The Student Room Group

My mom doesn't want me to go to university

This is going to be pretty long. My mom doesn't want me to go to university at all, she wont stop me but shes already said she wont support me financially if I choose to go, my dad is out of the picture so he wont help me either. Her reasons for this are both student loans / debt and the fact that she seems to have this fool proof perfect plan of me getting an entry level job or apprenticeship, finding somewhere to live and then starting from there. At first I agreed with her, but I have been applying and looking for apprenticeships since last year August and haven't even gotten a single interview which has led me to doubt if I can even find one. Furthermore Entry level jobs require some sort of experience or even a degree which I obviously don't have, and they wont consider me either. Which has kind of led me to thinking that University is the safest option for me. I understand that University doesn't guarantee a stable career or Job but I don't really know what else to do. I definitely don't want to be sitting in my bedroom for another year or two still looking for jobs and apprenticeships. Does anyone have any advice?
Original post by elliott6s
This is going to be pretty long. My mom doesn't want me to go to university at all, she wont stop me but shes already said she wont support me financially if I choose to go, my dad is out of the picture so he wont help me either. Her reasons for this are both student loans / debt and the fact that she seems to have this fool proof perfect plan of me getting an entry level job or apprenticeship, finding somewhere to live and then starting from there. At first I agreed with her, but I have been applying and looking for apprenticeships since last year August and haven't even gotten a single interview which has led me to doubt if I can even find one. Furthermore Entry level jobs require some sort of experience or even a degree which I obviously don't have, and they wont consider me either. Which has kind of led me to thinking that University is the safest option for me. I understand that University doesn't guarantee a stable career or Job but I don't really know what else to do. I definitely don't want to be sitting in my bedroom for another year or two still looking for jobs and apprenticeships. Does anyone have any advice?

What do you specifically want to do as a career? Should you do a degree, what subject would it be in?
Reply 2
Original post by MindMax2000
What do you specifically want to do as a career? Should you do a degree, what subject would it be in?

Id like to start a career in Cyber security and if not then Digital Marketing.
Original post by elliott6s
Id like to start a career in Cyber security and if not then Digital Marketing.

With digital marketing, I would probably agree with your mother. It's not that you can't get a job with the degree in it, but it makes less sense to me to get a degree in order to get this sort of job (unless you want to teach digital marketing at university level or go into academic research in the subject).
For example, there are case studies (not representative of the average Joe) where you could start a digital marketing agency with no prior qualification so long you know what to do:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkpHN4iBblY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6_a-vDDWTY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyF7Tfb3QRc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=symCDhIJRHs
Do note, none of the above should be considered business or finance advice. Should you wish to seek such advice, speak to a qualified professional.

For cybersecurity, it's a bit of yes and no. Whilst you strictly don't need a degree in order to get the career, getting a degree in it definitely wouldn't hurt.

What kind of jumps to mind is whether you have gotten any professional qualifications in the above areas. If you haven't, then it's worth looking into them prior to applying for further jobs. You would likely find that the professional qualifications would help you somewhat more in your applications.

For digital marketing, I would recommend CIM, since they're internationally recognised (i.e. you can still use this same qualification and employers would accept it abroad), up to level 6: https://www.cim.co.uk/qualifications/
Similar qualifications are from:
https://www.theidm.com/qualifications-training/marketing-qualifications
https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/students/courses
Whilst DMI is probably a lot more relevant to what you want to do, it's probably not as widely recognised as CIM.
What you would quickly notice is that cost of doing these professional certifications would be significantly shorter and cheaper than any degree and very much affordable by most people.
However, do also note that some of these qualifications follow the NVQ system and by doing them you might have difficulties getting student loans for your degrees should you later decide to get them. My plan of action in this case is not not go beyond the level of qualification that you have already got e.g. If you have done A Levels, I wouldn't go beyond a level 3 award; if you have done a bachelor's, I wouldn't go beyond levl 6, etc.That way, you can still have access to student finance for your first set of degrees e.g. your first bachelor's, first master's, etc.
At the moment, I have found 14 undergrad degrees in digital marketing from a quick google search, so whilst it's widespread it's not that popular. Some of the modules that you do would be exempt for CIM qualifications, but it's cumbersom the check using the following: https://www.cim.co.uk/qualifications/cim-accredited-degree/, and since you only get partial accreditation for the CIM qualification, I would go straight for the CIM qualification over the degree.

