When you are a non-traditional student, such as a student mom or dad, or an adult student, you should try to consider studying on university branch campuses because it may be a perfect solution for you.
Studying at higher education levels such as university could be extra challenging for non-traditional students, such as older students and student moms/ dads like you.
Other than being older than the traditional students, most likely you are also having tons of responsibilities such as working a full-time job, having a family to take care of, or both.
On top of that, some of you might also have ailing parents or younger siblings, or relatives who are dependent on you.
Moreover, as a non-traditional student, older student, or student mom and dad, you have more at stake.
You may use some of the family savings to pay for your tuition fee, you may have to delegate a big chunk of your responsibilities at work to your colleagues, or you have to put your child(ren) under someone else’s care so that you could attend your classes and so on.
Therefore, choosing a university to attend can get pretty complicated with so many factors to consider, and because it’s a decision that potentially sets the path for the rest of your professional life, it can get pretty stressful too.
Studying abroad will seem quite impossible considering your situation (FYI, no it’s not. I went back to school to study abroad in Italy and brought my husband and my -then- 4 years old daughter with me. Stay tuned and take a look around at this blog to know more )-
Luckily there’s an alternative you could choose: studying on university branch campuses.
What is Branch Campus?
Branch campuses refer to the physical presence of a university that’s distanced from the original university or college area. It can be located in a different city, state, or country.
Although usually more limited than the main campus (also called the “home” campus), they do share resources or administrations.
But depending on the agreement, students may not be conferred degrees from the home institution or share the same budget/accreditation.
Since the early 2000s, the international branch campus where universities from developed and mainly English-speaking countries create outposts in developing and emerging economies – has been popular.
The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education named 263 entities that fit its definition of an international branch campus: an entity that is owned, at least in part, by a foreign education provider; operated in the name of the foreign education provider; and provides an entire academic program, substantially on-site, leading to a degree awarded by the foreign education provider”.
For growing numbers of students, international branch campuses offer the perfect combination of location, education quality, and affordability.
For the university itself, it means more students and stronger ties with other countries. For the host nation, they’re a quick way of boosting higher education standards and attracting more students, both local and international.
What are the Pros and Cons of Studying on University Branch Campuses?
1. You Could Stay at (or closer to) your Home
With many Universities having branch campuses, it means you don’t need to move to their location to get your degree.
Even if you want to study abroad because the university has a campus branch (also called an overseas institution) in your country, or in a neighboring country.
Therefore, if you are a nontraditional student, an older student, or a student mom and dad who can’t travel far from home due to your jobs, your family responsibilities, financial limitations, and so on, this could be a perfect choice for you.
But nowadays, mature students and working professionals, and other types of non-traditional students are not the only ones who could benefit from branch campuses.
The Covid 19 enforces changes in people’s lives in many sectors, including education. With border closings up, international travel dropping drastically, quarantine, and visa application policies changing all the time according to the situation, studying abroad will become more and more difficult.
Thus, many traditional students start to choose the option of studying in branch campuses, as it will give them the degree of the institution of their choice without having to go abroad to attend the university.
2. Most likely The Cost Will be Cheaper
By studying on a branch campus, you could stay at home and don’t have to pay for rent or stay in a closer place to home, which might have lower living expenses compared to the main campus, and save a lot of money.
For example, the University of Nottingham has a branch campus in Malaysia. Malaysian and Indonesian like I could save a lot of money if we attend the branch campus since we could stay at home, or move abroad to the neighboring country instead of going all the way to the United Kingdom to study at their main campus.
Plus living expenses in Malaysia will be significantly more affordable than in the United Kingdom. Not to mention other things such as plane tickets.
I could save money big time by going home from a school break from Malaysia to Indonesia and then from the United Kingdom to Indonesia.
Most importantly, the tuition fee itself probably will be significantly lower if I study in the branch campus in Asia than the main campus in the United Kingdom.
Furthermore, there are also intangible benefits such as reducing the culture shock and the easier adapting process, since the culture, food, languages, and so on between two neighboring countries will be similar to two countries on different continents.
3. You Could Still Access Their Resources and Other Benefits
The rapid development of technology nowadays makes almost everything possible. From library resources to the availability of lecturers, technology can make it seem as if there is no major difference in what you can get at the main campus versus a branch campus.
