This is something I’ve been pondering lately. Whether my degree, my single A4 certificate, is worth the approximately £38k worth of debt it’s cost me. Whether it was worth the tears and stress it caused. Whether, if I had the choice, I’d go back and do it all again.
My Voucher Codes has been looking into whether a degree is worth it, with some quite interesting results! With nearly 425,000 students having started university this year, it’s clear it’s still very much the popular option for post-18 education. They’ve had a look at what are students are getting for this money and how best to approach University so a student can achieve maximum return on their investments – have a read here.
I did love my university experience, I made friends I know I’ll be forever close to, I gained a First in a subject I did (and indeed do) love. My degree is as relevant to my career as it can get, my placement year was a blast. But there’s still a little niggle at the back of my mind that wonders whether it was really worth paying 9,000 pounds a year for.
Back when I applied and began university, a degree was the only way to get into the career I wanted, the career I have finally just begun. The year after they started taking on apprentices, and that’s continued. Typical – I know for definite had that option been available I’d have taken it.
Then there’s the experience, the qualifications. I went for a very applied course, which hopefully has cut my time to being fully qualified in half. I also did a placement year in the exact field I wanted. All things I hoped would help me get a job. I actually heard “you’re too experienced” and “you have too many exemptions” after final-stage rejections more times than I care to remember last year. Turns out you can be (and I don’t want to sound like I’m blowing my own trumpet here!) “too good” for graduate roles…
In terms of my actual degree, I enjoyed it. I felt like I got a good amount of teaching – 20+ hours pretty much every week in all three years. I did extremely well, with the exception of two modules. The majority of my lecturers were hugely intelligent, approachable and generally willing to help. I got exposed to specialist computer software that even most recent graduates don’t get near once on the job.
The university experience? Well as someone who doesn’t particularly like a lot of alcohol (more than one glass of wine sends me to sleep), I was never going to love it. I like my sleep, going out at 11pm isn’t really for me – that’s bedtime! Don’t get me wrong, I had some great nights in with friends, I don’t feel like I ‘missed out’ but I certainly wouldn’t have said the experience was worth it.
So yep, I have a piece of paper worth £38,000. I’ve gained two best friends, strengthened my relationship and learnt an awful lot of maths. At the end of the day I got my dream job, which of course makes it all worthwhile. But if you’re umming and ahhing about going? I’d strongly recommend looking into all other alternatives first!
Do you think university was worth it? I love reading about other’s university experiences (check out Amy’s experience here – it’s quite similar to my own!) so I’d love to know if you think it was worth the money/debt!