Four alternatives to a university degree

By Future TalentEd

Not every student is cut out for the traditional UCAS application and university route. Here are four alternative ways to get a degree.

Degree apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships offer students the chance to earn a full degree as part of their apprenticeship. Created in partnership between universities, employers and professional bodies, the programmes combine working with part-time study and take between three and six years to complete, depending on the course level.

Positives – apprentices are paid a wage and costs are usual covered by employers/government

Negatives – good time management needed to split work and study

Foundation degrees

A foundation degree is equivalent to two-thirds of a bachelor degree, normally taking two years to complete. They are ideal for students who want a mixture of classroom learning and practical, on-the-job learning. Foundation degrees are perfect from students who haven’t achieved the grades for a traditional degree, with entry requirements usually being one or two A-levels or equivalent.

Positives – good for students who prefer practical over classroom learning

Negatives – fees are still applicable and students may have to take a top up year on completion

“In 2015, more young people studied at FE colleges than university: 2.9 million to 2.4 million””

Degrees at FE colleges

Some further education colleges now offer undergraduate degrees, allowing students to learn in a more intimate setting. Class sizes are normally smaller and subjects are often tailored to industries and jobs in the local area. If a student cannot or does not want to study away from home, these can be a great option.

Positives – allows students to study in a more supported environment closer to home

Negatives – less variety in courses and programmes

Private universities

If your student wants a university experience tailored to a profession without having to go through UCAS, they should consider applying directly to a private university like Regent’s University or BPP University. Admissions are made directly to the institution and don’t always require set qualifications.

Positives – offers a route into higher education outside the traditional model

Negatives – lack of diversity of programmes, with most courses aimed at business studies, media and design

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