University likely benefits more people than it negatively impacts – for most people it is the right choice – for others a complete waste of time.
But how are you to know if it’s the right thing for you?
You already have a job
University might not be necessary if you are already working in a field you enjoy without needing a degree.
It’s important to consider whether or not it’s worthwhile to give up the job you love in order to pursue higher education.
Instead, think about how you can improve your professional standing through continuing education or by learning on the job.
There is a myriad of online courses and certifications you can do that don’t require you to spend a single day at university.
You are a creative individual
You may struggle to find your creative voice in the institutionalised learning environment of a university if you are a creative individual.
Many colleges and universities have rigid course requirements and curricula that make it difficult, if not impossible, to follow your individual interests and passions.
This is something I personally experienced when studying biomedical science.
You should think about your options, which may include attending an art school or getting some sort of vocational training.
You don’t like rigid structure
University to a large extent is about enforcing rigidity and predetermined parameters for success.
University may not be for you if you can’t or won’t work within the confines of a strict timetable, deadlines, and rules.
University coursework is highly regimented, with strict guidelines and due dates.
If you find this format unappealing, other options exist, such as online classes or independent study.
You don’t like debt
A large percentage of college grads report being deeply in debt due to tuition and living expenses.
Luckily in the UK, the repayment plans are relatively reasonable and usually constitute a percentage of your income above a certain liveable amount.
For many students, however, the debt they take on isn’t even sufficient to live comfortably!
This begs the question, what is the point!?
You should probably rethink going to college/university if you’re worried about getting into too much debt and/or can’t afford to pay back large amounts of money right now.
Apprenticeships and other forms of vocational training may provide a less expensive route to your desired career and should be seriously considered.
You have an entrepreneurial spirit
Incubating an entrepreneurial spirit can be difficult in a traditional university setting.
Entrepreneurship calls for a more generalised skill set and frame of mind than what is typically taught in a university setting.
If you want to learn while you build your business, an apprenticeship or online courses are better options.
You’re introverted and socially awkward
University can be tough if you struggle with introversion and social anxiety.
The college experience can be rich in social interactions due to the prevalence of group projects, networking events, and other co-curricular pursuits.
If you’re not interested in this method of instruction, there are other options available to you, such as self-study or online classes.
You don’t want to be a doctor, nurse, lawyer or engineer
University might not be for you if you aren’t set on becoming a doctor, nurse, barrister or engineer.
These professions typically require a college education, but there are many others that do not.
Apprenticeships and other forms of vocational training may offer a more affordable and realistic route to the career of your choice.
Honestly, unless you are set on a vocational career that requires a degree, you shouldn’t rush to attend university, there is a shocking amount of information you can learn yourself!
To conclude, a four-year college education isn’t the right choice for everyone.
You may want to think about going in a different direction to achieve your goals if you already have a job, are creative, don’t like structure, don’t like debt, are entrepreneurial, are introverted and socially awkward, or don’t want to be a doctor, nurse, lawyer, or engineer.
Keep in mind that you can get where you want to go if you work hard enough at it.
Explore for yourself the world of non-traditional yet lucrative career options that could secure your path to financial success!