University, is it worth it? 14 replies

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Granyaski VIP Member

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#1 7 years ago

Yes it is the time for UK students to start applying for university again.

I didn't go this year as I refused to go to Manchester (too far for my liking and the course wasn't fantastic)

Anyway I have been debating lately whether to actually go, purely on life chances, screw the social side I already know that part. I want your experiences, is a degree in the UK really that worth while anymore? When I was younger the Labour party drilled it into my head that if you get a degree you get a good job but this is looking more and more unlikely.

Also with the fees rising is there much point? I know you don't have to pay it back until you earn a higher amount now but does it add up? As in will it cover it that well compared to before?

Should probably state that I would study either maths or enviromental geography. I'm not looking for advice based on what you know from me. I want your opinion on how uni has worked out for you or people you know etc.

Thanks.




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#2 7 years ago

Depends what you want to do with your life. I'd say, unless you want a job that the degree bears fairly directly upon - no, they're not.

There are graduate employment schemes out there that are designed to get you into managing supermarkets and the like. However, they're not the only way to make money. Even if you've got one your degree is just something to get your foot in the door. You can do just as well without a degree - and it won't cost you a small mortgage to do it.

The most valuable thing you can build coming out of school is work experience. Be prepared to move around to different jobs and try and work with as many people as you can, build up your contacts and references....




Huffardo

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29th November 2003

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#3 7 years ago

Yeah, I agree with Nem, even though education is free here, it usually doesn't make financial sense to live on loans for 5 to 8 years only to learn that you earn less with your Master's than someone who spent those years collecting work experience, references and money.

Mathematics might work out alright for you if you are sure studying it every day for years wouldn't kill your passion for it, but without any information about the contents of the degree environmental geography sounds like a one-way ticket to unemployment.




Granyaski VIP Member

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#4 7 years ago
Nemmerle;5578730 The most valuable thing you can build coming out of school is work experience. Be prepared to move around to different jobs and try and work with as many people as you can, build up your contacts and references....[/QUOTE] [QUOTE=Huffardo;5579291]Yeah, I agree with Nem, even though education is free here, it usually doesn't make financial sense to live on loans for 5 to 8 years only to learn that you earn less with your Master's than someone who spent those years collecting work experience, references and money.

Thats what I'm trying to do now. Work experience no matter how petty the job is as long as it is money and a fairly new area. I am finding that work experience is, as you guys said, more valuable. Why take somebody with a maths degree for an accounting job when somebody who has no degree but 6 years experience at another firm.

Mathematics might work out alright for you if you are sure studying it every day for years wouldn't kill your passion for it, but without any information about the contents of the degree environmental geography sounds like a one-way ticket to unemployment.

Yeah thats a large issue I see. I do like maths, I enjoy it and am good at it but doing JUST that subject for 3 years would get boring especially as it got harder and more compliacted I would just lose effort and interest.

Thank you for the responses by the way.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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7th December 2003

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#5 7 years ago

Difficult to say without knowing what kind of work you are looking for.

The lack of a degree might hold you back at some point, up to then you will earn more though.

I'd still recommend university. If you are disciplined enough to get the degree then it should pay off. As for the fees, if they are so bad in the UK just study in a country where universities are free or cheap. That will look good on your CV as well.

Granyaski;5579313 Yeah thats a large issue I see. I do like maths, I enjoy it and am good at it but doing JUST that subject for 3 years would get boring especially as it got harder and more compliacted I would just lose effort and interest.

From my uni experience I'd say that this is not how it works. Most subjects you can study at university offer so much material that you'd be hard-pressed to study everything within the time normally used to get a degree. Also, as things get more difficult the enjoyment of being able to solve the tasks increases.

I wouldn't worry about boredom but more about the ability to put in enough work.




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#6 7 years ago

Looking at this in terms of what will make you the most money is the wrong way to go about it. There are activities that make you happier and activities that make you sadder. Getting to the end of your life with an extra few grand isn't going to make you that much happier. Spending four years of your life doing something you find boring or hateful will, on the other hand, cost you a measure of your soul.

