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Full degree or foundation degree?

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by rayox, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. rayox

    rayox Bit Poster

    Hey guys,

    I currently need help on making a decision, I'm currently at college studying a level 3 computing course with predicted grades being triple distinctions possibly distinction * and have been offered a conditional offer to study Cyber Security at Liverpool John Moores University in September but I'm not sure whether to take the offer or not and just do a foundation degree instead.

    Why I'm not sure is because I feel I'm a bit out of my depth and a scared of failing and then being thousands of pounds in debt. What scares me the most about university is the final year when you have to do the dissertation, as I don't think I could do it, as it seems to be what either makes or breaks most people.

    The other reason I'm considering doing the foundation degree over a full degree is that the foundation degree is only two years, while a full degree is four and feel that doing a foundation degree and certifications would be more beneficial, the other issue about doing a full degree is that I'll be 22 by the time I start, meaning I won't graduate until I'm 26 which I feel is quite old to be graduating, while if I do the foundation degree I'll be done by 24 and can start looking for a job and start earning some real money.

    I know the most sensible option is to probably go for the full degree but are degree's really worth the debt? And would not having a full degree prevent me from doing well in the IT industry? I ask this because I would like to work in the security area of IT or the networking side and I'm worried that not having a full degree will prevent me from getting a good position in these areas.

    So would just like to ask for your guys opinion and some advice on this if possible?

    Certifications: none
    WIP: CompTIA A+
  2. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

    There's a couple of way to think about it, yes graduate with thousands of pound in debt or investing in your future - however like any investment it can pay off, on the other hand it may not. As for the dissertation, generally speaking, some universities will grant an unclassified degree if you don't do it or if you fail it. I had to drop it at the time, so I graduated with a BSc - not a BSc(Hons), I don't believe that it has stopped/hindered me.

    There is no right or wrong here, alot of this (what is benefical) is so dependant on the organisation that you get to work with, the opportunities, the area, etc...

    You should also consider all the pros and cons regarding a Foundation degree over a BSc/BA (with or without honours), eg some fields do require a BSc/BA, if you migrate to another country a BSc/BA attracts more points.

    You're joking right, 26 old? I graduated with my BSc when I was 25 - and that was studying part-time. I'm studying for my post-grad qualification and I'm in my mid 30's now.

    There's a lot of things to take into consideration... Take a degree, not take a degree, take a qualification that's comparable to a degree (eg a NVQ level 4 and/or 5, a professional diploma at QCF level 5 or 6, etc). There is not going to be a general right answer. You have to decide where you want to go/be in X amount of year and what field and then plan your route to there.

    Personally I would say do your BSc/BA degree part-time while you earn and get your professional certifications so that you get the best (and worst, as it's going to be hard and you have to be dedicated) of both worlds. Yes, you'll be a little bit older when you graduate but you won't be in that much debt as you'll be working and paying for your degree at the same time (there will be some overlap though) plus when you graduate you'll have experience, something a lot of new graduates don't have. But that's just me :)
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  3. ad

    ad Bit Poster

    there isn't much advice I can add to what wagnerk has provided in terms of choice. If you were to choose, for whatever reason, the Cyber Security course at Liverpool John Moores University then you may find these links useful:

    Student Loans 2014 facts: Fees, Loans & Grants - Money Saving Expert
    Please take the time to read about "student debt" on this web page as it will quash lots of myths. The student loan debt is not like other debts. You only start paying off the debt when you are earning a certain amount of money. If you stop earning, or earn below the threshold, you stop paying. None of your possessions or your home will be repossessed and yes your kneecaps will remain intact.

    How to Write your Undergraduate Dissertation Palgrave Study Skills: Amazon.co.uk: Dr Bryan Greetham: Books
    There are many resources that give advice on how to write your dissertation. Obviously you can search for a book or eBook that you think is best, the one I have given in the link is just an example. University might seem like a place where you have to do all the studying yourself with only the aid of books, lectures and classes/labs, but really use your course teachers! I can't stress enough politely and professionally booking a one-to-one appointment with the course teachers and interrogating them for knowledge not just on the course content but on techniques for writing your dissertation and assignments. Unlike school, your paying to be there and it's their job to teach you.

    Fear of failure can be crippling, but I'm sure you can overcome this if from day one of year one you put some time and effort in each module and try to enjoy the course, then by the time you will reach your dissertation in year 4 you will have the knowledge to do the content, and hopefully have got the techniques to write it from books and course teachers. I don't want to sound like Yoda or Gandalf etc. but your fear can be a strength in that you will be more vigilant in your studies which can only help you to succeed. Just try to have fun with whatever course you choose, nothing worse than hating a subject!

    I was curious why the Cyber Security degree was four years and not three years, and it looks as though there is a sandwich year for a work placement between year 2 and year 4 of the actual degree. This in my opinion is gold dust and beats degrees that offer no placements because a placement is work experience, something employers and recruitment agents want even out of graduates.

    Don't be worried about directly contacting the University course lecturers, coordinators and administrators to resolve specific questions and concerns you might have about the degree itself and the university department. If you get accepted into the University but don't feel ready to start, you can always defer the year meaning they will keep your place on the degree but you can start another year. You're still not committing to the degree contractually or financially by doing that.

    Good luck with whatever path you choose.

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