5 Pros and 5 Cons of Higher Education

Freya Hugheson 5 February 2020
A woman on a MacBook whilst sitting at a cafe table.

Weighing up your options for after Sixth Form? It can be a pretty overwhelming time – what you decide now will impact your future. Use this guide to help you make the right decision for your future.

Sometimes, it can feel like everyone around you knows exactly what they want to do and how to get it. 

Meanwhile, you’re struggling to find the right path. Or maybe you’re worried you’ve picked the wrong one. 

Sound familiar?

Don’t freak. There’s a logical way to make decisions about your future. 

Make sure you talk to your parents or guardians, and seek the advice of people at college who know your skills.

So. Let’s weigh up what’s good and what’s not-so-good about university.

Consider the Pros.

Develop Your Independence

Going to university gives you space to grow and find out what kind of person you are. Being thrown into the deep end of independence will make you grow up, fast. You can spread your wings and be the ‘you’ you’ve always dreamt of being.

Specialise in What You’re Interested in Most

University courses are tried, tested and, for most part, led by experts. It’ll give you the theory and the context you need to excel in your field. Plus, most employers will want to see your commitment to your area of interest.

What’s Better Than Adventures?

Now you’ve got to university, enjoy the chance to explore your new surroundings. Even for the well travelled, there’s a lot of fun to be had getting to know the culture and history of a new city.

Learn Life Skills Beyond Education

From cleaning ovens to budgeting your loan, there are plenty of new things to learn, and university is the place to do them. They’re not all fun but they’ll set you up for life. 

Build a Lifelong Network

You’ll find mates you’ll one day invite to your wedding, the love of your life or even professional communities who can help you out with jobs. People you meet at university will change things, in the best possible ways.

It’s Not All Fun and Games Though. Here are the Cons.

The Obvious – Debt

University is bloody expensive and not wanting up to 50 grand hanging over your head forevermore is a valid choice. And it’s not just tuition debt. The vast majority of students will open (and live deep within) an overdraft, which is a false economy and will be super hard to get back out of.

Don't Commit Early

Going to university can feel like you’re locked in to your first choice with no escape. It takes a bit of undoing when you’ve got on to a course and accommodation, so not wanting to commit is fair enough.

Leaving Home Isn’t Appealing

If you’re 18 and still working things out, you shouldn’t feel any sort of pressure to leave home. If you’re comfortable with things, keep them as they are.

University Can Delay Things

Three years (or more) learning in classrooms isn’t a fast-track. If you’re keen to hit the ground running in the world of work, look into apprenticeships or entry-level jobs instead. What works for some won’t work for others, so find what feels right.

The Drinking Culture

It’s more often than not hailed as a rite of passage, but drinking culture is no joke. Dodge the bad habits and don’t put yourself in danger – swerve university completely. 

Remember – whatever you decide, you can always change your mind. Speak to the people you trust and go with your gut. It’s your life and your future, so do what feels right.

Freya Hugheson 5 February 2020