There’s so much pressure these days from parents, teachers and society to go to university. They’ll tell you it’s the only way to have a successful future, but the truth is, that’s no longer accurate. Here’s some stuff you should know, or consider, before answering that tricky question, “should I go to University?”
1. Don’t Know What You Want to Do?
If you’ve been asking yourself the question “should I go to University” and aren’t sure of what to do, that’s okay, because neither do most 18 years old’s. Sure, taking a semester of classes at university might help you figure that out, but getting a job, saving money, having a gap year, travelling, volunteering, meeting new people or doing short courses could do the same thing.
2. Didn’t Get Accepted Into Your Dream Course?
If you didn’t get into the course you wanted, don’t panic! The best thing to do is get into the university system. Perhaps there’s a lower level degree you can start in, a foundation course, or even a TAFE course that will give you credit. There’s so many back doors and secret tunnels to use once you’re enrolled. It’s likely you can do a semester or a year in something else, and then providing your grades are high enough, transfer into your originally desired course!
3. Uni Costs Money
It’s worth considering if this course will score you a job in your ideal career, or if you’re just doing it because all your friends are. It’s easy to forget, but university is expensive. You can put the fees on your HECS Debt, but at some point, you WILL need to pay back the money. So, don’t go to university just for the sake of it, or because your parents are telling you to. And the fees are just the beginning, there’s the cost of textbooks, uniforms (Yes, some courses will require you to have lab coats or uniforms for placements), upfront amenities fees each semester, parking permits, specialised computer programs… the list goes on.
*FYI, if you’re not an Australian Citizen, you won’t be eligible for the HECS Debt system, which means paying thousands of dollars up front.
4. The Uni’s Will Try To Convince You To Go
At the end of the day, universities WANT you to attend because it means some serious $$$ for them. At Open Days or Information Evenings, they’ll focus on the cool stuff like the campus bar, sports teams, or the new computers you’ll have access to. Sure, that stuff IS great. But don’t be persuaded by it. You’re going to have a huge debt, so you want to make sure it was for something that lead to a great career, not just so you could enjoy a cheap drink between classes for four years.
5. A Uni Degree does NOT Guarantee A Job
As discussed in the point above, universities are a business nowadays. Unfortunately, this means they are prepared to take on more students than there are placements or jobs for. Even teaching and nursing students end up competing for jobs at the end of their degrees. Don’t think university is the easy, guaranteed way into a well-paying job. You’ll need to work hard, and stand out, so it’s best you’re passionate about whatever you study.
6. What’s The Best Path To The Career I Want?
Obviously there are some careers that will require you to graduate from a University, but others are more flexible. If you can you do a short online course and jump straight into the industry and work your way up, then why not? Perhaps a TAFE course, an internship or work experience might be enough. Do your research and figure out if University is your only option for the job you want. If not, then maybe the question of “should I go to University” is answered for you!
7. If You Do Go to Uni, You’re Not Locked In Forever
If you do start university, and decide that A) the course is not for you or B) the entire structure of study is not for you, that’s totally fine. Tonnes of students drop out within their first semester or first year for that exact reason. The worst thing you can do is stick with it for 4 years, wasting your time and money, with nothing to show for it at the end.
8. Talk To People Already At Uni
Connect online with people doing the course you’re thinking about through university Facebook groups. You can ask questions about the content or workload, and be informed straight from the source if this is something you would enjoy or find useful.
9. Are You Ready?
If you didn’t do so well in high school, maybe the question of “should I go to University” is weighing more on the no side. Uni will require more independent work, better time management, advanced research, self-discipline and a real commitment. If you didn’t master these skills in high school, you might struggle, or find yourself failing and having to repeat topics. Jumping into adulting to gain some general life experience and maturity, might be the best first step for you.
10. Be Brave
Whether university is your safety net, or your biggest fear, make choices based on what is going to be best for you and your future, not what seems easiest!
Did this help you with the question “should I go to University”? Let us know in the comment section below!
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22. Graduate. Vegan. Enjoys laughing, sleeping and a good binge (...on Netflix).