Clearing House – When You Didn’t Make the Grade

The clearing season is underway in UK Universities and higher education colleges.  Hundreds of thousands of students who didn’t get the grades they need are now scrambling over one another to try to find a university with open spaces who might still take them.  It’s a sad event – a product of a one track education system that demands a one size fits all approach and that refuses to recognize the diversity and difference in people and students. 

The reality is that University really isn’t for everyone and certainly not in the volatile 18-21 age bracket.  Let’s face it, you’ve been legally an adult for barely a few months and socially not even that until the last day of school or college.   And now you’re being asked to dictate the next three years, even the very course of the rest of your life on a decision made now.  It’s really quite unfair orthodox education continues to funnel students into courses and degree programmes that might not be for them when so many other possibilities exist.

A distance learning course frees you from the shackles and time pressures that a traditional University Education employs.  You get to pick what you want to learn as opposed to what a remote career academic decides you should learn and you get the time and support to truly get to grips with the topic, however long it may take you. 

Financially, it’s a powerful argument too:  A distance learning course means you can learn from where you are around your current obligations.  You don’t have to drop you job and move to expensive student accommodation in another city, forced to eke out an existence on the meagre combination of a student loan and whatever part time work you can fit around your studies. 

And let’s not forget that, thanks to government cutbacks, many universities are struggling to make ends meet.  This means increased class sizes, reduced tuition and a marked increase in tuition fees. As savvy students are pushed into the role of consumers they must and should demand value for money – a value many universities sadly don’t deliver. And all this on the back of the incredible debt students are expected to saddle themselves with at university – sums of £20,000 are typical.  

There are other reasons to consider alternatives to University as well.  Many courses as taught are completely remote from the industry reality of the sectors they supposedly lead into and provide little or no opportunity to gain the practical experience and skills Employers really want.  ADL’s distance learning courses require the student to get involved in their learning and through overcoming problems demonstrate both to their tutor, and subsequently a potential employer, that they know what they’re talking about.

University can be a great life defining experience – but it’s not for everyone and not always wise to rush into it straight after school or college.  Do yourself a favour and really think about your alternatives.  After all, you can always go to University later when you’ve decided what you really want to be. 

And in the meantime, getting a head start with a distance learning course wouldn’t go amiss… 




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