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Distance Learning with the University of Surrey – Karen

Karen Holmes - Surrey

Karen has a bit of history with the University of Surrey’s Guildford School of Acting. After completing a musical theatre diploma course there at the age of 18, Karen went on to become a professional actor for 15 years. Now Karen wants to teach singing in schools and colleges and hopes that a BA in Theatre, studied via distance learning back at Surrey, will make this possible. 

Why did you choose to study via distance learning?

  • I wanted a course which would fit around my current employment.
  • I live in Blackpool and the course at Surrey is unique.
  • I did not have to move house and find new work to be able to support myself during the course.

How did you find the application process?

  • It was very simple and the university was extremely helpful.

Was it easy to find useful information about distance learning?

  • The information was fairly easy to find. Anything I wasn’t sure of I just emailed the university directly and was put onto the right track.

How are you finding the experience of studying via distance learning?

  • It has been and continues to be an excellent experience. Tutors are on hand via email, phone or skype everyday. Discussion boards linking me with my fellow distance learning students are extremely useful.
  • As long as I timetable my study time carefully, and motivate myself accordingly, the work is straight forward and not too difficult to complete.

Anything you’re finding more difficult compared to traditional teaching courses?

  • Sometimes motivation can be tricky. The classroom setting ensures you are learning, while phone calls and emails can sometimes turn your attention away from the job in hand.

Any obvious benefits to studying via distance learning when compared to traditional teaching courses?

  • The most obvious is the ability to keep your life exactly as it is and fit studying around your present commitments. Perfect for parents, full-time workers or students alike.

Does the university support your learning well?

  • Yes, very well. I ask a lot of questions and the tutors have always gone above and beyond to answer them.

What do you plan to do after your course?

  • I am staying with the university and will start a Masters degree in Voice and Singing in September 2014.

Do you feel that studying via distance learning will help you to achieve your ambitions? If yes, how?

  • Yes. I lost out on a teaching job as I didn’t have a degree. This degree has opened up a whole new possible area of employment for me, perfect for going on to study a PGCE or Masters degree.
  • It has given me the qualification I desired without drastically altering my current lifestyle. 

More about distance learning.