"Should I Go to University?"

Hands up. 

Who's currently in the process of applying to university at the moment, or at least considering it?

*I'm expecting many virtual hands being raised at this point.*

University has long been established as the 'natural' path to take after college/6th forms

But why?

Because it "will most likely allow you to get a well paid job and move up the career ladder, make friends and experience independence for the first time", say most people. 

Whilst many are still keen on choosing this route, more and more are questioning it as the cost of higher education rises (any sufferers of the x3 increase in UK tuition fees around?). 

This second group includes myself.

Whilst searching for pros and cons about going to uni, I came across an interesting debate on the Quora forum about it. 

A guy who was frustrated with uni was asking for advice about whether he should drop out, which led to some lively and insightful debates about the value of higher education.

I decided to create this post to highlight and summarise some of the most interesting arguments that were mentioned in favour of both sides, in order to help you decide if you're still on the fence about going to university.

One observation that I thought would be useful to mention is that a lot of the anti-uni arguments came from people who were strongly independent learners, entrepreneurial, go-getters and didn't mind taking risks. So perhaps if you see yourself as having those characteristics, choosing uni may be more suited to others than you? (thoughts?)

Ps. The bits in pink are not direct quotes (unlike the rest of the post). They were written by me to summarise people's arguments - good for skimmers. 

Also, not all of the views in this post are ones that I agree with and endorse. But all of them add something interesting to the debate, so they were included even if I didn't personally agree with them.

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'Don't bother with university. It's not worth it':

  • 'School is designed to increase the learning of the 'average' student. If you think you can learn more outside of the class and at a quicker pace, then don't go' - Joey Flores

Joey Flores CEO of EarBits and High School dropout.

School is supposed to be about learning, with a certification at the end that you have learned what you were supposed to.  If you're not learning, or if you are learning at a pace that is slower than what you could do on your own or in the job force, school is a painful and time wasting experience.  

You will probably learn a lot more by going aggressively after something else, or even taking your time and just trying jobs you find interesting, than you will in a school whose pace is designed for the "average" student.  

If you're able to learn more on your own, it just comes down to proving that you are an educated and qualified person for the things that you want to do.  In my opinion, someone like you, who seems very intelligent, will figure out how to do that.

One thing that really helped me was getting sales experience.  

If you're smart and determined, and say for example you want the Quora job, sales experience will teach you how to pitch yourself for something that is just out of reach and give you the confidence to close opportunities like that.  

I have always been able to earn my way into good opportunities by promising a lot and delivering what I say I will.  

If you think you're that kind of person, stop wasting your time with something that is designed for people who aren't.

  • 'Experience trumps university qualifications' - Seb Paquet

Seb PaquetAcademic.

If you're indeed really good, your portfolio and your network of endorsements will make a much stronger case for your ability than your university credentials.

The best way to build those is to rub elbows with the best software developers and work on kickass projects. I see two main ways of doing this: getting hired at a company that has them, and getting involved in open source projects or communities that have them. Or if you're lucky you can perhaps do both at the same time!

  • 'The university experience in summary: 1) it's full of people telling you what information and ideas are 'right'. 2) You spend your time simply regurgitating what your professors tell you will be in the exams.' - George Mortimer

George MortimerCollege/uni dropout and blogger.

As the year went on I tossed around the idea of dropping out.  It motivated me.  I realized going to college was slowly turning me into everybody else, but I wanted to be different.  At class I wrote down what the professors told me what was right (its funny taking history and archaeology classes when your professor acts like they were there and they KNOW what happened) and on the side I wrote what I disagreed with and I would research it later.

I learned that I did not want to go through life letting someone else decide what was right and wrong.  I had made the decision that as the year ended I was going to drop out, but I wasn't going to screw myself over in case later in life I decided to go back.

That's exactly what I did.  I spent the year regurgitating what my professors uttered to me, and I made the Dean's List both semesters.  No way in hell did I ever go to those stupid Dean's list dinners, where 'smart' kids get to act like they are better, celebrating with a meal of 'fancy cafeteria food'.

I'm not sure how many Dean's list dropouts are out there, but I haven't met one yet.  But damn, does it feel good to be one.

