated to health.

OP - the Forum Helpers in this thread have stated the for and against of OU study but at the end of the day it's wha you think is best. Hope this helps.
Original post by Anonymous
I see your point. One of my reasons for choosing the OU was the flexibility and personal preference, I'm currently 22 so younger than most of the students I'm met on my course but I feel I wouldn't have been able to handle a brick uni for reasons unrelated to health.

OP - the Forum Helpers in this thread have stated the for and against of OU study but at the end of the day it's wha you think is best. Hope this helps.

Yes exactly - I studied at the OU because the flexible, distance learning, part-time study without structured lecture hours worked for me at the time with my job and allowed me to explore my interests academically still, which was perfect :smile:

I will contend there can be financial reasons to choose the OU - if you have to self-fund for whatever reason for example, then the tuition fees become more of an immediate and expensive concern, and the lower costs of the OU and ability to amortise those costs over a longer period of time by studying part-time (I think they also allow some instalment based payments) can be very valuable.

But if one is entitled to student loans that is a non-factor and so the choice should be made on academic and practical reasons involving where one will live, what one will study etc, rather than the financial side.
Original post by artful_lounger
Yes exactly - I studied at the OU because the flexible, distance learning, part-time study without structured lecture hours worked for me at the time with my job and allowed me to explore my interests academically still, which was perfect :smile:

I will contend there can be financial reasons to choose the OU - if you have to self-fund for whatever reason for example, then the tuition fees become more of an immediate and expensive concern, and the lower costs of the OU and ability to amortise those costs over a longer period of time by studying part-time (I think they also allow some instalment based payments) can be very valuable.

But if one is entitled to student loans that is a non-factor and so the choice should be made on academic and practical reasons involving where one will live, what one will study etc, rather than the financial side.

Excellent post. PRSOM!
The market of online providers is growing more in recent years, I am a student with University of Essex online and they offer undergraduate and postgraduate full degrees as well as post graduate certificates and diplomas. I can only speak to the postgraduate study from personal experience as I attended a brick university for my BA, but I was able to get full tuition fee loan from student finance and have found online study so much more straight forward than I thought. When I was applying I found the OU pathway a bit confusing and forums didn't help me much so I applied to University of Essex online and their admissions team done everything it was so simple. Happy to answer any questions if needed.

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