Degree or not to be: Should I go to university?

How do you know if university isn’t for you? There’s a lot of pressure for students to go to university and we tend to hear just about the benefits of going to university more than anything else.

But what about the arguments against going to university?

Ever feel like this isn’t such a hot topic of conversation?

In 2018, 1.8 million new students enrolled into university in the UK. That’s the equivalent to 11 Wembley stadiums. And that’s just new students alone.

The team here at The People Pod know just what a huge decision this is. And we want to support you guys in reaching the right choice. It might be that university is the perfect match for you, but guaranteed there’s always a large number of you who go for the wrong reasons.

What are the best reasons to go to university?

1. Because you need a specific degree for a specific career

There are certain careers in life where you just need a degree and there’s no two-ways about it. If you want to become a lawyer or a doctor, for example, a bachelor's degree is the way to go.

2. To improve your knowledge on a topic

You might be so passionate about a certain topic that you just want to learn more, simply for the love of learning.

3. To develop key skills

University students undoubtedly develop certain skills such as communication, writing, and researching. This isn’t the only place in the world that you can develop those skills, but it’s definitely something that comes with the university package.

What are some sketchy reasons for going to university?

1. Because of the party experience

When we think of university, we think of non-stop partying 24/7 with our mates. And whilst that’s great, your FOMO can’t be the driving factor behind your decision now, can it? Believe us, when you graduate 3 years later with over £40k worth of debt, you’re going to want more to show for it than your collection of TJ’s takeaway boxes accumulated from your nights out (as noteworthy as they are).

2. Because it’s the done thing

Do you ever feel like colleges and your parents normalise going to university as though there are no other options in front of you? Because of that pressure, a lot of students go on autopilot with their UCAS applications instead of thinking critically about whether or not it makes sense to them. If it doesn’t resonate with you personally, then you might want to re-think!

3. Because you want independence

Sure, moving out is definitely a nice moment in life and one of the perks of going to university. But you don’t need to go to university to do that. If becoming more independent is your sole purpose, you could just go into full-time work or go traveling.

How do I know if university is right for me?

Regardless of other people’s opinions, the decision to go to university comes down to your personal choice. We’ve put together a few different questions to help you weigh up whether or not university’s a good choice for you.

Questions to ask yourself before going to university

  1. Do I have a specific career in mind?
  2. Do I need a specific degree to start this career?
  3. What other careers am I interested in?
  4. Are there any other qualifications I could gain to start this career?
  5. Am I ready to go to university now, or would I benefit from waiting a few years?

What are the benefits of gaining a degree?

  • Helps to improve your knowledge
  • You gain an internationally recognised qualification
  • Opens up several different career paths not necessarily related to your degree
  • Gives valuable life experience

What are the disadvantages of going to university?

  • Takes an average of 3 years to complete
  • You’ll finish with debt (avg £40,000 from English universities)
  • Doesn’t always pay off in your career
  • Not guaranteed to get your dream career
  • Doesn’t give you as much practical experience as the working world

Reasons why people decide against university

  • They would rather start working right away
  • They don’t want the debt
  • They’ve found another way of gaining the right skills
  • They don’t feel ready
  • They don’t know what their career aims are yet

What are the alternatives to university?

Gaining a degree isn’t the only way to become successful - this might have been the case once upon a time, but not in today’s world. Nowadays, employers place more value on hiring people based on ability instead of qualifications.

In fact, 58% of UK employers hire staff based on potential rather than qualifications or experience.

Here are some alternatives for you to consider:

  • Start working in an entry-level position and work your way up
  • Do an apprenticeship
  • Find an internship
  • Complete an online course
  • Gain experience through volunteering
  • Take a gap year (or two - why not?!)

We hope you know by now that university isn’t the only option out there. Yes, it can be a cracking route for some of you. But often there are students who could’ve flourished so much more had they taken a different route. It all depends on your career aspirations and how you learn best!

Not sure what opportunities could be available to you? You can have a chat with one of our consultants today by calling us on 01204 589 555 or send us your CV and someone will be in touch soon:

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