I'm not entirely sure if this is the correct place to add this post, MODs please tell me as you see fit.

I've put it here because I'm seriously thinking about going regular again, with a particular view to the Int Corps. I was, however planning to go to college (night course) this year and follow it up with uni. Having talked it over with my other half, it seems that it would be better for me to join up and do an Open Uni course whilst in, and follow it with a MA when I eventually leave (I figure 6 years, but that could be dramatically lengthened dependant on cirumstance).

My question is, how viable is it to do an OU degree whilst in. I know alot of people do it - but I do wonder how difficult (not the content, but making time for it) it is?

Any experiences are very much welcomed...
I'm midway through an OU degree now, and this was something I asked about during recruitment. Apparently, once through phase 1 and 2, it is highly encouraged and you'll be given as much support and help as you need. It can be difficult arranging study time due to operations and exercises, but it can certainly be done.

I was wondering though, how respected an OU degree is in the Army, in regards to becoming a commissioned officer later down the line. Does it have similar weighting to a brick and mortar degree, or do senior staff look down on it? I'm presuming it won't make much of a difference after a years in the ranks.

What are you planning on studying and what's your chosen capbadge?
I currently work in the resettlement process for people leaving the services, we get a few guys coming out with OU degrees and I think they are generally held in high regard in the forces, it's when you get out that it is not AS appreciated. It shows commitment, and that is what commission boards look for. So I would hazard the guess that it is fine for commissioning.

I'm looking at joining the Intelligence Corps and doing a degree in International Studies or Politics or something along those lines.
I am in the process of the OU. I normally do 60 points per year. And it´s pretty fun.

Not too sure about the outside, but it is still a BSc (Hons) or MSc. So there ou go.
SavageByName said:
I'm looking at joining the Intelligence Corps and doing a degree in International Studies or Politics or something along those lines.
Have you been reading my diary? That's my plan!
There are plenty of Int Corps soldiers who join with degrees and plenty who have not got a degree when they join but then go on to complete their first degree with the OU. An additional factor is that the Army will assist in paying the fees through SLC/ELC.

My advice - join and do your degree whilst in.
cheers for that, I appreciate the advice.

New question - how are my chances of joining hindered with no further education after GCSE? I intended to go through the mature student route, but am now thinking that joining up would be the best route.

I have all of the GCSE requirement grades, and then some, but I saw some literature somewhere saying that a large proportion have further education quals too.

I'll go to the careers office later to get some questions answered, but would like to know from guys that are in the Int Corps, rather than a Colour Sergeant.
Thats a fair point Bonzo, cheers for that - I'll make some enquiries about going for a fam visit, taste of life, etc etc.

And Bonzo, you will notice that my avatar has vanished, and I notice that you are now using it. That hurts mann...
I'll get a new one
OU degrees are very well thought of in civvi street. It demonstrates commitment and motivation. My old boss would interview anyone who had one on their CV. But dont for one minute think its an easy option. You have to put in some serious effort and forego nights out with your mates etc if you want to achieve a good degree.
Definately agree there - I think distance learning can be much tougher than residential - which makes you wonder why some employers look down upon it - that really annoys me!

So does anyone know how often you would have examinations - I'm guessing it would depend on the course you choose, but surely it could be very easy to miss exams due to operational requirements, exercises, etc? Would you pay for a missed exam, or is it all included in course fees? I know I should be googling this, but I'm at work and don't have a massive amount of time.
I'm in the RAF and finished my OU (Hons) under the old system in 2004, ie you had to study 6 years. Now you only have to do 5 for a standard degree but could always do an extra for an Honours.

A Masters is another 3 years at level 3 so remember what you feel like at the end of your degree and imagine doing it for another 3 years. I was tired and took time out but want to return to an MA next year either OU or distance learning from a regular Uni.

If you can fit it in go for it! I know it's easier in the RAF than the Army but if you can do it even in the most bizarre places then you will be looked upon favourably for a commission. Plus by the time you complete it (5 years time) you will be a Cpl hopefully (at least LCpl) so with JNCO experience you may have the confidence to go for it.

With a degree the Army may want you to go to Sandhurst, the RAF aren't bothered cos loads of people have the time/inclination to do OU.

However don't underestimate the work involved. The first year is fairly easy stuff (the hardest bit is the return to academic work) but from year 3 to the end is demanding. Beer and women take a very back seat and if you can survive comments etc from your mates then do it. And the OU doesn't stop at weekends! And if you miss time (ie on exercise) it has to be made up - your tutor will be sympathetic and the OU allows you to miss a couple of essays per year but don't take the piss.

The SLC will ease the financial pain but not much - a typical course now costs £400 per year and that's a lot for even a JNCO.

If you do get to the Officers Mess you may have it easier than an NCO who doesn't have a degree unless you end up in a Guard Mess, in which case good luck!
Personally Savage, if you are serious I would spend more time surfing the OU site and less surfing Arrse! The OU is not the easy option people think it is. Do your research well as to which course is suitable for you. Some have a residential element which is mandatory. Why not take a first year course and see how you go. The beauty with the OU is you can pick it up and put it down from year to year, however once you have stopped its very difficult to get going again. You have really got to want it.
Thanks for the advice all. Much appreciated. I have been having a gander at the OU site, and as I won't be able to go reg for a good few months (have debt to sort out first), I'm thinking about getting on the October intake (if it's not too late) for the first course, and getting it done before I put in my application. I guess it would also stand me in good stead with my application.

Cheers for the posts, any more experiences of the OU and specifically from people in the Int Corps, are very welcome.

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