What is the point of going to university?

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Saracen's Fez
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This week it's Educational Debate week in the D&CA 5-in-5 project!

I often hear discourse that claims that too many people are going to university nowadays, and that it needs to go back to being for a smaller number of people, with other options for technical and practical work. This can take us to a more fundamental question: what are universities for?

If you are at or have been to university, or you chose another path, why did you choose the option you did? If you're not at that point in your life yet, what factors are you thinking about when deciding whether or not to go to university?

Is going to university all about getting an academic qualification, or does it have other benefits too? If it does, how might we let people who choose not to go to uni access those benefits too?

As usual, feel free to run with whatever slant you have on the question!
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Final Fantasy
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For me it turned out to be pointless. I never should have went, it made no impact on my career choice.
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Fox Hound
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I think if you choose the right degree e.g. stem or business, you should be fine and have a good chance of getting a career going for yourself.
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CoochieMan
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Doktor
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Mesopotamian.
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I only see university as another stage in my academic journey. I don’t care for the “uni/ student life” that people seem to put on a pedestal and aspire to achieve.
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mnot
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University is a developmental & educational tool.
The purpose should be to develop useful skills for an occupation or socioeconomicly beneficial output of some kind.

People are their to learn direct skills & knowledge that can be applied to a job/role or they can learn general skills/attributes applicable to many different things for example learning out how to manage high workloads/tight deadlines/stress/pressure/intrapersonal skills/'soft' skills/problem solving.

I dont have a problem with any volume of students going to uni if it is beneficial but I dont think the government should be funding micky mouse courses. To be eligible receive the tuition & maintenance loan the degree should be of socioeconomic benefit to the general populous of the UK.
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Kallisto
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For the most people, their primary goal is to get an academical degree to acquire the job they want to or at least have good job perspectives. For me this is a secondary purpose, I would begin to study to widen my horizon. That is what universites should stand for designated students.
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GreenCub
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I think it's worth noting that the purpose of university is fundamentally education, rather than solely getting a job.
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jemima0103
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Well, I want to go to actually learn and study something that I'm interested in. I also want to live away from home and live somewhere that's not a miserable small town with less than 10,000 people.

It annoys me when old people get annoyed with people who go to university yet at the same time class those who don't go as lazy when most of them have contributed nothing useful to society themselves.
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Kallisto
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(Original post by GreenCub)
I think it's worth noting that the purpose of university is fundamentally education, rather than solely getting a job.
In universities' view I think that you are right. The question is that education is beyond for students too.
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Rabbit2
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I have been in this position [that i am about to describe]. I have ONE job (and two applicants). The applicants are essentially equivalent, except that one has a uni degree, and the other does not. Which one do i hire??? [Think about this for a minute before reading ahead].

The one with the degree. Why??? Because i KNOW that the one with the degree a> had to work over holidays & weekends, b> had to work over their birthdays and Christmas - even Thanksgiving, to get the required work done, and earn their degree. I know this because i had to do the same thing myself.

The one without the degree is 'untested'. They may decide, when deer season [or fishing season] opens, to take off for 3 weeks - just when i need "All Hands On Deck" for a crisis. Since a crisis can arise at any time, i can't take a chance on this - because my neck is on the 'chopping block' with my bosses to get the work done - and excuses that 'one of my workers took off on me' won't cut it.

Additionally, when i worked for the government, i noted that more and more job applicants (who were looking for their first job out of uni) already HAD Master's degrees in Engineering. Since i didn't [at that point], i decided that to preserve my 'salability', i need to get one too. I therefore got myself into a master's program, and subsequently got my degree. On this side of the pond - NOBODY is going to let you run a 'decent sized' program {$5million or more} if you don't have a Master's degree {in an appropriate specialty}. This is true, even when the people making that decision don't have a master's degree in your specialty, or even don't have a master's degree at all!! Go figure!!

Cheers.
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DiddyDec
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To get a degree, doesn't really matter what it is in as long as it is a degree.

As someone without a degree the professional world is far more difficult than it needs to be. Lacking a degree makes getting other qualifications more difficult even though I could pass the test with ease. Also people value degrees for more than actual ability or experience, because I don't have a piece of paper with some letter written on it I get paid less for doing the same work.
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tinygirl96
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To study a language in more depth. Duo lingo is perfect for novices but if you want to truly be a expert in French or whichever language you prefer then you need to investigate traditional options.
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yeetouttawindow
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the uni experience so basically moving out, joining clubs and societies, going on nights out, making new friends
can all be achieved without even going
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Tolgash
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(Original post by mnot)
To be eligible receive the tuition & maintenance loan the degree should be of socioeconomic benefit to the general populous of the UK.
*populace
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_gcx
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I chose maths at university because I like maths.

I want to go into academia so there's no alternatives.
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jelloie
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It opens doors to certain industries you want to pursue and you make connections at uni that can help further career options. Uni's also pretty developmental for most people, i.e. teaches you how to live independently.

Plus, I desperately want to move out and away, and going uni lets me do that economically.
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nexttime
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How it should work: To give you broad skills in study, maths, management, and critical thinking that will help you work in one of the broad range of industries graduates end up in.

How it actually works: Do it to prove you can, no one cares what you actually learned.

Unless you're actually going to be a researcher or doctor of course.
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lucyp99
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On a practical level, it helps massively get a job (most grad jobs require a degree anyway from experience). But I think it's way more than that - it's about expanding your worldview, living in a different city, becoming more independent, leaving behind the school mindset and realising that things aren't just going to fall in place for you.

I've also had amazing opportunities that I would've otherwise not had - getting involved in student journalism, sports teams, volunteering for charities, going to careers fairs and most importantly, meeting people I wouldn't have otherwise met. All of this stuff isn't just box-ticking for my CV but has helped me become more well-rounded (or so I hope - that's a lot of money down the drain if not...)
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Antony Hughes
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(Original post by nexttime)
How it should work: To give you broad skills in study, maths, management, and critical thinking that will help you work in one of the broad range of industries graduates end up in.

How it actually works: Do it to prove you can, no one cares what you actually learned.

Unless you're actually going to be a researcher or doctor of course.
Wrong.
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