To Uni or Not to Uni?

... That is the £9000 a year question!!



I thought I would tackle this topic because it's that time of the year when 16/17/18 year olds are being made to decide on something which, for most, is not easy to decide! Should you go to uni or should you not?

University isn't for everyone, but it can be. The majority of universities are going to offer something for every individual so if you do decide to go, there will be something for you. However, the university experience as a whole may not be your cup of tea. How do you know whether you should give it a go or save £9,000?

It wasn't until I went on a trip looking at different universities at the end of my first year of A-Levels that I thought I may like uni. Fast-forward two years, I've now finished my first year and I am still unsure whether it is for me!

I think there is currently a lot of pressure on young people to go to university. From my experience, it seems that it's almost expected that sixth form/college leavers take the uni route rather than the employment route. My advice to you is this: don't be sucked in! Whether you study for a degree or not is up to YOU and YOU ONLY! Nobody else can make the decision for you (unfortunately!) so weigh up the pros and cons of each option, do a TON of research and think about the following questions:

What do you love? I think this has to be your first exploration. Is there something in particular that you love to do in your spare time, or a subject that you really enjoyed at school and want to study further? What makes you tick? What is it that you could do and never get bored of?

What should you study? If you can answer the questions above with a subject, you should probably study that thing! However, you are not in the minority if you can't answer those questions! I suggest that if you want the university experience but you don't know what to study, choose a subject that you know you will enjoy! The subject isn't the be all and end all, as long as you are studying something that you like, you're set! Even if you don't think it'll result in a career in that field, if your heart is set on the uni experience, picking a subject you like will give you your best chances at having a great time!

Do you need a degree? If you have identified that there is one particular subject or activity that you love and would be happy and excited to work on for a good portion of your life, the next thing you need to research is whether a degree is compulsory to find a job in that field. If it is, university or open university is probably the best way to go if you feel really passionate about your chosen area of study. If you don't need a degree, find out whether it is still preferable to employers, but also consider whether your time would be more valuably spent getting work experience and doing things in your own time to prove that you're dedicated.

Do you still want to be in education? You will probably know whether you have had enough of education after 14 years! If you're glad to have escaped the system after completing that final word of that final exam paper/ final piece of coursework and you've just had enough, you'll know it, and university won't be appealing. If you're still wanting to learn and to further your knowledge, consider uni! But remember, you will still be learning if you go into employment or if you travel the world! Knowledge doesn't just come from school and uni!

What would uni be for you? Going to university isn't all about getting that piece of paper at the end. The university experience can be extremely worthwhile for many other reasons. I don't feel like I have learned anything in my first year, for whatever reason, but I'm still glad I made the decision to go to uni because I have become much more independent, had experience of living in a completely different place, made some close friends and become more enthusiastic about what it is I want to do. Look at your reasons for wanting to go to uni - is it just to get a degree for a job? Or is it because you want a change of scenery, independence, a different lifestyle, life experience? All of the above will be valuable to you.

Can you afford it? There's no point in beating around the bush - university is very expensive and you are probably going to be paying off debt for many years. Saying this, if you live in the UK you get given a student loan and in Guernsey you are given a grant towards the fees - this is all calculated by how much your parents earn. You could also consider getting a part-time job if you need to. Millions of students get through uni each year, whether they can afford it or not, so don't panic!! But if you're really not enthralled by the idea of uni you may want to save your money.

Which uni should you go to? The answer to this is simple: the one that feels right. The best thing to do is do some trips with school, friends or parents to different universities that offer the course you want to study. Attend open days, take the campus and accommodation tours, find out even more about your course by talking to staff, research what the area you'll be living in and learning in is like - just find out as much as you can about each uni on your list. The one you should go to is the one that feels right at the end of the day. You will know, I promise!

What are the other options? If you come to the conclusion that university probably isn't your thing you'll be keen to know what you can do instead. Employment, apprenticeships, work experience placements, travelling, college courses and a gap year are your alternatives! Either those or sitting on your sofa like a potato for the rest of your life, which I don't advise. There are so many other pathways than attending university and there's absolutely nothing to say you won't be as successful or more successful in growing, gaining experience, learning and earning than uni graduates! Do what's right for you and choose the pathway that will enable you to excel.

I really hope this was useful to you if you're at the 'to uni or not to uni?' point in your life! Please let me know if this blog post was helpful. If you want some more guidance, have a look at some of the links below!

University - is it for you? | BBC Radio 1
Not Going to Uni
Is University the right choice for me? | Studential
Should I go to University? | Simon Dolan
Is Uni for you? | The Site
Career options if you don't want to go to university | The Guardian




4 comments

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