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Frequently Asked Questions

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These Frequently Asked Questions have been written by our Student Services team and are designed to help you whilst you start your life with The Bedford College Group.

Full-time Students

How do I apply for a College course?

You can apply online.  First, find the course (using the course search in the top right corner) you want to do on our website.  The best way for us to process your application is by creating an account in our system. This means that you will be able to access your information throughout the year and we will be able to keep in touch with you about your application.

Couple of things to note before starting your application:

  • The application process should only take 10 – 15 minutes in total
  • As part of the application you will need to enter your predicted exam grades, if you do not have these you are able to continue your application without these and the course tutors will ask you about your qualifications during the telephone interview stage of the application process
  • Make sure that you give us an accurate email address and mobile phone number so that we can keep in touch about your application and welcome events

If you have any difficulties completing the form please contact our Customer Contact Team on 0345 658 8990, chat with us via Live Chat or send us an enquiry.

Will I have to have an interview for my course?  What will it be like?

All full-time courses require an interview.  This is nothing you need to worry about – it is an opportunity for you and for us to make sure you are applying for the right course. We will check your qualifications, including asking you about any exams you are due to take and find out from you why you want to come to College and study your chosen course.

We will also give you lots of useful information about the course, including what it might lead onto and about College in general.  It is important that you think carefully about your goals and interests and about your reasons for choosing the course.  We would also advise you to think about the questions you might want to ask us!

You will probably have a one-to-one interview, but there may also be group information sessions.  For some courses you may be asked to take part in a practical task or audition – but don’t worry, your interview letter will tell you exactly what will happen.

Due to the current situation all interviews are currently taking place via telephone or Microsoft Teams so if you have changed your contact number or email address since submitting your application it’s really important you let us know so that we can update our records.

How will I know if I’ve chosen the right course?

Everyone who is coming to College to start a full-time course in September will be invited to a Welcome Day event prior to starting, this will be either virtual or in person. You will have a chance to meet students and teachers on your course and find out more about the course and College.

Your admissions interview will also give you a chance to find out more about the course and you will be able to ask your interviewer lots of questions about it. If you are still unsure, you can make an appointment with a college careers adviser to talk through your options to help you make the right course choice.  Contact the Student Services team on 0345 658 8990. If you start your course but don’t feel it’s right for you and not what you expected, talk to your Personal Achievement Tutor (PAT) or course tutor. Do this quickly, as you may not be able to change courses after the first few weeks of term. You can also ask for a careers interview to help you make the right decision and explore your options.

I submitted an application but haven’t heard anything since, what should I do?

All updates regarding a submitted application can be found in your Self Service Portal, which can be accessed here. Once logged in please select the ‘Applications’ tab at the top of the screen and you will then be able to view your application history with us. If you have any further questions about the status of your application please use the Live Chat function, or call the Customer Contact Team on 0345 658 8990 and they will be able to assist you further.

I am considering studying at College but haven’t completely made my mind up yet, when is the latest I can submit an application?

We would encourage you to submit an application sooner rather than later to study with us even if you are still deciding on your future plans, to secure a place on your chosen course. You are able to withdraw an application at any point in the process without any consequences and we accept applications right up until the course start dates in September subject to spaces being available.

I have been offered a place on my chosen course how do I accept it?

Great news, your offer will show in your Self Service Portal, where you submitted your application form. Once you have logged in please select the ‘Applications’ tab at the top of the screen then the blue ‘Offer’ hyperlink under your chosen course. You will be able to view your offer letter and any conditions of that offer here before selecting the ‘Respond’ button on the right-hand side of the screen to accept your place.

Once you have accepted your offer you do not need to do anything else and we will be in touch with more information about Welcome Days and enrolment closer to your course start date.

You are able to withdraw your acceptance of a place at any point prior to the course start date without any repercussions should you decide that studying with us is not for you.

What is enrolment?

Enrolment is an important and compulsory part of becoming a registered student at the College. When you enrol onto your programme of study your qualifications will be checked and you will be issued with your College ID card. You will also sign a Learner Agreement – a sort of contract – and be issued with a parking permit if required. Enrolment takes place either just before or at the start of your course – we will contact you to tell you when you need to enrol and the step by step process to complete this online.

