Frequently Asked Questions, answered by our students:
Some of the most commonly asked questions, answered by our very own higher education students! Thank you to Matty (PGCE), Sarah (FdEd Learning Support), Hayley (BA (Hons) Early Childhood Education and Care (Top-up), Lucy (FdEd Early Childhood Studies) and Will (HND Computing), for their contributions.
Q: What is the workload like?
Hayley: There is a large workload. However, if you keep on top of it and manage time wisely it is not unmanageable. I plan my work ahead, for example set myself the goal of writing 350 words a day on my essays. Should I get into a flow then I write more but if not I still feel productive. The workload sets you up for what ‘real work’ is like.
Lucy: The workload is manageable! Studying part-time, I attend college one afternoon/evening a week then study around work. The most assignments I have had at the same time is two, one which took seven weeks, and the other fourteen weeks. The timeframe allows plenty of time for research and completing the assignment! At the beginning of an assignment, we usually go through the brief so we can begin gathering information we would like to include in the work. This also gives us time to discuss deadlines, formative and what work we are roughly expected to complete each week. This allows everyone to individually plan their study time, around their own commitments.
Matty: The workload is manageable. While it is more than what it was at Level 3, your time management skills will have improved to manage the work given to you. Assignments however are spread throughout the year effectively to not drown you in work.
Will: Manageable as long as you are prepared and organised from the start.
Q: How can I fit in studying around work?
Hayley: I made sure that I was clear with my employer about what I intended to get from my course and informed them of my increased workload. Communication is very important here. I also manage my time and ensure that I set myself goals for my workload. I also find that I work well on the college site as there are fewer distractions. If I can work there for half an hour before or after classes I feel productive. The College has plenty of quiet spaces for work and access to plenty of resources to help.
Lucy: In a typical week, I work 36 hours, attend college one afternoon/evening for 6 hours (two lessons) then complete around 10 hours extra study at home, whilst still finding time for other commitments. When I first received my timetable, I completed a rough guide of how my week typically plans out regarding work, hobbies and regular week plans. I then planned designated times for study throughout the week. Honestly, the study time changes, usually weekly due to other commitments. But the important thing is finding and committing to making the time to study. It is all about time management!
Matty: Do not take too many hours on at work. While the money may be appealing initially, you soon become overwhelmed when assignments are due and you are working multiple hours a week. Provide yourself with enough hours to live comfortably but allow yourself study time.
Will: The courses are designed to allow students to have part-time/full-time jobs at the same time. Although the workload can be significant, the time when students are in lessons is normally only 1-2 days a week.
Q: How will we receive feedback on our work?
Hayley: For my course my work is fed back online. I receive my essays/reports back and tutor comments and recommendations are made at the side, as well as an overall evaluation to my work. I can note points the tutor has made and take this into account for my future essays. I also have one-to-one meetings with my course leader every term to discuss my work and how I feel I am doing, and what I can do to improve my work.
Lucy: A formative date is set, on this date the tutor will sit with you 1-1 and go through the work completed, giving ideas on how to improve on the work already completed. Once work is marked, constructive written feedback will be given. The feedback includes where your work meets the learning objectives, what you did well and things that could have been added to improve the mark for next time. The tutors are always willing to verbally go through this if needed.
Matty: A variety of ways. You can get both formative and summative feedback. You also receive feedback through Turnitin (submission system) or face-to-face with tutors.
Will: The college prides itself on having an integrated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Moodle. This is where students will upload work and receive feedback on the submission. It is accessible 24/7 and students are notified when feedback is available.
Q: It has been a long time since I was in formal education, what if I have forgotten how to study?
Hayley: Plenty of time before the workload starts is given towards discussing how to write to an 'academic' standard. My first essay was also based on practising this and did not count towards my final grade, it simply gave me the necessary practice. There are also lots of online materials that can help with writing. The tutors are your best resource; they can always help and offer advice.
Lucy: Be assured that lots of people come back to study for all sorts of reasons, from change of career to just wanting to learn something new. The HE team have lots of experience and will give you advice, if you feel you are struggling.
