The Student Room Group

Is it university worth it?

Poll

Is it worthwhile going to university?

With 20% of university graduates becoming poorer because of attending university, and 30% of those attending university graduating and going into non-graduate jobs according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), due to an over-supply of business, humanities, arts, and social science (i.e. Sociology, Psychology, and Politics) graduates from all UK universities (including Russell Group Research Intensive universities).

Some careers actively exploit this such as in tourism, hospitality, media, telecoms, FMCG, PR agencies, and marketing agencies where often job tenure is 2-3 years after graduating.

Some universities run courses where graduate employment rates are below 50%, but they charge the same amount as courses where 90+% go onto graduate and get a job, and because of the subject chosen they get a career. Is it therefore better to go for professionally accredited degrees and learn skills for employment, or get a job and do a distance learning course or professional qualifications - RICS, AAT, CIMA, etc? Do A-levels in the so-called 'Facilitating' at grades A*-B trump most university degrees?

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/university-subjects-students-graduates-courses-degrees-higher-education-sam-gyimah-ifs-a8651046.html

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/feb/29/one-in-five-students-lose-money-by-going-to-university-ifs-finds

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Original post by Kinga88
With 20% of university graduates becoming poorer because of attending university, and 30% of those attending university graduating and going into non-graduate jobs according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), due to an over-supply of business, humanities, arts, and social science (i.e. Sociology, Psychology, and Politics) graduates from all UK universities (including Russell Group Research Intensive universities).

Some careers actively exploit this such as in tourism, hospitality, media, telecoms, FMCG, PR agencies, and marketing agencies where often job tenure is 2-3 years after graduating.

Some universities run courses where graduate employment rates are below 50%, but they charge the same amount as courses where 90+% go onto graduate and get a job, and because of the subject chosen they get a career. Is it therefore better to go for professionally accredited degrees and learn skills for employment, or get a job and do a distance learning course or professional qualifications - RICS, AAT, CIMA, etc? Do A-levels in the so-called 'Facilitating' at grades A*-B trump most university degrees?

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/university-subjects-students-graduates-courses-degrees-higher-education-sam-gyimah-ifs-a8651046.html

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/feb/29/one-in-five-students-lose-money-by-going-to-university-ifs-finds

In for distance learning course.
Original post by Kinga88
With 20% of university graduates becoming poorer because of attending university, and 30% of those attending university graduating and going into non-graduate jobs according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), due to an over-supply of business, humanities, arts, and social science (i.e. Sociology, Psychology, and Politics) graduates from all UK universities (including Russell Group Research Intensive universities).

Some careers actively exploit this such as in tourism, hospitality, media, telecoms, FMCG, PR agencies, and marketing agencies where often job tenure is 2-3 years after graduating.

Some universities run courses where graduate employment rates are below 50%, but they charge the same amount as courses where 90+% go onto graduate and get a job, and because of the subject chosen they get a career. Is it therefore better to go for professionally accredited degrees and learn skills for employment, or get a job and do a distance learning course or professional qualifications - RICS, AAT, CIMA, etc? Do A-levels in the so-called 'Facilitating' at grades A*-B trump most university degrees?

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/university-subjects-students-graduates-courses-degrees-higher-education-sam-gyimah-ifs-a8651046.html

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/feb/29/one-in-five-students-lose-money-by-going-to-university-ifs-finds

I mostly agree. There should be less emphasis on university and more on vocational degrees/apprenticeships.

University is increasingly not worth, especially the crappy ex-polys.
For post-1992 universities... some are very crappy.
Russell Group... some subjects are still poor for earnings premium.

In fact, we should shut down a few of the worst universities, like University of Bedfordshire.
There is an oversupply of most areas of STEM too (with the exception of [information] technology), it's not just arts, humanities and social sciences.

University certainly can be worth it, but there are an increasing amount of worthwhile alternative options that can take you just as far. I'd advise people who are about to being making career choices to look at what jobs are paying well, as this is a good proxy (aside from some underpaid public sector roles in health and teaching) for what jobs are in demand. What are the entry requirements and qualifications to the careers that you're interested in? Ultimately you do have to pick something that is actually available, and the more in demand it is the easier time you'll have securing employment, so if you do choose the degree route, look beyond just short-term enjoyment into how it will fit into your career path.
Original post by Smack
There is an oversupply of most areas of STEM too (with the exception of [information] technology), it's not just arts, humanities and social sciences.

