University is a 3-year whirlwind where you learn not only in an academic setting but also a hell of a lot about yourself, the real world and being self-dependent (to some extent). If you live in the UK, you likely just received your A Level results and might be looking at the possibility of uprooting your room and moving into university halls ready to start a new chapter in your life.
Going to university is a big decision to make, and you might be asking yourself if it’s right for you. To get to the answer to that question, perhaps answering the following will help you get there. Some of these you may not be able to answer wholeheartedly and you might have no idea, and that’s ok. No-one truly knows what or where they’ll be in 3-4 years time, but give it a go and hopefully it’ll help you on your journey to deciding if university is the right choice for you…
What are you trying to achieve?
I made ‘you’ bold for a reason. It’s important that you go to university because it’s right for you and where you see your life going. If you applied or thinking of doing so because your friends have, it might be why you’re undecided if it’s right for you.
What are other options?
University isn’t the only option you have in order to stay in education after your A Levels. If you’re not 100% and you’ve been given a place at university, you can defer for a year. I did this and it allowed me to go to a different college, do a diploma similar to the degree I thought about studying to really find out if it staying in education and the degree itself was the right fit for me.
Diplomas, apprenticeships and online learning are all great alternatives to a university degree. All allowing you to gain knowledge in an area your interested in, whilst showing future employers that you’re keen to learn, organised and self-sufficient; someone that they’d benefit from having in their company.
Have you done enough research?
Sometimes when I’m unsure about making a decision, it’s because I’m not completely clued up on all the information needed to make it. Have you visited the university? That’s a great first step to deciding if it’s right for you. Remember, you’ll potentially be living in the area for 3+ years of your life, so make sure it’s the right fit and vibe for you. Do you know everything about the degree? Going to an open day, reading information online, requesting a prospectus or perhaps chatting with a student who’s in the midst of the course are all good options to finding more about what you’ll be studying.
Do you care about going to university?
You might have the grades, but do you have the desire? To get through university, you have to have a lot of enthusiasm about the degree you’re about to embark on. If the answer is ‘meh, I guess’, then maybe another option would be best for you.
So, although it feels like you have a tough decision you make right now, you’re not alone! A lot of people will be in the exact same boat as you. I never knew what I wanted to do after school and college, I completely get that it can be terrifying, especially when you’re around friends who have it all figured out. Take a deep breath and do what’s best for you.
I went to university and absolutely loved it; I was fortunate enough to meet the most wonderful people who I now call some of my closest friends, I fell in love with where my university was based and I had very supportive family helping me through. My degree was so fun and I learnt a lot in my time there; both from my degree and from living away from my parents for the first time.
In the end, though, my degree, in general, has helped me get into a career I now love, but it isn’t particularly related. I think if I’d known of other choices back then, I might have reconsidered university as an option. It felt like the only way for me to stay in education at a time when I wasn’t ready to decide on where I wanted to be in the working world. That being said, now that I have been through university and had the positive experience I did, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.
I hope that this has somewhat helped guide you in this decision. It seems massive, so break it down into tiny chunks of questions to seek your answer. You’ll get there and whatever you decide to do, you’ll do great things!