Should I go to university?

From the moment you step into that first GCSE lesson teachers are tryna prep for uni. Where do you want to go? What are the grade requirements? How are you gonna make your application stand out? The one question they don’t ask - Do you even want to go? Well, The Mix is here to help you figure that one out.

A young man is deciding whether he should go to university. This is a wide-angle image.

Good reasons to go to university

So you’ve got university offers, but you still find yourself asking ‘Should I go to university?’. Well, if these reasons appeal to you, then the answer’s yes.

  • Earning that degree and adding a little extra to your CV: When people debate the ‘Should I go to university’ question, this is arguably the main reason that they choose to pursue higher education. A degree is the reward for all those hours spent slogging in the library. Plus, it doesn’t hurt your job prospects either. 
  • Making friends at uni and creating a whole new social circle: Making friends at uni is a huge part of the whole experience; after all, you’re gonna be spending at least three years with these people. Not only that, but you’ll get to mix with people from all sorts of backgrounds – people you may never have crossed paths with otherwise.
  • Spreading your wings and gaining more independence in a new environment: This is probably the most practical of all the reasons to go. You’re practically guaranteed to become more mature and self-sufficient throughout your degree. This’ll set you up nicely for life moving forward.
  • Finding out more about yourself and your personality: Joining some of the many clubs that your Student Union has to offer is a must if you wanna find out more about yourself. This includes things that you may never have participated in before. You might even discover a talent you never knew you had.

Bad reasons to go to university

If any of these sound familiar, you might end up going to university for the wrong reasons.

  • Pushy parents who want you to go to uni and expect the best: It’s only natural for them to want the best for you, but that isn’t necessarily going to uni. Tell them what you really want to do in a calm and mature way and they should understand. For instance, wouldn’t it be better to get some valuable work experience and earn some money instead of getting into debt?
  • Your mates are all going away to uni and you feel left out: Remember that you’re an individual. Only you can decide what you want to do with your life. If you’re thinking of going to uni just to maintain your social life, don’t. Good friends from school or college will stay that way no matter what path you choose. And if they don’t, then they weren’t really the best of friends anyways.
  • Hanging on to student life to avoid entering the real world: Unfortunately, this is the part of life that most people dread, when lie-ins are few and far between. But be warned, making the mistake of hanging on to your student years longer than you should, even just part-time, could turn out to be a costly error. Both in terms of your living costs and the time lost.

Financial considerations and future prospects

‘Should I go to university’ is a completely different question to ‘Can I afford to go to uni’. This part will help you figure out the latter. 

  • Yearly tuition fees are around £9,250. To pay all this, you can apply for a loan of up to £9,250 from Student Finance England (SFE), if you’re studying at any universities in the UK.
  • To pay for your various living expenses, you may also be eligible for a means-tested maintenance loan. The amount you get will depend on your household income and living expenses. Only those with a low household income of £25,000 or less are likely to get full financial support.
  • If you don’t want to provide your household income, you can apply for a non-means-tested loan. In that case, you’ll get the minimum student loan available for where you live while you study. Check out the’s student finance calculator to get a better idea of what you’ll have to pay.

Will university help you get a job?

Some secondary school and/or college leavers have been taught that uni is a great investment in your future cause it helps you get a decent job. According to a recent Guardian article, however, as of 2021 job prospects vary widely depending on what subject you choose and which university you go to.

  • Graduates of Imperial College London were the most likely to complete their studies and go on to either a professional occupation or further study, at a rate of 92% within one year of completing their course. Graduates of the Royal College of Music and Oxbridge were close behind.
  • The actual university you go to is apparently more influential than the subject you study when it comes to your job prospects. While 85% of Oxford’s philosophy and religious studies graduates met the job threshold after leaving, just 59% of students taking similar courses at the University of Southampton had the same outcome.

If these figures have put you off applying for uni, don’t forget that getting a good education (and perhaps even life itself) is about more than what job you can get or how much money you make. On the other hand, living from pay-check to pay-check isn’t easy either. With that in mind, it’s worth considering whether you might be more suited to some kind of apprenticeship. This would give you some valuable work experience, and you’d be doing a paid job at the same time. And if you wanna leave your options open for a little while, how about a gap year? 

Regardless of how you answer ‘Should I go to uni’, nothing is forever. These days people change careers more than ever before. That’s why developing a flexible skillset is arguably one of the most important things you can do. For more support with applying to university, check out our other articles here.


Next Steps

By Scott Woodthorpe

Updated on 05-Jun-2022