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What is Higher Education?

Higher Education is the name of any learning that takes place at degree level. It doesn’t have to be at a university, you can study a degree at a college. 

Education in the UK usually follows these levels: 

Primary Education – your primary and junior school experience

Secondary Education – your secondary or high school experience

Further Education – courses studied at college or sixth form. You may have heard a college be described as an ‘FE College’ – FE is Further Education. 

Higher Education – degree level studies normally completed at a university, but can be studied online or at a Higher Education college. 

Key Questions:

What is a degree? A degree is a qualification awarded to students upon completion after studying at a college or university. Normally, students receive their degree at a graduation ceremony which involves getting dressed up in a cap and gown. 

What is a university? A university is a educational establishment that offers degree level courses. Each university is different: they will all look different, offer different courses, and have different selling points. Some universities are all in one spot – these are called campus universities. Others are spread out over a city – these are called city universities. YSJ is the best of both worlds – we’re in a city centre so we’re very convenient to get to and right in the middle of the action, but we have everything in one place – so we’re also a campus university. 

What can I study? There are over 50,000 different degree subjects to choose from. That’s a lot of choice. Not every course will be available at each university. For example – York St John does not offer medicine, so you’d have to look for another university that offers that degree. Because universities choose which subjects to offer, they are specialists in that field. You can continue studying any course you’ve done at school or college: English Language, History etc. Or you can branch out into something new: Robotics, Marine Biology. Or you can specialise in a very niche subject: American Studies or Surf Sciences. Follow this link to find out what courses are available near you – you can narrow down your search by subject, modules, area, length of degree, study mode and much more. https://www.whatuni.com/ 

How long does it take? A traditional degree normally takes 3 years if you do it full time. You may be able to study your degree part time over 5-7 years. Certain courses in medicine or in vetenary sciences may take longer than the traditional 3 years. A degree may also take longer if you decide to choose a course that has a year in industry – this just adds another year onto your degree but gives you more experience. 

How much does it cost? A degree in the UK normally costs £9,250 per year. You may be eligible for a tuition fee loan this covers the cost of the course and is paid direct to the university. Find out if you’re eligible here: https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/who-qualifies You pay this loan back when you leave university and earn over £25,750 per year. You pay back a percentage of what you earn over this amount. For more info follow this link to our Student Finance section: 

Do I need to move away? No – you can live at home while studying at university – this just limits the number of universities you have to choose from as you probably don’t want to commute for hours every day. Many students want to engage in the social side of university and choose to move into halls of residence which is the university accommodation. This is a fantastic way to meet new people, and to get the experience of living independently. We know this isn’t for everyone, and more and more students are choosing to commute. Find out what support your university offers commuting students. Here at YSJ we have commuting rooms to hire on a night-by-night basis, we also have a dedicated contact person in our Student Success team to help you.

Why go to university? Good question! Going to university is an individual decision, and if you don’t want to go to university, you don’t have to. No one should force you. However, many students choose to go to university. Why? For some, its the next step after college and they want to study a certain subject in a lot of depth. For others, its a chance to move away and get a taste of adult life in a supported environment. You may need a degree to go onto a certain career such as being a teacher, dentist, lawyer, vet or doctor. Having a degree may also help you progress quicker in work and may mean you earn more or have more job opportunities available to you. A degree is also a internationally recognised qualification – so if you want to travel for work, it’s a really valuable asset. 

Here some of our FAQs about Higher Education in the below video:

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