Traditionally, many young aspiring professionals who have nervously awaited their A-level results, eagerly wait to cross the bridge of independence by getting into their university of choice.
Traditionally, many young aspiring professionals who have nervously awaited their A-level results, eagerly wait to cross the bridge of independence by getting into their university of choice. However, there has been a rise in savvy students halting this trend, taking other routes to achieve success in an attempt to avoid rocketing tuition fees and inevitable debt.
The perks of university life?
So is university the only rite of passage? For many young people, £9000-a-year tuition fees (and not forgetting the additional living costs), is one expense too many, one that these days doesn’t guarantee a post-grad job at the end – a risk some 18 year olds aren’t ready to take.
For some, there are many other routes you can take that don’t have an extortionate price-tag attached to them. The variety of vocational courses and apprenticeship programs available, for example, are just as efficient and affordable for young people.
It’s true, some jobs do require an academic degree before they would even think about considering you, but this is not the case for every job. Some employers offer apprenticeship programs with an apprenticeship wage, which offers you a chance to combine practical training in a job with study.
Although apprenticeships are increasingly difficult to come by, they are out there. It is just a matter of knowing where to look.
A couple of assignments, a few lectures a week and occasional careers advice isn’t always suitable for everyone. That being said university is more than just lectures, and exams, it’s a lifestyle. Speaking from a university student’s perspective, it is as much about the lifestyle as it is about the studies.
The fees aren’t exactly attractive, but university propels you on your own journey, a social transition, if you will, into adulthood – a defining factor that shouldn’t be overlooked. University also offers those who are inclined towards a particular career to widen their skill set and makes gaining work experience an easier process.
After all, experience is every bit as important as qualifications.
Knowing your options
For many 18-year-olds, however, you find yourself pressured into deciding immediately, what you want to do or be when you leave school. For me, I went to university to extend my education as, like many, I was still uncertain as to which career path I wanted to take.
I knew I liked reading and writing and I was quite creative so I decided to pursue a Bachelors in Journalism. Are there cheaper ways to become a journalist? Probably. Was I aware of them? No! That said, I don’t regret my decision. University has benefitted me in so many ways and given me so many experiences that I don’t think I would’ve had had I not attended university.
Perhaps young people need to be better-educated about their career prospects and the options available for them. Careers advice at my school was a single 30-minute session with a councillor who asked about my interests and gave me a list of answers, not what I would call the most useful advice for a student.
Whichever way you look at further education, immediate employment or apprenticeships, no one option fits all. The truth is that it is a decision only you can make, but you won’t be able to make one without sufficient research and guidance from the right people.
For more information on apprenticeships, check out this web site.
Did you go to university or follow a different route? Is it worth going to university these days? Let us know in the comments below.
Image: topjur01 / Wikimedia Commons