That's who I am, a dropout, and I own it.  After leaving school I backpacked Mexico and Central America for 4 months, before coming home to where I am now starting my own online business.

I have no experience, no degree, and I'm extremely in debt.  I'm destined to fail, and that's why I'm going to succeed.

(Props to you for dropping out and starting your own business.  It takes a lot of guts to do what everyone else seems as out of the norm.  I hope that you don't regret a single decision you ever made.)

  • '1) You'll be forced to learn things on the curriculum that bore you. 2) There are lots of valuable life skills that uni can't teach you. 3) It's freakin' expensive. Plus you can gain networking and socialising skills without uni.' - James Altucher

James Altucher Blogger, author and a promoter of 'unschooling'.
Let's cut to the chase: Yes. Drop out.

College is horrible.

A) you only learn things when you love them. Since college, like every crap school, forces you to take a "curriculum", how likely is it that you will love everything in the curriculum. Probably close to 0%.

B) If you don't learn something, but you are forced to take classes, tests, and homework in it, then you will learn one thing: you will learn to hate. That's not fun.

C) you learn things when you love it, immerse yourself into it, and gain practical experience while at the same time reading eveything you know on the topic. Do you need a college campus for that?

D) College costs money. And given that you will  hate most of it, why pay money for something you mostly hate.

E) Almost every college student graduates with debt that they don't realize they will not be able to pay back. 50%+ of college graduates remain unemployed or underemployed well into their 20s and now, even into their 30s. I'm on the board of directors of a billion revs temp-staffing company. Believe me when I say, we are like a violent army of unhappy college grads.

F) The government backs your student loans when you are 18. But then seizes your assets when you're 22 and can't pay back. And bankruptcy doesn't get rid of it. Good luck fighting Uncle Sam.

G) There's one basic reason for college: so young men don't commit violent crimes. When colleges first appeared on the scene 600 years ago there were guards all around the "campus".....Facing in. To prevent the violent young men from leaving. It was a prison then and it's a prison now.

H) There's a bogus statistic that someone with a college degree makes $700,000 more than their peers without degrees (Georgetown University study). This study fails Statistics 101 by not taking into account Selection Bias. For instance, normalizing across the income levels of parents.

I) College doesn't teach these basic skills (there are exceptions but in general): creativity, salesmanship, negotiation, leadership, dealing with failure. It just so happens these are the main critical skills for success in life. So you just wasted five years (oh yeah, the average duration of a college student is five years. Not four)

J) Why not get a five year head start on your loser peers who will end up $200k in debt. Here's a plan: do whatever you want for one year (it will undoubtedly cost less than college) and then start any kind of business on the planet. It doesn't even matter if you fail. You will learn the basic skills faster than your loser peers who are trapped learning things they hate.

K) College supposedly teaches social skills. You get to join fraternities and have lots of parties. Well, figure out a way to socialize without that. It's a lot of fun. Everything is fun at 19. You won't miss out.

I) College doesn't really build your network. Your network gets built in the real world when you actually deliver value for the people you work with.

My own story in a few sentences. I went to a great school for Computer Science. Got good grades. Went to a great graduate school. Then got a job as a programmer at HBO.

My programming was so AWFUL they had to send me to remedial classes for two months at AT&T in order to get me even partially up to speed. The only reason they didn't fire me outright was because I was giving chess lessons to my boss. A skill I learned in elementary school.

  • 'Why not start a company instead of going down the traditional path?' - Landon Swan

Landon Swan
College/uni dropout and entrepreneur.
I dropped out of undergrad for the same reasons you listed. I started an online business with my brother, who dropped out of law school for the same reasons.

7 years later, we sold that business for 7 figures. I did go back just to get my degree, but just for show. 

In our 2nd business, we hired a kid who was in college. He was a heck of a coder. Over the next year we gave him a raise and stock options. We sold that company, and the buyers gave him a bonus and another raise. He has now dropped out and is making more than any of his former co-eds could hope. 

