Hi to everyone reading and welcome to today's blog post. Today I’m not talking about our beloved apprenticeships for once, I’m talking to you all about the pros and cons of going to university. Shock horror, I know.
I’m currently an apprentice, however I also attended university for a year, so I feel like I’ve had enough experience to compare the two. Applying to university or even deciding if you want to go can be stressful because A) you have no idea what it’s like until you’ve been and B) it’s become apparent that lots of students are under pressure to apply when they’re not even sure themselves. Not cool! So, I thought I’d devise a handy blog post of all the things I found about my experience of a year at uni. Let’s get into it!
PROS OF UNIVERSITY:
The typical British student life is notoriously associated with clubbing and excessive drinking - although this may not be great for your liver, it’s undeniably fun, and a lot of adults think of their university days as the ‘best of their life’. If you’re not the party type, or have specific hobbies or interests, universities will have tonnes of societies, clubs and sports you can join, and there will be something for everyone. You have a lot of free time to socialise and make new friends, especially during freshers week.
Despite the below points you’re about to read, a lot of young people enjoy the freedom and independence that a student loan gives them. Everyone gets different loans based on their parents income (which I think is a bit ridic) so some are much better off than others. But, for someone that hasn’t had their own money before, a student loan can seem like a whole new world. Just don’t blow it all within 2 days on jagerbombs in your student union bar - you have been warned.
Lots of Time Off
Personally, at university I saw this as a big disadvantage. BUT, I’ll include it as a pro, because a lot of people I know love it. Essentially, you get a hell of a lot of time off, which is great if you like to plan lots of holidays/days out/trips etc. This does differ for different courses, but at my university we had around 6 months off a year.
You’re Treated as an Adult
It's undeniable that there’s a big jump between sixth-form and university - I really noticed a difference in the way you’re treated. You’re no longer treated as a child being told what to do by your teacher - you’re spoken to like an adult and responsible for managing yourself, which is a welcome change.
CONS OF UNIVERSITY:
It’s no secret that money is an issue for pretty much all students; it goes without saying that it can be a real struggle battling with your loan to have enough money for rent, food, drink, transport and living a decent social life. Get this: my loan didn’t even cover my rent for university halls in my first year *screams* and despite having a part-time job on top of that, dolla was tight. If you’re going to university, you just have to accept you’re not going to be living that champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget. Actually, more like a tap water budget.
Another thing that springs into mind regarding university is unfortunately debt. With university fees at an all-time high of £9,250 per year, and most students needing to carry out a maintenance loan, the average debt of a graduate is £50,000. To put it lightly, that is a colossal amount, and can easily put people off going to university full stop.
Lack of Work Experience
Unless you’re on a course with a work placement year, most graduates unfortunately leave university with little to none real work experience and can find it hard to get into the world of work. It's also becoming apparent that employers are getting graduates on board who lack vital skills - simply because university often doesn't supply them.
Too Much Time Off?!
This does differ from course to course, but at my university, we were essentially only in for half the year. 1 month off for Easter, 1 month off for Christmas, 2 weeks for ‘reading’ and a 4 month summer was WAY too much - nobody needs that much time off, and I personally found it unnecessary and lazy.
This point is relevant to those moving away from home for university: it’s undeniable that despite the fun parts, uni can be isolating and lonely, and it’s not unusual for people to get homesick. Also, the independence factor can be a shock to the system of some: you haven’t got your parents to wash your clothes and cook dinner every night any more!
So, that pretty much sums up my experiences of universities many pros and cons. If you’d like to learn more about how my apprenticeship experience has fared compared to university, click here and here to find out.
Remember, you can still technically go to university via an apprenticeship route - degree apprenticeships are on the rise day by day! Want to know more about how you can gain a degree for free? Click here.
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