Is university really useless unless doing job related degrees

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baconhatesbeef
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I just watched a documentary and few people say that university doesn’t guarantee success in the future.
Wanted to know people opinions
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Skymoose
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Sadly going to university does not guarantee success but it can be an indicator of your academic ability and attainment. Your degree choice and career route can be important but it's not a clear cut path. For example, I know someone who has a first from a Russel group uni in history and is a PCSO and someone who has a 2:2 in Electrical Engineering and works as a mental health nurse/worker doing NVQ now.
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Joleee
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no of course a university degree doesn't guarantee success; that part is on your work ethic and ambition. but a degree is not 'useless' when you live in a country like the UK where, for better or worse, everyone and their dog has a degree and 70 percent of students hold at least a 2:1 certificate. since everyone has a degree, employers can make having one a requirement even for the most basic positions (and they do). so if you're looking for an entry level position and don't have a 2:1 certificate, you'll find it more difficult to compete; in that sense then it's definitely not useless, even if you never use at your job what you learned at uni. where i'm from tho far fewer people go to uni and instead go to a vocational college where you study a diploma (usually two years) that teaches you skills for a specific job (like a trade, admin, paralegal, computer stuff, business management, etc) and not every entry level job requires a degree.
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username5711082
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Nowadays, just about every occupation worth doing will require it. So on that end, yes. At any other capacity, probably not.
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Kumaa1995
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Not all occupations will require it, no, but a degree is very useful in moving up the career ladder, as some promotional roles may require you to get a degree. So in this respect, it is useful and helps to facilitate success, but in itself, a degree does not mean success, no.
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giella
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People who ask this are missing the point of a degree. A degree is ultimately a generic qualification that can guarantee that the holder has a certain number of generic level 6 skills and that they have the ability to learn at a higher level. It underwrites those skills It’s not to say that you can’t gain them elsewhere but it saves an employer a good bit of guesswork when it comes to hiring.
Now obviously some degrees are more specialist and you gain more specific skills, knowledge and ways of thinking which may be of value to enable to you to connect with people in certain jobs and sectors. Certainly my degree in history has been a conversation starter with many people and it’s enriched me as a person. And that’s the main reason why you should do any degree.
You have to work to build a career, whatever you do. But doing a degree enables you to gain an understanding of the world around you and unlock lines of enquiry you may have otherwise never considered. My best friend from my history degree studied masculinity in WW2 for her dissertation and gained a lot of skills in oral history that laid the foundation for her master’s in development studies and her dissertation for that was in human trafficking. From there she did an internship with a charity working with women in the line and she did some work in other charitable organisations for a couple of years before doing her PhD in sustainable exits from prostitution, gaining skills in research that were highly sought after and has gone on to become a development manager for a major charity supporting women exit the line.
That’s what a degree can do for you. It should challenge you to think in new ways, open your mind to new ideas, and push you to develop as a person. You have to work to achieve them and nothing is just handed to you. Even when you do a vocational degree (I have) it’s not just something that happens automatically. Your career needs building and effort putting into it to sustain it.
I also know a person with a degree in art history and film studies who has done very little apart from retail ever since she graduated. Yes, her degree gave her an interest in film and she Gained another qualification in television and film production but never put any work into it. She passed up opportunities to gain experience and ultimately decided that she didn’t like the idea of being self employed as many in the film industry are. Two people both inspired by their degrees, one of whom was successful in following their inspiration through to a successful career. People make careers, not degrees, as was ever thus.
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username2825764
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Doing a vocational degree instead of an academic degree does not guarantee a successful start to a professional career. A person could graduate with a with a third-class honours in software engineering from New Blackpool Met. That hypothetical persons prospects would be absolutely diabolical. Assuming equal work experience and connections, let's compare the prospects of that hypothetical person to a second hypothetical person; the second hypothetical person graduated with an upper second-class honours in English from UCL. The second hypothetical person's prospects are magnitudes better than the first's. Why? Because a 2.1 is the minimum requirement for a large proportion of graduate programmes and UCL has a better reputation than New Blackpool Met.
Last edited by username2825764; 2 weeks ago
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giella
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(Original post by MalcolmX)
Doing a vocational degree instead of an academic degree does not guarantee a successful start to a professional career. A person could graduate with a with a third-class honours in software engineering from New Blackpool Met. That hypothetical persons prospects would be absolutely diabolical. Assuming equal work experience and connections, let's compare the prospects of that hypothetical person to a second hypothetical person; the second hypothetical person graduated with an upper second-class honours in English from UCL. The second hypothetical person's prospects are magnitudes better than the first's. Why? Because a 2.1 is the minimum requirement for a large proportion of graduate programmes and UCL has a better reputation than New Blackpool Met.
Simply not true. Plenty of people from my vocational course graduate with thirds and the majority find gainful employment. Many people go on to learn better on the job than they do at university and a third class degree still shows that you’ve got the basic skills to learn at graduate level. The person’s wider CV would be of interest as well. And someone can get a third class degree despite doing generally well throughout their degree. Illness or family difficulties might rank their final grade and not that many people progress all the way through to a third class degree by scraping by the whole way. Usually those people exit the degree earlier. I know someone who got an ordinary degree without classification or honours in English who managed to get three offers to study medicine back in 2009/10 because they looked at her application holistically. So don’t spout snobbish BS because you just sound like someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
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stem_leader
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Don't under-estimate the peers you acquire, friends you make, networking.

More jobs will come through the networks you build in uni than through just having a qualification from the uni.

