FURTHER EDUCATION

“Is University Right For Me?” Helping Your Child Make the Right Decision

Contents

  1. Is your kid ready for university?
  2. Why go to university?
  3. Choosing universities
  4. Cons of attending universities
  5. What are apprenticeships?


Universities have long-been the most popular choice for students who have just graduated high school. Therefore, many parents encourage their children to start working on their applications for prestigious colleges during secondary school while preparing for their A-level examinations. 

However, in today's world, where the options and opportunities are limitless, the question arises: what are the pros and cons of university?

Keep on reading to gain a deep insight into the benefits of going to university and to help your child answer the burning questions - is university right for me?

 

Is your child ready for university?

 

University can be a must-have experience for some, while it might be entirely counterproductive for others. The benefits of attending university ultimately depend on your child and their current state and ambitions. 

To help your child make a decision, we have listed a few questions that may help them understand the benefits of university - 

  • What are your child’s interests and goals? 👨‍🎓

The sole factor in deciding whether to go to university could be the career path your kids wish to take. Do they have a fixed career path they want to pursue? Are they unsure about pursuing further education? Do they want to be an entrepreneur? Will a college degree help them achieve these dreams? What are the pros and cons of university education?

Opening up an honest conversation about this can help you identify your kids' needs and fulfill them accordingly. Being understanding about such huge life questions is a sign of being a responsible and mature parent. It can be a crucial step to help your child decide their future. 

  • Does your child want to take a gap year? 

Your child also has the choice of taking a gap year if they feel like they need more time to explore and better understand what they want for themselves.

Deciding whether or not to go to college is one of the most significant decisions children will make, and you need to be helpful and in sync with this decision. If they opt for a gap year, the best thing a parent can do is support their decision and provide further guidance to help them navigate their future better.

  • Is the cost worth it? 💶

This question is specifically directed towards the parents. Financing higher education can be steep and complex. Currently, in the UK, UK and EU students at English universities are required to pay up to £9,250 per year, excluding other expenses like housing and living expenses. Many student loan policies make education accessible; however, they might not be worth it if a university education isn't necessary for the field your kid aims to enter.

It is, therefore, necessary to first carefully analyse if you can afford it and then have a mature and open-minded talk with your child. College education can be extremely worth it as it yields high returns after graduation but can also be ultimately futile if your kids have other options in mind. 
  • Have you considered other options? 

University education definitely isn't the only means to get a job or be skilled at a specific task force. Many apprenticeship programs can train your children for a career path they want to pursue, with much lower tuition costs. In addition, these opportunities can help them learn the required skills in a shorter period and get started immediately after they graduate. 

Alternatives to a traditional college education may include:

Did you ask these questions to your kids but are still unsure about what to do? Is your child constantly asking you if university is right for me? Thinking of the pros and cons of university education? Keep reading to gain a deeper insight about what you can do to ensure you make the best decision for your family.

“The

Why go to university? 🎓

 

Going to university has been a long and competitive tradition. These three to four years of studying at a particular institution have the power to change your entire life. Below, we have listed some key factors that highlight the benefits of being a university student.

  • Becoming experts 

University is an excellent place to focus on your passion and interests. For example, let's assume that your kid is interested in Chemistry or Economics. One of the advantages of being a university student is the possibility of learning from professors who have actually had books published on the subject. Moreover, these professors may even be the country's renowned policymakers and award-winning scientists. This kind of mentorship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and should not be treated lightly.

Furthermore, the resources on campus, such as well-equipped laboratories, libraries, research centres, and networking events, can truly help your child achieve success in their domain by assisting them to publish research papers or work on global-scale projects. Therefore, a university is the best place to access invaluable academic resources.

  • Choosing a career path 👨‍⚕️

Some professions require students to have a certain degree or university experience before permitting them to work in the field. In fact, many jobs now have a minimum eligibility criterion of a Bachelor's/Undergraduate degree to even apply. 

Additionally, some career paths unequivocally require a university degree. For example, suppose your kid wants to be a doctor, engineer, vet, teacher, nurse, or other skilled professional. In that case, a university degree will help them gain the required skill set and gain the competence needed to enter these careers. 

So, does this mean that you are practically bound to send your kids to universities in today's economy? Read further to learn about what your decision should boil down to!
  • They can earn more! 💰

An investment in university education typically pays off. According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, graduates will be £130,000 better off on average by going to university even after taxes, student loan repayments, and foregone earnings are considered compared to high school graduates.

Having a university degree often validates one's skills; recommendations from professors and mentors strengthen their value in the job market. In addition, there are accessible Career Services facilities in many universities that guide students in applying to their first jobs and setting up a successful career for themselves. 

Therefore, you can view the tuition as a safe investment for your kids. While university is definitely expensive, remember the pros of attending university!  

  • They can diversify their learning 🤓

The modern world is complex and requires a myriad of skills and learnings to stand out. The advantages of attending university include the ability to further your learning.

Universities will help equip your children with many vital and transferable skills, which the kids can apply to any position they hold for the rest of their lives. 

Here are some transferable skills that most universities equip students with: 

  • Leadership skills
  • Research
  • Critical and analytical skills
  • The ability to introspect 
  • Communication 
  • Time management
  • Teamwork

For instance, if an employer is looking for a 'Project Management' role, your child can bring to the table the expertise in their area and these soft skills they learned in university. Moreover, competence in these soft skills tends to be an invaluable asset in a professional setting where people are constantly required to work collaboratively. 

Similarly, exposure to different fields and ideas can help them explore their options and priorities in life. Since universities provide numerous areas for children to take classes in, they can discover their likes and dislikes and have the flexibility to change their career paths according to where they find the most satisfaction.

