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A-Levels 2017: University isn’t the only option

For many years, university has been touted as the route to a successful career but since the tuition fee hike, many young people are reconsidering their plans to study for a degree. Given that the average graduate debt is at £50,000, it is not surprising that tuition fees are dampening desires to go to university. But fear not – there are plenty of viable alternative options to consider:

  1. Study a degree online

If you want to study for a degree but the high fees put you off, you could consider online learning. Online learning courses are comparatively low cost and a more affordable option to the traditional university route. In addition to this, you have the option to study flexibly so you can learn while you earn. With employers placing huge importance on work experience, the ability to gain this experience and study at the same time can have a positive effect on career prospects.

Earning a full Degree or MBA is a simple and low cost option with Online Business School. We provide students with the opportunity to can earn their diploma online and then top up to a full Bachelors or MBA degree through distance learning or on-campus through at a UK university. You can read more about our university pathways here.

  1. Start work

If you choose not to go to university, you can start your ascent of the career ladder much earlier than your peers. This is an opportunity to gain on-the-job experience and make valuable contacts. It’s up to you to acquire the necessary skills and training where you seek to be an expert. You could take an online course at home to increase your knowledge and make you more employable. And if you later decide that a degree will advance your career, then you could study online and earn while you learn.

  1. Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are a good way to combine practical training in a job with study. You will work alongside experienced staff and gain job-specific skills as well as get time for study related to your role. Roles are diverse and vary from engineering and boat building, to veterinary nursing and accountancy. Apprenticeships can take 1 to 5 years to complete depending on their level and you will gain a qualification.

  1. Gap year

If you’re not sure if university is for you or which career you would like to pursue, then you could take a gap year to reflect and focus on what you want to do next. A productive gap year can be valuable on your CV – that is if you use the time to gain new skills and experiences. You should form a plan of what you will do for the year whether it’s volunteering, getting work experience or travelling the world. You can earn and save money towards your higher education costs or future plans.

Understanding top-up degrees

What is a top-up degree?

Top-up degree courses are aimed at those who already hold a Foundation Degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND). They provide a route for students to achieve a Bachelor’s degree by enabling them to ‘top up’ their existing qualifications.

How long does a top-up degree take to complete?

Typically, topping up your foundation degree or HND to a BA or BSc will involve one further year of study. Part-time options are also available.

What are the study options?

Top-up degrees can be undertaken in a variety of ways, either full-time or part-time, online or on-campus. Study options are very flexible and depend on your personal circumstances.

Why choose a top-up degree?

  1. Study in your own way

Top-up degrees enable you to study in a way that suits you. This flexible approach to learning offers you a range of study options, from studying full-time with on-campus support, to studying by distance learning.

2. Earn while you learn

Top-up degrees are designed to meet the needs of those who have already embarked on a career. Distance learning programmes provide 24/7 access to your learning materials whenever and wherever you are, so you can study around your lifestyle and commitments – which means there is no need to reduce your working hours or take a career break. Earn a degree and money at the same time!

  1. Affordability

Costs vary depending on the university but fees for online degree courses tend to be notably cheaper than traditional degree programmes (as they are cheaper for universities to operate). Savings associated with top-up degrees also include accommodation and commuting costs.

  1. Better career prospects

A top-up degree can improve your career prospects and can lead to a promotion or salary increase. Earning a degree demonstrates advanced academic skills, organisational skills, and indicates to employers that you have the drive to succeed.

Top-up courses with Online Business School

Earning a full Degree or MBA is a simple and low cost option with Online Business School. We provide students with the opportunity to earn their diploma online and then top up to a full Bachelors or MBA degree through distance learning or on-campus through at a UK university. You can read more about our university pathways here.

5 ways to prepare for A-Level Results Day

It’s a nerve-wracking time and your emotions are running high. Try not to agonise – we’re here to help you prepare as best as you can as the day draws near.

  1. Prepare yourself mentally

There is nothing you can do about your grades at this stage, so try to enjoy the remainder of your summer holidays. Try to take your mind off your results by doing things you enjoy – see friends, read a book, go for a walk etc. Although it’s natural to be nervous, don’t let yourself get too worked up about something you can’t change. If you’re feeling anxious, confide in your family so they can support you.

  1. Consider every outcome

It is sensible to prepare yourself for every eventuality. Think about different circumstances and how you’re likely to react. If you miss your grades, will you retake or will you apply via Clearing? If you do better than expected, will you apply for Adjustment? If you do well in a certain subject, will you change your course? If you feel your results aren’t accurate, will you challenge them?

