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Is university really worth it? watch

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    I'll say no, it isn't.

    I am aware this isn't the first thread on this matter, but this is what I've come up with of why it isn't worth it.

    Apprentiships: An option at 16 to be earning rather than struggling away doing 5 AS Levels with little money to live on. A relative of mine has an option for working with a big company and earning £11,000+ at 16. Seriously. And yet their GCSE results will all be around the C area.
    [INDENT]These people are the clever ones, jobs that have shortages of people in them, meaning money is excellent and they can work for themselves.

    Leaving school at 18 Other than getting into to £20,000 of debt you can earn a salary at 18 of £9,200+ (along with travel allowance) to train with LAING in construction and still get a degree, for example. Many big firms offer the chance of qualification, social life and good pay. Why bother going to university?

    Without making anyone feel less special with their AAAA grades yesterday (well done!), most of you had the same or similar, and with a degree, how will all of you stand out? With 6.3% of graduates not getting employed (2002 figures), again is their any point? I feel companies now look for experience rather than qualifications to stand out.

    Maybe it's the fault of the government for not allowing people to stand out. Or maybe that 50% target is too much. Either way, I don't think you can not allow people with 3 A-Levels a place at university, and making the A* another grade of A-Levels would only make the gap between top schools and bottom schools get bigger. The 5 point grade scale, allows those who do not go to our best schools to finally achieve the top grade.
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    It depends on what you want to do. You're correct that there are other options apart from university, and many young people choose them. About half my friends arn't at university and are doing just fine. However university does open up many options. A feature of more widespread university access will be a small rate of underemployment of graduates. I suspect the majority of those who leave university and don't gain graduate level employment are those who went to university without any real direction in the first place.

    Is it worth it? I think it is, and you seem to be focusing on the money aspect too much. I think a university education is about more than earning more money.
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    Yes, it's worth it but only if you really want to do a degree. If you're looking at university as a means to an end and you don't really want to study your subject further, it'll be three years you won't enjoy that will get you into debt.

    I do think the 50% target is mad and unnecessary: univeristy really doesn't suit everyone and people are feeling pressured into doing degrees, and then dropping out in the early stages - this is pointless and doesn't help anyone! No-one should be pressurised to do a degree. Apprenticeships are a really good idea, and would suit many people much more - and give them the option to start earning earlier, as you say. Just because university isn't for you doesn't make you a failure - far from it. The people doing apprenticeships right now will probably earn far more than I will!
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    (Original post by happysunshine)
    Without making anyone feel less special with their AAAA grades yesterday (well done!), most of you had the same or similar, and with a degree, how will all of you stand out? With 6.3% of graduates not getting employed (2002 figures), again is their any point? I feel companies now look for experience rather than qualifications to stand out.

    Maybe it's the fault of the government for not allowing people to stand out. Or maybe that 50% target is too much. Either way, I don't think you can not allow people with 3 A-Levels a place at university, and making the A* another grade of A-Levels would only make the gap between top schools and bottom schools get bigger. The 5 point grade scale, allows those who do not go to our best schools to finally achieve the top grade.
    First, the people getting AAAA are not as prolific as UKL posts would make out - it seems the people who post on here generally fall into the top 10% or so of those taking the exams. However, you do have a point. The education Minister Charles Clarke said that in a class of 30 primary school children, only one would get three As (still too prolific for my liking). So you are right, there are too many people at the top end of the spectrum.

    I think the value of an undergraduate degree has fallen for a number of interelated reasons. The government wants more people going; this in turn has got less clever people going to do poorer courses; all while eating into the money cake that was used to fund the orginal courses, leading to a drop in standard on all courses.

    In the face of these criticisms it's very easy to say a degree is worth nothing and that perhaps one should consider alternatives. However, the alternatives aren't very convincing. People in graduate jobs are creamed off to head up the career ladder comparitavely quickly, whereas apprentices and high school leavers are intended to work at a comparitively low level on the ladder. It's not impossible, by any means, but you'd certainly be going against the grain.

    But the problem is that there are too many graduates and too few graduate level jobs. Therefore, the people at the bottom end of the higher education system will find it very difficult to get graduate level jobs. If someone is going into higher education on the back of Cs, Ds and Es, then I think they should seriously consider instead one of the alternatives mentioned by you.
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    It just depends, Modern Apprentiships are not always that good. I did one for two weeks and left when as I was getting paid £2 an hour in a sweat shop makin g PCs. My mate also did one, he got paid £20 at first, even when he was 18 he was only just on minimum wage. He is now 22 and still only on £7 an hour which is way below the average graduate salary even if you include having to pay the debt off.

    The people leaving school with good A levels is still the absolute minority and the people leaving with a degree is still the minority. 46% (or about that I will ask PQ) is the amount of people young people who have had higher education experience. However that includes HND's, HNC's, degrees, foundation degrees etc. The amount of young people with good A levels and Degrees is still very low.

    As for debt it may seem a lot but I know countless young people with less than £20k jobs taking out huge loans just to have a new shiny car, I would personaly rather spend that money on education.