Other potentially useful digital marketing certifications include those by Google and Facebook. These do periodically require you to retake, so you would need to keep studying every few years. Facebook's Blueprint qualification requires you to go to a proctor exam centre and can cost £300 or so, which is quite pricey. Google's digital marketing certiciations are all online and are free, so long you get the right answers (I recommend taking cheap courses on the exam questions for practice, so you know where you're going wrong).
These badges won't mean particularly much without experience, but they would make you stand out and show to employers you know what is appreciated in the industry.

For cybersecurity, there is a plethora of professional qualifications that you could do. The most popular ones include those by CompTIA (probably my favourite for cybersecurity), CSSP, CEH, CCNA. See the following for example:
https://www.coursera.org/articles/popular-cybersecurity-certifications
https://www.techtarget.com/searchsecurity/tip/10-cybersecurity-certifications-to-boost-your-career-in-2021
https://hackr.io/blog/best-cybersecurity-certification
https://www.forbes.com/advisor/in/education/best-cyber-security-certifications/
You would quickly notice that there is usually a year appended to the certifications because the list of best qualifications changes every year, mostly due to the changing nature of the industry and the nature of cyberattacks.
As far as I know, none of the cybersecurity certifications follow the NVQ system unless they are taught at the local adult college for example e.g. NVQ levl 3 in cybersecurity. I would check to be sure though.
You would also quickly notice that like the certifications for digital marketing, the cybersecurity certifications are also significantly cheaper and shorter than a degree.
The other thing you can do with the degree would be to go into teaching and lecturing in the subejct, if you want to remain open to that. However, to lead a course in the professional certification, you often need to have the professional certication beforehand and not a degree.

Should you ever get a degree in cybersecurity, I would pick one that's NCSC certified:
https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/ncsc-certified-degrees#section_3
These are industry recognised and they can help with your job applications should you ever get a degree.

So from the above, you might even be able to get your mum to help fund for some of these qualifications up to say NVQ level 3 or equivalent. They shouldn't cost you/her more than £1000 or require more than a year's time, so they are good value for money in my book. It's a good compromise to the degree, and I would find it very difficult for her to say no.
Even if she does, you can sometimes get by with a course in the above subjects at your local adult college and via an Advanced Learner's Loan; I would check that the course that you want to do is accredited by the above professional bodies though or the college have very strong links to the industries that you want to go into for people who have completed their courses (if they don't, then I would question how helpful the courses would be in helping you get the job).
If you can get a job with these entry level certificates, you can then later decide whether you want to do degrees in them after getting some experience in the fields that you want to go into. Also, the money you should accumulate should help you fund for your degrees should you ever need it.

Should you ever decide to do degrees in both fields for whatever reason, you can do a bachelor's in either fields and then a master's in either fields afterwards i.e. bachelor's in digital marketing/marketing/whatever + MSc in cybersecurity or bachelor's in cybersecurity + MA/MSc Digital marketing. You shouldn't have issues with the entry requirements.

Note: you can go into digital marketing without any qualifications, so it would make sense to do the degree in cybersecurity shoudl you ever want to keep your options open to both fields.
Do also note, neither fields would look into your qualifications too much; they care more about what your skills and experience are i.e. you're paid for what you can do for the company and less so about what qualifications you have; if you can't help or make money for the company, you're out irrespective of what qualifications you have.

Something to help with getting a job in digital marketing would be to set up your own website, then apply the appropriate analytics and stuff on it to showcase to employers what you can do (budget £10-15). If you have the budget, you can even play around with some ads (keep it below say £50). You are building a portfolio.
I don't know the equivalent for cybersecurity.

If you desperately need to do a degree in either subjects and the above don't apply, then consider looking into maintenance loans and bursaries at university. They are probably the best sources of financial assistance that I know of from the top of my head. Otherwise, you would need to get very creative with funding for your degree e.g. work part time, save like crazy, something in business/investments (not recommended).

My question for your choices are: why cybersecurity and digital marketing? Is it for the money?
If you also want the job profiles for the above (there are a number of links), let me know.
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 4
Original post by elliott6s
This is going to be pretty long. My mom doesn't want me to go to university at all, she wont stop me but shes already said she wont support me financially if I choose to go, my dad is out of the picture so he wont help me either. Her reasons for this are both student loans / debt and the fact that she seems to have this fool proof perfect plan of me getting an entry level job or apprenticeship, finding somewhere to live and then starting from there. At first I agreed with her, but I have been applying and looking for apprenticeships since last year August and haven't even gotten a single interview which has led me to doubt if I can even find one. Furthermore Entry level jobs require some sort of experience or even a degree which I obviously don't have, and they wont consider me either. Which has kind of led me to thinking that University is the safest option for me. I understand that University doesn't guarantee a stable career or Job but I don't really know what else to do. I definitely don't want to be sitting in my bedroom for another year or two still looking for jobs and apprenticeships. Does anyone have any advice?

