Are you thinking of going to University this year? Are you determined to undertake a minimum of three years study for what could amount to a twenty thousand pound-plus fee? Perhaps you should think again. Many students go to University with the overall long term goal of improving job prospects which can lead to a wider variety of better, well-paid job prospects, choices, self validation and a richer quality of life. While University still arguably offers this, the trade off between the amount of time and money invested in study and the rewards at the end is being increasingly called into question, especially in this climate of rising costs and job cuts.
Having studied and graduated right in the midst of the global recession I feel I am rightly qualified to speak informatively about the ‘to University or not to University debate’. I graduated from my Masters degree in January 2009, foolishly under the impression that a plethora of 40k+ jobs would be practically knocking my door down. As you can probably guess from my tone I was mistaken.
Getting a job in a market ravaged by recession was tricky to say the least and it actually took me all of 18 months and the help of a friendly agency offering graduate internships specific to my industry to secure a job in my chosen field. This is not say I was out of employment for the whole of this time, I had a part time job to keep me going, but after 4 years of study any graduate could be forgiven for settling for nothing other than a career path in their industry, whatever that may be.
So, the 60 million dollar question is, should you go to Universityversity considering the cost and how difficult it is to secure a job? For me, I’d say it was worth it, just. Although I currently earn less than most of my friends that didn’t undertake further education, I’m in a far better position long term to go ahead and grab more fulfilling jobs and higher salaries. Would I be where I am now without University? Probably not.
I’d say the viability of further study really depends on what you want to do ultimately and what kind of study that requires. If you have you have your heart set on becoming a Lawyer or a Vet then study is essential, a degree is a prerequisite to practice in such professions. On the other hand you may increase your chances of a job in a PR agency with a degree in advertising or Journalism but it is not essential. Computer science is a prestigious qualification to have but you don’t need one to be a web designer, things like this can be self taught.
There is of course the argument that University is not all about getting a better job and earning more money, but about the valuable and unforgettable experience of Universityversity as a whole. The social aspects of University and the life skills that living away from the family home teaches are just as crucial as the study itself for some, though this should be treated as a statement that gives free reign to get drunk 24/7.
Now more than ever University is a huge investment, I am confident anyone who has a strong desire to make it in a particular industry is well advised to study in the area. If you are not particularly stable financially however and are not 100% sure about what you want to do as a career then I would advise some serious thought and number crunching before accepting a place and committing at least the next three years of your life to something which could turn out to be a financial burden.
Article By: Joe is a graduate and regularly speaks at career advice seminars for prospective students, he works for a Car Hire firm