    If however you just want to go to university to have fun for three years than frankly there are cheaper and better ways.

    Edit: The amount of people achieving 4 A's is extremely low, out of the 250,000 people that sat them, only 20,000 got 3 A's for better, so the amoint that got 4 will be even lower.
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    (Original post by amazingtrade)
    Edit: The amount of people achieving 4 A's is extremely low, out of the 250,000 people that sat them, only 20,000 got 3 A's for better, so the amoint that got 4 will be even lower.
    Extremely low? Are you taking the piss? That's one in 12.5 people who sat the exam! 3 A's or more should scream genious. For grades that are supposed to scream 'genious', that is far too prolific for my liking.
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    I think it depends how you look at it really.

    One point to make is some professions require you to have a degree so if your chosen profession is one of these obviously it's essential you go to university. Also many jobs now that used to be A Level entry now look for people with a degree so it's a vicious circle.

    Another thing is, you seem to be comparing costs and how much debt you'll be getting into. However there is more to going to university than this. I think that if you play it right then it's also an amazing life experience, it's not just about learning academically but also about learning about yourself.
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    (Original post by muncrun)
    Extremely low? Are you taking the piss? That's one in 12.5 people who sat the exam! 3 A's or more should scream genious. For grades that are supposed to scream 'genious', that is far too prolific for my liking.
    It, just think how many universitiy places they are, there is 20,000 at Salford alone. 40,000 in Manchester, 30,000 at MMU thats 90,000 places just at 3 universities and there are more than 100.

    In the grand terms of the population at 61 million I reckon only 200,000 can have those grades. Even if its been that high for the last 40 years thats still only 480,000.

    People always forget about the other 60% who don't do A levels or level 3 qualifications. The media make out that everybody does A levels and all get good grades its simply not the case.
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    (Original post by muncrun)
    Extremely low? Are you taking the piss? That's one in 12.5 people who sat the exam! 3 A's or more should scream genious. For grades that are supposed to scream 'genious', that is far too prolific for my liking.
    Well fortunately, 'your liking' isn't much of a factor in decision making. 'A' grade is not supposed to scream genius. The A-Level isn't designed to cater solely for the brightest students.

    amazingtrade's figures are wrong, there's far more then 250,000 people taking A-Levels. I think the real figure is 1 in 30 get AAA or more. Roughly 97% of people taking A-Levels won't get AAA or more.

    If you want get the best from the AAA crop then you use AEA's. Something like 60% of AEA entries fail, the only problem is not enough people are taking them at the moment.
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    (Original post by happysunshine)
    I'll say no, it isn't.

    I am aware this isn't the first thread on this matter, but this is what I've come up with of why it isn't worth it.
    If I would get a lower wage working as a phycisist than selling grossaries. I would still insist on taking a Physics course at university. Some people go to university for high status - high paid jobs , but a large proportion of those who go into higher education simply do so because they burn for teh subject they chose. My girlfriend is gonna be paying more than £8000 a year in tuition fees in order to go on a british university philosophy course. I think that should pretty much settle it when it comes to whether people go to university because of economical interests.
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    At the end of the day it can bring immence benifits. Its gaves you the chance not only to learn about a specific subject but also a chance to grow up. However obviously for some people greater benifits can be derivied from doing other things.

    The problem in this country is that volationary courses at colleges to learn a trade are not well regarded and hence IMO people are put off doing them. It is my understanding that the atttitude towards people learning trades in europe is one of more respect. Certainly I think its ludicrous to want 50% of the population to go to university.
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    (Original post by Llamas)
    Well fortunately, 'your liking' isn't much of a factor in decision making. 'A' grade is not supposed to scream genius. The A-Level isn't designed to cater solely for the brightest students.

    amazingtrade's figures are wrong, there's far more then 250,000 people taking A-Levels. I think the real figure is 1 in 30 get AAA or more. Roughly 97% of people taking A-Levels won't get AAA or more.

    If you want get the best from the AAA crop then you use AEA's. Something like 60% of AEA entries fail, the only problem is not enough people are taking them at the moment.
    The problem as far as I can see is that the A-levels measure hard work.
    If more people get AAA-ABB, then AAA-ABB will be seen as a basic requirement for your top universities, rather like a C in GCSE English and Maths is for Teaching. In order to get AAA-ABB you still need to put in a vast amount of hard work, which takes away time that could be used to do other important things, like sport or music, or reading and researching what truly interests you.

    The top universities and employers all stress that they want more than just academic qualifications. If just to stay in the running, you need to dedicate yourself to work so you can get the AAA-ABB you need, then there is no oportunity to run a Scout group, go on tour with a brass band, play football, rugby etc. No time to enter young enterprise contests, no time to develop yourself, your ability to work in a team, your ability to lead etc. All these are more important in the long run than academic qualifications.