There is no right or wrong way to study, everyone learns differently!
Matty: There are plenty of initial resources given and explained to you at the start of the course. Multiple tutors offer workshops to boost confidence in the new skills you will need to develop when making the jump to higher education.
Will: There are a number of resources available in the Learning Resource Centre (LRC), on Moodle and from tutors for course specific material. At the start of the course there is a Welcome To HE session to help students prepare for the coming year(s). Extra support is available throughout the course.
Q: How will I fund the course?
Hayley: I applied for student finance to cover my course fees.
Lucy: I chose to fund the course via student finance from the Government, allowing me to pay it back when I’m earning more money. When applying, attend one or two of the open events, where the HE and Finance team are available to speak to you about the options. Alternatively, look on the Selby College website for helpful information on funding.
Matty: Courses can be funded by either yourself or applying for student finance. Apply early!
Will: For full-time courses, student finance is available to fund both the course and living costs for the duration of the course. In addition, students can choose to pay with their own money.
Q: Can I afford the course materials?
Hayley: College can help with software and programmes, and even offer some of these free to students. You can get help from IT to help set these up on your laptop/computer. College also have loads of laptops and computers for use in quiet areas or the library. Books and online resources are free for students to borrow to support their learning. I have managed the last four years of my degree without having to spend any additional money on resources.
Matty: Again, you can apply for student finance to help you through financial matters within higher education. Plenty of information is given on where you can find effective resources, either online or in libraries.
Will: The Maintenance Loan is provided by Student Finance to ensure students are able to afford the living and material costs associated with the HE course. In addition, the college can provide digital resources such as software for no/little cost to the student.
Q: Are there any opportunities to get involved in sport in the college?
Matty: Yes, there are multiple sports teams at the college including football, rugby and netball. The college also enters regional and national championships throughout the academic year.
Will: Yes, there are with free access to a gym and college team trials.
Our Student Testimonials
“To put it simply, my time at Selby College studying HNC Level 4 Business has been one of the best and most educational experiences of my life. After studying A Levels at Selby College previously, the transition onto my current course was seamless due to the amazing support from all of the staff and tutors involved in the process; an invaluable resource in ensuring I felt comfortable in my education and able to learn effectively. Studying at the College previously certainly helped me with moving onto the L4 course, as I already knew many of the tutors and staff. The genuine kind-heartedness of the staff, as well as their drive to do as much good for the students as they possibly can, would make Selby College an excellent choice for any individual seeking higher education. The higher education courses offered by the college also benefit from being lower in cost than most university courses; the positioning of the college makes travel far more convenient; and the smaller class sizes allow you to build a stronger connection with the tutors, something that I believe is essential to obtaining a thorough and in depth understanding of any subject. The tutors have great area knowledge and experience themselves, and work very hard to ensure appropriate resources are made available to support and further the students’ education, such as journals and text books.” - Joe Newton, HNC Business
"I chose to study HE at Selby College because the tutors are so passionate and dedicated to their job that you have a constant support network; the classes are smaller and therefore you get more guidance than you would at a large university. Not only is the course more affordable but it means you can stay at home, which I preferred as it meant I was able to keep my car and travel around doing outdoor photography, and I could use my maintenance loan for my photography equipment rather than it going on rent at a university. I found that because the tutors already knew your level of working you were not made to revisit subjects; I know people that went to university and had a full year of revisiting the same subjects. Because of this you were able to develop and grow much quicker and I found this benefited my workflow greatly. The facilities were really good, better than some of the universities I have seen. The trust and flexibility you have within the course is no different than at university. I couldn’t have asked for a better support network with the tutors, you knew that they were always there to give a helping hand when needed. Prior to the HE course I did not feel I was ready to set up a business however after the course I felt ready with more knowledge and experience in both my photography skills and the industry in general; the HND enabled me to understand not only more practical photography but also how to create a business from scratch, from being educated on insurance and copyright to how to interact and work with people, it really boosted my confidence." - Josey Grace, HND Art and Design
