The Dummies Guide to Getting a Higher Education Qualification.

After completing a 2-year photography HND and earning 12 distinctions, 3 merits and a pass. I can now say it is a complete waste of time and money. But if you have time and money to waste, then you’re in for a treat. Don’t worry if you do not have money. A student loan for a Higher education course is always available.

I spent the first year having a laugh with other people on the course. There was only 8 of us. It was a great year. The teacher was relaxed, and as adults, we pretty much did what we wanted. No pressure on anyone at any point. With each assignment I completed, distinctions were flying in.


There were things we questioned in a jesting way, “If this is a photography course, why are we always on a computer?” Why does the teacher only make the comment “That’s nice.” for every photo seen? But that did not bother us too much. We had another year to learn everything we needed to become great photographers.

At the start of year 2, we start to realise all is not right. The course is nothing to do with how to improve your camera skills. Or even how to become a great photographer.
What the course is to do with, is the same as most things in life.

How well can you play the game?

You know the game, we all do. Let me see if I can remind you.
Have you ever watched a movie, where they put x amount of people in one room? Their survival is all to do with how well they play mind games. There is only ever 1 survivor. The rest end up dead. You’re forgiven for thinking I played the game well with 12 distinctions, but no, I did not win.

So here are some guidelines on how to play the Higher Education game.

Teachers Tools

You must love Kahoot, power points, Youtube and movies. I know you can access this media anywhere. But why would you when you can travel to college, sit in a room and have nothing taught? Your teacher is trying to help you save money on your electricity bill. It is better that you watch the same Youtube videos together as you did the year before. In case one of you forgot you had seen the video. You’ve seen the powerpoint full of images, as it is a copy and paste from the internet. But most of you are on your phone the first time it’s shown. So we are going to see if we can recreate the scenario again at a cost to you of £55 per lesson. If you want to play on your phone that’s fine, you will go over this powerpoint again in the future.

Assignments and Tasks

nothing to show

When you are set a task, and you do not want to do it. It is not your favourite thing to do. Or you can’t be bothered. Then don’t do it.
Stop worrying, no one will ever say anything to you about it. Let’s say you are set a task of photographing 10 events over the summer. Some of the class do this task as it is part of an assignment and counts towards your mark. The teacher will understand when you say “Why should I do 10? I don’t want to.” The class will understand when the teacher replies “Oh that’s o.k, do 1 then.” The students that did do the assignment will say nothing about you receiving the same mark as they did. It is their fault they did 10 and you never. They should have made the teacher laugh at some point, they would have gotten away with it too. If you are not that brave to refuse an assignment, blame the people of the world. That is acceptable.

All Personalities Welcome.

If you have aggressive behaviour, that will not be questioned. Your outbursts will be understood and nurtured. So what if you have a wooden spoon and continue to stir the pot? You started trouble for your entertainment, that’s all. You can do this as many times as you like and if someone cries, that’s their headache. There is only one negative for you. The teacher will not give any feedback while watching your attacking performance. On a positive, the teacher will have a grin and will let you finish your assault with no interruptions. Once the victim leaves the room, you sit around and justify yourself with no judgement.

Complaints Procedure

always agree

Never make a complaint.
You may find yourself in a situation you are not happy with. Let’s say, you have paid to be taught, and the teacher is not qualified to teach your chosen subject. Or someone teaching you is on the course level below you. Under no circumstances make a complaint. This is not good for you. Understand, you can make a casual comment about it but never go all the way to complain.

This leads to teaching staff refusing to speak to you or anyone who associates with you. You will lose marks for your work too. You must keep smiling and nodding your head like “Churchill” the dog. Your work could be at a primary school level, and the teacher at a level 2. This will have no effect on you or them. Keep paying the £55 per lesson, and be passive with a big smiley face and you will get the grade you desire. So you are buying your grade. Are you starting to see how easy this is?