  1. Have a contingency plan

No matter how confident you feel, it pays off to have a back-up plan in place. Do some research on which universities you’d like to go to in case you require clearing. Write down three points about why you like each university, you can then refer back to these if you end up applying via clearing.

  1. Explore all your options

Remember that university is only one pathway to higher education. If you don’t do as well as expected or you have changed your mind, don’t panic. There are different and more flexible ways to get a degree which may suit you better, from apprenticeships to distance learning programmes. If you’ve struggled with A-Levels and do not wish to resit, then you might want to consider applying for a Higher National Diploma (HND) course, which does not have an exam component and may allow you to skip 1-2 years of a University degree course.

  1. Treat yourself

Whether your results were what you were hoping for or not, you still had to sit through months of revision and exams, which means you deserve a reward. It’s highly likely you’ll have reached a conclusion about your future by the end of the day – have a treat waiting for you to celebrate this significant event!

How to decide if university is the right choice for you

You can be forgiven for thinking that all roads lead to university. However, university is not the right choice for everyone, there are plenty of other options to consider. So, to help out, here are five factors to consider whether university is the right choice for you – or not.

  1. You have a passion

If you do what you love, you’ll love what you do. The purpose of a university education is to give you the time and space to study something that interests you. Most of your time spent at university will be studying, so if you don’t enjoy it you will be miserable. If you don’t know what drives you or where your natural strengths lie, it may be worth taking a gap year to work it out – you don’t want to invest your money and time in something you’re not sure about.

  1. Your end goal

Why do you want to go to university? What are you hoping to do when you finish? Understanding your end goal can help you explore other options and work out if university is your best route. Some people choose university because they don’t know what else to do; make sure you are clear about your motivation for a university education.

  1. Your career prospects

One of the main reasons for going to university is to put yourself in line for a better job and make yourself more employable, so career prospects should be a top consideration. Be sure to research the field you want to study; you don’t want to go through years of studying to find no jobs at the end.

  1. Your return on investment

The average graduate is shouldering £50,000 worth of debt, while the average graduate salary is currently £28,000. Take some time to research the average salary for the profession you hope to go into post-university. If your dream job pays lower than the national average, and the tuition fees leave you in lots of debt, you will need to assess if going to university is worth it.

  1. The cost of the entire university experience

There are many different costs associated to university. In addition to tuition fees, you have to cover accommodation, living expenses, travel, course books and a laptop. It can get expensive quickly so you need to decide how valuable the experience will be to you.

Can you do things differently?

All you need to decide is whether university is the right choice, right now. If you aren’t sure, then take some time to figure out what you really want. Don’t follow the crowd and go to university because that’s what everyone else does.

Nowadays there are plenty of other choices for those who want to further their career. Make sure you research all your options before you apply as this will help you to decide if university is a worthwhile investment.

There are different and more flexible ways to get a degree which may suit you better:

  • A part-time degree – you can combine studying with other commitments.
  • Degree apprenticeships – you can enjoy practical on-the-job training alongside studying.
  • Distance learning courses – you can study at a time and pace to suit yourself.

Top-up courses with Online Business School

Earning a full Degree or MBA is a simple and low cost option with Online Business School. We provide students with the opportunity to earn their diploma online and then top up to a full Bachelors or MBA degree through distance learning or on-campus through at a UK university. You can read more about our university pathways here.

Top 10 Student Discounts in August

The way we here at Online Business School see it, hardworking students deserve to get something back for their dedication to those long study sessions. So, we have put together a list of our top 10 student discounts for you to enjoy in August.

Remember to sign up for a Student Beans account – it’s free with your NUS card and gives you access to exclusive student discounts at over 10,000 stores online.

 

Burton Menswear – Get 10% off clothing all year round.

Domino’s Pizza – Receive a massive 35% online student discount at Domino’s Pizza when you spend £25.

Dorothy Perkins – All students get an exclusive 10% off.

Hotels.com – 10% student discount at Hotels.com with Student Beans.

KFC – Get 15% off when you spend £5 or more at participating stores.

Las Iguanas – Enjoy 25% off your food bill. Offer valid Sunday – Thursday for up to 6 people.

Ted Baker – 15% student discount on full price items.

The Body Shop – Enjoy 25% off your purchases.

The Co-op – Get 10% off your food shop. Become a member, and you’ll earn another 5% – as well as giving 1% back to local causes.

Uber –  £15 off your first journey with Uber.

 

To find out more about registering for an NUS card with Online Business School, click here. Don’t forget that the NUS card comes with a free ISIC card, so our international students can still benefit from thousands of discounts.

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