University certainly can be worth it, but there are an increasing amount of worthwhile alternative options that can take you just as far. I'd advise people who are about to being making career choices to look at what jobs are paying well, as this is a good proxy (aside from some underpaid public sector roles in health and teaching) for what jobs are in demand. What are the entry requirements and qualifications to the careers that you're interested in? Ultimately you do have to pick something that is actually available, and the more in demand it is the easier time you'll have securing employment, so if you do choose the degree route, look beyond just short-term enjoyment into how it will fit into your career path.

Spot on - we need much more pragmatism like this on TSR.
Original post by justlearning1469
I mostly agree. There should be less emphasis on university and more on vocational degrees/apprenticeships.

University is increasingly not worth, especially the crappy ex-polys.
For post-1992 universities... some are very crappy.
Russell Group... some subjects are still poor for earnings premium.

In fact, we should shut down a few of the worst universities, like University of Bedfordshire.

What do you have against Bedfordshire :lol: This is like the third thread I've seen you slam Bedfordshire :tongue:
Original post by Kinga88
With 20% of university graduates becoming poorer because of attending university, and 30% of those attending university graduating and going into non-graduate jobs according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), due to an over-supply of business, humanities, arts, and social science (i.e. Sociology, Psychology, and Politics) graduates from all UK universities (including Russell Group Research Intensive universities).

Some careers actively exploit this such as in tourism, hospitality, media, telecoms, FMCG, PR agencies, and marketing agencies where often job tenure is 2-3 years after graduating.

Some universities run courses where graduate employment rates are below 50%, but they charge the same amount as courses where 90+% go onto graduate and get a job, and because of the subject chosen they get a career. Is it therefore better to go for professionally accredited degrees and learn skills for employment, or get a job and do a distance learning course or professional qualifications - RICS, AAT, CIMA, etc? Do A-levels in the so-called 'Facilitating' at grades A*-B trump most university degrees?

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/university-subjects-students-graduates-courses-degrees-higher-education-sam-gyimah-ifs-a8651046.html

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/feb/29/one-in-five-students-lose-money-by-going-to-university-ifs-finds


I'd say it depends on whether you're planning to enter a field where having a degree is either required for gaining entrance or promoting your paycheck, as opposed to not having any real value in the job market.
Original post by Smack
There is an oversupply of most areas of STEM too (with the exception of [information] technology), it's not just arts, humanities and social sciences.

University certainly can be worth it, but there are an increasing amount of worthwhile alternative options that can take you just as far. I'd advise people who are about to being making career choices to look at what jobs are paying well, as this is a good proxy (aside from some underpaid public sector roles in health and teaching) for what jobs are in demand. What are the entry requirements and qualifications to the careers that you're interested in? Ultimately you do have to pick something that is actually available, and the more in demand it is the easier time you'll have securing employment, so if you do choose the degree route, look beyond just short-term enjoyment into how it will fit into your career path.

Wait really? So if I was to go into a maths/physics/statistics degree, they're oversupplied? Then maybe I'd need to get into a stronger uni for postgrad to stave off the competition?
Original post by Reality Check
Spot on - we need much more pragmatism like this on TSR.

PRSOM. Sometimes we need to be more pragmatic. For example, if you have offers from Edinburgh/Warwick for physics at 16/17, is it really worth it taking a gap year to try Oxbridge? I don't think so.

The Labour agenda of 50% higher education is failing, and we are seeing it with our very eyes.
Original post by sleep_supremacy
What do you have against Bedfordshire :lol: This is like the third thread I've seen you slam Bedfordshire :tongue:

Bedfordshire is one of the worst ranked universities. The entry requirements are so ******* low and the course content is not rigorous at all. Additionally, the location is arguably crappy.

What a scam. Not worth 9250 pounds a year.
Reply 8
Do you think that the amount charged by a university should reflect the impact on earnings and career, as this would act as a 'signal' to schools, parents, and those thinking about university about where the best employment and career opportunities are? It might also help university applicants realise which geographical areas have the opportunities for graduates in those subjects and it might help focus universities to offering better quality courses.
(edited 12 months ago)
Original post by Kinga88
Do you think that the amount charged by a university should reflect the impact on earnings and career, as this would act as a 'signal' to schools, parents, and those thinking about university about where the best employment and career opportunities are? It might also help university applicants realise which geographical areas have the opportunities for graduates in those subjects and it might help focus universities to offering better quality courses.

I agree. Better unis should be charged more and worse unis should be charged less. That way there are actually advantages to going to "worse" unis while the elite unis, you need to pay. And all that you said.