“I began at Selby College as an A Level student, following onto a Foundation Degree in Learning Support. There were four factors which influenced my decision in choosing attending Selby College rather than a university: The first is the reduced price which the course offers compared to universities; the second is the location of the college, living just a 20-30 minutes’ drive from the college means I can access campus quickly and cheaply, which meant I did not require the maintenance loan; the third is the small course and campus size, which means relationships with tutors are closer, meaning feedback is timely and issues are resolved quickly; the final factor, and most important influence to my decision, is the way the course is set up – due to being evening classes and a more vocational course (requirement of 240 hours working in a school environment), I can work in the industry I am training for whilst working a part-time job, which means my course acts like an apprenticeship (or as close as I can get to this for teaching), providing real insight into what working would be like in the industry and experience which will be important when qualified and applying for work.” - Jorgia Harrison, FdEd Learning Support
“I started studying at Selby College on a Level 3 BTEC course, which I then decided to follow up with a Level 4 HE course. There were a range of reasons I decided to continue my education at Selby College rather than move onto a university: one of the main reasons was that it was, overall, much more convenient than a university in terms of cost and travelling distance. However, the most influential element was the environment in which the course is run, with the small class size and the ability to directly work with the tutors.” - Lauren Mills, HNC Computing and Systems Development
“I began at Selby College in 2013, studying a Level 3 BTEC. Upon completion of the course, I decided to stay at College to study a Foundation Degree in Sports Coaching and Exercise Sciences. I am now moving onto my top-up year, to receive a BSc honours degree within the subject. Many factors influenced my decision to remain at College including: the help received from tutors is much more effective, due to being able to sit down and discuss any issues about work with them one to one, a scenario I feel is lacking at the larger universities; there are a lot more opportunities to gain quality feedback on performance with assessments and presentations; and the course offered is cheaper than those at universities meaning I do not have to worry about falling into large amounts of debt with loans upon completion of the course, as well as being able to live much more comfortably throughout the academic year.” - Matty Duck, FdSc Sports Coaching and Exercise Sciences
"I received a lot of support throughout my entire time at Selby College and was diagnosed with dyslexia in my second year. Moving from Level 3 to Higher Education I was stressed out, but I knew that studying at Selby College would give me the best opportunity and the support I needed to succeed in the future. Applying for DSA was very easy and straightforward and asking for a bit of advice on how to apply never hurt. Thanks to the help I received I now feel more confident and I am not being held back by myself." - Emma, Selby College HE Student
“Following a vocational course here at Selby College, we faced the decision of where to further our education. The facilities within the art department were incomparable and outshone those of the universities we visited for open days. This is also where finance came in to affect our decision; the cost of the course was less and the student to tutor ratio allowed much more contact time per student. Furthermore, we have been allocated a base room within our department as a space to keep our designs and work surrounding us for inspiration within our field. This has been a benefit as we can use the room outside of our contact time, being near artistic resource. The location is another benefitting factor which made Selby College the top choice as we are both local to Selby and found it would be cheaper to stay and commute than move to a university." - Sarah Freer and Alice Stobbs, HND Art and Design
“I had uni in the back of my mind when I finished my BTEC at Selby College, but I wasn’t ready to move away from home. The HNC allowed me to continue attending College whilst working towards a HE qualification. Only having 2 days a week in College allowed me to work more in my own time and at a pace that suited me. At the end of my HND, College staff helped me with the application process for university, including finding a university that offered modules relevant to what I had studied so far. The HND gave me the time I needed to prepare myself for uni, whilst working on the next stage of my education. The HND route also meant I could choose to stop education after achieving my qualification to work for a year or so, if I needed a break from education before continuing working towards a degree. By this finished my HND, I was ready for a change and was looking forward to moving away from home, so I moved onto the University of Huddersfield to study for a top-up degree in Applied Computing, and ended up graduating with a first. I have now been offered a position as a software developer and am looking forward to gaining some experience in the workplace, developing my skills in something that I enjoy. When I started College I didn’t really see myself going to university at all!” - Ted Sefton, HNC/HND Computing and Systems Development