Everything in one place
We've gathered a wide range of resources to help you explore the benefits of Higher Education & how to get there.Take a look
Bust some myths
- I have to live away from home if I go to uni
- Uni doesn’t offer ‘hands-on’ work experience
- I won't get a job or a good salary after uni
- I won’t get the grades to go to university
- There's too many graduates and not enough jobs
- I can only go to university if I like academic subjects like Maths and English
- I will always be paying my student loan off
- I won’t be able to afford to make my student loan repayments
For many, university remains a chance to move away from home and to live fully independently for the first time. However, more students are choosing to stay at home and commute.
Having confidence in your choice of course and where to study it remains the number one priority. After which, you can think about your day-to-day living arrangements or commute. At university or college Open Days, it is helpful to speak to current students about how they made their decisions.
An increasing number of degree courses offer work experience. These are often known as ‘Years in Industry’ or ‘Sandwich degrees’. These courses provide an opportunity to spend a year working in an industry related to your course. Usually, it is taken in the second or third year and provides an experience that can help to equip you for the jobs market.
People who have a degree, or an alternative higher education qualification, often go on to earn more over the course of their lifetime when compared to those who leave education at age 18. They are also less likely to experience periods of unemployment.
Higher education is also a great opportunity for personal development and gaining a range of transferable skills. While some courses take you directly into a chosen profession, many employers recruit regardless of the choice of degree subject, as they’re often more interested in the transferrable skills you have and how you will apply them.
You can ask universities and colleges about opportunities to gain work experience and what other students who have completed your chosen course have gone on to do.
Your choice of course and where to study is important. Websites such as UniStats will allow you to compare universities and their courses across a range of criteria.
University isn’t just for 'high-flying' students – but you will be expected to have completed some form of Level 3 study (e.g. BTECs and other Diplomas, or an Advanced Apprenticeship).
There is a huge choice of courses with a variety of different course entry requirements. Also, don’t overlook the alternatives. A Higher National Diploma (HND) or a Foundation Degree are vocational courses that will prepare you for a specific career. These can be studied full-time, at universities or colleges, or as part of a higher or degree apprenticeship.
In a fast-changing jobs market, there is a strong demand for UK workers with higher-level skills. That means we need more people with Level 4+ qualifications - which include vocational qualifications (such as HNDs and Foundation Degrees), as well as degrees.
Before committing to a higher education course, always take a bit of time to read about which industries have the most demand for higher-level skills. Websites such as UniFrog and UCAS are good starting points.
You can study almost anything that interests you and it doesn’t have to be all academic based. Courses can be practical, theory-based, creative – or a complete mixture.
If you like the sound of a course, take some extra time to gather information and find out more:
- What is the content of the course?
- How is it assessed?
- How many achieve a ‘strong’ pass mark?
- What have students who have completed the course gone on to do?
Always be prepared to ask the questions that matter to you at university and college Open Days.
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, just 17% of students will have to pay back everything they have borrowed. How long it takes depends on how much you earn. However, after 30 years, the student loan will be wiped completely regardless of how much you still have left to pay.
Martin Lewis from moneysavingexpert.com says:
“What you repay solely depends on what you earn after university. In effect, this is financially a ‘no win no fee’ education. Those who earn a lot after leaving university will repay a lot. Those who don’t gain too much financially from going to university will repay little or nothing."
You do not start repaying anything you have borrowed until you start earning £26,575* or more after you have graduated.
Repayments are taken each month from your salary and are charged at 9% above the £26,575* threshold.
(*correct as of April 2020)
Let us help you answer those big questions
What are my higher education options?
Take a look at the variety of qualifications and courses you can take after finishing Level 3.
Which Uni 4 me?
Universities and further education colleges come in all shapes and sizes and there are plenty of factors to consider when making your choice.
Higher education costs money, but everyone is entitled to some form of financial support, so money should not be a deciding factor in choosing whether or not to study higher education.
What other learners have to say
“…I think this has really helped me because the area that I live in, not many people do go to university and it’s quite a deprived area and I think this opportunity has really helped me to have the insights on what I can do w...Michelle
Uni:4U summer schools 2019Read Michelles story
“The skills I’ve gained from this programme are things like social skills, communication… I’ve enjoyed most, getting to know people because I’ve never been in a place where everyone likes the same things and has a...Nick
Uni:4U summer schools 2019Read Nicks story
The Higher Education Thesaurus
Money awarded by a university/college that does not have to be repaid. Given as a result of strong Level 3 grades, or acknowledged personal circumstances.
The grounds and buildings where a university or college is based
Further Education (FE)
The compulsory study that is taken at age 16+ (after your GCSEs) e.g. A-Levels or BTECs
Awarded when you complete your undergraduate studies – which typically takes three years
Each university or college course will make an “ask” of you – around sitting certain qualifications or achieving certain grades. If you are worried that you may not meet the exact requirements, always speak to the university/college first
The title you receive when you complete your higher education course
Halls of Residence
Purpose-built accommodation, owned by universities or privately owned, popular with first-year students
Higher Education (HE)
Optional study that is taken from age 18+, after completing Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A Levels, BTECs)
Information, advice and guidance
The name of the university, college or private company where you will study
A presentation in front of a large gathering of students where the key principles or concepts of a topic will be given
Money that can be borrowed from the government to cover your tuition fees and living costs
An important part of your UCAS application. Your opportunity to describe your ambitions, skills and experience
Additional study that can be taken after you complete your undergraduate studies (typically from age 21+). Qualifications include a Masters or a Doctorate (also known as a PhD)
Money awarded by a university/college, or a business or a charity, that does not have to be repaid. Often to recognise academic achievements, showing excellence in a particular field (e.g. music, sport); or overcoming adversity.
A small class, typically a follow-up to a lecture, where students can discuss topics in more detail
A group of people with shared interests, who form a social club, usually with help from their Student Union
An organisation, found in all universities and colleges, that is run by students for students. Often the hub for social activities. Also provides support on academic and welfare issues
Either a small group meeting or individual meeting, with an academic member of staff
‘Universities and Colleges Admissions Service’. The organisation which manages applications to study full-time at a university or college
UCAS tariff points
A system, used by some universities and colleges, for course entry requirements
Courses for those who are studying higher education for the first time. The most common being an undergraduate (Bachelors’) degree
Full time study
The most common way, at age 18+, to study for a higher education qualification. Ask about the number of ‘contact hours’ for your chosen courses before you apply
Part time study
An option for many courses and popular with those returning to education after a break (e.g. those with parenting responsibilities)
A choice to study online and remotely. You can learn at your own pace.
Not all courses offer this, so it is always better to check
On-the-job learning, supported by university and college tutors