Going to University can be a life-changing, eye-opening experience. For many, the thrill of being away from home and beginning to make your own way in the world can be as much of a draw as the actual degree itself. While some may see going to university as a rite of passage, there is no doubting that it is an expensive choice to make. So, the question must be whether your degree will be worth the time and effort once your course is over?
According to statistics, this all very much depends on what you choose to study, with some qualifications leading to relevant, graduate-level employment, while others seem to leave former students scrambling to find space in a competitive and over-subscribed market.
In fact, the Office for National Statistics has revealed that nearly half of all university graduates are finding themselves working in areas that didn’t require them to go to university at all! Having spent thousands in order to get a qualification that you hope will push you forward to the upper echelons of your earning potential it would surely be disheartening to feel that your effort was all for nothing, and that you could have got the same job years ago, all without the time and debts that your degree cost you.
If you are looking to get a degree, then it is worth thinking about what you will do with it afterwards, with some courses showing a much higher rate of relevant employment than others. Medicine, dentistry, media and information studies are all shown to come out well with offering graduates a decent chance of employment, while those courses that directly relate to a specific area of employment also coming up tops. Nursing, agriculture, and architecture are among those areas that are shown to offer students a high chance of employment. However, statistics demonstrate that those who study the arts, humanities, languages, and education are among the lowest when it comes to employment rates.
Getting a graduate level job once you finish your course is not a given, and you will almost certainly be up against some stiff competition from fellow graduates – not just from your own year, but also from those who may have graduated previously and still be looking for suitable and relevant work. So how do you get ahead?
The answer lies in doing more than the competition, such as finding some relevant work experience before you graduate. Finding somewhere to get some work experience, or maybe even doing an internship, will mark you out as different from many of your fellow graduates. Offering you some extra skills and experience is one of the perks, but it will also demonstrate that you are motivated and driven to work in your chosen sector. This is especially important if you are looking to break into one of the more over-subscribed fields of work. Indeed, figures based of a study of over 18,000 graduates has shown that those who have some relevant work experience are three times more likely to get a job than those who do nothing.
These days a degree is not an automatic entry route into a graduate-level job, so it appears you either need to go that extra step, study the right course, or risk wasting your time, effort, and money on a qualification that you never use…