Where once upon a time it was the space of the 18-23-year-olds, or slightly older academics working on PhDs and masters that is no longer the case. And, it has never been more accessible and more practical just to start a university course, as it is now. Each and every semester sees more people applying for their dream course, and while it’s true that not everyone who goes to university will get a full-time job in the area they have chosen to study, that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be knowledgeable in the field that you wish. There are many reasons to head back to university or to start a new course, let’s take a look at a few.
When we are in school, we are often plunged into making a very big decision with very little knowledge. We choose geography or history or even biology for our GCSEs, and then naturally the A-level follow-on. All in a bid to hopefully secure space on the university course that we have chosen. Except this is our 16year old self-making this decision before you’re really sure who you are and what it is you want to do. This is a pro point for going back to university, when you know who you are, what your skills are, what you are interested in, and even your learning style.
One of the sweet joys of going to university is the fact that it is the very first time school leavers have more control and more say over how and when they learn. While you should attend most lectures, and often that can contribute to passing your course, you have more autonomy. For example, if you are ill, if you have visitors, or if you have work commitments your studies can be as flexible as you need them to be. The fact is when you are on a university course the likelihood is because you are interested in that area and would wish to complete the course.
Very often you will find most jobs require you to have some sort of degree, even if that degree is not used directly. Finding a well paid steady job is already very difficult, so it pays to have the backup of a good education. There will always be a high need for highly educated people. Many sectors are slightly deprived of people with the right skills, and it just so happens university (regardless of the course you choose) does provide you with a multitude of skills from timekeeping, people management, team working, and even accounting (managing that student loan and overdraft pays off in the end).
University also happens to be one of the most enjoyable times of your life. Between freshers week, themed balls, student unions, student bars and the whole diverse range of people the chances are you will never be as popular or as busy as you are now while in university. There are very few times in life that are as fun as the student lifestyle. While indeed the wages are poor if you happen to have a job, and the student loan likely does not pay your rent it is still a lot of fun. Early mornings, the very late nights, the student meal deals and a very cheap bar all make for an incredible few years. Provided you balance the free time with the work time.
You might find that while you are at university, you turn into a completely different person. A person you did not know you had in you. Upon leaving college or sixth form, you might find yourself slightly nervous and not very outgoing. However, it is often the case that you are free to indulge anything that you like. Many universities have a student newspaper, various societies such as photography, history, media, French and so many more. So if you have chosen to take a degree in say Biology or Business Management (click here information about courses), nothing is stopping you indulging your interests and joining your local Dungeons & Dragons group if you want to. You do have to be careful that you don’t sign up to much and spread yourself too thinly. Ultimately use the first few months to try on a few new hats, you might just find that you have the skills for editing and a nose for a good story – you realize that the biology course is not for you- however media writing or journalism is.
In one of the above paragraphs, we spoke about how you are expected to choose a university course before you really know who you are. That might account for why a large majority of students who leave, tend to drop out or swap courses in the first semester. Seeking advice from mentors and counselors early on will ensure you do not have to leave. Universities are very accommodating and understand that real life happens. Becoming responsible for your own education is very important. This will teach you a lot about yourself, knowing when to seek help, knowing how to take care of mental-health, Learning to create a balance in your life. Staying up till dawn talking to your new roommates, while trying new foods in a new city enables you to grow as a person and also be mindful of that growth.
While there is a lot to be said for leaving school and heading straight to university it is understandable that in this economic climate quite often people are tempted to find work at age 16. Much of the time this is encouraged by family and friends who perhaps do not see the benefits in higher education. However, the long-term effects of going to university are that you’re more likely to start on a slightly higher graduate wage. The average graduate in 2013 saw a 4% increase in what graduates were earning in 2009. It is much easier to climb the career ladder and ask for higher pay when your education displays that you have knowledge in this sector. On the flip-side, there are hundreds of applicants applying for the same position. So you will have to rely on a mixture of your degree, your extracurricular activities, and having a winning personality during interviews.
Every single year there are new and improved courses in every university around the globe. So perhaps five or 10 years ago the course of your dreams wasn’t available, it might just be now. If you were one of the school leavers, who went straight to work or perhaps you did the start of a course and never finished, it could just be your time is now. Although the majority of freshers are likely to be directly from school, there are more adult learners than ever. Most universities accept a percentage of applications from mature students. Sometimes the mature students have done an access course, and sometimes not. Very often the university conducts an interview with the adult students to assess whether they have some of the skills or very keen interest in their degree of choice. It is understood that most older students are applying to university to make advancements in their current role or a fresh start. Both of which indicate that the student will study and make the best of this course. Having mature students in classes often helps out the new school leavers by having someone in between them and the faculty to talk to.
Something very interesting about going to University is the confidence that it gives people. The combination of independence, the autonomous learning, meeting like-minded people, and in-depth knowledge gained during study usually culminates in boosting confidence. That is not to say this will be plain sailing, and simply you may find that you need extra support to finish your course, however, as stated above university is well equipped to deal with this. This confidence can also be attributed to the fact there when we have time and space we do tend to grow as people and find new groups of friends to do it with.
Sometimes we can find ourselves in the same town or city for many years. Seeing the same faces walking along the same streets and doing the very same thing. And while there might be a comfort in familiar surroundings and familiar faces, sometimes this can get boring. It is not always easy to up and leave our current location, and sometimes it is even harder to leave people. Moving to an entirely new area for the university could be the start of a new adventure new faces and a new city. Some students do choose to stay close to home as possible to save on accommodation costs. However, if you are in need of a little adventure perhaps the new university course in a new city is precisely what you need. And let’s not forget about brilliant opportunities that universities provide like studying abroad for a year or more.
If you have been toying with the idea of trying university then perhaps you should take the leap. After all, life is too short to always wonder who you could’ve been.