You’ll get a qualification at the end of each course you complete – and can progress through them if you like (for example, going from HNC to HND).
Courses are likely to be more vocational – geared towards a specific career. The class sizes are normally smaller than university lectures.
Courses usually have a fairly structured timetables of lectures, practical classes and seminars. You can study for different types of qualification – National Qualifications, vocational courses, Access courses, modules, HNCs, HNDs.
You’ll probably study for four years before you get a qualification.
Depending on what you study, courses are a mix of practical and vocational, and more academic, exploring a particular subject.
You could be in large lectures with hundreds of other students.
You’ll be expected to study independently – less lectures and classes, but more reading in your own time.
You can study for degrees, Masters courses, and in some subjects move on to postgraduate courses.
From college to university
Colleges and unis often have agreements called articulation. This let students go from HNC and HND courses into year two or three of a degree.
Some colleges also offer associate degrees in partnership with universities. The first two years are studied at college and the rest at a partner university.
Before you pick a course, check what arrangements are in place.