You MUST do what makes you happy. Not only will you be happy, but you will be more effective. You're obvously not going to do anything stupid and end up homeless. Remember, right now your income is NEGATIVE. You're paying to be in school and not learn and be unhappy. If you drop out and start a lean company, your monthly income goes up (from big negative to zero or small negative).

Good luck, but you don't need it. You will succeed.

  • 'Many students will do a better job of learning by doing it themselves, rather than relying on a uni to learn. Also, these institutions don't prepare people for today's rapidly changing job market. If you do decide not to go, here's some suggestions on how to make the best use of your time' - Dale Stephens

Dale J. Stephens, Founder of uncollege.org, winner of a Thiel Fellowship place and author.

I dropped out of school because I felt I could learn more on my own. Now, I own my own company and I’m helping others take control of their education. I’m glad I dropped out, because if I hadn’t I would still be in college probably feeling like everything I was doing was falling short of my expectations. 

School fails at preparing students for the 21st century job market and our global economy. Half of college graduates are un- or underemployed. It’s not worth the amount of debt you take on to both be miserable while you’re a student and to then have the possibility of being SOL once you graduate. 

If you think you can do a better job of giving yourself an education than your college can, I encourage you to drop out. In the end, school just doesn’t work for a lot of people, and if you aren’t learning anything, it probably isn’t for you.

If you’re going to drop out of school, make sure you have a plan:

  • Find a mentor

    1. Talk to people in the field you want to go into and seek out someone you think could help you. Find someone who knows a lot, but don’t expect someone at the top of the industry to give you the time of day. Be realistic. Find someone who is just a bit farther up than you. They can help you the best because they still remember what it’s like to be in your position. They are more likely to empathize with you and be able to help you where you are. 

    2. Focus on what you can do to help that person, not what you can get from them. Ask questions about what you can do for them. Remember, most people are pretty busy.

    3. Be mindful and respectful of their time: Don’t waste their time with stupid or vague questions, make sure you know what you’re talking about before you meet with this person

    4. Find someone who will challenge you and stretch you out of your comfort zone. This person will help you grow and become someone you never thought you could. They should scare you sometimes, they should challenge you and your expectations of what it is you can do.

    • Keep yourself accountable 

    1. Make attainable goals

    2. Find an accountability buddy, this can be a friend or mentor. This person has to be someone who has the time to check in with you and give you feedback. They also have to be someone who can give good advice as to how you can make goals more attainable and/or get your goals completed. But remember: this is on you, not them, to make it happen. 

    3. Tell them your goals and check in at the end of the week to tell them how you did. Be honest. Don’t try to look like you have your shit together if you don’t. That will only hurt you in the end.

    • Have a backup plan

    1. Think about what you’ll do if this plan fails. Will you go back to school? Maybe get a job in a different industry? This is something to consider heavily before dropping out. 

    2. Talk to someone about your plan. Get suggestions for backup plans. See what other people are doing and apply that to your own life.

    3. Make your backup plan sturdy. Put time and effort into it. Don’t have some vague plan in the back of your mind, but something actionable that you could start quickly if everything went south.

    • Set clear expectations for yourself

    1. If you don’t have clear expectations, you will fail. You’ll end up getting nothing done and wasting a lot of time. If you take a while to set clear expectations of what you want to do, how and where you want to end up, you’ll save a lot of time and frustration in the long run.

    2. Every day, have expectations for yourself. Write a to-do list. Set aside times to do the things you put on that list. After you drop out of school, you might just want to drift for a while. But don’t stay in that mindset. Now is the time to start really educating yourself and getting a start on your career. That starts with little steps, like giving yourself goals every day and every week and working towards those goals.

    • Learn a skill

    1. Learning a skill is more useful than memorizing 18th century poetry and the other things you avoid by dropping out of college. Skills can be things you eventually get paid for, or just something you really enjoy doing. And, if you end up trying a skill and not liking it, you don’t have to continue. You also learned something valuable about yourself: what you don’t like. This can help you narrow down what you want to do for a future career. 

    2. A skill can be anything, don’t narrow yourself to thinking only things like carpentry and coding are skills. There are all kinds of skills, including playing a musical instrument, writing, videography, marketing, and cooking. You can get paid for all of these things. Sure, some will be harder paths, but they can all be useful skills to pick up. 

