Studying at university is a significant investment of your time and money. It’s important that you make an informed decision and feel confident in your choice.
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Some of the benefits of going to university are measurable, such as lifetime salary earnings, and some are intangible, such as developing a different perspective on life. None of the benefits are automatic as it all depends on the decisions you make at university and after you have graduated. However, here are some of the life experiences university can help you achieve.
Subject knowledge and skills
Undertaking 3 or 4 years of in-depth study of the subject you love, with like-minded students, at a university where you have access to so many expert academics, guest speakers, technicians, resources and facilities
Friends and contacts
Meeting new people, who share your interests, and making friends who may live anywhere in the world. You may find that you’re working on a group project with someone who goes onto become your future business partner.
Developing your sense of self
For many students, university enables them to explore and establish their identity. This can be through discussing and articulating their views in seminars or around the kitchen table with their flatmates, or through creative practice. It can be through developing new interests and creating a new friendship group. Or it can be through deeper reflection and experimentation to explore and embrace their gender and sexuality.
Pride and self-esteem
Undertaking research, composing and recording music, curating an exhibition of your work, organising a charity event, having your own radio show, or completing a work placement, may all seem like distant goals right now but at university you could be the person who says, “I did that”. Students are rightly proud of the amount and quality of work they complete at university and it often inspires family members to follow in their footsteps.
Being a student is not an easy option, it can develop a wide spectrum of skills and attributes such as time management, communication skills, prioritisation, decision-making, problem-solving, pragmatism, empathy, resilience, autonomy, team work, reflection and perspective.
Graduates are more likely to be in employment than non-graduates (87.7% compared to 71.6%), and more likely to be in high-skilled roles (65.4% compared to 22.9%). In 2018, the median graduate salary (£34,000) was £10,000 more than the median non-graduate salary (£24,000). These statistics have been taken from Graduate Labour Market Statistics 2018 published by the Department for Education.
Launching your own business
University is a supportive environment to try out business ideas, receive constructive feedback on your business plan, meet investors, and launch your own business, consultancy, product line or solo career. Depending on your course, some of this support may come from your academic department or from the enterprise team and advisers based in the careers service.