Courses are offered at universities, colleges and some training providers. You can
Higher education isn’t just for teenagers! Lots of students in the UK are over 21. People make the decision to do a higher education level course at all stages of life and for all sorts of reasons. You can study part time or by distance learning, so you can continue to work and earn while you study.
Universities and colleges value mature students, for the experience and skills that 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 higher education level. If you are already working, taking a higher-level course can increase your chance of promotion and earning potential. See the section on benefits to find out more.
What is higher education level study?
Higher education means any study from Level 4 (which is equivalent to the first year of a university course) upwards – this can include a range of degrees, work-related courses and even postgraduate qualifications. You can see the levels of qualifications in a grid.
How about trying a FREE online course?
If you're not sure whether higher education is for you, you could get a taste of what it's like through a free online course from some of the world's leading universities. You don't need qualifications to get started, just an interest in the subject.
Ever fancied going to Oxford or Cambridge?
Both the University of Oxford's Department for Continuing Education and the University of Cambridge's Institute of Continuing Education offer a wide range of online and taught courses. These are aimed at adults and most don't require particular entry qualifications. You do have to pay, but it's a great way to try out a subject you have always wanted to study.
How can I get started?
- If you know you want to do a higher education level course, e.g. a Foundation Degree or Honours Degree, and feel ready to get started, see what is available by searching providers' websites or use the Careerpilot course finder.
- 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, The Open University's Access Modules and foundation years.
- If you are thinking about your career, there are courses that will help you develop the skills and knowledge you need if you want a new career and also professional development courses that will help you develop in your existing career.
- If you just want to get back into learning to see how it goes, there are informal courses on topics related to your interests. And if you want to brush up on your skills like IT, literacy or numeracy, skills courses are available.
- If you want retraining due to job changes caused by Covid, there are lots of options, locally and nationally.
The Lifepilot 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. Also complete the Lifepilot Higher Skills Map tool, which will help you see how the things you have done in life and work relate to the skills valued in higher education.