    3. The more skills you have, the more useful you are to a future employer. It also shows that you’re flexible and can learn quickly, which is invaluable on the job. 

    'Actually, university is a valuable experience':

    • 'Uni teaches people how to communicate well, it broadens their thinking and exposes them to a diverse range of people. Going to uni also shows your commitment and hard working side, and the qualification at the end still has value in the world' - David Rose

    David S. Rose Entrepreneur and investor with a doctorate degree in Engineering.
    In response to a similar question about dropping out I noted that, as an active angel investor and venture capitalist, I have a simple policy of not investing in dropouts. Period. This stirred up a fair bit of vituperation, but also prompted a number of polite, private messages to me from young entrepreneurs asking why I felt this way. Here is how I responded:

    Why I do not believe it is in your best interest to drop out of college, and why I would decide not to take the risk of investing in you if you do (regardless of the fact that Jobs, Gates and Zuckerberg dropped out):

    If your goal in life is to spend your working career in a specific, functional job, such as being a plumber or software coder or auto mechanic, then vocational school and a basic functional grounding in verbal and mathematical literacy may be all that you need...provided you will do that one thing for the rest of your life.

    But if you are planning to be an entrepreneur who will be creating new businesses, and asking other people to invest in your vision, there are many reasons why finishing college makes a lot of sense. Here are my top ten:

    1) It gives you a much larger picture of the world, an understanding of how things fit together, and a broad view of history so that you can learn from the successes and failures of others. You will be able to think critically and think 'outside the box' because you will have the ability to analogize things in your current space to a much larger historical canvas. Whether you're taking business lessons from Sun Tzu or Machiavelli or Andrew Carnegie, entrepreneurial lessons from Johann Gutenberg or Thomas Edison, ethical and philosophical lessons from Plato or George Bernard Shaw, or human behavioral lessons from Charles Dickens or Sigmund Freud, you will simply have a larger toolbox from which to evolve and implement your vision.

    2) It will expose you to opportunities and experiences that you are likely to not come across if left to your own devices. How will you know if you might have loved being an art historian, if you have never been exposed to the discipline of Art History? If you came from a high school without a computer science department, an introductory course in CS might set your life on a whole new path. This extends to every corner of the academic experience: most people do not, on their own, get exposed to a dozen different fields of interest unless they were lucky enough to come from a Renaissance family. I found my lifelong passion in the Book Arts at college, something of which I would have been completely unaware had I dropped out.

    3) It will give you at least a basic grounding in areas that are not necessarily comfortable for you—regardless of what career you pursue. This will provide you with knowledge and skills you would typically avoid if you only do things you like. I am a business/ marketing/ financial person rather than a techie, but the basic understanding of technology and computer systems that I learned from my undergraduate computer science courses has stood me in very good stead for decades, and informed all of my entrepreneurial activities. Similarly, for someone who lives to code, learning about other disciplines such as marketing, finance and, yes, even philosophy and ethics, will likely make you a better coder, and definitely make you a more valuable team member and entrepreneur. This basic knowledge, like written and mathematical literacy, will give you at least a foundational background when interacting with people from other disciplines.

    4) You will learn the ability to communicate effectively to an extent that is much more difficult outside the academic environment. Unless you are one of those rare people blessed with the natural talents of a William Shakespeare or Frank McCourt, your studies in college will give you the tools to persuasively share your ideas and visions with all of those whose support you will need in life: employees, customers, investors, partners, team members, lovers, children. As Francis Bacon wrote, "Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man". For better or worse, the only time that a large majority of people will have the [enforced] discipline to spend time reading great works, writing lengthy papers with critical feedback, and taking concentrated classes in speech, debate and theater...is in college.

    5) You will meet a broad array of diverse people, much broader than you are likely to get involved with in any specific job or industry. College admissions offices spend most of their time assembling a diverse class, you will find yourself, willingly or not, in a stew of people with different personalities, interests, religions, sexual and political orientations. No matter how eclectic your upbringing, this is likely to broaden your perspective, enhance your tolerance and improve your ability to work and play well with others.

