Image of students thinking about their futures

 by Kate Holmes
, posted On 29 Dec '16
  Outreach Officer for Schools, Academies and Colleges at Bournemouth University

Tips for answering the ‘Why should I go on to university? question from your students

It’s a question that probably every one of your students will ask not only themselves, but also you, their parents and anyone who’ll listen. Of course, they’re right to do so.

However, with so many headlines possibly giving a false impression, you need to be the voice of reason and fact. And the fact remains: HE provides advantages and opportunities that set young people up for a lifetime.

Kate Holmes, Outreach Officer for Schools, Academies and Colleges at Bournemouth University, provides her advice.

University is a life-changing experience for most students and there are many good reasons for going. First, students get to explore a subject they love, and learn from experts in the field. Second, they make life-long friends and learn how to be independent along with everyone else. Last but definitely not least, they get a degree at the end of it and that means they’re more likely to be employed, to be doing a job they enjoy, and to have a good salary.

But what do students think? Your students might say that university is ‘not for them’ or they’re ‘not clever enough’. They might think it takes too long, or they’d be better off going straight into work or taking an apprenticeship. Of course, university isn’t for everyone. But it’s a serious choice for many people, and more and more employers are demanding the higher level skills demonstrated by having a degree.

Please remember

All degree courses are not the same!

There are hundreds of university subjects to choose from and thousands of courses across the UK. Your students don’t have to study lots of different subjects as they do at school: they can focus on what they’re really interested in. And there are even combined subject degrees for those who just can’t choose!

Degree courses differ from institution to institution.

For example, Business Studies at one university can cover different areas or be taught in a different way from the same course at another university. It’s a good idea for students to check out the different subject mixes to find something that suits them, and also to look at how much is coursework and how much exams.

It doesn’t have to take three years out of their life.

There are lots of flexible options for university study these days, such as part-time courses, on-line degrees and fast-track options.

A degree is good for your future.

Despite what the media might say, employers are demanding higher-level skills and qualifications across the board, and having a good degree puts candidates for jobs at the top of the shortlist. And of course a degree is essential for many careers including medicine, dentistry and teaching.

These days, however, employers want to see more than just qualifications; they want evidence of people’s work skills too. That’s why many degree courses are much more work related and practical than you might think.

Foundation degrees are a good vocational option, as well as sandwich degrees or courses offering short work placements and applied subjects. Many university students also choose to work part-time alongside their studies and enhance their skills that way, thereby avoiding the ‘Catch-22’ of needing experience in order to gain experience.

Never forget: university is about more than qualifications.

Ask any graduate what they’ve gained from going to university and they’re bound to mention the friends they’ve made, the fantastic social life (whatever they were into) and the opportunity to learn how to cook, clean and budget for themselves.

But there are so many other reasons why university is a fantastic opportunity. Your students have access to study, leisure, sports and social facilities that they don’t get anywhere else. Universities also have more employer links than any other opportunities students would encounter elsewhere, such as fashion, law and business placements. Students’ Unions also offer a wide range of clubs and societies catering for all tastes.

Whatever their interest, they will find a match at university.



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