Warning! Plagiarism is not allowed under any circumstances. The education system has the technology to check your work and you will fail if you plagiarise. Hang on, sorry, I can hear laughing in my head as I wrote that. You will get that warning, but don’t let that put you off. Wait, that voice is still laughing in my head. The only people allowed to plagiarise is the teacher. Well, they are not allowed but there seems to be an unwritten rule that they do and you will not point it out.

You will have streams of handouts which will be printed from Wikipedia. But in all honesty, if you do plagiarise, become one of the 7 dwarfs. Bashful works well in this situation and the teacher will overlook the copy and paste. That is something the teacher excels in. You’re told that there are internal verifiers who also mark your work. This is a potluck. It can be someone from a different department who know nothing about your subject. It can even be someone invisible. Either way, they know nothing about what they are marking.

Qualified Teachers.

You may have a teacher who actually wants to teach you. Who has worked in the industry and gives very constructive feedback? The type of teacher that insists you should always use your camera. One that insists you learn every aspect of your chosen subject. A teacher that pushes you to be the best you can be. On the odd occasion, you will find one of those teachers. The higher education system will be very sorry. Make no mistake, they will dispose of that type of teacher. That is not acceptable behaviour. You do not need to worry, the college will not allow anyone to push you, or turn you into a professional. You do not need that sort of experience in your life. It’s frowned upon when the bare minimum will do very well.

Be the Favourite.

teachers apple

When you want to get top marks for minimal effort, you must become the favourite. This is how you become the favourite.

  • Have a few excuses under your belt for sympathy re-enforcement. A good one being, your family got wiped out yesterday because of Ebola.
  • Become a storyteller. Weaving tales of all the amazing jobs you are headhunted for, no proof needed.
  • Blame all your defaults on someone or something else. Car, model, weather, partners’ mood, being busy, not remembering the lie you told before.
  • Tell the teacher everything you know about everyone. Giving away juicy gossip makes you teachers best friend forever.
  • Never complain, only compliment. Never question, only accept.
  • Do not hand work in on time. The teacher has other students that have done that, which means there is too much to scan over. Your months of delay will help give free time back to the teacher.
  • Bring in DVDs to watch, The teacher loves that one.
  • Always tell the teacher how amazing they are. They love a good compliment.

You Can’t Fail!

No such thing as failure. This is something you must get to grips with before you start. The teachers are not there to teach. They are there to make money. The Higher education system is the same as most education systems. It is a business. You will not fail the course. You cannot fail the course.

If you do not hand in all assignments, there is one of two things you can do. You can have a tantrum or you can suck up. Whichever one works for you, choose that one. I guarantee you will pass the course. There can be no failure rate. Any failure would look bad for the college. Some students get frustrated with this. They decide to source out strangers from the internet who do lessons for free. They continue to pay the college thousands for a piece of paper that is not needed.

You will pass, even if you have not completed the course. Because:

 “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good.” – Vidal Sassoon

3 thoughts on “The Dummies Guide to Getting a Higher Education Qualification.

  1. ” Never complain, only compliment. Never question, only accept.”

    This resonates strongly with my experience.
    Having had a difficult, and poorly presented HE course, I found that any complaints were handled with absolutely no care. In fact, nothing ever changed after complaining.

    Course materials were regularly printed from free websites, with youtube videos as full lessons, and only minutes of real tuition for hands-on skills.

    One lesson consisted of role play, where the tutor pretended to be a difficult client.
    That was it. No constructive feedback, no methods on how to resolve issues with clients, or even how to conduct yourself in front of clients. Just the tutor finding it funny while people are nervous and flounder.
    It was embarrassing to watch.

    “You Can’t Fail!”
    100% true!
    One student left the course after wasting so much time, but was then given access to the tutorials and materials that we paid for! Then, the student actually graduated…after leaving the course!

    HE is all about numbers. Make sure you get enough people in the classroom, hide mistakes, ignore complaints, and keep the tutorial fees flowing, because who cares if the students leave with no real skills. They have a piece of paper with a stamp on it, and the college has good figures.

    Disgusting practice!


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