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Finding the Right Course
Once you have finished formal education at 16 years old, you have many options to choose from. These options are whether to stay in education, go to some form of work or focus solely on your sport. Below is a basic description of your options. Being aware of all of the alternatives can help you to make an informed decision.
Full-time in Sport
Are you disciplined sufficiently to structure your day around your sport?
Some courses are available via distance learning. These tend to be mainly postgraduate or short courses as opposed to undergraduate degrees. More information is available on www.ukeu.com or for MBA courses at www.mba.info.com. Players need to remember that distance learning courses may suit certain people, but others find it difficult to motivate themselves without personal contact of tutors and fellow students.
The OU offers a great variety of short courses and degree programmes. The great advantage for players in studying at the OU or distance learning programmes is that they can do it at times and venues to suit them. More information is available at www.open.ac.uk.
Life Long Learning
The Government is very keen to encourage education throughout one’s life. Hence, you are never too old or young. This means that for players who wish to fulfil their sporting ambitions early in life, they can return to education later. More information on www.lifelonglearning.co.uk.
Further education colleges offer a variety of courses and qualifications to suit all needs, interests and abilities. They may also provide a more local venue for players to continue their education and sport simultaneously. Alternative education pathways – post 16 – Vocational (practical learning linked with the workplace) www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
If a player is keen to attend university they need to do some research on the institution and the course they would like to study. Things to consider include – location, type of university, cost, subjects, quality and reputation, sport, facilities etc. It is a good idea that they also speak to the Director of Sport and the course leader to get the full picture about sport and their chosen course. Questions to ask will include – sports facilities, training, coaches, travel (Director) and flexibility, part or full-time study, distance learning material, understanding of elite sport (course leader) etc.
Foundation Degrees is a Government initiative to widen access to Higher Education. Students normally do 2 years at a Further Education college and then their final year at university. There are reduced entry requirements, but all the benefits of being associated with a university. More information available at www.foundationdegree.org.uk.
UCAS is the central organisation that processes applications for full-time undergraduate courses for UK universities and colleges
MCC Universities offer you the chance to pursue your cricket career without compromising your education. The six specialist centres – at Cambridge, Cardiff / Glamorgan, Durham, Leeds / Bradford, Loughborough and Oxford – combine state-of-the-art facilities, exceptional coaching and technical back-up developed specifically with excellence in cricket in mind.
What is the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS)?
The athletes must be undertaking an educational programme and the level of support can be up to the maximum of £3,000.