The question of whether you should go to university or not is one of those key crossroads in life. Taking your education a step further and making an expensive, long-term commitment can’t be entered into lightly.
So, how do you decide if university's right for you? What's to consider? What's the criteria for making what will, more than likely, be a life-changing decision? Here are just a few things to bear in mind before you make your mind up...
Increased Earning Potential
The grassroots fact: university is not for everyone. But, going to university does tend to make you more employable – and a more attractive prospect to future employers. Today, a graduate can expect to earn significantly more during their working lifetime than someone who did not attend university. Learn more, earn more.
So, it’s more appealing to employers and you'll probably be better off. Great. But a good university also plays a part in enriching your life by honing your social skills, your level of conversation, and your confidence for the future. You'll mix with people from all walks of life – perhaps for the first time – and as a result, you'll emerge a more 'rounded' person, socially speaking.
Taking Time Out to Develop
The final years of school can, let’s face it, be quite intense. The first years of your career are rarely a walk in the park, either. Which means that university can have an important part to play in giving you time to develop and just, well, have a good time.
What’s the Cost of University?
On the flipside, of course, there’s the small matter of the cost. An average university course fee will come in at anything up to £9,000 per year for fulltime students in the UK. That said, there are plenty of grants available, and also financial assistance with accommodation (although it’s worth remembering that these grants do have to eventually be repaid!)
Do You Enjoy Studying?
One of the key questions you have to ask yourself when considering whether you should go to university or not is: do I enjoy studying? Because, ultimately, university consists of 3-4 years of classrooms, lecture theatres, libraries, writing essays, studying and exams (admittedly punctuated by some good times in between). If the thought of opening another book again makes you come out in a cold sweat, then perhaps university just isn’t for you.
Easier & More Flexible than Ever Before
If you’re thinking about leaving school and heading off to university, you probably know what you want to study already. But university’s not just for school-leavers; these days you can get the required entry-level qualifications online at any time:
The A Levels route: Want to achieve your A Levels but in record time? Fast track A Level courses are completed in half the normal time and upon completion you'll be eligible for those all-important UCAS points, for entry into university.
The BTEC Higher National Diplomas route: BTEC HNDs might be your choice. Equivalent to a foundation course, they can be studied online to suit your already busy lifestyle and are taken as an alternative to A Levels by a number of British universities.
Still wondering whether or not you should go to university? Read about the other side of the argument with our pick of alternatives.