It’s easy to access library materials on the main campus electronically and students can gain contact hours with their professors via lecture capture or video conferencing such as zoom classes.
Studying in branch campuses also will give the students the chance to study in both countries where the main and the branch campuses are located.
You could transfer to the main campus for a semester or so. Therefore, you can get all the benefits of studying at home or closer to home, as well as the chance to have the study abroad experience and immerse in a different culture which will be beneficial for your future career
1. The Quality Might Not Be as Good as the Main Campus
Relocating the faculty staff overseas for an extended period of time is not easy despite offers for attractive salaries and benefits.
Most likely they also have families who would be reluctant to move abroad. Leaving some of their work behind to focus on the new one overseas will also be challenging, especially in research-related fields.
Therefore, there’s always a possibility for the general level of academic qualification of staff at branch campuses will be significantly lower than at the parent campus, as well as the lower quality of campus facilities.
2. You Could Miss Out on the Opportunity to Working Abroad
Studying at a branch university at home or closer to home instead of on the main campus could cost you the loss of opportunity to be exposed to diversity, to gain valuable experience working abroad and adding global skills, and the chance to work in an international environment with people from all over the globe.
Should You Study on Branch Campuses?
In my honest opinion, studying on branch campuses still brings more benefits than disadvantages.
For mature students and non-traditional students such as student moms and dads, studying in branch campuses offers the opportunity to continue their studies (even study abroad) without leaving behind their other responsibilities such as work and families.
If you want to (and if you can), you could still also have the experience of studying abroad by transferring to the main campus for one semester or more.
Therefore, you could get global skills from getting exposed to diversity by studying and working in an international environment, as well as saving money by spending most of your study period closer to home.
If you want to work abroad, make use of your time doing your semester abroad by doing some serious networking. Thus, even though you must return after studying at the main campus, you could still reach out to your contacts to get information on job opportunities.
If you are worried about the lower quality of the branch campus, do thorough research before you make your choices.
Chances are that the universities are seeking to have equivalent educational experiences across campus spaces. You just need to find the best one that is the most suitable for your needs and your career goals.
Personally, even though I was a mature student and a student mom, I didn’t study at a branch university. I moved abroad and brought my family (husband and my -then- 4 years old daughter) halfway across the globe, from Indonesia to Italy.
To be honest, the thought of attending a university campus branch never crossed my mind. I’d never heard of it back then, almost a decade ago when I decided to continue my education and pursue it abroad.
Maybe I wasn’t well informed or perhaps I didn’t do my research thoroughly. Or perhaps a decade ago not many campuses have campus branches.
Anyway, in retrospect, even though I never regret my decision to come and study in Italy, had I known about this option back then, I would have seriously considered attending a university campus branch closer to my country.
It will definitely make certain aspects of my life as a mature student, and a student mom as well as an international student much easier.
Because for someone from Indonesia like me, adapting to a new life in Malaysia or Singapore definitely will be much easier than adapting to life in Italy, plus I will be closer to my friends and family, especially my aging parents and in-laws.
If you are interested to know more, here are some stories from students who attend university branch campuses. Hopefully, it could give you more insight and inspire you to do the same, or seriously consider the option.
Over to You…
University is a life-changing experience regardless of where you study, but being able to do it in another part of the world will be more exciting, enriching, and downright unforgettable.
You’ll also gain expertise that’ll prove invaluable throughout your professional life, expand your world view and gain powerful insights into diverse global cultures.
On top of this, you’ll forge lifelong friendships and build professional networks you can rely on both at home and abroad, while the skills you’ll gain will bolster your CV and leave you equipped to thrive in any future career.
Even if you can’t do it abroad since you are a non-traditional mature student or a student mom and dad, studying in branch campuses will be an option worth considering!
The benefits will outweigh the disadvantages and most importantly, you could get a degree from a reputable international institution without having to leave your home country or do it while keeping yourself close to your family by studying in a neighboring country.
What do you think? Have you ever considered studying at branch campuses? Will you be interested in doing it after you read this article?
Leave your comment down below, pin, and share this post on social media to spread the info. Thanks so much and till next time!!!