Think uni isn't for you? Here's how to decide


Uni isn't right for everyone, but some of us still feel like we should apply anyway. Even though, deep down, we know we don't really want to go. 

The most important thing you can do, is to be honest with yourself. Feeling confused about what you should do next? We've pulled together a list of handy questions and options to help you make a decision. 

Listen to what your thoughts are telling you

When everyone is talking about applying to uni it's easy to get swept away in the conversation. Although you might be part of the conversation, there might be some thoughts popping into your mind every now and then that make you feel a little bit uncomfortable. 

Do any of these statements feel familiar to you? 

  • "Everyone is talking about applying to uni, but I don't feel interested...."
  • "I don't feel like I'm ready for uni yet....."
  • "I'm not sure if I can face another three years of study and exams...."
  • "I think my parents are assuming I'm going to uni - I don't want to disappoint them....."
  • "All my friends are applying to university,I should apply, I don't want to be left behind...."
  • "Uni could be an easy way of putting off making a decision about a job/career for another three years....."

If they do, it's time to talk to someone you trust about how you're feeling. This could be a teacher, your best friend, your parents or someone else in your family. University is a huge decision, tuition fees aren't cheap and it's three years of your life. The more honest you are with yourself now, the better. Remember too, that there is no rush to go to uni immediately - so take your time. 

There are another three questions you can ask yourself to help you make a decision: 

  • Is there any reason why you would really like to go to university? You should be very honest with yourself about this; your decision can't all be based upon 'the social life' or escaping the sleeping village you've grown up in.
  • If none of your friends were applying to uni, would you still feel under pressure to.
  • Can you consider taking a year out after completing your exams to decide on what's next for you. You could then apply in a year's time if you wanted too.


If you've decided uni is for you after all check out: 

How to choose a subject to study at university 
Writing an excellent personal statement in 10 easy steps 
Create your Personal Statement with our brilliant builder tool 
Everything you need to know about applying to uni

Find your perfect uni in 60 seconds

What not to do

Don't think you can bluff uni - you'll be responsible for your own learning and you won't have a teacher watching over you like you may have had in the past. 

The 'student experience' will not cut it if you're totally disinterested in the academic side of uni. If you aren't really committed to three years of hard academic study, you should seriously consider the alternatives. Having a degree won't guarantee instant wealth and cushy salary. It might not even guarantee a job straight out of uni. If you have a good idea of the kind of job you want, explore whether a degree is actually necessary. 

Don't think a degree is the only option for learning that you have. HNDs, HNCs, BTECs, Diplomas and City & Guilds as just some examples of other qualifications. In many cases these can be a far more useful qualification and more acceptable to employers in certain areas than a degree because they offer practical training and may be accredited by a professional association. 

Don't write off apprenticeships are only for people who fail at school. There are vast range of apprenticeships these days, some which actually offer university study as part of the package - these are known as higher apprenticeships. 

Don't do a degree for the sake of it. Even if a degree course is available in your preferred career area, don't just assume that means you have to do it to work in that area - do your research. Often having a degree in something like hospitality, retail or tourism or public services will still mean you will start work at the same level (and pay) as a school-leaver. There are far better routes into many of these areas such as apprenticeships and school-leaver jobs where you earn a wage from the beginning. 

girl study

Four things to do now

  1. 1. Crack on with your studies. These are your primary focus right now and what ever happens in the future, achieving great grades in these will continue to open doors for you. 

    2. Make a start on researching other qualifications and options for apprenticeships and school leaver programmes. There has never been so much choice, so it's definitely worth taking the time to explore each opportunity. 

    3. Book in with a career adviser at your college or school and ask for their advice. They should be able to give you lots of helpful information on your options. 

    4. Speak with your parents or the people you're closest to and keep them informed of what you're up to and what you're researching. Use them to bounce your ideas off. Having their support will also make you feel a lot more comfortable when it comes to making a decision about what to do next.
Alternatives to uni: 
How to be successful without going to uni 
What are the alternatives to uni? 
How to find a good apprenticeship 
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