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Choosing the right college course

Choosing a higher education course is the biggest career decision you will ever make, so you need to make sure it is the right one

There are around 147 higher education courses starting at the end of summer 2002, so there’s plenty to choose from.

Firstly you need to decide which course to do.

  • Higher National Diplomas (HND)

    These tend to be quite practical and generally involvesome form of instruction. The courses tend to back up practical experience with academic knowledge. Successful completion of a HND sometimes allows you a fast track onto a degree course.

  • Bachelor of Science (BSc) or Bachelor of Arts (BA)

    If you have an idea of what you want to do once you graduate, it can make choosing which one to study for easier.

    For example, if you wish to become an equestrian marketing manager, a BA might be best, while a budding fertility researcher may be more suited to a BSc. Talk to a career advisor at your school or college.

    Degrees are more academic than HNDs. However, a certain amount of practical work is usually undertaken, such as lab work, fieldtrips and, at some establishments, riding, so you won’t be stuck in a lecture hall all the time.

  • Foundation degrees

    Some colleges now run foundation degrees, which help students get an idea of what is expected ofthem from a degree course. Some will allow students to fast track on to a higher year of a degree course.

    Choosing your course

    Once you have decided which qualification suits your needs, you need to choose your course. There are now specialised equine courses available; some specialise in breeding or equine sports science, while others are split degrees such as equine studies with English or computer studies.

    The wide choice now available gives students the opportunity to specialise early on if they wish.

    Choosing an establishment

    The next step is to contact at the colleges or universities that offer your chosen course. All HE courses are listed in the UCAS directory, which can be found in schools and public libraries. Phone the establishments and ask them to send you a prospectus.

    Once you have a selection of potential colleges find out when they have an open day. This allows you to view the facilities and ask all the questions the prospectus couldn’t answer.

    Useful questions

  • How much time is spent riding
  • Do you have to do yard duties, and, if so, when?
  • What does accommodation on site or in the nearesttown cost?
  • What percentage of time will be spent on lectures?
  • What sort of careers have ex-students gone on to?
  • What sort of industry contacts does the establishment have?

    Don’t be afraid to ask questions and havea good look at the facilities. You will be spending large amounts of time at your chosen college, so you need to be sure you’ve made the right decision.

    Talk to a current student, they can give a clearer account of what it is really like to study at the establishment. Some colleges also run “taster weekends or breaks”, where you spend a few days in a simulated course environment.

    If you are applying through UCAS, you can apply to a number of establishments.

    If applying outside the education system, you will need to ask colleges directly for an application form.

    NAGS membership

    This is available to all bona fide grooms and students. Benefits include:

  • Horse & Hound subscription at £1per copy
  • £3 discount voucher on a sack of Blue Chip Dynamic
  • 10% discount on Splash Equestrian equipment and clothing
  • 10% discount on Waggers comfy pets and people products
  • No P&P charges from Equestrian Vision mail order
  • Eligibility for NAGS-only competitions and offers

    For a membership form (tel: 020 7261 6993) or click here to emailnags@ipcmedia.com

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