    I agree that AEA's are generally good, as they seek to test based on lateral thinking rather than simply requiring more information to be crammed into your head. An even better idea, is that which was floated recently to have a 4,000 word essay as part of the L6th curriculum, which then gets sent along with your UCAS form.
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    There are quite a few jobs in the construction industry but working in all weather conditions and doing hard labour is tough.
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    (Original post by shiny)
    There are quite a few jobs in the construction industry but working in all weather conditions and doing hard labour is tough.
    Ok lets put some things into perspective
    1) An exam where 96% of people pass is not practical. I mean the same proportion of people get A as do get B and C. Anyone can tell you that isn't right.
    Nowdon't get me wrong, I couldn't give a crap. I've done my dues, and I always was good at interviews, so I wasn't too worried when applying to oxbridge, because I knew I'd automatically get an interview, and so be able to impress. But what about the people applying to every other university? very very very few places are decided by interview, hence grades will always be the biggest factor. There has to be a greater sperating of grade boundaries. If necessary divide each grade up into half, making A,B,C,D,E,F all being pass grades. Then you know that the A grade is the top 8-10% not top 23%.

    2) University is vital for some jobs, but I would say that these tend to either be those with large responsibilities or voactional ie investment banking, medicine, engineering...
    University courses like media studies are ****.

    3) I bumped into a friend in town yesterday who as it turned out had decided not to go to uni (i hadn't seen him since end of sixth form). He's now general store manager of a tescos supermarket, which is bloody good by the age of 21.
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    This seems to have turned into a debate over the value of A-Levels (which is connected admittedly)

    The fact that more people than ever are gaining a graduate education means that a degree is becoming almost a basic requirement in some fields. I'll admit that student debt isn't enticing but it's a tradeoff for the future. A lot of vocational training won't suit many people or what they want to do. I'm sure this is been broadened though (the government seems to like these vocational courses and modern apprenticeships).

    It's a personal choice in the end, and the only surefire way to make sure your qualifications give you a good platform in the job market is to go for the obscure sectors it seems.
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    I’m after a career in Law, thus for me university is crucial, as with various other professions.
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    (Original post by Llamas)
    amazingtrade's figures are wrong, there's far more then 250,000 people taking A-Levels. I think the real figure is 1 in 30 get AAA or more. Roughly 97% of people taking A-Levels won't get AAA or more.
    There's ~650,000 who were born within the 1985-6 academic year, of which ~270,000 took A-Levels. 3% of all 17/18yr olds and 7.5% of all A-Level students of that age got at least AAA.
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    (Original post by LifeWired)
    The fact that more people than ever are gaining a graduate education means that a degree is becoming almost a basic requirement in some fields.
    What I would like to know is what percentage of those jobs need the actual material learnt in the degree? What percentage need the general transferrable skills learnt from the degree? and what percentace are just trying to ensure they have an at least average employee.

    Lets assume a few things here,
    1. The government meets its 50% target
    2. Admissions are fair
    3. IQ is a fair measure of intelligence


    IQ, statistically speaking follows a normal, or gaussian distribution, which has the effect of centering all 3 traditional measures of average. On a standard normal distribution, the mean, mode and median all equal zero.

    By assuming admissions are fair, then the top 50% of the population goes to university. That means that if you employ a non-graduate you are employing somebody of below average intelligence.

    Some professions need you trained to a high level in a specific subject. Medicine, Dentistry, Law, and Academic Research are the obvious examples here (there are of course many more). You are not going to be able to research and lecture in a subject without having studied that subject to a high level.

    On another thread they talk about joining SIS (MI6). I have no idea exactly what they do, but a rough guess would indicate they want you to be highly able, and posess the transferrable skills a degree conferrs to you.

    When you look at many jobs however, they are looking for "a degree" to be a middle-manager of something. The degree itself probably helps you less than running a society, or being a student union officer would. I honestly feel there are many jobs even now, where they are simply ensuring they get at least an average employee.

    It makes no sense to have young people battling through a degree, purely so they can keep in the running for a good career. For those who truly want to learn and experience HE then that is great, but the more people go to uni, the more pressure there is to go uni yourself, even if that is not the ideal route for you.

    That is what I so strongly disagree with over 50% targets and top-up fees to fund it. Young people are being expected to enter life with a debt of around £20K-30K just to prove to employers that they are at least "average"
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    I don't think an IQ test is a fair way of going about it, the last thing you want is someone who can do well on an IQ test but just doesn't apply themselves, so the A-levels show you put the work in and are smart too.

    Anyhow i think a degree is well worth it, if one day you want to be telling people what work to do instead of being the one told then a degree is the way, yeah you can work up from an apprentice but its bloody hard, an old friend from school did it that way and he's now a systems engineer and working towards his degree part time, he got the job and became a systems engineer becouse he agree'd to do a degree (Well that and he was good enough for the job obviously).

    Its a lot harder to be a shelf stacker in a super market and then become a manager of the store than if the shelf stack did a degree also and then applied. Many jobs require degrees!
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    (Original post by Vladek)
    I don't think an IQ test is a fair way of going about it, the last thing you want is someone who can do well on an IQ test but just doesn't apply themselves, so the A-levels show you put the work in and are smart too.
    The problem is...
    CCC = Someone clever who does no work
    CCC = Someone not clever who works like hell

    On paper they're identical, yet at opposite ends of the spectrum regarding their skills.
 
 
 
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