As thousands of students across the country weigh up the relative merits of university at the price of £9000 per year versus going straight into employment, we compare the major arguments on both sides of the debate.

Reasons to go to University

  • Going to university is considered to be a major life-shaping experience. Many people describe their time at university as “the best years of my life” and the experience offers an unrivalled opportunity to learn to live with your peers, to stand on your own two feet and to participate in a huge range of mind-broadening activities and societies. In terms of learning how to interact with others and making lifelong friends, it is an unmatchable experience.
  • It is often contacts made at university that provides many graduates with their early job opportunities – and enables them to network their way to higher positions later on.
  • Higher education provides academic and intellectual stimulation beyond anything provided by schools and A-levels. Some would argue that the opportunity university gives you to study and experience wider ideas and theories will never be matched by all the life-learning you might do later on. It is a great chance to learn a huge amount and to stimulate further intellectual development after school level.
  • A degree is arguably the most useful tool you can have when looking for a job in today’s incredibly competitive employment market. In spite of the debt you will accrue as a university student, the boost to your earnings should outweigh the expense in the long run.

Reasons to skip University

  • A degree under the coalition government’s new tuition fees scheme will cost £9000 per year at most of the top UK universities, so you will graduate with around £30,000 of student debt before even counting housing and living costs. With interest and inflation it has been calculated that some students may end up paying back £80,000 in real terms.
  • Having such major debts is predicted to make it hard for future graduates to gain credit, causing problems when they try to get on the housing ladder or take out a mortgage.
  • With the job market shifting and changing post-recession, many argue that employers are increasingly looking to new and innovative methods of finding staff, with experience and skills often valued over a university degree. It has been argued that apprenticeships in skilled labour jobs are a much better way to guarantee getting on the employment ladder than spending three years at university, especially as graduate unemployment has hit an all-time high.
  • Going straight into the job market gives you a three year head-start on your peers who go to university. If you can manage to get a good job straight out of school, you are likely to be promoted within three years and find yourself ahead of the competition and debt free!

Let us know your thoughts for and against university using the comments box below!