Advice for parents about the career options for their children

4 reasons to start university-level study at college this year


One thing is for sure, when it comes to degree-level study in 2017, there's no shortage of options. While going to university may seem like the natural progression after leaving school or college, it can also seem like the only way of continuing your studies.

The truth is, university isn't for everyone, and there's nothing wrong with that. The prospect of high fees; not wanting to live away from home; or just wanting to get into work quicker, are just some of the reasons many young people decide to choose a local college instead for their university-level course.

Luckily, many colleges actually offer degree-level study and even top-up degrees, often with lower tuition fees than many universities. As Central College Nottingham explains, there are plenty of options if you're looking for an alternative to university.

Many colleges around the country offer an alternative higher education route through their own degree-level courses, often validated by partner universities. For many students, this is preferable to a degree course at university, as it helps them to break down their studies into manageable chunks of learning.   For example, students can complete a foundation degree, which is a standalone qualification, then choose to go into work or to carry on studying and 'top-up' to a full honours degree.

However, there are other reasons a student might opt for a degree-level college course too.

Courses you can afford

Some universities are now charging tuition fees of more than £9,000 per year for their undergraduate courses.  In contrast, at Central (as an example) our course fees are typically lower than this - so it's worth shopping around and researching individual institutions to see what they charge, as it can vary a lot. You even could consider a higher apprenticeship or a degree apprenticeship, which means you would earn a wage while you work towards a degree-level qualification.

Career-Focused Qualifications

Another benefit to degree-level study at college is that the student can decide on a particular vocation to study, such as: Early Years; Engineering; Healthcare Science; Computing; or Sport Coaching, to name just a few.

This means that by the time you start looking for jobs, you'll have gained many skills that are attractive to employers. Not only does this give you an edge over other candidates at an interview, it could also help you to get to grips with the role that bit quicker if appointed.

Staff who support

Many students who choose not to go to university will have a variety of reasons for this. But for some students, the idea of large crowded lecture theatres might be what initially puts them off. Our students tell us that they value the smaller class sizes often found at college. We think this gives a more personal learning experience and the opportunity for students to get their voices heard.

Stepping Stones

Another great element of degree-level study at college is the fact that many can be used as a stepping stone to further qualifications, as well as being qualifications in their own right. Foundation degrees can be a great stepping stone to a top up degree wither at uni or maybe in the college you are already studying at. As a degree-level student at college, you could be free to build up your qualifications, working around your lifestyle and career ambitions (rather than committing to a full three or four year course at the outset). This puts you firmly in the driving seat!

Useful links:

UCAS - higher apprenticeships