    6) College is a four-year commitment, which is just about the same time commitment you would be expected to put into a startup.  If you show by your actions that you don't have the self-discipline to finish what you started, and are unable to defer the instant gratification of working on your new business until you graduate, that signals to me that you may well do the same thing if I fund you in a startup...and the last thing I want is for you to run off to the next shiny opportunity without finishing the startup in which I've invested my hard-earned cash.

    7) College is a one-time investment in enhancing the entire rest of your career and it is highly unlikely that, despite your best intentions, you will ever return to finish a degree after you've dropped out. But once you've had the experience and earned the degree, you have something that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. In contrast, the fact is that (a) if you are truly an entrepreneur, you will have virtually infinite opportunities to start or be involved with new businesses throughout your life, and since (b) the vast majority of startups fail, the odds are extremely high that you will be trading a lifetime foundation for a short term, fleeting experience...and always regret "the road not taken".

    8) The credential has inherent value, and decrying or denying this fact is not being realistic. In life and in business, there are some things that—for better or worse—simply require a college degree as a pre-requisite. Why on earth would you want to forever set a hurdle in your own path, and block yourself off from opportunities, by being so short-sighted at this early stage of the game?

    9) Putting this investment into perspective, and taking the long view of your life, is a sign of maturity. Going for the quick hit of dropping out because you are not willing to put into your academic career the amount of work it takes to 'do it right' is a sign of immaturity. And experience has shown me that investing in immature entrepreneurs is often a recipe for failure. (If you take issue with the statement "not willing to put in the work", please read Meera Malik's answer to "How do some people get near-4.0 GPAs in college?" and tell me that you have done all of this, and more, during your college years. I sure as heck didn't, but I remain in awe of those who did.)

    10) If you have discussed this with your parents, school advisors, or other mentors, the odds are very high that they strongly suggested you stay in school and finish your degree. If that is indeed the case, the fact that you are rejecting reasoned advice from mature, experienced people who know, trust and support you, would give me pause to consider whether you will turn out to be the kind of person who simply won't listen to advice from me either...and the fact is that I consider my advice to be an even bigger investment in you than the cash I bring to the table.

    There are many other reasons why I believe so strongly in the value of completing a college education, but these should give you a start inunderstanding why I have made the decision to simply not invest in dropouts.

    'University is a valuable experience, to some extent':

    • 'The connections you'll make will be invaluable, but only if you go to a prestigious uni. In perspective, you need to remember that whether you choose uni or not, success will not be guaranteed by either path' - Rob Hanna

    Rob HannaInvestor.

    1. If you want to go your own way, who you get to drop out with matters.  It's one thing to get into your local community college and drop out with buddies you meet there to launch a startup, it's another to get into Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, Harvard and drop out to found Microsoft, Facebook and etc.  In other words, the greatest value of many schools lies well beyond the academics and goat-skin credentials--it's in the quality of your peers and the relationships you'll be able to make while there that matter most.  That's why start-up success stories about dropouts from elite schools appear so common--it's not the quality of education nor the fact they bragged about the school they got into that mattered, it was the people they met while there that made all the difference.  (Your timing and setting to meet and intern with an ex-Googler while back at school is a good case in point here--that relationship wasn't likely to happen at your local Starbucks.)

    2.  Life progress is an emergent event of daily practice.  There are few traditional guarantees with high probabilities left in life regarding achieving progress in professional careers and life fulfillment.  College is no longer an automatic win, nor is dropping out.  And unless you've got an huge trust fund to drawdown from, blindly doing X to achieve Y isn't an assured path to success no matter how much people might say so.  

    My point is that being in or out of college at any point in your life can be irrelevant to what you really want to accomplish. 

    • 'The classes are not paced to keep up with the fastest learners, they are slow to help the slowest. But don't discount uni's unique experience, such as the independence and long lasting friendships you'll gain' - Ben Galbraith

    Ben GalbraithTech entrepreneur who dropped out of college/uni.
    I like to say I dropped out of high school. I didn't really.