From what you say, this might be easier than you think to turn her around. You just need to present some facts.

So, firstly, student loans and debt is not debt. If you lose your job, you don't pay it back. And if you don't earn enough, you don't pay it back. This is in stark contrast to actual debt which must be repaid regardless of your circumstances. In addition, payments are made on behalf of you by your employer at 11% of earnings over £25k ish. So it is less a loan and more a tax. It also gets written off after 40 years so you will not retire still having to pay and if you earn a lot of money chances are you will pay it off early.
https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/students/student-loans-tuition-fees-changes/

As for entry level jobs and apprenticeships. Yes, they exist and might be a viable option. Minimum wage for 18 year-olds is £7.49 per hour which on a 40 hour week will give you a take home pay of £1223 a month.
https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates
https://www.thesalarycalculator.co.uk/hourly.php

However, if she has a plan that you are going to move out then you need to factor in rent so do a quick search
https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent.html

Make sure you factor in at least £150ish for council tax, £100 for gas, electricity and water, £30 for broadband and £200 - £300 for food per month and all of a sudden £1200 doesn't sound like quite as much.

If you went down the apprentice route, you are looking at earning £5.28 per hour which brings your monthly take home to £915 a month.

By contrast, those who go to university on average earn around £130,000 more than those who do not over a lifetime. Remember this is the average so half earn more than this
https://ifs.org.uk/publications/impact-undergraduate-degrees-lifetime-earnings

Obviously, don't inundate your mum in one go, but gently unpick each of her arguments with hard facts, one at a time.

Good luck!
Reply 5
Original post by elliott6s
This is going to be pretty long. My mom doesn't want me to go to university at all, she wont stop me but shes already said she wont support me financially if I choose to go, my dad is out of the picture so he wont help me either. Her reasons for this are both student loans / debt and the fact that she seems to have this fool proof perfect plan of me getting an entry level job or apprenticeship, finding somewhere to live and then starting from there. At first I agreed with her, but I have been applying and looking for apprenticeships since last year August and haven't even gotten a single interview which has led me to doubt if I can even find one. Furthermore Entry level jobs require some sort of experience or even a degree which I obviously don't have, and they wont consider me either. Which has kind of led me to thinking that University is the safest option for me. I understand that University doesn't guarantee a stable career or Job but I don't really know what else to do. I definitely don't want to be sitting in my bedroom for another year or two still looking for jobs and apprenticeships. Does anyone have any advice?

Apply anyway they don’t have to know ! If they dislike you for the decision you can work full time in summer holiday to pay for accommodation
Reply 6
Original post by elliott6s
This is going to be pretty long. My mom doesn't want me to go to university at all, she wont stop me but shes already said she wont support me financially if I choose to go, my dad is out of the picture so he wont help me either. Her reasons for this are both student loans / debt and the fact that she seems to have this fool proof perfect plan of me getting an entry level job or apprenticeship, finding somewhere to live and then starting from there. At first I agreed with her, but I have been applying and looking for apprenticeships since last year August and haven't even gotten a single interview which has led me to doubt if I can even find one. Furthermore Entry level jobs require some sort of experience or even a degree which I obviously don't have, and they wont consider me either. Which has kind of led me to thinking that University is the safest option for me. I understand that University doesn't guarantee a stable career or Job but I don't really know what else to do. I definitely don't want to be sitting in my bedroom for another year or two still looking for jobs and apprenticeships. Does anyone have any advice?

To add to this many degree apprenticeships have highish wages of 20-35k that could support you moving out and are overall better than uni
Original post by elliott6s
This is going to be pretty long. My mom doesn't want me to go to university at all, she wont stop me but shes already said she wont support me financially if I choose to go, my dad is out of the picture so he wont help me either. Her reasons for this are both student loans / debt and the fact that she seems to have this fool proof perfect plan of me getting an entry level job or apprenticeship, finding somewhere to live and then starting from there. At first I agreed with her, but I have been applying and looking for apprenticeships since last year August and haven't even gotten a single interview which has led me to doubt if I can even find one. Furthermore Entry level jobs require some sort of experience or even a degree which I obviously don't have, and they wont consider me either. Which has kind of led me to thinking that University is the safest option for me. I understand that University doesn't guarantee a stable career or Job but I don't really know what else to do. I definitely don't want to be sitting in my bedroom for another year or two still looking for jobs and apprenticeships. Does anyone have any advice?

What do u want for a job as u could do an apprenticeship x

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