Shea Williams’ Blog Series: Working Out Whether University is For You
For many people going to university seems like a mandatory step in life; using your degree to get a good job with good pay. In reality, university is not for everyone, and there are alternatives to spending three or four years getting a degree in order to succeed! In this blog we have a quick look at what university can offer, alternatives to university and where to find these other opportunities.
Do I have to go?
There are a few circumstances where university is essentially a must; to become a doctor a degree in Medicine is standard, for example. However this is a minority of cases; it is rare that there aren’t other avenues you can take in order to get into your desired sector. Check websites such as prospects.ac.uk to see if university is an essential step for your chosen career path.
What if you don’t know your career choice yet? In this case, I would recommend talking to a teacher or professional about the topics you enjoy, and explore other avenues to explore these careers. Please remember we are still in early stages and we don’t have to have everything figured out yet, just a rough idea is okay.
So if you think you want to go, studying something you enjoy would be the best option. Unless the sector is extremely niche, a lot of employers don’t actually mind the degree you choose. As long as you have learned the transferable skills needed to succeed in the workplace/ a professional environment, you should be in a comfortable position to succeed in your job applications.
Write down what you want to achieve in life and see if university lines up with these plans. Even if it is as simple as a chance to live away from home and gain life skills with others your age, then list it down. University does provide many life experiences such as socialising skills, time management and responsibility.
What if you love the idea of university and would like to attend, but it clashes with a potential goal of saving money? Although university does provide maintenance loans, have a look at bursaries and scholarships you can apply for. Furthermore, consider ‘Degree Apprenticeships’. These allow you to study at university for free and have a job in that sector at the same time, so you can earn while you learn.
Keep in mind that a lot of the pros and cons are based on the assumption that you are going to work for someone else as a next step (hence the continuous mention of ‘employer’); you might come out of university and decide you want to work for yourself. In this case, consider pursuing a degree that’ll aid you in your entrepreneurial journey. Or you can still stick to studying something you love, and taking an online course on business management later on.
Whatever you decide in the end, know that life is a journey and you can succeed no matter what avenue you take! For some, university has been the stepping stone needed in life, and for others not attending was the best decision they’ve made. Regardless, you’ll get there in the end.
Read Shea’s full blog here.