Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
1. I know what a degree is, but what’s a HNC?
HNCs (Higher National Certificates) and HNDs (Higher National Diplomas) are work-related (vocational) higher education qualifications. While bachelor’s degrees tend to focus on gaining knowledge, HNCs and HNDs are designed to give you the skills to put that knowledge to effective use in a particular job.
A Higher National Certificate (HNC) generally takes one year (usually three days a week). After that, you can progress to an HND, a Foundation Degree or an Honours Degree; in some cases, you can get admission direct to the second year of one of these courses.
A Higher National Diploma (HND) normally takes two years (usually three days a week). If you get an HND you have the option of topping-up to an Honours Degree by studying for a further year at university.
2. What can I do after a HNC/D?
After a HNC, you can progress to an HND, a Foundation Degree or an Honours Degree; in some cases, you can get admission direct to the second year of one of these courses. After a HND you have the option of topping-up to an Honours Degree by studying for a further year at university.
You could also go directly into employment – HNC/Ds are highly valued by employers both in the UK and overseas, and can also count towards membership of professional bodies and other employer organisations.
3. How much is it?
Our HNCs and HNDs will be offered at an introductory fee for entry in 2012-13. These fees will be substantially less than most other Higher Education providers. More information on the specific fee for your course can be found online.
4. Can I apply for a loan?
You can apply for a tuition fee loan – this amount is not based on your household income and is to cover the costs of your tuition fee. The tuition fee loan is repayable but applications are made directly to Student Finance England. Visit www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance for further information and the application forms.
5. How else can I pay for it?
You may pay fees in two instalments – 50% at the time of enrolment and 50% set up as a direct debit to be paid by mid November
6. How many hours a week of classes will I have?
Our HNC/Ds usually have about 13 hours of teaching a week which is comparable to the hours taught at many university courses.
In addition, you may have tutorials and study sessions.
You will need to dedicate a significant amount of time to independent study, projects and group work.
7. What’s different about studying at a college compared to University?
Class sizes are generally small so you get more individual attention. Many lectures at universities have more than a hundred students. Our biggest class sizes are around 30.
Studying closer to home means you can avoid some of the costs associated with studying further away, for example accommodation and travel costs
HNCs and HNDs are great stepping stones to a degree, but if you decide to seek employment at the end of one or two years, you already have a meaningful qualification.
Our courses as designed to be as cost effective as possible so fees are kept low so that you can afford them.
8. How long will it take to get a degree by this route?
Once you complete your course, HNCs can allow entry into the second year of a degree, while HNDs can allow entry into the second or third year. So the total length of time taken will depend on the course you choose, but should usually be 3-5 years
9. Will I be able to get a job after a HNC? What do employers think of it?
Because HNCs and HNDs are designed to give you the skills for a particular field of work, they can lead straight to a career. You can also use the qualifications to progress within a career, for example as a stepping stone to gaining professional status.
Employers value the practical nature of HNC/D’s in getting people ready for work. These qualifications have been around a long time, so employers understand them.
10. Do I have to apply through UCAS for an interview?
No. You apply directly to the college. You just fill in an application form either on or website or at one of the college centres. We will then review your application and invite you to attend an interview with the curriculum staff.
11. Is there an application deadline?
There is no fixed deadline, but the courses start in September and we encourage everyone to apply by the end of July if at all possible. This then enables us to invite you for an interview before the course begins in September.
12. How do I apply?
You just fill in an application form either on our website or at one of the college centres. We advise that applications are submitted no later than the end of July to ensure that you are invited to an interview before the course begins. You can also attend around enrolment time in August/September; however places will be on a first come, first served basis.
The application form will ask for your previous qualifications, as well as asking you why you are applying for the course and what your future plans are. You will need to fill this application form in as fully as possible.
13. What happens after I apply?
We will then review your application and send you a letter to confirm we have received it.
If you meet the entry requirements, we call you for interview.
You will have a short interview with a member of curriculum staff who will check that the course is right for you and if so, offer you a place which may or may not be conditional on your exam results
Once your exam results are confirmed, you can accept the offer and officially enrol as a South Thames College student
14. Aren’t the facilities better at Uni?
The facilities at South Thames College are among the best in the country. Many of our facilities have been newly built or refurbished in the last 3 years, with all classrooms equipped with smart boards and projectors. The Library Learning Centre has a wide range of books and online resources and you can access many resources at home on our student intranet. There is also wifi access throughout the building.
The Wandsworth campus has a Sports England sports hall as well as a gym and aerobics area. Students can use the facilities at allocated times
15. What about the experience of Uni – Freshers weeks, societies etc, will I miss out?
There are a wide range of activities and clubs to get involved with at college
You can become a class rep and represent your classes’ views to college management
You can use the gym facilities at Wandsworth and get a cut price haircut or facial at the salon!