Sobhan Mohmand, Career Expert 12 Apr 2021
The time has come to make a big decision that will affect the rest of your life. You are about to complete your college studies; so what do you do next? What are your options?
“I want to go to university!” I hear you shout.
That is absolutely fine.
However, going to university is not your only option, and you should spend some time exploring your options before you make the final decision.
Option 1: Go to Uni!
Going to university is one the most popular options for students who complete their A-Levels or BTECs. However, studying at University is not suitable for everyone.
Factors that will influence this decision:
– Whether your GCSEs and A-Levels results meet the entry requirements;
– What you are really passionate about; and;
– Where you want to be in your career.
- Better jobs: There are many professional jobs that are only available to those who have a degree.
- Higher pay: Graduates have higher salaries than non-graduates and earn £500,000 more over an average working life.
- Gaining knowledge and skills: Studying at degree-level for a number of years develops transferable skills that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
- Debt: Over the past few years, tuition fees for most degree courses have risen to £9,000 per year and beyond. This means that you will be paying £21,000 for a three-year course, not including accommodation and living costs.
- 3-5 years of more studying: If you didn’t enjoy studying at school and college, the chances are that you may not be keen on studying for another 3-5 years at a higher level. Even if you had great grades and you enjoyed studying, you may not be willing to spend so many more years in education.
Option 2: Find a job!
The fact is that the majority of jobs do not require a degree. The myth that you need to go to university to find a decent job is false. You can choose from thousands of entry-level jobs and work your way up the career ladder.
- No need to study 3-5 years at the University
- Securing a job, gaining work experience and earning a salary
- Not in huge debts that come with getting a degree
Disadvantages of going straight into work after college:
- Lower pay both in the short-term and long-term compared to graduates
- Higher levels of unemployment and competition
- Not skilled/specialised for many professional jobs
Option 3: Take a gap year!
If the above 2 options aren’t for you, there is a third option to take a gap year!
Contrary to popular belief, a gap year doesn’t mean you’re doing nothing or relaxing for a year. There are perfectly legitimate reasons for taking a gap year:
- Travelling:You may also have wanted to travel the world and experience new cultures before you get stuck in full-time employment or study.
- Volunteering: You could decide to volunteer and support causes that you are passionate about, this will not only give you valuable work experience but it will also develop your communications and interpersonal skills.
- Attending training courses: You could also attend part-time training courses to improve your skills and boost your confidence.
- Becoming an entrepreneur: You could start your own small business or test out new business ideas to see whether you can make a living working for yourself.
- Reflect on your options: It may be that you’re just not ready to make the big decision of whether you’d want to go to University or get a job. A gap year also provides you with extra time to ponder over year options and make the decision that is right for you.
- If you do not utilise your time properly, you risk wasting a year
- You need to be able to justify this gap to prospective employers