This will include:

  • Uploading evidence of your qualifications
  • A relevant form of ID – as specified in your letter
  • A passport style picture for your College ID card
I’ve got my results but they are not what I was expecting, what do I do now?

Don’t panic, you will still be able to study with us. We can arrange for a guidance session with one of the Course Tutors from your Academic Department or alternatively our Student Services Team to discuss the options available to you.

When does my full-time College course start?

Please check the Term Dates.  We will write to you beforehand to confirm the arrangements – where to go and what to bring with you. In the meantime, if you have any queries please call the Customer Contact Team on 0345 658 8990 or via Live Chat.

What do I need to bring with me on my first day?

We will write to you to tell you what you need to bring but it will include the following as a minimum:

  • Pen, paper and any other stationery
  • Course specific clothing or equipment specified in your enrolment letter

Part-time Courses

How do I apply for a part-time College course?

First, find the course you want to do using the course search in the top right. Depending on the course you will either need to submit an application form via the course page on our website or alternatively be able to enrol directly onto the programme of study, the course page will tell you whether you need to submit an application form. If the course you have chosen requires an application the best way for us to process this is by creating an account in our system. This means that you will be able to access your information throughout the year and we will be able to keep in touch with you about your application.

Couple of things to note before starting your application:

  • The application process should only take 10 – 15 minutes in total
  • As part of the application you may need to enter the current qualifications you hold, if you do not have these you are able to continue your application without these and the course tutors will ask you about your qualifications during the telephone interview stage of the application process
  • Make sure that you give us an accurate email address and mobile phone number so that we can keep in touch about your application and welcome events

If you have any difficulties completing the form please contact our Customer Contact Team on 0345 658 8990, chat with us via Live Chat or send us an enquiry.

When are the part-time courses released?

Our part-time courses are generally released around late May/ early June for courses starting from September and throughout the following academic year. If you keep an eye on the course pages around this time they will be updated with all the latest course information and link to the relevant application forms (if applicable) as soon as it is available.

Will I have to have an interview for my course?  What will it be like??

Some of our part time courses require you to complete an interview with a Course Tutor prior to being offered a space on your chosen course.  This is nothing you need to worry about – it is an opportunity for you and for us to make sure you are applying for the right course. We will check your qualifications, including asking you about any exams you are due to take and find out from you why you want to come to College and study your chosen course.

We will also give you lots of useful information about the course, including what it might lead onto and about College in general.  It is important that you think carefully about your goals and interests and about your reasons for choosing the course.  We would also advise you to think about the questions you might want to ask us!

You will probably have a one-to-one interview, but there may also be group information sessions. For some courses you may be asked to take part in a practical task– but don’t worry, your interview letter will tell you exactly what will happen.

Due to the current situation all interviews are currently taking place via telephone or Microsoft Teams so if you have changed your contact number or email address since submitting your application it’s really important you let us know so that we can update our records.

I submitted an application but haven’t heard anything since, what should I do?

All updates regarding a submitted application can be found in your Self Service Portal, which can be accessed here. Once logged in please select the ‘Applications’ tab at the top of the screen and you will then be able to view your application history with us. If you have any further questions about the status of your application please use the Live Chat function, or call the Customer Contact Team on 0345 658 8990 and they will be able to assist you further.

How do I accept my offer of a space on my chosen course and enrol?

Once your offer is showing in your Self Service Portal (where you submitted your application form) you are able to call the Customer Contact Team on 0345 658 8990 to accept your offer and complete your enrolment.

There is a part-time course that I am interested in studying but I don’t meet the entry requirements, am I still able to study it?

The entry requirements for our courses are there as a guideline however these are at the discretion of the Admissions Team and Course Tutors and life and industry experience is also taken into consideration.

We would always recommend submitting an application form if you see a course you are interested in as we can offer you alternative course options if your original choice isn’t suitable for you.

What will my course timetable be?

