We are asked this question a lot and, to be honest, there isn’t a “one size fits all” answer. Whether or not university is “worth it” for you depends on lots of factors. Among many, these factors include; what you are planning to study, what your motivators for work are and how sure you are of the career you are currently considering. Within this blog, we will explore the things that you need to consider to decide if university is a route worth pursuing.
What you are planning to study
There are some professions where university is the only route you can take. For example, becoming a Doctor… Can you imagine walking into theatre and the surgeon says “we’re going to have our apprentice do your operation today”? No, didn’t think so. There is a small list of professions that can only be accessed via university, this includes: medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine.
For the majority of subject choices, you will be able to decide between studying at university or via an apprenticeship. Things like IT, engineering, creative industries and most social sciences now have an apprenticeship option.
What your motivators are
People work, and study, for different reasons. These are called your “motivators”. For example, some people may want to work to help people. Or invent new things. Or make lots of money. Or maybe choosing to make less money but providing more time for their family. Working out what motivates you will help you to make decisions that align with what you want from your study and working life.
If you are someone that is motivated by money, having a degree will allow you to earn, on average, £12,000 more per year than someone without a degree. Keep this in mind when choosing your option for the end of Year 13.
How sure you are of the career you’re currently considering
If you’re thinking of completing an apprenticeship, you need to be quite sure about what you want to do. This is because apprenticeship job roles are usually more specific, whereas a degree will keep your options a little more open.
For example, if you know you like Maths, doing a Maths degree at university will give you a few more years to work out what role you’d like to complete. Whereas, if you know you like Maths AND you know that you want to work in business, then you may decide to look at analytical data apprenticeships.
Your personal circumstance
For some people, the thought of moving away from home and the “university life” element of study sounds amazing. For others, it sounds like their idea of a nightmare! People may also have additional barriers to consider, such as having family members to care for, disabilities to consider or may be anxious about moving away from home. All of these are valid reasons to look at all your options and make the right decision for you - just remember to choose a different route but not a different end goal. There is a way for everyone to get a degree and work within the area of industries they want to - there are no barriers that should hold you back from this.
Your skills for the workplace
If you’re not great at being on time, can’t work in a team or the thought of having to manage a degree and work feels like too much pressure - you may not be ready for an apprenticeship. A few more years in education will help you to hone these skills and feel more confident about entering the workplace.
In summary, university is worth it if you're looking to study certain degrees, are motivated by factors that university offers, are unsure what job role you want to focus on, if it better suits your personal circumstances or you are looking to develop your skills for the workplace. Our top advice would be not to rule out any options, look at everything and make an informed decision about which route is best for you. Good luck!