Whereas it was once seen as the ‘next logical step’ for all young academics, the school to university to a lifelong career path that was once so standard doesn’t necessarily reflect the realities of modern living, particularly given the exorbitant current student fees.
University isn’t the right choice for everyone and whilst it might seem like it when you’re sitting your GCSEs or A-levels, there are actually plenty of other options that your school might not be telling you about (because it generally reflects better on them if they ferry more kids off to uni).
Today, many school-leavers are still unsure what they actually want to do with their lives and this can mean falling into a university course that they don’t really care for just because they “feel as if they should.” They will then emerge on the other side of a three year degree in thousands of pounds worth of student, still with no clear idea in which direction they wish to set sail next.
This is why the gap year has become such a popular alternative – a year out for self-reflection where you can assess your options and make solid plans for the future. But even this is often not enough for some, as we live in a world where we are being offered so many choices all of the time. It can also be quite daunting and confusing.
However, there are a few areas to examine if you’re currently on the fence, which might help you decide whether or not university is the path that’s right for you. Before you change your mind again, of course.
One way to determine if uni is the right path for you is to ask yourself if there were any standout subjects at school that you valued above all others. Did you always find yourself enthralled by ancient history? Or did you discover a penchant for the piano that could potentially lead to to a career as a session musician with the right training and qualifications? The sheer number of eclectic degrees available in universities across the country means that as long as you have a passion, there is probably a degree for you.
Career path plan:
If you are one of the few lucky ones who know exactly what they want to do with their life then research that career and find out whether or not a university degree would be beneficial or a waste of time.
Vocational courses and apprenticeships:
The Job Centre is littered with University students struggling to find a clear route into the careers they are qualified for, but if you know exactly what you want to do with your life from the off-set then a vocational course might be better suited to you? If you want to be a hairdresser, for example, there are plenty of vocational courses and apprenticeships available. You’ll need to buy your own equipment, of course, but what respectable hairdresser wouldn’t already have their own pair of hair thinning scissors anyway?
Location and finances:
Finally, whilst it’s perhaps not a pleasant point to finish on – some of us simply can’t afford university and would be better served by taking a job closer to home with long-term prospects. Location is also a big issue, as if you’re living away from home, you’ll need to pay rent, which can be quite pricey in certain cities.
This post is in collaboration.
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