Since the rise in tuition fees in 2015 from £3,000 a year to £9,000 a year, a number of students right across the UK have rethought their further education. As a country with a long and proud tradition of free education (University was absolutely free until the 80s), there is no doubt that times are a changing in England as school leavers begin to consider if University is even worth it. If you find yourself questioning whether or not to attend University, here are five factors to consider.
The Standard of Education
First, let’s take a look at the positives of attending University. Undoubtedly, it allows you to reach a higher level of education, with some of the Universities in England counting themselves as some of the best in the world, including the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge as well as some of the institutions in our capital, including Imperial College London and UCL. With options like these available, you really can access a fantastic standard of education and enrich your learning if you so choose.
Whilst there has been a huge amount of negative campaigning over the years in regards to the correlation of having a degree and earning a solid wage, over the past few years the job prospects for those who have attended University has actually increased. According to a recent report, graduate unemployment actually fell to 5.1 percent last year whilst salaries increased by 2.9 percent. In fact, according to Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, graduates earn, on average, £10,000 per annum more than non-graduates — suggesting that a University degree could be well worth the investment.
One of the slightly less parentally-approved reasons for going to University is nonetheless a point that resonates with students across the UK: For many, going to University has simply become a rite of passage, allowing you to flourish, grow and develop into a fully-fledged adult.
However, there is the other side of the coin: University is expensive (and becoming ever more so). Whilst the employment statistics are positive, having a degree by no means guarantees you a job. Moreover, there are clear alternatives to University, such as undertaking an apprenticeship.
Formerly the domain of tertiary sector jobs, apprenticeships are increasingly becoming a far more attractive option for school leavers who want an assurance that they will go on to gain meaningful employment. With the likes of KPMG, Deloitte and other renowned companies offering apprenticeships to school leavers who are able to earn whilst they learn. With the guarantee of a job, a qualification and the chance to gain meaningful work experience it really can be a brilliant alternative to a University degree, and there is no reason that you couldn’t go on to earn the same as a graduate.
As mentioned earlier, this can be a huge disadvantage to many hopeful school leavers looking to go to University. The cost can be somewhat prohibitive, especially if you are hoping to go to University in another country.
Have you been to University? Did you find it worthwhile, or do you regret those years? Or perhaps you struggled to find a job after gaining your degree? We would love to hear your feedback, so do comment below.