    I started programming at age 6 (Atari 800 BASIC) and I started my first licensed business when I was ten. My heros were Bill Gates and other technology entrepreneurs. In third grade when we wrote to our role models, I chose John Akers, the then-CEO of IBM.

    I love people and I love learning, but I was incredibly bored in my (top-ranked California) high school. The moment I decided to drop out came in a history class when, after a month studying World War 2, the teacher asked the class, "Who was Winston Churchill?" and someone answered, "Wasn't he like Truman's vice president?" It hit me then like a ton of bricks I was wasting my time and I left--mid-way during my junior year.

    I transfered into an independent study program designed to cater to the needs of working students (Olympic skater Kristina Yamaguchi was in the same program) and then went out and got a grown-up Silicon Valley job, pre-Internet circa 1994. (I gave the student commencement address at the program's small graduation ceremony; my peers were largely drug addicts and pregnant teens.)

    Fast-forwarding, at some point I met a college professor who inspired me indirectly to give college a try. I enrolled. My first semester I got a 4.0 in honors classes. I loved it. But, I also started a software consulting business on the side in that first semester.

    Business came quickly, and soon, I had to choose. I knew I would never need a diploma to achieve career success, and so despite loving college, I decided to move on with my life and do the business full-time.

    It turns out 12 or so years later my calculation was correct: I have done fairly well in my career and the lack of a diploma has absolutely never been an issue.

    However, I often reflect with regret on my decision to drop out. Fundamentally, the regret stems from having misunderstood the value of the college experience. I thought it was primarily to open doors in my career. That didn't resonate as valuable with me--because I felt I would be able to open whatever doors I wanted on my own without a diploma.

    I also knew a secondary value would be to open my mind and broaden my perspectives. But I've always been an independent learner and figured I could learn on my own at a faster pace.

    But I didn't understand the true value of the college experience:

    • It's a truly unique time of life that deserves to be savored rather than cut short. Never again will you enjoy the combination of independence, youth, and excitement of learning. I look back on my short time as some of the most fun memories of my life. No amount of wealth and success in my current and future years can take me back there.
    • Sure, I can learn on my own, but I will never have the focused time to learn that college provides. This is much like attending a professional conference. You can in theory watch the videos instead of attending the live sessions, but life intervenes, and you simply never carve the time out you would have had you actually attended the conference. After all, if you're going to sit in a room and focus on all the videos, doing that at the live conference is a much better place to do it. Now that I've done well, I could take years off and do my own independent study, and maybe I will, but wouldn't it be much more fun surrounded by other students and guided by a experienced professor? Sure, I can take the curricula in any direction I chose and there is value there, but I think the value of the peer experience trumps the increased efficiency of independence. Introverts may feel differently.
    • Forming solid friendships with other ambitious and much more intelligent and capable peers delivers more value to you than any other single investment you could make during those years. I can't tell you how many entrepreneurs I've met whose success has come in no small part thanks to college connections, whether in the form of co-founders, investors, or buyers (i.e., that buddy is now an SVP at a large company and acquires your start-up).
    • College isn't really about what you learn, it's about teaching you skills that will make you successful. Getting challenged with course loads that are ridiculously difficult makes you resourceful. Grumpy, unreasonable professors prepare you for mercurial, unreasonable celebrity CEO bosses. You learn quickly that to get that A grade, or even a B grade in a top school, sleep, hanging out with friends, and other distractions must all be sacrificed in order to get the job done. All of these lessons can be learned in the "school of hard knocks", but having them instilled in you over and over again for many, many years of school produces a fantastic, polished, and disciplined result.
    • Many of the women I was interested in during my dating years didn't respect my decision to drop out of school. I knew I would be successful; they didn't. I lucked out and married a fantastic woman (with an MBA, natch). But she constantly tells me how pleasantly surprised she has been by my accomplishments and abilities. Given that who you marry is such an important decision in life, you want to give yourself access to the very best potential spouses you can--people who understand how important a decision it is, and who themselves look for the very best potential mates they can find. You can try and mitigate this by waiting until you're rich and successful to marry, but that brings its own complications.

