Careers Column 7 - Higher education – is it right for my child?
Higher education – is it right for my child?
By Ruth Thomas, Independent Careers and Higher Education Adviser
Making the choice to undertake higher education isn’t always a straight forward decision as there are an increasing number of options, including types of courses, types of qualifications and places to study. And, of course, it depends on individual circumstances, academic requirements and personal learning styles too.
A burning question for many parents and students is whether it is financially worthwhile to do a full-time higher education course – will it pay off in the long run? If you are basing your decision on this then it’s positive news. Government statistics confirm that graduates and postgraduates have higher employment rates and average earnings.
If you are still undecided, ask the following questions:
- Does my child need higher level qualifications for the job they want to do?
- Do they want to continue their studies on a full-time or part-time basis?
- Do they want to gain more qualifications whilst in paid employment?
- Do they want to go away and experience university life?
- Do they want to study an academic subject they love, or a subject linked to a particular job role?
- Is there a financial cost to studying higher education?
- Is there somewhere that I can study locally?
- Does my child have the right Level 3 qualifications to be able to study higher education?
- What type of qualification would suit my child best?
- Are they ready to commit to doing more studies? Will they stick at it?
For general advice and information visit www.universitywhich.co.uk
What are the options for higher education?
The standard length is three years but can be four years if it includes a placement year. More recently some institutions are even offering two-year degrees. Subjects can be academic or vocational, and can be studied at university and sometimes further education colleges in partnership with a university.
Usually two-year courses equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor’s degree, related to practical application in the workplace. Good for those who know what career they want, and there is the option to study alongside paid employment, as well as studying full-time. These can often be topped up with a third year at university to convert to a full degree.
Similar to foundation degrees, an HNC is usually one-year full time and an HND is two years. Again, they are work-related and can lead to a full degree at university with more studies. HNCs and HNDs are commonly offered at colleges and can be taken as part of a higher apprenticeship.
Launched by the government in September 2015, these degrees focus on specific industries and apprentices will split their time between university-level study and the workplace, and will be employed throughout. Degree apprentices gain a full bachelor’s or master’s degree from a university. A big bonus here is that there are no tuition fees to pay.
Whichever pathway your child decides to choose, the GC Advice Team is here to help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0345 155 2020 for independent advice and guidance.