Our part-time course timetables are generally advertised on the course specific pages when they go live in late May/ early June each year. If you have submitted an application to study a part-time course with us and have a telephone interview scheduled the interviewing Course Tutor will also be able to provide further information on this.

Your final course timetable will be available to you as part of your joining instructions prior to your course start date.

General

How do I get to college?

Our College campuses with the exception of Shuttleworth do not have their own dedicated bus service as they are well serviced by public transport, road and train services.

The Gas & Plumbing and Vehicle Technology Centres at Kempston are also easily accessible by frequent bus service from the centre of Bedford.

Our rural site at the Shuttleworth campus is served by College buses which transport students from a wide area depending on demand, more information about this service can be found here.

Dedicated bicycle bays are available for students to use at each campus.

If you are concerned about the cost of travelling to college you may be eligible for a bursary if your household income is £30,000 or less, more information can be found here.

Do I need to pay to park onsite?

At the Cauldwell Street site in Bedford you will always have to Pay & Display. If you are a daytime student you also need to obtain a free parking permit when you enrol, to confirm your entitlement to park. You must make sure that both your parking permit and pay & display ticket are clearly visible.  If you do not, you may receive a parking fine. You may also receive a fine if you fail to park in a designated parking bay.

Parking at all other sites is limited but free.

Is there accommodation available for students onsite?

Unfortunately, we do not have accommodation facilities at our campuses with the exception of Shuttleworth. Halls of residence are available on campus for those who may find commuting to the campus difficult. Spaces in the halls of residence are limited and allocated to those who live furthest away on a first come first served basis so we would recommend applying for this as soon as possible if required to avoid missing out.

What are the College term dates?

Please check the term dates here.

I am an International Student, am I able to study with you?

Unfortunately we are unable to provide sponsorship to International Students. If you are interested in studying with us you will need to apply for a student or residency visa prior to submitting an application for your chosen course and our Admissions Team may need to see evidence of this prior to progressing your application further.

I studied with The Bedford College Group but have not received my exam results or certificates, what do I do?

If you have not yet received your exam results or certificates please contact our exams teams directly and they will be able to assist you further.

Tresham College: examskettering@bedford.ac.uk
Bedford College: examsbedford@bedford.ac.uk

I am struggling to access my college computer account, what do I do?

If you are unable to log into your account please contact our dedicated IT team on itsupport@bedford.ac.uk and they will be able to assist you further.

I have forgotten my Moodle account details and cannot log in, who can help me?

Please contact our Moodle support team on moodlesupport@bedford.ac.uk and they will be able to help you access your account and reset any logins required.

If I have a problem that is worrying me, who can I talk to?

Any student with worries or concerns can seek advice from their Personal Achievement Tutor (PAT), tutor or Student Services.  Most full-time students are assigned a professionally-trained PAT and you will meet them at the beginning of your course. If you have a personal issue, you can turn to your personal tutor for support. They may also be able to suggest other services that can help you further.

Do you have a Counselling Service at College?

Yes, the service is free and open to all students.  Whatever you say to your counsellor will remain confidential, unless we believe that either you or someone else is at risk of harm.  Appointments are available throughout the week, and can be booked directly with a counsellor, by email or text, or via Student Services.

What will the College do to support my general health and wellbeing?

Whether you want to stop smoking, get more exercise or eat more healthily, we can help! We take the safety and wellbeing of our students very seriously, and aim to create a safe and welcoming learning environment. If we have any concerns that one of our students is being harmed or bullied, we have procedures in place for dealing with the problem.

If I have a problem with my academic work, who can I talk to?

Your Personal Achievement Tutor (PAT) and subject teachers will provide all the academic support you need to ensure you are able to complete your course successfully. You will meet with your tutor regularly to discuss any concerns and set targets to help you keep on track.

If I’m unhappy on my course what can I do?

Don’t leave it a long time to talk to someone about it.  Speak to your PAT as there may be things that can be adjusted to make your time at College more enjoyable. If it is near the beginning of the course, you may be able to change courses. You can also discuss this with any of the Student Services Team.

I’m never going to be able to afford all the books I need for my course!

