Should I go to uni?
This is a killer question, and one that you may be debating right now.
Should you go to university?
Well, let’s look at the pros and cons, starting with the reasons you SHOULD consider going to university:
Those that go to uni generally end up in higher employment
The fact of the matter is that higher education mostly leads to quality employment. There is a much lower unemployment rate amongst graduates, largely down to their additional skills and expertise, and the salaries of university graduates are 57% higher than the average.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Going to university doesn’t absolutely guarantee you a great career and comfortable life, but it’ll certainly give you a much better chance. In fact, you can already be one step down the path of a career whilst at uni since many offer work experience as part of the course, or have direct links with those in industry to help you on your way.
There is no doubt about the fact that the money and effort you put into a degree is an investment in your future.
University is a great way to network and meet all sorts of people
Another advantage of going to university and, even more so, of living with other students, is meeting people. And not just any people, but young people your own age, with similar interests and the same desire to make friends. After all, university is a sociable place!
You will meet people like you in your lectures, in your seminars, in your halls and all around the campus. University boasts lots of common spaces - so you can be sociable!
You can also join clubs and societies, where you’ll surely meet those with similar interests from all walks of life. You never know what these friendships may lead to - lifelong buddies, business partners, work colleagues or even husbands and wives!
You may flee the nest and learn to be independent!
Some choose to go to a university close to home so they can commute and keep their roots firmly planted. However, the majority choose to move away, which can lead to a whole host of positive outcomes. We’re not saying that you must escape your parents/guardians and your homelife, but those that do start to learn many independent skills, such as washing, cleaning, cooking and money management.
You can become the master of your own destiny at university. You can go out when you want to, stay home and study, joining clubs, societies and sports teams at your will. It’s a freedom that you won’t have experienced before, and if you’re in a brand new town or city you can explore to your heart’s content!
You can see the world!
Ever thought about studying abroad?
There are many fantastic opportunities to go and study abroad. Look into it - if you’re going to flee the nest, you may as well go and fill your mind with wonder abroad!
Successful people are not always those with top grades or first class degrees. They tend to be Mavericks, risk takers and innovative folk who are streetwise and sharp. They have a dream and pursue it with strength and enthusiasm. They go with their gut instincts, and that’s something universities can’t teach.
That said, university won’t necessarily turn you into one of these people. University isn’t a genius factory, so getting a degree isn’t an absolute guarantee that you’ll end up in a great career.
So, let’s look at the reasons you might not go to university:
It’s expensive - many students will end up in debt
Going to university isn’t cheap. Ok, so you don’t have to pay it straight up, but it will leave many years of paying student loans back for those that need them to go to university. You might want to ask yourself whether a degree is worth the £9,000 tuition fee (per year), plus living expenses. The average debt with a loan is anything between £45,000 - £50,000 by the time students graduate in the UK. Even if your parents can afford to pay your tuition fees, it’s estimated that you are likely to leave university with a debt of £15,000 - £20,000 from rent and living costs. That’s the debt you will start off your working career with, so is your degree really going to be worth what you’re paying?
Exhausted with education?
So, you’ve been in education all your life. You might be completely through with it by the time you are 18. Some people are just done with study.
Not going to university can lead to fascinating gap year or travel opportunities, or valuable charity work. Learning about different communities, lifestyles, cultures and diversities can be just as educational as anything you’ll learn at university. Many just take the time to find out a bit more about themselves and what they want to do - and that’s fine!
You can get a job and earn your own money
At 18 some people are just ready to get a job, live life and save some money. You can find decent work without a degree - this is a common misconception that spreads amongst young people. Many employers only look for A level or Level 3 skills, and have structures in place to train you on the job. In fact, many employers have their own tailor-made training validated by universities.
It can be very empowering earning your own money when you’re young. You can pay your own way, learn to drive, afford some self-earnt luxuries, and even go on holidays. Of course, you’ll make friends of all ages too - it’s not just university students that socialise.
Vocation v Education
It’s a common argument that those doing humanities degrees (the likes of ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, history, archaeology, anthropology, human geography, law, religion, and art) don’t gain many, if any, transferable skills. The big question is, will the course you are spending a lot of money on benefit you in the profession you’re thinking of entering?
A purely academic subject can be great and really enlightening, but the world also needs plumbers, electricians, roofers, bricklayers, carpenters, gardeners and the like. In fact, you can make a lot of money in these jobs these days because they are highly valued in society.
Many believe that the best education is the old fashioned trial-and-error method: by working. Many others see university as an absolute necessity to a decent career and standard of living.
Life, of course, is our biggest education of all, though whatever pathway you choose, know this - you can make it work for YOU!