If you can't compete in quality, you'd have to compete in price.
(edited 12 months ago)
Original post by justlearning1469
I agree. Better unis should be charged more and worse unis should be charged less. That way there are actually advantages to going to "worse" unis while the elite unis, you need to pay. And all that you said.

If you can't compete in quality, you'd have to compete in price.


Unis already vary in price for international students, though that’s a can of worms I’m not willing to open right now.
Original post by sleep_supremacy
Unis already vary in price for international students, though that’s a can of worms I’m not willing to open right now.

I'd be willing to open up the can of worms.
Reply 12
I didn't understand the 50% participation thing at the time, and I was, ostensibly, precisely the sort of kid that Labour had in mind. Perhaps if we had a more comprehensive and robust apprenticeship scheme it would've been more realistic (though not wholly realistic...), but as it was, it simply bifurcated society via some snobbish 'have-have not' criterion. I work in WP and 1st Gen and I care deeply about getting the appropriate kids from these backgrounds into HE. I was one of those kids. But yeah that 50% thing... Weird and ill-conceived. There are better ways.
Original post by gjd800
I didn't understand the 50% participation thing at the time, and I was, ostensibly, precisely the sort of kid that Labour had in mind. Perhaps if we had a more comprehensive and robust apprenticeship scheme it would've been more realistic (though not wholly realistic...), but as it was, it simply bifurcated society via some snobbish 'have-have not' criterion. I work in WP and 1st Gen and I care deeply about getting the appropriate kids from these backgrounds into HE. I was one of those kids. But yeah that 50% thing... Weird and ill-conceived. There are better ways.

PRSOM

Maybe it should've been 25% going to university instead, and 15% leaving with bachelor degrees...
Original post by justlearning1469
I'd be willing to open up the can of worms.


There’s not much people haven’t heard already regarding how international students are treated like cash cows. It just falls on deaf ears.
Original post by gjd800
I didn't understand the 50% participation thing at the time, and I was, ostensibly, precisely the sort of kid that Labour had in mind. Perhaps if we had a more comprehensive and robust apprenticeship scheme it would've been more realistic (though not wholly realistic...), but as it was, it simply bifurcated society via some snobbish 'have-have not' criterion. I work in WP and 1st Gen and I care deeply about getting the appropriate kids from these backgrounds into HE. I was one of those kids. But yeah that 50% thing... Weird and ill-conceived. There are better ways.

completely agree with you. WP/1st Gen work is so important - all that talent out there being wasted because it's 'not for the likes of us'.
Original post by sleep_supremacy
There’s not much people haven’t heard already regarding how international students are treated like cash cows. It just falls on deaf ears.

Fair... although intl' fees should be reduced. Esp. for Oxbridge.
Original post by justlearning1469
Fair... although intl' fees should be reduced. Esp. for Oxbridge.


Reduced? They’ve increased! :argh:
There have been multiple inquiries commissioned by the government into the poor employability of grads in may STEM fields, including CS, most bioscience areas and many earth sciences fields. However since this doesn't fit the current narrative of "STEM superiority, defund humanities and social science courses", it's conveniently not mentioned more often than not.

I'd also note that the articles you link contain multiple remarks about how just because a given field has lower graduate income doesn't mean that it is "failing" or a misallocation of funds - creative arts jobs often have lower annual incomes (for various reasons, including that a lot of that work is contract based/freelance and so if you end up with a gap for a month or two without work that will impact your yearly earnings a lot), but they explicitly point out this doesn't mean that people shouldn't be trained in these areas.
Original post by sleep_supremacy
Reduced? They’ve increased! :argh:

No, I mean they should be reduced, as in I think they should be reduced.

Original post by artful_lounger
There have been multiple inquiries commissioned by the government into the poor employability of grads in may STEM fields, including CS, most bioscience areas and many earth sciences fields. However since this doesn't fit the current narrative of "STEM superiority, defund humanities and social science courses", it's conveniently not mentioned more often than not.

I'd also note that the articles you link contain multiple remarks about how just because a given field has lower graduate income doesn't mean that it is "failing" or a misallocation of funds - creative arts jobs often have lower annual incomes (for various reasons, including that a lot of that work is contract based/freelance and so if you end up with a gap for a month or two without work that will impact your yearly earnings a lot), but they explicitly point out this doesn't mean that people shouldn't be trained in these areas.

Fair enough... although https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/518582/ind-16-6-wakeham-review-stem-graduate-employability.pdf apparently CS isn't included...

However a lot of STEM fields still have good employability, like maths and physics.

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