And don’t think this article is just going to give you the basic response of, ‘It will help you get a good 9-5 job’. No, no, no. I take a different approach.
So, you should go to university when…
- You don’t know what else to do.
This may seem like a reason not to go to university, but hear me out. I 100 per cent felt this way. Before university, I had no idea what career path I was going to take. In fact, I would be willing to bet that over half the people reading this are in this scenario. Less than 18 months on, I know exactly what I want to do. If I had gone in to employment without going to university, I might have taken on absolutely anything. I might not even have discovered my passion to write. I’m not saying you will definitely discover your passion at university, but you certainly give yourself more time to find it, and I’m evidence that it happens.
- You want to start a business.
Even if you have no interest in having a stereotypical boring 9-5 job (which I completely applaud you for), you should go to university! If you don’t have the money when you start the business, it’s going to take a long time before you start earning a lot of money (almost certainly years). By going to university, you can give yourself a great opportunity to get a 9-5 job in a field related to your business. This way, you will have a sustainable income while you have your side-hustle growing. Besides, you may well decide that you don’t even like the business idea once you start it. I’ve changed my ideas various times already, and I only started wanting my own business 2 months ago! So whatever you do, DO NOT ABANDON UNIVERSITY.
- You feel like you just have to go for the social aspect.
While this may not be the most ‘responsible’ reason, it is no lie that many of us regard it as a factor when deciding whether to go to university (and even when deciding which one). This was certainly a major attraction for me. And before you ask if the social side is really worth it, that honestly depends on how much you put in. I.e. If you go out a lot, then yes, but if you don’t, and you don’t make an effort to make friends, then no. More importantly though, I would have regretted missing out on the social side of university if I never went. So I just knew I had to go. If this is you, you won’t regret going. You’ll be in a strong position to get a great job after university anyway.
- You feel like you still have some coming out of your shell to do.
Maybe you are fairly social, but you feel like you still need develop some life experience and confidence. I can remember feeling like this, and going to university has undoubtedly made me a more confident person. Put into a situation where you are forced to make friends, you might not even notice it, but your social skills will develop enormously.
- You only get into a ‘lesser’ university.
Even if you only manage to get accepted into a low-ranked university, most jobs require a 2.1 degree. It’s obviously a massive bonus if you get one from Oxford, but you’ll still beat anyone in the application process who doesn’t have one at all. You might just have to start with a job that pays less. But, as Gary Vaynerchuk says, “chasing money is the fastest way not to get it.” Just be prepared to work your way up the ladder, and do your job better than anyone else.
- You need a degree for your career desires.
The reason I’ve left this one until last is because you probably wouldn’t be reading this article if this was you. In case you’re just a natural worrier though, you should definitely go to university.
BUT there is one instance when you shouldn’t go to university:
- You are desperate to start earning money AND have a good job lined up.
This is the ONLY time you should not go to university. But even in this situation, I would only take the job if it was a job that was in the field I 100% knew I wanted to work in. If this is you, go for it.
And you might not attend university if you have the intelligence of a goldfish, but if this was you, I doubt you’d be reading an article.
Bottom line is, I believe going to university is beneficial in most cases. Of course, there are many successful people who never had a degree, like Bill Gates and Alan Sugar. If your instincts are strongly against university, then don’t go just because I said so.
But if you are split 50/50, you won’t regret going.