Growing up in the UK, you’ll have noticed a very weird shift in how people view university. Back before the 90s and 00s, hardly anyone went to university. It got viewed in a way that really made uni seem like this massive thing that everyone should aim for. A lot of people in uni now are the first people in their families to ever go! So, we grew up in a world where university was seen as the pinnacle of education. As it became more accessible, schools started pushing students towards it all the time. Many of you probably got to A Levels with the firm belief that there was nothing for you after school other than uni. Now, views have changed yet again. There’s a growing consensus that going to university is a waste of time and money.
So many people have graduated and not found jobs in their degree field. This leads you to wonder whether or not it’s worth going at all. Obviously, the short answer to this is that it depends on your personal situation. Uni can be great for one person, but it might be somewhat pointless for someone else. With that in mind, you should take a lot of things into consideration before you decide what to do. Should you go to uni, or should you avoid it at all costs? Let’s take a look at some of the key points:
What degree are you hoping to do?
For me, this is the number one question to ask yourself. What degree are you actually looking to pursue? I’m not trying to put down any fields of study, but there are definitely degrees that you don’t really need to get ahead in certain fields. On the contrary, with degrees like dentistry or medicine, you most certainly need them to work as a dentist or a doctor.
Think about your career after university – this is something loads of people don’t do beforehand. Do some research and see which degrees lead to most jobs, and which degrees don’t lead to employment. You may find that your chosen area of passion doesn’t require a degree to get started. In which case, is it worth getting a student loan and going through three years of education for something that isn’t going to help your career? That’s a decision you have to make for yourself!
One excellent thing to look for is how the courses are set up. If you have a course that is designed to help you walk straight into a job, then I think it’s definitely worth it. Degrees that provide you with a placement year are perfect as this gives you working experience and helps you get your foot in the door. But, if the course offers no help getting a job after graduation, then should you bother?
Can you afford to go?
The cost of university has skyrocketed in recent years. It costs thousands of pounds a year to study at a university in the UK, not to mention the additional thousands of pounds you need to pay for living costs. So, this begs the question, can you even afford to go?
Granted, there are student loans available to all UK students. But, even this isn’t enough to help you cover your living costs. Students from Northern Ireland studying in the mainland UK will get way less money than English students. So, they often don’t get enough from their loan to pay for rent and food, etc. I’ve known many people in uni to even look at places like Buddy Loans Guarantor Loans to take out an additional loan on top of their student loan. This can help you cover all the living expenses, but it means you’re in more debt than before.
Thankfully, you can cut the cost of university in a few ways. There are some university scholarships that provide funding for you, bursaries and grants to give you extra money, and you can always stay at home to remove any living costs from the agenda.
Ultimately, you have to decide if you can financially deal with university. Also, this is why choosing the right degree is all the more essential. It’s worth putting yourself in debt to get a qualification that allows you to pursue a career with high rewards. You suffer now to enjoy massive financial benefits in the future. But, it’s not worth going into thousands of pounds of debt to get a degree you’ll never use!
Why do you want to go?
Finally, I think it’s important to think about your reasons for going to university. Most people will go because they want to gain qualifications that will help them pursue a successful career. That’s excellent, and that’s what uni should be for!
Then, you have some people who almost feel pressured to go to university because their parents want them to. If you don’t have any clear passions or ideas for a career, then is it worth going to university? For me, it’s a big risk as you might go and figure out you love the degree you’re studying, and it helps you realise what you want to do in life. Or, you hate it, gain nothing from your time other than multiple hangovers, and end up in debt.
Lastly, you have students that go to uni purely for the partying experience. Who am I to judge anyone that does this? It’s your choice, but be aware that you’re basically paying for the most expensive party of your life!
So, is uni a waste of time?
As a summary, I’ll reiterate what I said in the introduction. Going to university is beneficial and essential for some people, but not for others.
Personally, I think it’s most suitable for people who have a clear passion and a career they want to pursue. Furthermore, to find work and be successful in this career, you need a degree. This makes all the money and all the studying worthwhile as you will find work afterwards.
If this doesn’t apply to you, then going to uni could be a waste of time. The good thing is that you can go whenever you want. If you avoid applying for uni when leaving school, it gives you a chance to experience new things and find your calling in life. Who knows, you may decide that you want to pursue a career that requires a degree after all. So, you can apply later on, rather than applying for a degree you won’t use, just because people tell you to!