    Having said all this, I wonder if I could have made it through to the end. The classic book Teaching as a Subversive Activity observes that people learn what they practice doing in school, not what they read about or are tested on. 

    That is, school teaches people to respect authority, to follow the program, and to do what they're told. 

    Successful entrepreneurs, on the other hand, so frequently achieve that success by breaking the rules, questioning authority, and working entirely outside the system to create true disruptive innovation. 

    There's something about the educational system that is at odds with the entrepreneurial spirit. Perhaps I was never destined to sit through it all.

    And by the way, don't worry about investors. 

    I had my first unsolicited investment offer when I was 12 and have never wanted for opportunities to obtain capital. In the past two months two of the most prominent VC firms in the Valley have asked if they might invest in my next venture. The occasional investor may have established a degree requirement as a filter criteria for a successful entrepreneur but that's far from universal. Still, can't blame such; it's a noisy world and filters help, regardless of how imperfect they may be.

    Most folks want to know your track record, want some good references, and want to be impressed. If you can deliver on those requirements, you're in the money.

    A final thought:

    I heard a quote recently that went something like this: 

    "It's not about making the right decision, it's about making that decision right". 

    In a nutshell, don't overcomplicate things and get stressed about making the 'correct' decision. No matter what path you take, you can still make it a success. 

    What matters is what you do after you've made your decision, which is the part people often forget about.

    Now I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below:

    • Are you planning to go to uni? If yes or no, why?
    • And if you're already at uni or have graduated, what advice would you give to people who are on the fence about going? Would you recommend it?

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    A big thanks to:

    The Blonde Salad, who the image is courtesy of. 

    Everyone who got involved in the Quora forum - some of whom are included in this post - who offered some very insightful answers to the growingly-popular question of whether to go to uni or not.


    1. I am currently at University, studying BSc Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. I personally have no end goal in mind, but I choose to do a degree because it's an impressive thing to have and to help me expand my network. It also seemed like an easy way to leave home, government funding and all, and a great way to network, both with my fellow students and as a conversation starter later on in life. Simply having a degree will not get you far, as it is a very common thing in this country, but it is a starting point and a great experience. All that being said, uni is not for everyone. Some people don't enjoy or enjoy it too much when they are better suited to other environments, and that's fine. I would still recommend getting some form of qualification aside from you A-Levels though as, like David S. Rose said, it shows commitment and dedication. Actually, most of his points can also be applied to apprenticeships or any form of academic qualification.

      tl;dr Uni is awesome but not for everyone, so just make sure you have some form of extra qualification before applying to any higher paid jobs.

      1. I thought that was a well-balanced argument Kate.

        I do agree, there is no 'one size fits all' option and other qualifications can be just as useful for some, if not more so, than a degree.

        About the idea that some form of qualification above A-levels would be useful for getting employed - I do generally agree, but think experience in the 'real world' can be very valuable too in attracting 'better' jobs, however you may define that.

    2. Just a brief thought:
      I think it also really matters about the subject you are going to study. An example of this may be Business Studies. Many people will feel that a degree in this subject is not actually as useful as actual working experience in the industry, and that professors may not always be best informed to teach you about actual business in the real world (especially as many ideas may be opinion-based/subjective).

      On the other hand, a hard science subject such as mathematics is not subjective, and there is nobody (in general) more qualified to teach you about it than professors/researchers. Though this can be studied to some extent alone, from my experience, it is extremely difficult - perhaps even impossible - to get the same level of knowledge (with respects to both breadth and depth of understanding) that one would get from university, especially if it is a top university like Oxford or Cambridge, where the maths courses are notoriously fast-paced (though students receive lots of personal support from internationally respected academics).

      Another thing to consider may be potential career path. Elaborating on the above subject examples, for a career involving business/entrepeneurship, going straight into industry may have some obvious advantages (not to say that university is always the wrong decision). Conversely, if academia/research (or anything involving particularly high level scientific/specialised knowledge) is the intended career path, then a university degree will be essential.

    3. Every student should try for admission to the university. University is the good opportunity because of you able to get a good job because Ninja Essay service provides authentic info. Students study only for the better future and university makes the future of every student. This article is so nice for me.


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