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The University Challenge

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 08:13
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“Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying” Roy T. Bennett

Studying at a University and obtaining a degree can sometimes seem unattainable - financially, academically and socially. This is fortunately becoming an ever-growing myth. In a globalised, modern world, the options available are becoming increasingly broader and exciting. “How?”, “Why?” and “What are my options?” should be questions you ask yourself when you’re thinking about your opportunities after completing a BTEC Higher National. Hopefully, I’ll help you realise that anything is possible when it comes to Higher Education.

I was the first person in my family to ever obtain a Bachelor's degree and then later a Masters. My parents are intelligent and quite successful, but a degree always seemed something beyond their reach when they were in their late teens. However, thankfully times have changed. Educating and upskilling ourselves now has huge exposure and there is a greater variety of options available. In fact, at the age of 50, my mother is currently undertaking a BTEC herself, something I’m sure she had never seen herself being able to do growing up. But beyond the depth of skills and knowledge you obtain through your BTEC Higher National (HN), what can you do next?

We know that many of you are studying, or have studied, a BTEC HN with the desire to progress onto an undergraduate degree. Globally, a significant number of Universities accept BTECs and, in particular, HNs for entry onto their undergraduate offerings. We work with a range of universities to get formal agreements in place to provide you with clear information but also, and most vitally, the confidence to apply to universities knowing that your BTEC HN will be a valuable currency when making your next move onto a degree. With over 100 universities providing formal recognition in the UK alone, with many more worldwide, the options available may be wider than you think.

The Higher Education landscape has changed. Saikat Majumdar suggests that the traditional ‘coverage model’ focuses solely on “covering the history of a subject” rather than gaining a real understanding of what he refers to as the “soul” of the subject. Just having knowledge of a subject isn’t cutting it when looking to develop capable, work-ready individuals. Universities have really started to take note of the strengths and capabilities of BTEC HN students along with the diverse experiences you bring.

Although not all universities have formal progression agreements for BTEC HNs - as you can imagine, trying to contact every university in the world can take its time - it does not mean that a university does not accept your qualification. Speaking to universities on a daily basis, I know that there is an abundance who advertise and even tell me how much they crave BTEC HN students on their programmes. However, they don’t all have a formal agreement in place yet (these things can take time when you have to go through a university internal structure). Not only do a vast number of universities accept BTEC HNs for entry onto their undergraduate offers, many offer advanced standing onto specific programmes. This often means that you can usually enter into the third year of a degree after completing your BTEC HND. Some universities even offer a one-year top-up model, where the programme has been designed to sit on top of L5 HND programmes, and give learners like yourselves the additional skills and knowledge to demonstrate capabilities at degree level. These advanced standing offerings mean that gaining a degree is more financially viable as, if you enter onto a top-up or a final year after your BTEC HN you would usually only pay the university fee for a single year. Therefore it’s a much more affordable way to get your degree but you also have those important, employability skills gained via your BTEC HN.

These formal agreements are in place in over 20 countries. We’re working with more and more universities globally, in countries such as Australia, Dubai, Canada and Malaysia, to gain clear information for you about entry requirements and the relevant undergraduate programmes available for your BTEC HN. For example, over 80 universities in the United States of America formally recognise our BTEC HN qualifications for entry onto undergraduate degrees. The breadth of geography isn’t the only thing making gaining a degree more feasible. The range of undergraduate degrees available goes beyond the traditional full-time, campus-based models. Modes of study have been developed to support people having busier schedules. Whether you’re working, a parent or have other responsibilities or needs, modes of study such as part-time and supported distance learning mean that the ability to continue studying for a degree is more pragmatic and practical.

The formal agreements we have in place with universities are all available to view on the dedicated Degree Course Finder website. You can search via qualification, country and university to see those available. Even better, this site is for HNs only. The best thing to do when considering whether you can study a degree at a particular university is to simply ask - contact the admissions team and discuss your qualification and experience, and see what they can offer you in line with this. Whilst researching for this blog, I came across this Ted Talk by Shai Reshaf. If you need extra convincing, I recommend you have a listen to what he has to say.

The world of Higher Education is changing. You as HN achievers, with knowledge equivalent to the 1st or 2nd year of an undergraduate degree, are in a prime position to benefit the most from the opportunities available. With over 50,000 HN students  starting every year, you are a powerful group with a strong and respected voice. Use this to be confident in pushing forward for your Higher Education opportunity. The saying goes “If you don’t ask, you don’t get it” - that’s a lifelong message to remember.


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