Are you currently wondering whether or not to go to university? Well, you’re not alone. Many before you have asked themselves the very same question. To help give you some inspiration, here is an overview for you to consider on why you should go to university. Check back in our next two issues for the rest of this series – we’re planning to give you some information on the career prospects of popular courses and wider points to consider when choosing a university.
Universities are an advanced educational institution in which students study for degrees and academic research is done. They offer a number of specialised courses that are taught by experts and have various research facilities that help students learn, such as libraries, laboratories and computer rooms. The courses and facilities available at universities enable students to pursue their academic goals in the field of their choice. The major benefit of university is improving your career prospects and earning potential in the long term and the major drawback is the cost of going to university – it’s important to weigh these carefully.
By going to university, you improve your career prospects in the long term. You develop specialist skills in a field, and some job roles (such as doctor or architect) require a university qualification for you to be able to apply. You also develop transferrable skills such as communication, presentation and problem-solving skills, while enhancing the ability to work as part of a team. Finishing a qualification that takes several years to a high standard also shows employers your ability to commit and persevere. Employers tend to look for university graduates to fill positions that have great responsibility and high pay.
University is a great opportunity for you to develop your social life and have new experiences as you have the chance to meet new people who come from different places and diverse backgrounds. Universities help you to build your self-confidence and independence, and the supported living in student accommodation is a great stepping stone for learning those vaguely frightening adult skills like managing your bills and cooking for yourself.
The major down side of university is the cost. Universities charge tuition fees, up to £9,250 per year – this means that the average student loan balance for a bachelor’s degree on graduation is over £50,000 and is paid back over time depending on what you earn. It’s quite normal to take out student loans to finance university. Student Loans are split into two parts: tuition fee loans and maintenance loans. The tuition fee component is paid directly to the university to cover your course fees, and the rate differs depending on whether you are studying full-time or part-time. The maintenance loan is for funding your day to day expenses (like rent and food) and is paid directly into your bank account. To be eligible for a student loan you must be studying a recognised, qualifying course in the UK, and there are also some exceptions for non-EU citizens or people who haven’t lived in the UK for the past three years.
When making the decision to go to university, it is important to research how many graduates of your course and the universities you are considering find employment in their field. We also recommend you look into what percentage of students graduate from the courses you are considering and what support is available in case you find yourself struggling.