Don’t worry – we have well-stocked Library/Learning Resource Centres (LRCs) at our main campuses with friendly staff who will help you find all the information you need. You will have LRC and IT inductions at the start of your course to ensure that you know all about what’s on offer. Our generous borrowing entitlements will allow you to access all the information you need.

What facilities are available to help me study independently?

We let you borrow plenty of books, journals and DVDs. Almost all items can be renewed if you need them for longer, by giving us a quick ring, leaving us a voicemail or calling in with your ID card. You can also access computers with Microsoft Office and all the specialist programs you will need.

The Bedford College Group has an excellent virtual learning environment – Moodle – with lots of information relevant to your course.

I prefer to study at home – how can you help?

We have a large number of e-books and online resources, which are accessible 24/7 over the internet and which have been chosen with your course in mind. This means that you are not dependent on getting all your information from the LRC during opening hours. Plus, of course, e-books can never get mislaid or accumulate fines, so they have several advantages over traditional formats! Books are still very important here though, so if you prefer not to sit at a computer for very long you will still have lots of resources to use.

The library is far too big to find anything in, so I won’t be able to cope…

No-one is born knowing about information retrieval, and we understand that it takes time to get used to such a large collection. Learning Resources staff are happy to help you learn how to find information quickly and efficiently, a skill which will stand you in good stead throughout your time at College and beyond.

I can find lots of information – what do I do with it now?

The Library/LRC team are there to support you and can help you to develop your skills. If you are struggling to take good notes, getting referencing right, formatting your work or just avoiding plagiarism, they will be delighted to help you.

What happens if I lose my library book, or get lots of fines?

First of all, don’t panic! Please keep us updated with your current mobile number and then we can send you a text reminder just before your books are due back. If things get tricky, ask to have a word, in private if you wish, with a senior member of staff and we can help you sort things out. Alternatively, if you have a Personal Achievement Tutor, they will be happy to help.

What can I wear to College – is there a dress code?

Generally, students are free to wear whatever they like as long as it is not offensive to others. This means that you cannot wear anything too revealing, no offensive wording or logos and nothing that may conceal your identity (unless your religion requires this).  However, some courses will require you to wear specific clothing or uniform, or to follow a department dress code – you will be told about this at your interview and reminded during your first weeks of term.

Are there any rules at College?

We don’t have lots of rules and regulations.  We do however expect high standards of behaviour, including attendance and punctuality, and these are set out clearly in our student code of conduct.  As we are preparing you for your future employment we try to make our code of conduct as close as possible to what you will find in the workplace.

We are a large College with students of many ages, nationalities and abilities, and it is important that we operate in an environment of tolerance and respect. We are committed to the core values of British society:  democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law, mutual respect and tolerance of other people’s religions and beliefs. We don’t accept any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination and have appropriate procedures in place.

Will I be able to progress at the end of my course?

If you are on track to pass your qualification, our ‘progression guarantee’ allows you to move up to a course at the next level.

If you’d like to change direction after you’ve completed your current course, you may be able to study a different course at the same or next level, depending on the subject. Your Tutor, a College Careers Adviser or the Customer Contact Team could help you make the right choice, so please ask for advice.

What about my next steps after College?

The Careers Team can help you make a great application with advice on interview skills and CVs. If your next destination is higher education at university or college, we can give you all the support you need, including applying through the UCAS system, finding out about courses and understanding student finance. To book an appointment with the Careers Team please contact Student Services.

Do I get a student discount when I shop?

Once you have enrolled you can apply online for a Totum Extra card. Follow the link for further information of the perks you can receive here.

How do I change my personal details

The details the College hold for you as a student or member of staff are held on the College’s student record database.  These details will have been collected either when you enrolled to a course/programme of study or, in the case of staff, when you become employed by the College.

During your time at the College your personal details may change and it is really important that you notify the College of the change as soon as it takes place so that the database can be updated with your new details.  If details are incorrect then it can mean; examination certificates are printed incorrectly and/or sent to the wrong address, the College may not be able to contact you or your next of kin when they need to, as two examples.

What do I need to do if I want to change any of my details?

