Getting a University Degree Worth it anymore?

University can be an amazing experience no matter what, but perhaps it’s not for everyone. Going to university is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life, and you will need to invest time, lots of money, and at least 3-4 years of studies- so it’s significant to think carefully before taking the plunge.

In this blog, we will examine the pros and cons of the university taking into consideration the work reality of 2023 and we will explore ways to make sure your time, money and effort are worth the try!

Getting a University Degree Worth it Anymore?
Is College/University degree worth it anymore?

So what’s the current situation in the UK?
Let’s have a look at the financial aspect of it…

More and more students decide to go to uni, to apply and take out a student loan in order to pay the tuition fees. It has been found that approximately 1.5 million students in England apply for a student loan.

Of course, the annual fee can differ significantly across different areas of the UK. For more details have a look below:

  • England: £9,250
  • Wales: £9,000
  • Although tuition is usually free in Scotland, there is a cap on the number of university places and a higher competition to get into uni.

For international students who decide to study in the UK, the cost varies and starts from £11,400 and this rose to as much as £32,081 depending on the course and location, while the student visa requirements in the UK currently require you to have at least £1,015 in your bank account every month outside of London. If you want to study in London, this amount increases to £1,265 a month.

For EU students the situation is more favourable for the moment being. Even though the UK has exited from the European Union and an increase in tuition fees was expected, the government has not increased this fee yet. The UK universities have decided to keep their tuition fees fixed at the same rate for the current academic year. It is also confirmed that the EU students who are enrolling at UK universities will remain eligible for the same fees and financial aid as the domestic students till the end of their course.

In addition to that, students need to consider the accommodation and living costs with the average rent for university-owned rooms being £6,227 per year, while for private rooms this goes up to £7,732, according to student housing charity Unipol (2021-2022) with Edinburgh and London to be the most expensive cities to study and live.

Studying at the university does cost an important amount of money but it might be one of the life-changing opportunities for some people! Now, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of studying at the university from a more global perspective to have a comprehensive perception of whether or not uni is for you!

Pros of Having a University Degree!

Employment rates are higher for graduate students

A smaller, but related benefit, is that the unemployment rate for graduate individuals tends to be lower than for non-graduates with working-age graduates and postgraduates continue to have higher employment rates than non-graduates in 2023.

For more details check below:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/graduate-labour-markets

So even though unemployment levels have risen in the last years, especially after covid-19, it has been observed that individuals who have attended a university or college are more likely to find a full-time job.

Graduates get paid more

Not only are graduates more employable but they earn more during their first work opportunity in comparison to non-graduates. Graduates are more likely to work in high-skilled posts than non-graduates. Therefore, allowing them to earn more as soon as they finish their degree. Researchers from HESA and the Department of Economics at Warwick University compared the pay of graduates with non-graduates. They found graduates born in 1970 who had a first 1 or upper-second-class degree 2:1 earned 20% more than non-graduates at age 26, compared to a graduate premium of 14% for those with a lower second-class degree or below.

What about personal development?

Getting into university will give you more than just a qualification for your CV. The whole experience of going away from home, living in an accommodation with new people, joining different societies and groups, partying in the club or knitting together, meeting people from other parts of the world, making new friends from different walks of life…all these experiences should not be underestimated. University is a life-changing experience! This is your first opportunity as an adult to learn how to keep academic and social life in balance and actually benefit each other. After all, as most of my students say, the first year at uni is often about building a social network and making friends for life!
Uni opens doors!

Some graduates will find jobs and others won’t, but the same is true for non-graduates. People succeed and fail for all sorts of different reasons. A degree is not an automatic passport to a job but it often helps to open doors.

In their effort to diminish the gap between the academic and work world, more and more often universities host careers fairs to give students the opportunity to meet employers targeting recent graduates. By talking to representatives from a range of recruiting organisations, students can find out more about potential career paths, or take the next step in preparing to apply for one of their roles. A broad range of employers attends these fairs, from international organizations to small and medium businesses, so individuals can compare what they have to offer.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to find the best opportunities possible!

Cons of Having a Uni Degree!

Not all roles need a degree!

As a general rule, as a university graduate, you’ll likely have better career prospects, higher pay, and a higher-skilled job, however not all careers need a degree.

According to studies several vocational certificates and diplomas have been approved to provide individuals with higher earnings than bachelor’s degrees especially when it comes to social science, liberal arts and education (Dally & Bengali, 2014).  Lots of recent employees I’ve met have shared with me that the training they received in the company was much more helpful than their degree.

Why going to university is not necessary anymore? Let’s have a look at some examples:

Digital marketer – Digital marketers help businesses reach a wider audience by promoting their products and services on digital channels. Many digital marketers acquire their skills through online courses and on-the-job training. Being media-savvy with strong research skills is essential to make your career thrive.

Vocational career – Vocational jobs can be found with or without a college degree, although additional education can lead to advancements or additional responsibilities. A vocational option is a skills-based career, such as working as an artisan, carpenter, mason, electrician and other trades and crafts.

Real estate – In most cases, you don’t require a college degree to become a real estate agent.  You may need to complete a sales course to learn sales practices and increase your chances of getting a job in real estate.

So, if going to university isn’t appealing to you, you may want to consider pursuing a job that pays well without a degree and yes that’s possible.

You may not gain technical skills

We need to acknowledge that specific degrees such as biology, medicine and veterinary science, prepare you for a particular career path. However, for different career options such as computer science, a bachelor might not provide the students with the necessary technical skills in order to apply for a well-paid job. Your degree may give you valuable transferable skills, but you will have to learn the technical skills you need to carry out your job. For this reason, it’s really important to make sure you read the course descriptions carefully and click through to university websites for further information before applying for a degree. In the description, you will find all the details for your course and the skills and roles you will be able to acquire after graduation.

Generally, based on current statistics, yes, the university is worth it in many aspects. If you have a university degree, you should have an easier time finding, keeping, and enjoying your career. However, as we saw below in some cases a bachelor’s degree might not be the best option. Hence, the ultimate decision really depends on your career choice. If you’ve weighed up the pros and cons of the university and decided it’s the right choice for you, make sure you use your time wisely. If you’re still unsure if uni is for you, consider talking with a career advisor. We can answer your questions, help you determine which university or alternative course might be right for you, and guide you towards a path that will lead you to the career of your dreams.

Have a good one!

Bibliography

Daly, M. C., & Bengali, L. (2014). Is it still worth going to college? FRBSF Economic Letter, 13(2014), 1-5.

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