uni students graduation, throwing caps in the air

Is uni right for me?

The majority of young people are still choosing to attend university and study for a degree. But if you’re someone who is asking ‘Is uni right for me?’ then this article is for you.

You should apply because you are passionate about the subject and relish the thought of learning deeper about your interests, or if you absolutely need a specific degree to enter your potential career.

If you are considering university just because your friends are, or because your teachers/parents have recommended it, then take a breath, ask yourself some questions and most importantly do some research.

Here are our tips for finding out if uni is the right route for you.

  1. Work backwards from your end goal. If you’re lucky enough to know which career you would like to pursue then find out if your favoured choice requires a degree for entry. This is obviously the case for doctors, vets, etc but for many occupations there may be alternative paths.
  2. Investigate the alternatives such as Degree Apprenticeships which will provide on the job training and the chance to study part-time alongside gaining workplace experience. These degrees are often sponsored by the company too. Examples might be in marketing and business, engineering and software development.
  3. If you are concerned about leaving home or the cost of living away then consider applying to a local university and continuing to live at home. Attend Open Days or Taster Days to find out more about what courses they may offer.
  4. School Leaver Programmes have returned to favour in recent years, think retail management, accountancy, IT, Insurance etc. There are different programmes available, some of these will recruit at 16 and some at 18.
  5. Consider the cost. Many young people do not want to worry about leaving university with tens of thousands pounds worth of debt. Their parents may have attended uni when fees were a fraction of what they are now and living costs were covered by grants rather than loans. Make sure you understand how Student Loans work and try and establish whether they will be a worthwhile investment to your education. Many consider the fees more as a graduate tax as they are only payable once you start to earn over a certain threshold.
  6. Another popular tactic for those who aren’t one hundred percent sure that a degree is the best option is to apply anyway but alongside other applications for alternatives such as apprenticeships or structured training programmes such as those described above. This will cover all your options, particularly if you are planning a gap year anyway which may provide a little extra time in which to decide on the best route.
  7. Talk to as many people as possible. Now there is a flip side to this by becoming overwhelmed by lots of differing opinions and information. However, if you can remain objective then chatting with many different people such as family, friends and work colleagues could provide valuable insight into the variety of options into a fulfilling career.
  8. Know what learning style suits you best. Do you become stressed over exams and prefer concentrating on one topic before moving on to the next? Or maybe you’ve really just had enough of studying and would prefer to start your career sooner rather than later. If this is you then consider if an apprenticeship might be more suited.

Ultimately the choice is down to you. However, just because you decide not to apply one year, you can always apply in the future. It can be harder to return to academic study after a break but it could also mean that you have greater clarity on why you now want to undertake a degree which leads to increased motivation. There are statistics to prove that having a degree increases your earning power over your working life. Certainly remaining in some sort of education, or training, for as long as possible will leave you with more options as to your future employability.