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UK now a ‘Graduate Economy’

The OECD has published its annual ‘Society at a Glance’ report. In it they report that the UK has now become a graduate economy. That is, people of working age in the UK are now more likely to have a degree than to have just left school with lower-level qualifications such as A-levels.

The actual numbers are:

People with degrees – 41%
People with GCSEs or A-levels – 37%
People with no qualifications – 22%

Strictly speaking, there’s still a greater proportion of people without degrees than those with, so its not clear to us that this is suddenly a ‘graduate economy’. Nevertheless, it does mean the UK has the highest proportion of adults with graduate-level qualifications in the European Union. Indeed, there are only a handful of countries with a higher proportion of graduates in the workforce and is only surpassed by a handful of countries including South Korea and Japan.

Politicians love statistics like these that make good headlines and seemingly validate their education policies. But dig deeper and the picture isn’t quite so rosy. The ‘Society at a Glance’ report also highlights a disparity between the rising graduate numbers and weaknesses in basic skills such as reading and writing.

“On the one hand in the UK you can say qualification levels have risen enormously, lots more people are getting tertiary qualifications, university degrees, but actually not all of that is visible in better skills,” said the OECD’s director of education, Andreas Schleicher. “Quality and degrees do not always align.”

Only a quarter of UK graduates achieved the top level of literacy in tests, compared with over a third in Sweden, the Netherlands, Japan and Finland. Mr Schleicher said there was “a lot of variability in the skills” of these UK graduates, with some not significantly better than school leavers.

Finally, while a graduate economy might seem to be an incontrovertibly good thing, it can seriously unbalance the employment market. South Korea, where around 80% of school leavers go to University, perhaps not surprisingly, also has the world’s highest levels of graduate unemployment.

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PhD help and advice

Are you one of the 100s of students in universities up and down the UK who are just embarking on a PhD? Are you you one of the many who have gone straight from a taught course and thrown into a research-based project at the deep end?

It’s still commonplace in the UK to expect students to miraculously just know what getting a PhD entails? There is precious little support within universities for the practical matters – supervisors are interested in the academic minutiae, but little else.

One book should be at the top of your reading list:

How to get a PhD: a handbook for students and their supervisors by Estelle Morris (Available from Amazon).

It’s full of fantastic advice on what it really takes to get your PhD – what you need to do, and to deliver. There isn’t a better overview available anywhere.

We can also help point you in the right direction. For example, if you don’t know what a literature review is, or how to write one, we can help! Take a look at our PhD writing services We have writers who’ve been through the process, and have helped countless others on their way to doctoral success, so do come and talk to us.

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How do you want to buy your essays?

At Oxbridge Essays we’ve always taken a very traditional line when it comes to our customers. Rather like a bespoke tailor, we provide a high quality, ‘made-to-measure’ product, and the customer pays for that product. It’s quite simple really.

The image of a bespoke tailor was deliberately quaint – one immediately thinks of a late-Victorian era boutique with wood-panelled walls and copperplate sign writing, the kind that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Dickensian London but which amazingly still seem to exist in corners of cathedral cities and university towns today. Of course, we’re not nearly so ‘fuddy-duddy’. After all, we’re an Internet business.

But the world is always changing, and today’s consumers expect to deal with service providers in different ways. Twice in the last couple of weeks I’ve been asked if we offer ways to ‘manage payments’ or ‘credit facilities’, so it’s clearly something we need to think about. The summer recess is a good a time as any to reflect on the service we provide and how our customers engage with us.

How would you like to buy your essays?

Some of the ideas mooted have included:

Bulk buy discounts
Would you like to buy your essays in bulk? For example, buy five essays and get a discounted price on them all, or buy nine essays and get the tenth free. You wouldn’t need to specify the topics and titles up front – just the word count, and target grade.

Subscription service
This one took us a bit by surprise. It’s become fashionable to turn things that you would previously have bought into ‘services’ that you subscribe to – Microsoft’s ‘Office’ software, for example. The idea would be that you pay a set monthly fee, and then could avail yourself of any number of essays over the subscription period up to a given word count. There’d one price for 10,000 words per year, another price for 20,000 and so on. You wouldn’t have to worry about paying for individual pieces of work – everything would be covered by your monthly direct debit or credit card payment.

We’re not saying we’re definitely going to do any of these things. We’re merely asking you the questions: how would you like to buy your essays? What kind of model works for you? Are there other models that we haven’t thought of?

Of course, it goes without saying that anything we do in relation to giving new ways for you to buy your essays from us is not going to have any material impact on the service we provide. The quality of our custom essays, model exam answers, and academic research, will always remain our number one priority whatever new-fangled payment models we employ.

Some traditional values will simply never go out of fashion.

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A fifth of students believe that teaching standards at their university are poor

A fifth of students believe that teaching standards at their university are poor, according to research.

A survey of 3,400 undergraduates by the website Student Hut found that 19.6 per are unimpressed by lectures and seminars.

Some 20.8 per cent believe that levels of support available outside of timetables sessions was lacking, it emerged.
Dan Lever, founder of Student Hut, which is a Trip Advisor-style website enabling students to rate their degree, said many students “feel that their experiences are not living up to the expectations they were sold in brochures”.

This corroborates our own findings about what students think of the quality of their tuition, and further validates our reason for being, and the services we offer. However bad the teaching might be at their universities, students can always come to us for advice and help with their university work, and can buy exemplary model essays which set the tone for the work they need to produce themselves.

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University often ‘wasted on teenagers’, says UCAS chief

Mary Curnock Cook, chief executive of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), says that university is sometimes “wasted on the young” because many school leavers end up choosing the wrong degree course.

Too many teenagers, particularly those from middle-class backgrounds, seem to “sleepwalk” into university due to expectations from their parents, teachers and friends. It’s seen to be the “done thing” so sure enough, they end up doing it – and often without giving it proper thought.

In a speech to head teachers Mary Curnock Cook said the penalties for students who choose the wrong course can be severe. Many drop out or don’t do as well as they could. And all are saddled with large debts.

The comments – to a meeting of the International Baccalaureate Schools and Colleges Association in London – follow the publication of figures showing that more than 26,000 students dropped out of university last year.

Around one-in-15 undergraduates – 6.7 per cent – failed to complete the first year of their degree, while many more were forced to transfer to another course or university.

On the subject of debt and the cost of university fees, Mrs Curnock Cook said that the introduction of higher tuition fees of up to £9,000 was having a positive effect as it forced more 18 and 19-year-olds to “pause for thought” before making applications. No doubt it is also giving lots of middle class parents a similar reason to question whether university should be the default path immediately after leaving school.

The UCAS chief (who didn’t go to university until her 40s) said more school leavers should consider deferring a degree until their 20s or 30s to ensure they make the right decision. Lots of universities report that older, more mature students generally get better results too.

Of course, at whatever age a student decides to go to university, Oxbridge Essays provides a unique supporting role in helping students to make the most of their time, and to maximise their potential.

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