You're told throughout life that the degree matters, truth is that it only matters for some professions and fields. Mostly a degree, any degree, shows an ability to commit, focus, and execute... To stick with something and succeed. It doesn't matter what the degree is in unless you wish to enter a profession that absolutely requires it as a qualification (medical, law, some science, veterinary, etc).

For the vast majority of people, if you don't have a long term plan any degree is good enough.

For those with a long term plan, entering one of those fields... It's a hell of an investment in time and money for no guarantee that you'll love doing the profession you chose. So it's not always a success that way either.

Uni though... It's the single best opportunity to build your adult friend network and to find career long support from a network of peers based on the trust and closeness you built at uni.

Don't underestimate the value of uni, but it's not the bit of paper and getting a first isn't as important as you think, build a strong and decent sized network of solid friends.
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AlefMemYod
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I always say there are two reasons to go to uni: either because you want to go for a career that requires a degree, or because there's one particular subject you have a passion for and want to study further (or if you're REALLY lucky, both). If you don't come under either (and plenty of people don't, that's not a bad thing), then I wouldn't go, just because I know I'd be miserable if I was studying a subject I was neither passionate about nor motivated for by a particular career down the line.

I went to uni for the second of those reasons; even though my degree certainly isn't the most "employable" (theology), I've had the time of my life studying it, and wouldn't change the last three years for the world. I'm currently applying to management-type grad schemes that accept any degree discipline and feel quite optimistic about my future career, so don't be deterred if you're wondering about studying a very academic subject - you can do it and get employed even if you don't want to go into academia/teaching.
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JOSH4598
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If I was offering career advice to people leaving sixth form (those contemplating university) then I would recommend initially looking at what degree apprenticeship opportunities are available - something I wish I had been told about! If there are none which interest you or you're unsuccessful in applying, then I would recommend going to the 'best' university you can studying a subject you have a passion for.

I think most people should get a degree either through a DA or through university - nearly every industry is moving towards making it mandatory for new entrants and if you ever want a career change a degree is a good way to demonstrate core skills. Also it certainly cannot be fun studying for a degree in your 30s or 40s when you want a career change or promotion - a stage of life when you may also be bringing up children and have a mortgage etc to pay for.

Getting a degree is far from useless - all the people who say that are coincidently the same people who don't have one.
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Thisismyunitsr
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(Original post by baconhatesbeef)
I just watched a documentary and few people say that university doesn’t guarantee success in the future.
Wanted to know people opinions
I think so. I’m almost 24 so quite a bit older than most people on here and I genuinely believe that university is a complete and utter waste of time unless it is work related. There’s no guarantee that any degree will guarantee you a job and seen as the vast majority of people go to university these days to improve their job prospects then it’s useless.

Pretty much everyone I know who decided not to go to university is more successful than those who have along with being less stressed and having significantly less debt than that of a graduate.

I’ll give you a statistic. 35% of jobs in the UK require a degree. 50% of people go to university. There is a vast surplus of people going to university and it’s been this way for decades.
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Isabel Steele
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If you have a degree it allows employers to see that you can be very determined and hard-working.
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Vapordave
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(Original post by Thisismyunitsr)
I think so. I’m almost 24 so quite a bit older than most people on here and I genuinely believe that university is a complete and utter waste of time unless it is work related. There’s no guarantee that any degree will guarantee you a job and seen as the vast majority of people go to university these days to improve their job prospects then it’s useless.

Pretty much everyone I know who decided not to go to university is more successful than those who have along with being less stressed and having significantly less debt than that of a graduate.

I’ll give you a statistic. 35% of jobs in the UK require a degree. 50% of people go to university. There is a vast surplus of people going to university and it’s been this way for decades.
Those statistics would be more useful if it excluded unskilled/manual labour.
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Thisismyunitsr
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(Original post by Vapordave)
Those statistics would be more useful if it excluded unskilled/manual labour.
If it was unskilled or manual labour then it wouldn’t require a degree anyway, so I dont understand your point
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Vapordave
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(Original post by Thisismyunitsr)
If it was unskilled or manual labour then it wouldn’t require a degree anyway, so I dont understand your point
Many people are not interested in manual labour as a profession so it diminishes your point.
You also pulled those numbers out of thin air.
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Contested Claim
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(Original post by Isabel Steele)
If you have a degree it allows employers to see that you can be very determined and hard-working.
Working on a trawler in the North Sea over winter shows you are determined and hard working. Picking your nose while you snooze through lectures and writing a couple of last minute essays a term does not.

Which is not to say some people at university are not hard working but let's be honest, even at top universities there are plenty of people messing around and doing just the minimum to scrape a 2:1. Which is why most employers expect you to bring more to the table.
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-Imperator-
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(Original post by Contested Claim)
Which is not to say some people at university are not hard working but let's be honest, even at top universities there are plenty of people messing around and doing just the minimum to scrape a 2:1. Which is why most employers expect you to bring more to the table.
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giella
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Missing the point as usual.
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ScoutLeopard
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Yes and no - I assume there is more fluidity in jobs now so what you study isn't necessarily as important but you can gain several skills from university and it is a good transition phase between sixth form and the job world. Some skills that you can really gain from uni are:
- Networking (even with people not doing your degree)
- Checking out a possible new place to live and whether you like it (There is no obligation to stay in your uni's town after you graduate)
- Learn how to cook
- Learn how to be independent and look after yourself
- Time management (Part time job, volunteering, school, clubs etc)

You can also gain knowledge about a subject even if it isn't what you go into and that might end up sparking an interest.
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