Getting started

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Overview

If you want to make a change in your life, progress in your career or would love the challenge of learning something new then higher education could be for you!

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The Yes Progress! website is for any adult who may be interested in  studying at a higher education level, either immediately or in the future.

Yes Progress! has lots of information, links, real stories and tools to help you get started.

What's available?

In your local area, there are lots of different types and flexible courses that can help you achieve your ambitions.

Courses are offered at universities, local colleges and at some training providers. And you can get started even if you have few qualifications.

Why higher education isn't just for teenagers!

Higher education isn’t just for 18 year-olds: 60 per cent of students in the UK are over 21. People make the decision to do a higher education level course at all times of life and for all sorts of reasons. Over 40% of students in higher education are studying part-time, so you can continue to earn while you learn.

What is higher education level study?

Higher education means any study from Level 4 (which is equivalent, in level, to the first year of a university course) upwards – this can include short courses, a range of degrees, work-related courses and even postgraduate qualifications.

How can I get started?

  • If you know you want to do a higher education level course, e,g, Foundation Degree, Honours Degree, etc. and feel ready to get started then see what is available by searching providers' websites. If you are looking for full time study you can search for a course through the UCAS course finder. If you are looking for part time study you will need to look at the college or university's own sites.
  • If you would like to do a degree but feel you need help to prepare for higher education level study, there are preparatory courses such as Access courses, run at local colleges or through the Open University; and Foundation Years offered by some universities. Often adults do not need formal qualifications to get onto these courses.
  • If you are thinking about a new career of job change, there are also level 4 courses that will help you develop the skills and knowledge you need if you are thinking about a new career and also professional development courses that will help you develop additional expertise in your existing career area.
  • If you just want to get back into learning to see how it goes there are informal courses on a topic related to your interests. And if you want to brush up on your skills like IT, literacy or numeracy, there are skills courses available.

Universities and colleges value mature students for the experience and skills they have gained from life and work as well as for their enthusiasm and motivation to succeed.

Employers also value people who have studied at university level. If you are already working, taking a higher level course can increase your chance of promotion and earning potential. See the section on the benefits of study to find out more.

The Yes Progress! website has plenty of information, advice and tools that can help you get started.

Read more in this section to find out about the key things to consider, or complete the Yes Progress! Profiler which will help you build a record of your current experience, skills, ambitions, etc. to help you find the study option to suit your needs.

Ever fancied going to Oxford?

Oxford University's Continuous Education Department run online short courses and lots of other taught courses too - many do not require entry qualifications. You do have to pay but it's a great way to try out a subject you have always wanted to study.