For Students, Student Services has copies of the form you will need to complete with your new details.  Student Services will verify that the form and request has come from you rather than someone else asking to update your information.  Student Services staff will then forward the form on to Student Registry to action.  (Student Services, please raise a ticket request and attach the signed form).

For staff members; please complete a Change of Details form and forward to Student Registry via OsTicket.

How long will it take to update my details?

This will depend upon when Student Registry receive your request.  Once the request is received, it will take around five working days to process into the College Student database and this will also update your details on Moodle, Pro-Monitor, TEAMs.

What details am I able to change?

Title, to match marital status, legal gender or profession.  The College have a duty to record your legal Forename, Surname, actual date of birth and Gender (legal sex).  This is the information that will appear on any certificates you gain at the end of your course and is what we share with the Government in our returns.  It is imperative the information we send matches other records the Government already hold for you.  For a legal name change we would require evidence in the form of a passport or deed poll.  For a gender (legal sex) change we will require as evidence either a birth certificate, passport, driving licence or other official documents that clearly indicate the person is living in their acquired gender for all purposes.

The College recognise that this can be problematic for students who wish to be known as a different name and/or gender identity whilst studying at the College.  You are currently able to request a ‘known as’ Forename and Surname which is different to your legal names and this will be the name(s) which appear on registers, class lists and any other internal College systems.  However, all external communication will refer to your legal names, this includes communications to parents/guardians (and employers if sponsored or an apprentice) if you are aged 16 to 18 years of age.  Unfortunately, the College do not currently have the ability to record a ‘known as’ gender but this is under review as government advice and software applications develop and our policy will be updated if we are able to record this at some point in the future.

ID Badges

If you choose to update your name details after enrolment, you would need to go to Customer Contact Team/Customer Services to get a new ID badge for which you would be required to pay a £5

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Finance

Do I need to pay tuition fees?

If you are aged 16-18 then the majority of our courses are free for you to study, although you may have to buy course equipment such as a uniform or books.

If you are 19+ then there may be a fee for your course. You may be able to get a concession on your tuition fees. Check out our financial support pages.

Can I get any financial assistance from the College with my tuition fees?

If you are not eligible for a concession then you will be liable to pay for College fees. You may be eligible to apply to the Adult Support Fund for means-tested support towards the cost. If you are aged 19+, you may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan.

An instalment plan is available for fees over £200, for both full and part time courses, for more information please contact the Customer Contact Team via Live Chat or 0345 658 8990.

How do I pay for my course?

If you are doing a full-time course and are liable for any fees, they must be paid at enrolment. If you are completing a part-time course and are liable for any fees you must pay the full course fee or set up a direct debit plan at the time of enrolment.

Direct debit plans for part time courses over a £200 can be set up for up to six monthly instalments, the first of which will be taken at time of enrolment then the following five months to the sum of the total course fees.

If you are completing a part-time course you may be eligible to study certain programmes of study for free if you are in receipt of the following benefits JSA, ESA, housing or council tax benefit, income support, or universal credit for the benefits listed above or have an income of under £17,004 per annum. In order for us to apply a fee waiver to your enrolment we will require evidence of your latest benefit payment or your last three months payslips.

I have a direct debit plan but I am unsure of how much I have left to pay or when my last instalment will be taken?

If you would like to know the outstanding course fees you have left to pay or when your payment plan ends please contact Credit Control – creditcontrol@bedford.ac.uk and they will be able to provide you with this information.

Do I need to buy any kit or equipment for my course?

Some courses require you to have essential kit or equipment such as uniform, overalls, safety equipment, books or tools.  Your tutor will tell you all about this at your interview and/or we will confirm it in your induction letter.

What if I can’t afford to pay for the course essentials?

If you have a low household income under £30,000, the College may be able to help by giving you a discount on essential course costs through one of our means-tested bursaries.  View more information on our financial support.

Can I get any support with childcare costs?

If you are aged 16-19, you may be able to get help with Ofsted-registered childcare costs from Care to Learn. If you are aged 20 or over and in receipt of the Advanced Learner Loan there may be some help available through our bursaries. Otherwise the College is unfortunately unable to cover childcare costs.