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Knowing when to apply for and start university?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hello all!

To give you a brief outline of where I am at the moment, I finished school in 2015 and in January began an apprenticeship in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Specialist Schools and am doing my placement in a Special Needs school which I absolutely love and know that this is 100% the thing for me and what I want to pursue in life.

Here's the issue...I am due to finish my course in February and I have decided that I would like to study at Northampton University and do their degree in Special Educational Needs and Inclusion because quite frankly it sounds brilliant and suits me because it is all coursework and no exams. I spoke to the Principal of the school last week and asked about doing the degree part-time and being employed as a Learning Support Assistant part-time. She said that I'd need to wait until I am employed by them (if they decide to take me on), however, they generally prefer to employ staff full-time (which I completely understand) but I know a few staff who do work part-time. The Principal also said that if they did take me on, they would suggest I apply for university for 2018 rather than next year.

My question is - do I apply for 2017, crack on with my degree as a full-time student and then go back to the SEN school to work and possibly do my teacher or Speech and Language Therapist training there (they have their own course where you go to lectures on day-release) or do I wait and see if they allow me to apply to study and work part-time, therefore allowing me to study and earn? The thing is, I don't want to risk them saying no, I can't work part-time and study in 2018 and then regretting not just getting on with it in 2017 but on the other hand, the experience at this school is amazing, it's totally not just about the teaching and I feel like I would be stupid to leave as the jobs there are highly competitive and I have been so lucky.

Basically - what would you do?

Many thanks in advance!
Rebecca smile.png


  • MaisyMaisy The Mix convert CymruPosts: 356 Moderator
    Firstly, I just want to say that your apprenticeship and wanting to work in Special Educational Needs is amazing! I want to be a teacher, and as part of my degree, I did do a module on Special Educational Needs and found it very interesting!

    It's great to hear that you want to further your studies and do a degree. But I understand it must be hard trying to make a decision given your situation!

    Personally, I would do the degree full time. I feel that if you aren't guaranteed a job at the school, and the Principal prefers staff to do full time work rather than part time, I'm not too sure about the idea of waiting for the Principal to agree to giving you a job and letting you study part time. I feel that you would be in a better position doing the degree full time, because then you can go back, with a degree, and be able to work full time. Most jobs are competitive, but given your obvious passion for Special Educational Needs and that you really love the school, I feel you would make good competition yourself!

    However, that's just my opinion and I'm obviously biased :p

    If you did wait to finish your apprenticeship, and see if you can get a job at the school, I'm wondering if that would be late to apply for 2017 entry? You'll have to check UCAS because some undergraduate course deadlines are in January for 2017 entry. And it's worth thinking about what you would do, if you didn't apply for the course and didn't get a job at the school either.

    Hope this helps a bit :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hello Maisy,

    Thank you very much for your input. I am actually going to an open day at the university in November so I can get some further ideas from there too. Another thing I thought of is that if I do my degree full-time and I would be living at home, I could also volunteer at the school on days when I don't have lectures and still remain in-the-loop, or so to speak. I have Anxiety Disorder so the social side of my work is just as important for me, I've made some great friends there.

    With regards to application deadlines, the course I am looking it is still taking applicants for this year so I don't think I have to worry too much about that yet, however I definitely won't leave it quite this late next year!

    It is a really tough decision, I hope the open day with steer me one way or the other!

    Thank you once again for your help and best of luck with your teacher training!

    Rebecca :)
  • MaisyMaisy The Mix convert CymruPosts: 356 Moderator
    I hope you enjoy the open day in November! They are great opportunities to check out the campus itself and the facilities, as well as get to know more about your course, and it's good to ask questions there too! I totally understand where you are coming from about doing some volunteering on your free days. You could ask about what a typical time table looks like at university. I remember my first year, I was in university all week, but second year, we had one day off every week to do volunteering, and by third year, this expanded to two days off (volunteering and dissertation). I do understand how important it is for you to keep up the social side, when you have friends at work, but also have an Anxiety Disorder. I've never been diagnosed but suspect I have something similar. Really glad to hear that you have made some great friends there though! :)

    That's good to know! It definitely seems like a tricky decision, but I hope that, one way or the other, you'll be happy with whatever the outcome :)

    Thank you! Best of luck to you too! :)
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