There are investments you can make with four years income and whatever the loans end up costing you that pay vastly better dividends than some random degree anyway. You can buy (with four years earnings + loan fees), and rent a flat out for £500 a month easily. Six thousand extra a year, Sixty thousand in ten years - Say you have another sixty years until you die - that's £360,000 over the course of a lifetime.

By contrast in 2007

[INDENT]It [was] found [that a university degree yielded] average additional earnings of £160,000 over a working life.[/INDENT] BBC NEWS | UK | Education | Graduates' earnings stay ahead

Or in other words almost a quarter of a million pounds less than what you could be doing with that money.

That said, it depends very much on the degree - someone who has an arts degree in 2003 made less than someone who just left school with A Levels.

BBC NEWS | UK | England | Arts degrees 'reduce earnings'

Whereas those with Law degrees made in 2007 on average 30% more than those who don't. (previous reference)

If you're interested in money don't just go to get 'A Degree.' It's stupid, and it will make you miserable if you're not doing it because you like the subject - and being sad isn't always something you can fix easily or swiftly. If you want money save up and invest wisely.

If on the other hand you want to be a doctor or a mathematician or a scientist - something like that? Go and have fun.

Going to university is always a decision you can make if you discover later in your life that you need to. You can even take a degree through a correspondence course. However, going to university is a decision you don't get to take back. What you do with four years of your life you cannot undo. Consequently, you should not do it lightly; and certainly not just because someone told you that it would give you more money (that you probably don't know how to make yourself happy with anyway.)




Flash525

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14th July 2004

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#7 7 years ago

I'd say no, especially with our current climate. The problem with University is you've got to put three or four years of your life in to a course, usually specific to a certain career.

I know a whole bunch of people that have been to university and can't get jobs based on their profession. Even with qualifications, you probably wont have enough practical experience for the companies that you'd be looking to start working into.

You'd probably do better to get a few more qualifications through evening courses at college, or maybe open-university courses through the internet or something. They're generally cheaper, not as time consuming, and you don't have to drop your life for several years whilst you complete a long-term course.




Crusader

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#8 7 years ago

Ive seen people who go to Uni who are wasters with no real work ethic Growing up it was drummed into people, that Uni was the way to success, In actual practise, ive found that guys I know who went onto do Apprenticeships have faired better than those I know who went Uni. Ive found also its "not what you know, its who you know" Most of the top jobs and high positions are gained by having a "silver spoon", not hard work, thats a myth apart from a few cases. Then again, I did an Apprentiship, so my view is either third party to Uni or an alternative to Uni. But not conclusive on Uni.




Pethegreat VIP Member

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#9 7 years ago

As an American I will tell you not to bother with college/university unless you can get a job directly related to your degree that pays enough so that you can work your loans down fairly fast. If you are going to be paying for most of it with your own money or loans then stick to engineering, chemistry, nursing, computer sci, and economics/finance. If are going to school for free or your parents have enough cash to blow on 4 years of school then you can go for whatever you want because you will not have pay anything back.

My roommate went to a private college for free because his parents worked for the college. He partied a good bit and got a degree in history. Now he does loan reviews. On the other hand I owe $60K for my engineering degree.




Guest

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#10 7 years ago

If you need a degree to do what you want to do, what makes you happy, then get one. If not, don't. Don't worry about the money too much. Obviously you need enough to live and screw around a bit, but money doesn't make people happy.

I started out wanting an engineering degree, but realized it was dreadfully boring to me, and not worth it, no matter how secure my financial situation would be down the road. I'm majoring in anthropology now, and will start out making less, but as long as I have food and shelter, I don't care. I'm extremely excited about it. There is a very good chance I'll get to go on an archaeological dig (arch is a subfield of anthro here in the states, for whatever reason) in Belize this summer, and possibly one in Turkey. Beats the hell out of what I was previously doing.

Do what you love, and don't stress about money too much.




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