University – Are You Going ‘Just Because?’Posted: 12th of December 2016 by
Going to university is a big moment in the lives of thousands of young people every year. Leaving home, often for the first time, and finding yourself as you study for your degree is a time-honoured route taken by millions over the years. Indeed, for many young people there is an expectation that they will just go on to university, and many schools and colleges push this path as the best (or indeed only) option. The reasons for this are many and include the fact that many teachers are ill-informed about alternative routes as they went to uni themselves, as well as the belief among a lot of young people and their parents that university is the best option for ‘bright’ students. Despite the huge costs involved in everything from tuition to living costs there is a real feeling that university is a ‘natural’ progression with many young people failing to even consider what their alternatives might be – almost as if they are going ‘just because.’ So here we look at a few of the common reasons for young people to opt to go to university – and see if they are really worth it:
- To Get A Good Job
There is a common belief that going to university will lead to a good job. In some cases a university degree is necessary to enter a particular career. If this is the case with your career goals then you will have to get a degree. However, you may want to consider looking for a sponsored degree in order to avoid the tuition fees and gain some vital work experience at the same time. However, it is also worth checking for an apprenticeship in your chosen career – as many industries have opened up alternative routes into employment. If you just believe that getting a degree will lead to a better career then you may need to think again as many graduates find it hard to find appropriate work once they leave university and end up taking lower-paid work which didn’t require a degree, despite the cost of tuition and the time spent studying. University is no longer a guarantee of a better job (if it ever was!).
- You Are ‘Expected’ To Go
Often young people are simply expected to go to university. This is something we see a lot, with some young people complaining that their decision not to go to university (or even consider it) leads to friction with their parents. Again, this stems from a belief among parents that university is the best route to a successful career, while too many teachers don’t know enough of vocational routes and are also liable to push their pupils towards university. The fact is that employment rates among apprentices are higher than those for graduates, and employers love the fact that they can train apprentices right away and develop them within the culture of their business. Getting work experience alongside a qualification, training, and a wage often means that apprentices are extremely attractive to employers, while graduates are forced to fight it out for a small pool of appropriate roles. Given the snobbery that exists around university (with some institutions trumping others regardless of grades) you have to ask how useful that expensive degree will actually be for your career? The fact is apprenticeships are a good choice for the most academic students too!
- Your Friends Are Going
A lot of young people opt to go to university because their friends are going and they don’t want to be left behind. However, unless you are heading to the same uni as your mates, chances are you won’t see them that much during term time anyway. Having some money in your pocket from an apprenticeship also means that you will have the means to travel and go see your friends at university if you want. It is tempting to follow the lead of your friends, but ultimately you also need to look at what is best for you – what suits your friend’s dreams may not match your own.
- You Don’t Know What Else To Do
Not knowing what you want to do after school or college is common, and it can lead you to think that you could just go to university to kill some time while you decide what to do next. This is not only an expensive way to quite literally buy some time, but it can also prove counter-productive for your career. If you don’t know what you want to do how can you know what use your university degree will be once you graduate? While this may have once been a decent option for those unsure of their career goals, it is now perhaps something that only suits the wealthiest of students to whom the tens of thousands it costs to go are not an issue. Of course, you can sign up for a course in something that interests you as a stop-gap, but why not look for a career that does the same thing and start your career right away – without the debt?
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