Going to university seems to be the thing to do these days. When you’re at secondary school or college, you’re constantly reminded of the next big step to take in your education and that is university. When you’re in your late teens, a large part of your education experience is effectively preparing you for university, with the assumption being that you’ll be applying to several universities, getting accepted into one and working towards completing a degree there.
In the UK, somewhere between 27 and 40% of the population has a degree. There are over 300,000 students admitted on to undergraduate courses every year. It goes without saying that degrees are very common indeed – so is going to university really worth it?
Yes – It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that’s really rewarding
For many, going to university is about so much more than the education. It’s about stepping out into the world and gaining more independence. For most who move away for university, it’s their first time living away from home and they get to stand on their own two feet; they have the chance to live with others going through the same experience, whether it’s in halls of residence or proper houses.
Even those who stay at home for university can become more independent and learn to rely on their parents less and less. Sure, the education aspect is important, but that’s just one part of the university experience. It’s a stepping stone between school and adult life – i.e. getting a proper job and eventually settling down. Lots of people see university as one of the best times of their lives because they get to make friends, have fun, do new things and not take life too seriously. Going to university can be an enriching, worthwhile experience because you learn to do things more for yourself, meet new people, develop new skills, try new things out and generally get more from life.
No – It’s far too expensive and not worth the investment
The main reason why university isn’t worth it is the fees. For nearly a decade now, UK universities have been able to charge £9,250 a year in tuition fees for undergraduate courses. For a standard three-year course, that works out at close to £30,000 for tuition alone – there’s accommodation and general living costs on top of that. In short, going to university will rack up a lot of debt. You only start paying it back once you’re earning a certain amount of money, but still it’s a burden and a pretty big one at that. Then there’s the jobs market. With so many people completing degrees, the value of degrees isn’t what it used to be. Many graduates end up having to take on jobs that have nothing to do with their degree – some even end up in jobs that don’t require a degree at all. Some courses, such as medicine and engineering, lead right into jobs, but most courses don’t. Even if you spend three years working hard and get a good degree, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a relevant job, simply because there are so many other people with similar degrees.