Since the hike in university fees taking effect in 2012, there has been much debate about whether university is worth the expense.
Many resent paying £12,000 a year for a piece of paper.
The reasons for their objections are clear. Many universities provide next to no contact time or pastoral support. Students often find themselves living in squalid living conditions while studying.
Even after graduation, many young people struggle to find a job and settle into the real world.
University has long been held as the be-all-and-end-all. Often, those who don’t get the college experience live with a chip on their shoulder, mindful that they’ve missed out on something great.
But how important is it, really, to pursue higher education?
- Almost all top-earning positions require a university degree
For any young person with dreams in law, medicine, science or business, a university degree is essential. Although expensive, a degree can be a ticket to the life you want. Without it, your freedom and opportunities are restricted. It is better to make your chances as great as possible to nab the job of your dreams. Even if your dreams don’t require a university degree, it can be a great safety net if things don’t go to plan.
- It’s a chance to form lasting relationships and make contacts
For better or for worse, university is a formative experience. It is the time when you cement your politics, your worldview and your identity. Most people leave university with a set of close friends for life, who share their interests and values. What’s more, at top universities you make contacts that go on to dominate politics, the media, the arts and the sciences. Making these connections early can have long-reaching advantages for the rest of your life.
- You can pursue hobbies
Another great part of university life is the opportunity to experiment with sports, activities and bizarre hobbies you always wanted to try. Ever been curious about Ancient Egypt? German theatre? Quidditch? Stamp-collecting? Life drawing? Star Trek? Tiddlywinks? University is the perfect time to meet new people while investigating some strange hobby you would never find anywhere else.
- It’s a chance to explore academic interests
Lectures are a fantastic opportunity to listen to the greatest minds on Earth talk about the things that interest them most. Learning just for the sake of expanding your mind is a beautiful thing. Students get a chance to take the subject of their choice to its most complex and interesting level. Everyone should have the opportunity for three to four years of pursuing their intellectual capacity before they enter the world of work.
- It’s a time to make mistakes, away from your parents
University can be a great training ground for real life because it’s a safe space to explore ones identity and live without parental rules or supervision. It’s also an opportunity to push the boundaries of taste, to take risks and be bold. University is the perfect training ground, and a crucial life experience.