  • Socialising and Networking 🤝

Networking is a must in today's world. From new jobs to partnerships and life-changing deals, networking truly helps students make the most out of all the resources available to them. 

Universities are modern networking hubs; they are the best places to socialise, connect, and build long-lasting bonds with your classmates, professors, and alumni. Moreover, the exposure to students from different backgrounds, cultures, cities, countries, and ideas is unparalleled. It can be a huge asset in the long run, providing your kids with a taste of the multiculturalism and diversity that the world has to offer. In addition, this exposure can help lead to multi-country deals and global scale projects. 

For example, suppose your kid wants to be an engineer. In that case, they can surround themselves with other engineering enthusiasts, encouraging each other to learn and grow. Moreover, they can connect with their professors and take part in numerous projects and research opportunities.

These professors can further recommend them to their connections, leading to high-paying jobs. Having friends outside their designated area can also be one of the other benefits of attending university. For instance, suppose your engineer child happens to have a great business idea. In that case, they can connect with a Business major with whom they already have an established relationship and work together to launch the concept.

  • Maturing and becoming independent ✊

Many kids do not get ample opportunities to become self-reliant and mature during their school years. They are often bound by tight study schedules at schools during the day and with homework at night. They are still going through the phase of growing up, and it can be hard for you to send your kids to the real world.

On the other hand, universities provide a much smoother transition for your kids. They help students mature while still ensuring their safety. Moreover, university is a safe place to explore.

Here, failures or experimentations do not result in severe consequences like losing a job or a personal financial crisis. Thus, students can take risks, secure in the knowledge of their safety net and transition to adulthood within the framework of classes and projects that colleges provide. 

Furthermore, many students live alone, either on or off-campus, once they are in university. This can be a significant change in their environment, which teaches them to be more responsible about themselves and their commitments. In addition, the experience of independence can help them become more strategic thinkers who are accountable for their plans and actions. 



Choosing universities 👀

 

If the answer to the question “is university right for me” is yes, it’s time to pick a university and a course. As much as it can be confusing to decide on going to university, it can be equally tough to decide which university to attend.

Suppose your kid has above average grades and a variety of extracurricular activities. In this case, they can apply for Russell Group universities, the top research universities in the UK, like the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford, etc. Such universities are well-reputed, highly prestigious, and provide world-class education.  

However, other cities or polytechnic universities are no less. Universities are dynamic and can provide unique facilities for the students. It is essential to research the university before applying. Here are some of the things that your child can explore about the university:

  • Tuition, scholarships, and financial aid
  • Location
  • Faculty
  • Student support
  • Ranking
  • College life

 

Cons of attending universities 👎

 

So what are the pros and cons of university education?

There are many benefits of university education, but university is not for everyone. In fact, formal education institutions are simply not a good fit for some students. Students can take many other paths, which can entirely eliminate the need for university. Therefore, if your child can relate to the following points, then maybe university isn't for them.

  • University is costly 

It can be argued that skill is what determines how much money one can make. Instead of university, your children can always specialise in specific crafts by themselves or through apprenticeship programs and compete in the job market, thus preventing them from taking out massive student loans only to end up with a large amount of debt.
  • Less technical skills

While university can load your kids with many transferable skills, they might lack prioritisation of the basic required skills in particular fields.

For example, if your kid is passionate about getting into the IT world, learning humanities subjects or non-practicable theories might not be in their best interests. Thus, even though they know these courses are of no value to them, college requirements might force them to attend these classes anyway. 

  • Less short-term earning opportunities ☹️

If your kid wants to earn as soon as possible, going to university might interfere with this goal.

The rigorous academics at most universities take up a large portion of their students’ time, leaving barely any time for students to simultaneously pursue employment opportunities.

On the other hand, options like apprenticeship programs allow students to earn and learn since they get direct exposure to their workplace. According to the Sutton Trust, those with a level 5 apprenticeship (or higher) are likely to earn more over their lifetime than graduates with a degree who go to non-prestigious universities.

Furthermore, while a university degree can help your kid become competent in the job market, it might not always guarantee them a job. If university isn't the right place for your kid to study their particular craft, this might be a huge disadvantage to them. 
  • Time invested ⌛

Three to four years can make a massive difference in a student's life. If your kid isn't interested in university or you feel that they’re better suited for other programs, going to university merely to follow the general trend can rob them of their valuable time.

Instead, they would be better off using this time to apply and work a full-time paid job that can help them gain more real-world experience.

 

What are apprenticeships? ⚒️🖥️

 

Your kid doesn't have to go through the typical university experience to succeed in their plans and ambitions. Instead, apprenticeship programs are rising and are becoming more and more popular.

An apprenticeship program helps your kid simultaneously obtain a formal qualification and real-time work experience. Signing up for an apprenticeship program means they become employees of the company and get paid as per normal standards. The company can help your kid directly by equipping them with all the necessary skills they require for the workforce. 

There are over 1500+ apprenticeship opportunities on the government website, and many more companies are offering them. Here are some popular fields suited for apprenticeships:

  • Banking/Finance
  • Accounting
  • IT & Consultancies
  • Engineering/Manufacturing
  • Science & Pharmaceuticals
  • Government & Not for Profit
  • Law / Solicitors

Going to university is a personal choice and is highly contingent on your kids' plans and interests. Whether they go to university or not, there are always ample opportunities to help them achieve their goals. 

No matter which path your kids choose to take, while they’re still in high school, a focus on learning and achieving good grades will undoubtedly help boost their career prospects regardless of whether they go to college. Hire one of our skilled GoStudent subject tutors to achieve that perfect grade for your child. You can even book a free trial session to experience our services.Start your kid’s learning journey

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