With A-level results day less than 24 hours away, there will be plenty of young people wondering whether they got the results they need to take them to university, but what is the appeal, and what happens if you don’t make the grades?
Everyone knows that going to university is expensive – from tuition fees to living costs – the average student can expect to leave uni with tens of thousands of pounds’ worth of debt. Indeed, a recent report indicated that the level of student debt from university are equal to over 1/3 of the average mortgage in the UK.
The Department of Education has already determined that the cost of university (with tuition currently set at £9,000 per year) has caused a drop in the number of people from state schools going to university.
While this high level of debt has turned some young people away from the idea of going to university, there are thousands of others who remain set on the idea that university is like a golden ticket to a better life. In fact, it seems that this is the very premise on which tuition fees are being touted – you pay for the education now and reap the rewards later on in life when your degree earns you a lucrative career. Or at least that’s the idea.
Despite this common belief (one which has been supported by government ministers), the fact is that over 2/3rds of recent graduates were not earning enough to repay their student loans – let alone achieving the comfortable life that they thought university would lead to.
Of course, this does not mean that university doesn’t work for some. There are certain courses that have a higher chance of getting you into a lucrative career – such as dentistry. However, on the flip side, there are also plenty of courses that lead to career options where supply of graduates outstrips demand from employers. This means that graduates are often forced to take work that didn’t require them to go to university and build up such large debts in the first place.
Clearing: Options Or Desperation?
If you already have a solid offer to university, and make the grades tomorrow, then of course you will be heading off to study and hopefully build up the experience and knowledge that will lead you into your dream career.
However, for many others who don’t quite manage to get the grades they hoped for, there is always the option of clearing. Matching students up with undersubscribed courses is a win-win for both those wanting to go to university and those colleges who have struggled to fill all their places. That said, the danger is that young people will opt for lesser courses with lower prospects in a desperate bid to simply find a university place this year.
It is tempting to try and find a course to go on, especially if you were all ready to go to university this year, but before you sign up for the first available course you find take a moment to really think where it will take you in life. Is it really going to improve your chances of a successful career – or is it actually going to be little more than an expensive waste of time and money?
With stress levels running high it can be tough to make the right decision, so get as much advice as you can from teachers, parents, and others before you make that final choice – after all it is one you may have to live with for decades!