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Will Studying at the Open University Put me at a Disadvantage in the Workplace?

No matter the reasoning behind wanting to do a law degree, to become a solicitor or Barrister, for something to enjoy or for any other reason, then a question on your mind might be “Is the OU the right university for me?” That is a question that only you can answer, if everyone liked the same thing the world would be a very dull place, but what I can tell you is studying at the OU will in no way give you a disadvantage when looking at career options.

Statements I have heard in the past include ‘If I study with the Open University, employers won’t want me!’ and ‘No-one takes studying at the OU seriously.’ These are thoughts I have also had. However, the OU especially law students are being noticed, we are a force to be reckoned with. I have friends who have attended Oxford University and are still without pupillage, yet I am hearing people from the OU talking more and more about the Pupillage and Training contracts they have obtained and the careers they have found themselves in and if that does not speak volumes I don’t know what does.

OU students used to be looked at as part time students that were too busy to study and get the grades needed to compete with the ‘big boys.’ However, as I have said in a previous article, the quote from Professor Ian Fribbance Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Science, from my degree ceremony in which he said “OU Students are described as part time students but…it is more like double time students.” This is true, students over the years have proved that they not only can meet the grades but can do so more times than not whilst they have other activities going on in their lives.

The amount of students gaining pupillages on the back of an Open University law degree has risen. In the last two years, a number of Open University Law Society members have gone on to obtain pupillages. One of the successful ones recently told the OU Law School in a recent article “Three OU Law students have gained pupillage this year is testament to the strength of an OU degree when viewed against the backdrop of balancing work and family life” [1]

Mark Wilden also an Open University graduate commented “Pupillage is a competition of who is the most desirable candidate and the best fit for each individual chambers” He also went on to mention that support from the Law Society and its members is one of the reasons he had the confidence to go for pupillage.

It is not just the Bar route OU students are excelling at, but also when it comes to training contracts and CILEx routes. It seems that being an OU graduate is no longer a disadvantage in fact quite the opposite.

When an employer has two candidates of equal ability and fit, one of which has gone to a traditional brick uni and has no other work experience, and the other an OU graduate who has worked full-time during their degree gaining valuable experience, the OU student may well have the upper hand as they can show that under pressure they can handle an array of difficulties, something that cannot be taught.

I am in no way saying that by attending a brick uni you are at a disadvantage. I am saying that the playing field between a brick uni and the OU has levelled out.

So when you sit down with your new OU textbooks in front of you and you ask yourself if studying at the OU will put you at a disadvantage read this article on success stories from the OU and then tell yourself ‘I’M NEXT!!’

Now go shine!!!

Written By: Victoria-Jayne Scholes

Credit Image: Mrs Mindfullness

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