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Clearing 2018: Why choosing the OU could be the best decision you ever make

In the top 20 UK Universities for student satisfaction, rated highly for its teaching and with a flexible model that means you can earn and learn, The Open University (OU) is an increasingly attractive choice for young people. Over a quarter of new entrants to the OU are now aged 23 and under, and the OU offers open entry for anyone wishing to study, regardless of your A-Level results.

Almost 14,000 of our students are 21 and under*

Most students at the OU work while they are learning, progressing their careers at the same time as gaining new skills. For many, it’s a cost-effective way to study – fees in England** are £5,856 a year for full time study – so a complete degree in England would cost just under £18,000. You can pay for each module separately and can access a part-time tuition fee loan – find out more on our fees and funding website.

It’s completely flexible and can fit in with your life

19-year-old Fanni Zombor from London is currently studying for a Business Degree with the OU. She’d studied science in sixth form but didn’t want to continue this subject at university level, so took a gap year before deciding to sign up with the OU. Working full-time as a Hungarian-English interpreter, Fanni has opted to study the equivalent of full-time too.

She’s fitting in up to 35 hours of study each week alongside her job and horse riding hobby, and is aiming to finish her degree in three years – the same time as her friends who are going to traditional ‘brick’ universities. She says:

“If you set your mind to something, you can achieve it. The OU has made me realise I can be who I want to be, and it has already opened a lot of doors for me I didn’t even know were there before.”

You can achieve a degree with zero debt

Zoe Biggs

Zoe Biggs graduated with zero debt

Zoe Biggs, who plays bass guitar for The Franklys, wasn’t sure what to study after her A-Levels.  She decided to take a few short courses to see if the OU suited her, and this grew to an Open Degree with a focus on biology subjects.

Zoe graduated in 2016 and says: “I have come out with a degree and with zero debt, unlike all of my friends who went to traditional universities and are now having to start slowly paying back that dreaded student loan. All of my friends were very encouraging of the OU; it was never seen as a ‘lesser choice’.”

You can step up the career ladder at the same time

76% of our students work while they are learning, and this makes them very attractive to employers as they can easily demonstrate determination, motivation, and organisation skills.

Steph Lee

Steph Lee is forging a career in Engineering

Steph Lee, 27, was a high achiever at school but wanted to earn a wage rather than go to a traditional university. She started her Engineering Degree with the OU six years ago and has gone from an administrator in an oil and gas company to work in construction and, more recently, in marine and ship management. She says:

“The OU has been great and I’ve encouraged several people to enrol on its courses; it opens so many doors and gives you the edge in interviews, showing both dedication and determination to work and study simultaneously.

“If you are considering distance learning, then I have two words for you: Do it! You’ve got nothing to lose.”

Be part of the OU Community

Fanni was keen to become part of the OU community and swiftly took on a volunteering role with the OU Students Association (OUSA), building a network of student friends alongside those in her tutor groups. She says: “Because I’m a confident person, it’s easy to step forward and make connections. I’ve met a lot of young OU students over social media and forums; and many people studying who are like-minded.”

An unconditional offer from The Open University

Chris Rooke, Director, Academic Services at the OU, said: “The Open University is open to everyone, and extends an unconditional offer at Clearing. The OU’s offer is an alternative route to a high-quality degree which is flexible enough to fit in with the rest of your life.”

“More students study with the OU than with any other university in the UK, thanks to our quality and excellent support. Approaching our 50th anniversary next year, we are proud of our history, our commitment to keep innovating, and our excellent academic offering.”

Flexible ways into study

There are a number of ways you can start your studies with The Open University:

Registration is open for courses starting in autumn 2018. Closing date: Thursday 13 September 2018.

*In 2016/17, 13,914 students at The Open University were aged 18 – 21.

**2018-19 prices; fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University’s strategic approach to fees. Please note that fees vary in Scotland, Wales, Ireland and internationally – for full information go to our Fees and Funding website.


About Author

Kath works in the Media Relations team within the Communications Unit at The Open University. She is a skilled communicator with more than 15 years’ experience working in both the public and private sectors. She has a BA (Hons) English and American Literature from University of Warwick and specialises in stories from the Faculty of Social Science, Faculty of Education and Language Studies, BBC programmes, and student stories. In her spare time Kath enjoys touring the country in her hand-painted camper van, Trevor.

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