There are the four options available to you:
OTC: Designed to fit around Uni life and very sympathetic to the fact that you are there to do a degree first, enjoy yourself second and thirdly may be interested in the Army later on. One caveat to this is that OTC mission was changed slightly over the past year and is now more focussed on producing TA Group A officers. (Group A is TA proper as opposed to Group B which is the same commissioning process but you remain with the OTC).
TA (TASO): TA Sponsored Officer scheme, you are a member of an OTR and are on Group B terms and conditions. You carry out your Officer trg with the OTR so have the benefits of OTR, but without the higher bounty of TA. However, you get to wear the cap badge of heroes and are able to attend TA Unit trg as well as OTR trg when it suits.
TA (DETAPO): The Direct Entry TA Potential Officer route. You join a local TA unit and attend your regional training centre to receive officer trg. Similar to OTC this is split into 5 modules (1-3 at regional trg centre, 4 at Sandhurst, 5 post commissioning) This can be quick but is intensive and requires definite commitment to just about every other weekend during the process to get the most out of it. If you can get it sorted quick enough you could do it via the summer challenge which is run by 51 Bde (and I believe other brigades now) a 7 week course over the summer to take you from civvy to module 3 qualified. Obviously good if you can get on it otherwise it will take about 12 months if you get through everything first time via the long DETAPO route.
TA (Soldier): Forget the commitment and time required to become an officer, spend a couple of years as a Tom, see if you enjoy it or not, get your degree sorted then go for a commission via the summer challenge type route over your holiday after finals.
As a Student in the TA
Being a student does not exempt you from being mobilised. It does however give you one of the legitimate grounds for appealing against the mobilisation and in this case there is no question of your appeal being unsuccessful.
Abacus knows of several students who were mobilised between Op Telic 1 to 4 who accepted the mobilisation and deferred their courses for a year, others who were able to defer mobilisation date to allow completion of exams but then were successfully mobilised on completion of exams and others who successfully appealed against mobilisation. We are currently in a period of "intelligent mobilisation" where you have to volunteer to be mobilised. Students are allowed to volunteer the same as individuals not in further education.
I joined the TA before I went to Uni as I realised that everyone needed some form of job to pay for the beer tokens during term time. By the end of the first year, most of the people I knew had all got jobs (bar man/person, shop work etc). I just thought that the TA would be a little more fun and give me something different to do.
I'm sure all students these days work really very hard, probably 10hrs a week or so and therefore 1 evening and 1 or 2 weekends a month really isn't that difficult a commitment to make. After all, if you were in a sports club and held a Saturday job, it would be just as much commitment. I suppose it's all about managing your life, which is probably pretty good practice for after uni.
Go for it, enjoy some extra dosh and impressing the birds with your tales of derring do.
As a Student in the OTC
Marabout says: The OTC can be more accommodating to your student life than TA plus in one year at OTC I did way more training and learnt loads more than recruits do these days as it's so drawn out. Good base for TA when you leave. And you don't have to be a Pot Offr to want to play with them. Myself and a few other ex OTCers at my unit have not gone down the commissioning route, but had some valauble experience when we joined. Socially, it's ace. Plus obviously no fear of mobilisation. Just worth considering.