Going to university is an important rite of passage for many across the world. Whether the decision to enrol is motivated by improved career prospects, immersing yourself in a field of your choice or revisiting lifelong dreams, university is a major step in anyone’s life. Given this, you’ll want to know all there is to know and what you can expect to gain out of the experience. So, from benefits and most frequently asked questions to career prospects and study modes, we’re here to give you a 101 you won’t get anywhere else!
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Benefits of Going to University
Improved career prospects
Though many people will tell you that a degree doesn’t guarantee anything, there’s no denying that a degree will allow you to cast a wider (and more ambitious) net in terms of your career choices. Many jobs won’t consider applicants without a degree.
Study after study continues to prove that graduates earn more than non-graduates. Though there may be exceptions to this case, statistically, you’re far more likely to achieve financial stability with a degree than without.
Investment in your future
While enrolling in a degree programme is accompanied by various costs, it’s likely to be the best investment you make. The professional, financial and personal benefits you reap as a result far outweigh the price you pay while studying.
While we often hear of its financial benefits, university is also a great test of strength and character. You learn to overcome various challenges that occur throughout and it’s through these challenges that you get to hone skills such as self-management, organisation and resourcefulness; amongst many others.
A lot of prospective students can often feel confused, or even intimidated, by the various degrees and levels of study that can be undertaken at university. Therefore, let’s start by defining ‘undergraduate’ and ‘postgraduate’, so you can see for yourself the differences between them.
Commonly referred to as your bachelor’s, undergraduate degrees refer to the first level of study that can be done at university. These types of degrees are designed to provide students with a firm grounding in their chosen subject and serve as a 3 to 4-year-long introduction.
Most undergraduate students will have obtained their place on the basis of their A-levels, BTECs or equivalent qualifications. However, some universities (for example University of Essex Online) are also happy to accept applicants with just work experience in the area they wish to study at university.
To see our undergraduate degrees, click here.
Postgraduate degrees, on the other hand, refer to a higher-level of study such as master’s degrees, doctorates (PhDs) and postgraduate diplomas. While some people mistakenly assume that postgraduate degrees are awarded following, or post, their bachelor’s programme, these types of degrees are the subsequent level of study and therefore a whole different ballgame.
Enrolling on a master’s course requires you to have obtained your bachelor’s degree at a grade 2:2 or above, though this will depend on the university you’re applying to. Master’s degrees move past the introductory nature of undergraduate degrees and instead give you the opportunity to really immerse yourself in your chosen subject and ultimately master your discipline.
For some people, the unique opportunity to devote all their time to a subject area of their choice is enough to make them apply for and commit to a master’s degree. Most people, however, decide to pursue postgraduate level of study in hopes that it will boost their career prospects and employability.
Typically, your master’s should last anywhere from a year to two years; however, some students (especially mature students) choose to take longer due to their schedule and other commitments.
To see our postgraduate courses, click here.
You may have heard before that university has the power to open many doors for you, allowing you to secure fulfilling and well-paid careers and opportunities. The most common examples include:
Top 5 Roles
While the career avenues available to graduates and postgraduates may seem very similar, having a master’s degree has repeatedly been shown to boost your career prospects. For example, a survey published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency found that postgraduates are 10% more likely to work with their degrees and 15% more likely to in full-time employment. Climbing the career ladder has also shown to be easier with a master’s degree than just a bachelor’s.
For people aspiring to a career in academia, a master’s (and often a PhD) is an absolute must. The depth of study that you receive at undergraduate level isn’t enough to qualify you to teach at university level, which is why many commit to full-on postgraduate study to achieve their dreams of working in academia. Of course, academic jobs are known to pay a whopping average of £76k a year (Glassdoor).
Have a look below at the average salaries for those with postgraduate and graduate education compared to non-graduates. Interestingly, the Institute of Fiscal Studies estimated that postgraduates earn 9% more than graduates over the course of a lifetime!
University Students in the UK
Have a look below to see the make-up of the UK student population. Do any of these statistics surprise you?
Levels of Courses
Due to its nature, the foundation degree offers you a number of exciting options. You could either continue studying and topping up your degree at university, or you could also apply the skills you’ve learnt throughout your foundation degree in a workplace of your choice.
Completing a bachelor’s degree also provides you with a wide range of options. You could do a number of things, from continuing onto your master’s, applying for internships to trying your luck in the world of work.
Master’s degrees offer a wide array of avenues to those who complete them. Completing one will qualify you for most, if not all, jobs in addition to allowing you to progress to doctoral (PhD) level of study.
Doctoral degrees, are PhDs, are most often completed by those who aspire to jobs in academia. Completing a doctoral degree will allow you to continue research in your chosen field as well as university lecturer jobs.
How to Become a University Student
Think about your existing qualifications and make sure they meet the criteria needed to enrol at university. You’ll usually require at least two A-levels or equivalent qualifications such as BTEC or another level 5 qualification. Alternatively, explore foundation courses to fast-track your university journey.
Now is the time to think about the area of study you’d like to pursue. Make sure this is something that interests you enough and that will not see you struggling for employment following graduation. Do some research into potential career paths and weigh them all up carefully.
Once you’ve chosen your subject, now comes the time to do some more research into the university you feel you could get the most out of with your qualifications and your area of interest. Some universities will be better suited to some disciplines than others, which is why it’s important to give this some thought and maximise your future success.
Ways to Study
This method involves you working independently from a place of your choice and studying uploaded course material at your own speed; according to your own learning preferences.
This is the traditional study method and it involves having a teaching professional use their own skills and expertise to help you understand the material.
This method entails a combination of online and in-class study. The online to in-class ratio will vary depending on the course provider.
Skills for University Students
Time management and organisation
Being a student, a successful one at that, is a true feat of strength. While you may have been able to just wing it at school, university is very different. In order to succeed, you need to really engage with the course content, your chosen field, and develop a number of person strengths to help you on your student journey; for example:
Good understanding of chosen subject
Integrity & honesty
What Daily Tasks Do University Students Do?
There are many tasks that you’ll have to complete throughout your university journey. However, in order to ace your studies, the tasks listed below will be top priority.
As you can see, there are many reasons why university is such a popular avenue. Whether it be personal development, improved career prospects or higher salary ranges, there is no denying university can be a life-changing and transformative experience.
What are you waiting for? Get started on your journey today.