Doing a degree from home

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WilliamHadley
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Doing a degree from home

Post by WilliamHadley » Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:46 am

Hello all,

I'm making this post because on a whim I registered with the UK's Open University, to do a English Literature and Creative Writing degree. You have the choice to do the degree full-time over three years, or part-time over six years; which is about eighteen to twenty hours a week. I have money saved from my current job, so I can afford to do it part-time, or full-time if I live with my parents. They're generally supportive, so that's not a problem.

The course is set over three stages, and each stage covers two modules (or units of work). Each module costs a lump sum of £1000 to be apart of, which includes study help, and the costs of the module's teachers, tests, and exams. Fair price when a single year of traditional university costs £9000 in the UK, and that's not including living costs, if the university isn't local to you.

Money aside I think I'm attracted to this course because it's a realistic opportunity, a step towards the publishing industry I hope to one day be apart of. You can do an open university degree without the need of A Levels (advanced highschool qualifications), which is great bonus, because I don't have any. I've been working full-time since I was sixteen.

What do you guys think? I'd love to here your thoughts, especially if you're doing a similar course yourself, or have graduated.
Some men build houses, others build stories. Hard work. Dedication. Same satisfaction.

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danjvelker
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Re: Doing a degree from home

Post by danjvelker » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:46 am

Gah, I'd love to be able to do that! I'm planning to get my Masters degree in something English related. Hopefully creative writing, but I'll take what I can get. That's all in the future, though. Right now I'm finishing up my dual-degree in mathematics and education, and I'll be teaching high-schoolers in August. Lucky me.

I can't advise you on pricing, but the course sounds like a good use of your time. I've always wanted to pursue creative writing in a formal classroom setting. I will say that I'm pretty sure having a degree doesn't raise your chances of getting published; at least, not in fiction. It's entirely merit based from what all the publishers say, although I do suspect that it doesn't hurt any to have advanced degrees and certifications. It's just how the world works. I'm guessing you'll be there more for the learning experience than anything, which I have absolutely zero experience in myself. I believe I've mentioned before that I have literally zero formal writing training. Self-teaching worked for me because I'm extremely passionate and driven to grow. I've always been an excellent self-teacher and my only tuition has been library fees. I think it was good for me to experiment with unconventional writing styles before settling into the fetters of what passes as convention. I think my writing is still unconventional in a lot of ways. Some of that is good (it has a distinct flavor) and some is bad (absence of basic proficiencies) but on the whole I don't regret taking the path I did.

@JazTeka could probably tell you more if he hops on: his degree is in English, and he catches a lot of the silliness that makes its way into my writing.

I've known since I started writing that it was never going to be my full time job. Most authors (fantasy authors in particular) will tell you the same: it doesn't pay the bills. I've been cautious enough to keep writing as my (sometimes paid) hobby while also pursuing a primary career so that I have money for things like food, dogs, electric heating, and maintenance of this forum.

In general, the path to becoming a writer is the same as it's always been: read voraciously, write ferociously, cry yourself to sleep over the dozens of rejection letters that you've begun wallpapering your bedroom with, and rejoice when you finally get accepted somewhere. (Pray as well that it wasn't just a bad mistake.)

Keep us updated on what you're learning. I for one am very interested. I'm also American so... no clue how higher ed works across the pond, haha. When would the course begin?
“But what do you want to save time for? What are you going to do with it?”
“For work, if you love that best. For education, for beauty, for art, for pleasure. For mumblety-peg, if that's where your heart lies.”

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WilliamHadley
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Re: Doing a degree from home

Post by WilliamHadley » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:51 am

The course will begin February 2020, so in about nine months. I could have done an identical course in October this year, however, that seemed more daunting. 1. Because I'll be less financially stable, I'd prefer all the money I need ready to splash on the course, put safely in a savings account before I begin, so I have a zero chance of falling into debt. & 2. Having left school at sixteen I'm academically stunted. I can spin a story, but writing the formal essay's and all that is alien. I'd like as much time as possible to learn these skills before I dive in the deep end.
Some men build houses, others build stories. Hard work. Dedication. Same satisfaction.

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