Learn with Care to Go Higher: Choosing what to study at HE

There are a lot of things to consider when deciding which course to study. Many young people discuss their options with family members or friends who have experience of Higher Education (HE), but this might be possible for care-experienced individuals. Without information from those with lived experience, some aspects of choosing a course that are taken for granted by many students might not be considered by those from care backgrounds. 

An important criteria to consider is time commitment. This can fall into one of two categories: the length of the programme or the amount of study time per week. Some courses, such as medicine, require a long commitment to the course as well as many hours per week. Other courses, such as English Literature, might have less requirements of contact time.  

Some students may need time to manage other commitments, such as part-time work. Financial concerns are one of the most common worries for care-experienced students, so having the time for a part-time job can be a deciding factor. Other students may prefer a busier academic schedule with more contact time, which may not leave time for part-time work or as many social activities, so picking the right programme can make a real difference. 

Another important consideration is the learning styles of the course. Some students learn better in lecture-based settings with seminars, whereas others are more comfortable in practical settings such as workshops or laboratories.  

Many students will have only been in school or college settings, therefore they may not have experienced the variety of styles of education available at HE. Many HE providers offer subject specific visits that allow students to find out more about the teaching and learning styles of specific courses. Some even offer help to organise or fund travel for care-experienced students to help come to that decision.  

One final, incredibly important point is the enjoyment of the topic. This can mean that students enjoy specific topics and want to turn it into a career, or that they have a passion for a subject more than enjoyment of it specifically. For example, care-experienced students often gravitate to fields such as teaching or healthcare in order to help those who are in similar positions to their own background. 

Each of these are valid considerations when deciding on a course but there are even more factors to consider. We cover many of them in our CPD programme Care to Go Higher, which supports the key influencers of care-experienced young people to help care-experienced young people make informed decisions about HE. Find more out about the programme. 


Dominic House, GHWY Care to Go Higher Delivery Officer