Is going to university worth it?
With mounting tuition fees and the supposed ‘decreased value’ of degrees, is university still worth it? Here’s the answer.
Choosing whether to go to university is a massive decision. Ultimately it could come down to one simple question: is it worth getting a degree?
There are plenty of alternatives to university and it’s not the only route to a successful career. But, does that mean that it’s not worth going to university anymore? And what about the rest of the student experience? Is that enough to make uni a worthwhile investment of your time and money?
We asked students and graduates on Facebook for their thoughts, and have covered the main arguments for and against university being worth it. Read on for some help making up your mind.
Advantages of going to university
These are the reasons why going to university is worth it:
Graduates earn more money
“If you go to uni, you’ll get a higher-paying job”. It’s something we’ve all heard – so often, in fact, that you may even be wondering if it’s an urban myth.
The good news for students and graduates is that getting a degree usually does lead to a bigger pay cheque.
Studies, including this research by HESA (the Higher Education Statistics Agency) and the University of Warwick, have found that graduates have a higher average salary than those who didn’t go to uni.
University improves your job prospects
The 2008 financial crash. Brexit. Coronavirus. Students and graduates seeking work in the 21st Century have hardly been dealt the kindest of hands. Finding a decent job is arguably harder than ever.
One thing you can do to stand out from the competition is to get a degree.
Of course, some jobs absolutely require you to have a degree, like becoming a doctor. Even some of these unusual degrees are very useful for getting a job in the relevant field.
Opportunity to make professional connections
Your university lecturers won’t just be good teachers (hopefully). In many cases, they’ll also be respected names in their fields with great connections in the industry you’re aiming for.
Your lecturers should be happy to give you some career guidance. They could even put you in touch with other experienced people who can give you a few pointers.
Just show some passion and flair for whatever subject it is that you’re studying (and some good manners, of course). You’ll be surprised at just how many people are willing to help you.
Disadvantages of going to university
While there are many reasons why going to uni is a good thing, there are some arguments against it.
Here are some reasons why becoming a student may be a bad decision:
University can be expensive
Possibly the biggest argument against going to university is the apparent cost of studying. Accounting for both tuition fees and your Maintenance Loan, many students will graduate with debts of more than £50,000. This is a huge figure, no matter which way you look at it.
In particular, if you’re unsure about what you want to study, the financial side of things is worth considering. One person told us on Facebook:
A lot of people go without being certain of what they want to study and it can be a very expensive mistake.
Having a degree doesn’t guarantee you a job
As great as it is that uni is becoming more accessible, the one downside (if you can even call it that) is that more people have degrees. And if more people have degrees, simply having one no longer makes you stand out from the crowd like it used to.
So, with close to 50% of young people now going to university, it’s fair to say that getting a degree isn’t in itself a guarantee of getting a job.
That’s not to say that a degree has no worth at all. As we explained earlier, even job adverts that aren’t for graduate schemes will often ask for a degree. And it’s hard to deny that getting a first will impress employers, regardless of what subject it’s in.
University can be a stressful experience
The stereotypical university experience is one of drinking, partying and lie-ins. And yes, you’ll no doubt get your fill of all of these while you’re a student. But it’s not all fun and games.
As the old saying goes, nothing worth doing is ever easy. The same is true of getting a degree.
The style of learning required at university is far more independent than at school. To complete your studies, you’ll need to work hard (especially if you’re aiming for a first).
Is university worth it?
In our opinion, yes, it is worth going to university – but only if you think it’s the right decision for you.
There are some strong arguments both for and against university being worth the money. Ultimately, the verdict will differ from person to person.
If your dream job doesn’t require a degree and you’re confident you can make it without going to uni, then perhaps it isn’t the route for you. It’s also worth considering further education or vocational courses, which are just a couple of the alternatives to university.
Similarly, if you think you might struggle to make the leap to independent living and learning, going to university may not be the right path. At least not right now – remember that you can always go to university in a couple of years.
And remember, there’s no need to make up your mind straight away. You could even take a gap year and use the time to assess your options.
However, bearing in mind the personal, professional, and academic opportunities it can give you, even in the modern era, we really believe that university is worth it!