UCAS applications for 2024 entry have now opened and you might be thinking: ‘should I go to university’? Going to university seems like the natural step after completing your A-Levels, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for everyone. It’s a big decision, so make sure to think about your options carefully!
Think about the extra details
When you think of university, studying usually comes to mind first. However, there’s other important things to bear in mind that could determine if university is for you.
- Do you do well away from home? Some students commute to university by car or train, but the most common university experience involves living away from your family. Consider if you’ll find it too hard living with strangers, or if you think you’ll miss homely comforts
- University also has a lot to do with the environment that you’re in. Some students may feel that university as a whole is not for them, when in reality they’re in the wrong setting. If you love beautiful architecture, choose a city that can offer it, and if you love to do sports – make sure the university you choose has adequate equipment and grounds so that you can carry on doing a hobby that you love alongside your studies
Know your own study habits
Everyone studies and exercises their brain in different ways. Choose a path that will let you reach your full potential.
- University is a marathon, not a sprint. Know that it will involve multiple years of assignments, independent study time, group work and exams. If you can already tell that a formal academic environment will not be beneficial for you, it’s time to consider other options
- Don’t let your judgement get too clouded by the social side of university. Obviously, university is known as the best time of your life for a reason: you’ll make lifelong friends, and create great memories. However, know that the fun aspects of university won’t get you through the course itself! If you can’t picture yourself after university and can only think of freshers’ week or pub nights, have a conversation with a friend and think seriously about why you want to go to university
Consider your other options
If you’re asking yourself ‘should I go to university’, it’s important that you know it’s no longer the only path! There’s now a large selection of academic and non-academic ways alike to advance your career.
- If you already know what you want to do after university, research if you necessarily need a university degree for it. For example, if you want to be a nurse, you don’t necessarily need a university level degree, you can also obtain the necessary qualification from a flexible apprenticeship course
- There’s a range of different options available to you, here’s just a few:
– Degree apprenticeship: a degree apprenticeship is a popular alternative to a university degree. It’s great for those who want to gain hard skills that they can use in the workplace and study at the same time. You’ll graduate with a Level 6 qualification, (equivalent to a university degree), get paid at work, and graduate without debt. You’ll need A- Levels or other Level 3 qualifications to enter the course
– Entry level jobs: this is a perfect alternative for those who want to enter the working world straight away. With this type of job, employers often just want to see an enthusiastic attitude and good initiative that will make you a good member of the team
– Traineeships: great for those with no Level 3 qualifications. Traineeships require you to be between the ages of 16-24, but have less entry requirements than an apprenticeship course. Traineeships are unpaid, but by the end you’ll be trained for full-time work in your field, and will likely get travel and other costs reimbursed.
Bide your time
Take your time! University is a big (and expensive!) decision, so make sure you’re making the right choice for you.
- Take as much time as you need (within reason)! If you know that you do want to go to university, know that you have almost 5 months from the beginning of the academic year to submit your UCAS application. Do your research and don’t get pressured by your peers submitting early applications – everyone does it at a different pace
- It’s often considered standard practice to go to university as soon as you finish A-Levels, giving you roughly 2-3 months of summer holidays before you are back into education. In reality, there’s no need for such a rush! If you don’t know what you want to study at university, want to go travelling, or simply need a break to recharge, there’s nothing stopping you from taking a gap year. In fact, there’s no limit to how long you can leave it – whether you need 1 year or 5, university will always be an option waiting for you when you’re ready, if you want it.
Be sure to check out the Roome website, where we post loads of tips and tricks for university students every single week. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook to learn more about how we’re revolutionising the student housing market!
Posted by Owen Redman
Co-founder of Roome