What is it?

The Youth Applicants in Schools Scheme (YASS) is open to all S6 students in Scotland and is run by the Open University. It gives you the ability to study a course at university level, whilst still in school. It also provides invaluable experience into independent study and self-motivation, as there are no teachers checking up on you to see if you do the work. Because of this, it is also a great way of getting a taste of what studying at university is like.

What is the course like?

Most of the courses are around 5 months in length and start in October. From then, you have until the end of February to read the textbook, which is given to you both online and in physical form. The textbook provides you with all the information you will need, as well as many side activities that will help you put the information you have learnt to practical use. The activities are for the most part fairly interesting and provide a welcome distraction from reading the textbook. At the end of February/start of March, an assessment is given to you. This takes the form of a couple of pages of questions you must answer on a Word document, which needs to be submitted by a given deadline. The assessment is completely open book, but obviously the more you read and go over the textbook beforehand the easier and more successful you will be.
The best thing about the course in my opinion is the way in which it teaches you the information. There is a lot of stuff to learn for sure but it isn’t done in a completely overwhelming way. Having a bit of background knowledge about the area you are studying helps, but is in no way essential, since the textbook breaks everything down to the basics.

What do you get out of it?

As mentioned before, YASS is a great way to get an experience of studying at university, whilst still being in the safety and comfort of school life. But as well as that, having a YASS course on your CV is a great bonus, as it shows universities and employers that you can work independently and have the drive to succeed on your own. The courses are also really interesting, so you will actually get enjoyment out of doing the course.

What can you study?

There is a vast array of areas you can study with YASS – from science to law  – you will be able to study some area of almost anything you can think of. For the full list of courses available to study, please see: http://www.open.ac.uk/scotland/study/young-applicants-schools/what-can-i-study I chose to study Galaxies, Stars and Planets since the universe has always fascinated me and I wasn’t able to take Advanced Higher Physics. YASS has been really good at teaching me more about the universe and getting me interested in more areas of physics.

How much does it cost?

Nothing. If you apply for YASS through the school (please see your pastoral teacher or Mr Clark for more information on this) then it doesn’t cost anything. The school covers any costs. This of course means that they will be a bit upset if you don’t put any effort in and end up wasting the money, but that’s understandable.

To sum up, I would highly recommend studying a YASS course to anyone eligible to. They provide a great experience of studying at university level and show you the effort and self-motivation required to study at university, whilst also giving you an insight into many areas that aren’t taught at school. They look great on your CV as well as giving you the flexibility to work around the other subjects you are taking.

If you have any questions about YASS, please speak to your pastoral teacher, Mr Clark, or leave a comment below this article.