By Leanne Goodall

Don’t think you can hack it at the highest educational level? Think again…..

So, do you think you’re cut out for Open University?

I bet you are.

Is it something that you’ve been thinking about for a while now? Not sure if you’re cut out for it? I’m here to tell you that if you want it, it’s yours and this is why:


The Open University prides itself on being as accessible as possible and therefore open to as many people as possible. If you’ve been holding off because you’re not sure if you’ve got the right qualifications so far then stop holding off right now. The Open University does not require you to have A-levels or previous credits at university level. Anyone can give it a go but don’t be fooled, this doesn’t make it any less demanding than any other university route.


There are pros and cons to studying at home but the main point here is that you don’t have to head off to an actual university building every day as you do the vast majority of your studying from the comfort of your own home. Your module may give you the encouraged option of attending occasional tutorials with other Open University students but this isn’t likely to be more often than once a month. It usually ends up being around 5-7 times per module or academic year. All tutorials are optional but most people agree that they are always worth the effort. So if the idea of juggling childcare has been putting you off or you have medical reasons for not being able to get to a standard brick university then The Open University is a very realistic option for you.


Don’t let the cost of university study put you off before you’ve even looked into it properly. There are a variety of options available to help with the costs. That might be a student tuition loan or a grant but when you actually look into the details there are some really great options for everyone. I myself have a part-time tuition fee loan which is covering the module costs for now. Repayment on this is more like a tax which is only payable once I’m earning a certain amount – and the ‘taxed’ amount is low. It really was a lot simpler than I had anticipated. For more advice on this, look on the Open University website. Don’t let the finances prevent you from studying when there may well be a viable option out there.


Are you wondering if you are actually capable of studying at university level? Are you wondering if you can be clever enough to ‘keep up’ with the other students? This may sound silly but it’s a common issue among students when they start with the Open University. For many, they haven’t done A-levels or studied anything much since their schools days. So jumping right in to university can be incredibly daunting. Don’t panic. If you feel like you need a little extra helping getting started then there are lots of access courses or taster courses that you can do. There are free tasters on the website where you can get a feel for a certain module and see what you think. You can start with small, concise modules and build up as you go. There is a wealth of information out there to help you with any holes that you find you may have so please don’t be put off my thinking you’re not capable.

In a nutshell: you can do it.
If it’s something that you’d love to do or are just thinking about a little bit then it is very likely to be possible to try. The Open University do everything that they can to be inclusive and help everyone so if you want a degree then The OU really is for you. As for the whole question of being capable enough, just imagine how amazing you’ll feel when you realise that you are.

About the Author

Leanne is half way through a BA (Hons) in History with the OU and enjoys writing as a freelancer as well as on her personal blog, Growing my Knowing, where she catalogues here experiences as a student. You can catch up on all of Leanne’s excellent contributions for STOU here.

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The Open University study guide is now available! Click on this image to find out more.

The Open University study guide is now available! Click on this image to find out more.