How Do I Know if University Is Right for Me?

Written by Calvin Bowers

Deciding whether to go to university or not is one of the most significant decisions you will make as a young adult. While the increase in students attending university is a good thing as more people are accessing higher education, students mustn’t feel funnelled into something if it’s not right for them.

At Developing a Student, we believe in equipping students with all the information they need to make an informed decision about their future. University is excellent for some young people, but it’s not suitable for everyone. We have put together a list of five things to consider to help you decide whether it’s is right for you.

Five questions to ask yourself before applying to university 

Subject: Is there a subject I am excited about studying for 3 or 4 years? 

University is a great social experience, but it’s important to remember that your time’s focus will be your degree. Suppose you are passionate about studying a subject and want to complete all your essays and assignments. In that case, university sounds like an excellent option for you.

Career: Do I have a career in mind, and does it need a specific degree? 

If you have a career path in mind before university, make sure to research what qualifications you need. Some careers require a degree before getting into the field, such as medicine or architecture. Whereas other careers may not require a degree and therefore you could be wasting your time and money. However, university is not all about careers, and many people go to university without having any idea about their future.

Cost: Am I committed to the costs?

While most students take out a government loan to cover the cost of their tuition fees and maintenance expenses, going to university can still be an expensive decision. As student loans are means-tested, students whose parents earn more money may have to rely on their parents financially supporting them. Some of the costs you may incur while at university include rent, books and supplies, food, and anything else you would like to buy.

We strongly believe that the cost should put off no student who wants to attend university; however, we do think it’s an essential factor to consider. For more help, visit our guide to university costs.

Independence: Am I ready to move away from home? 

Moving out of home and potentially to a new city can be a challenge for many students. You will be meeting new people, living independently and cooking and cleaning for yourself. If you don’t feel you are ready for university yet, you shouldn’t force yourself or feel embarrassed. Many students take gap years before university to adjust to life post-school before committing to university. This way you could go travelling, or get some work experience to gain some more life experience before moving away from home.

Alternative route: is there an alternative route that would suit me better? 

This is possibly one of the most important questions to ask yourself. For students who enjoy learning and succeed at school, there can sometimes be an expectation to go onto higher education when this isn’t the right choice for everyone. Some students are much more suited to doing an apprenticeship. Where they can start getting work experience straight away while still training for a qualification—or doing a more vocational qualification such as art or cooking.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you do your research, and feel enthusiastic about that choice!

For more information on going to university, visit our guide to undergraduate study.


Last Updated: Monday March 8 2021
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