Colleges can offer a flexible and affordable alternative to studying at a university, but with the same high standards of teaching and quality of degree. In this blog we’ll look at some of the considerations you might have when it comes to thinking about studying your degree at college.
Colleges tend to recruit smaller groups of students on to their degree level courses compared to Universities. You could be one of a group of 20 instead of 100.
This means that it’s often possible for your tutors to get to know you better and be more flexible around your needs.
Colleges also tend to have more options available for part time studying, which can be useful if you’re balancing studying with other commitments.
Colleges tend not to charge the full £9000 of tuition fees. Each college sets its own fees, but it’s common for them charge between £7000 – £8000 a year, which could save you £3000-£6000 in tuition fees across a three year course! You can still apply for student loans if you choose to study your degree at college.
Tutors at colleges are normally employed primarily as teachers which means that their focus is really going to be on teaching you. Many also freelance in the industry they are teaching about meaning that they have up to date knowledge about trends in the industry. At a University your lectures may be conducted by people who are primarily researchers. They’ll be sharing amazing knowledge about the cutting edge of research on their subject, but they may not have as much focus on pure teaching, although this will vary depending on your course and university.
At a college your teaching will mostly take place in small groups and you’re likely to get to know your classmates a very well.
Quality of degree
Colleges will have their degree level courses validated by an external university, for example degrees from Nottingham College are validated by Nottingham Trent University. This validation confirms that your degree from a college is of the same standard as if you’d studied at the university itself.
Your degree certificate will have both your college and the validating university’s name on it, and on your CV you can put your degree down as coming from both institutions.
Types of courses
Colleges often offer degree level qualifications in more hands-on or practical courses than those at a university. Exactly what’s on offer will vary from college to college but the colleges in your local area should have clear information available about what they’ve got on offer.
Colleges are likely to offer a range of higher education level qualifications, from Higher National Certificates to Foundation and Top Up degrees.
Foundation degrees are the equivalent of two years of a full degree and are qualification in their own right. You can choose to convert your foundation degree in to a full degree by doing a top up course, which is an additional year of study. Foundation & Top Up studying can be a great option if you’d like the flexibility to take some time out from studying between completing the two stages.
Colleges might also provide the teaching component for degree apprenticeships, where you are supported to study for a degree while working.
It’s hard to say exactly what the life style differences between studying at college versus a university are, as no two students are exactly the same at any institution. However some differences might be that colleges have fewer extra curricula events, activities and resources on offer for their students compared to universities. For example colleges are less likely to have sports facilities, or organised balls etc. and societies are likely to be smaller. However some colleges will have arrangements with their validating university allowing degree level students to use the universities facilities.
Should I study my degree at college? Conclusion
Ultimately this a choice that only you can make. When it comes to picking what course to study and where to do it it’s a good idea to do some research about exactly what each institution has to offer. Think about what your priorities are when it comes to choosing where to study, it may be that there is a course at a college that feels like the best fit for you.
Check out the degrees on offer at the colleges in the DANCOP region
Chesterfield College – https://www.chesterfield.ac.uk/university-level/
Derby College – https://www.derby-college.ac.uk/university-higher-education-undergraduate
Nottingham College – https://www.nottinghamcollege.ac.uk/study/university-centre
Vision West Nottinghamshire College – https://www.wnc.ac.uk/University-level/