If you were 18 again would you be going to uni?

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  • If you were 18 again would you be going to uni?
  • Premier Icon unknown

    Yep, but I’d be doing engineering like all my mates did not bloody psychology. Different fee situation north of the border though.

    Premier Icon Stoner

    Would I be going to my alma mater or a red brick poly?

    I’d be a fool not to repeat my choices if they were the same. BUT…I’d ask my sons to seriously consider choosing to go to anything but a top university when they come to make their choices. I’d rather pay towards an apprenticeship with the money a lightweight degree would cost rather than have them waste 3 years on Sports Psychology Studies.


    unless the job market changed and there were more jobs which didn’t state first degree minimum i think i’d have to.


    No, being a qualified Geomorphologist has not really helped me in my job in pr!
    However, I supported the brewing and birth control industries to a significant level so I could claim to have been redistributing taxes. 😀

    Premier Icon BoardinBob

    No. Hated every minute of it. Did a course I hated, commuted every day from home to Uni rather than living in Glasgow, so I missed out on the “best” bits of student life. Left uni with no idea what I wanted to do, other than knowing I didn’t want to be an engineer. Eventually found my way into gainful employment and worked my way up from there.

    If I could go back and do it all again, I’d get a trade, probably as a mechanic.

    Premier Icon scotroutes

    I didn’t go to Uni the first time around but as my daughter is 17, it’s something we are thinking about now. For the right subject, I’d say it’s still worthwhile – even if that’s just to get to get a job interview!


    As I did a degree that led to a decent job £40k was/is irrelevant.

    Hopefully it may put people off doing worthless degrees.


    Flippant reply…..after 3 years of fun like I had? Too damned right I would.

    More considered reply…I am not sure an Arts Degree has equipped me for the current job market. Fortunately, in the early 1980s, graduates were somewhat thinner on the ground so the job market was less competitive. Having said that, I started working for myself within months and have never looked back.

    Yes. It’s about far more than qualifications and the financial rewards than may come from attaining them. New people, new social situations, new environments, it’s a clean break from all the things of childhood at an age were you’re still young enough to be accepting of new ideas and experiences.

    The more I think about the more I think that the education is a secondary benefit.


    No, I wouldn’t. But that’s only because I’ve ended up as a wage slave, getting very little satisfaction out of being an IT Consultant. When I’ve always had a yearning to join the Police Force. But I was academically bright and so unquestionably I was going to university. The 1st, and only, member of my family to do so.

    I think a silver lining to the tuition fees is that people are questioning whether they should go to university rather than automatically going there. They are questioning the value of certain wishy-washy degrees such as media studies. And also recognising that there are better alternative for certain fields of work.

    Premier Icon scotroutes

    tony dot wilson16 at btopenworld dot com wrote:

    Yes. It’s about far more than qualifications and the financial rewards than may come from attaining them. New people, new social situations, new environments, it’s a clean break from all the things of childhood at an age were you’re still young enough to be accepting of new ideas and experiences.

    TBF – you get all of that from joining the armed forces, or simply moving out of your home and getting a job.


    depends on whether the career I wanted to pursue required a degree or not.

    Depending on what you go into, many employers require degree level education, I don’t doubt for a minute that some people who haven’t been to university will be much better prepared than others that have but I’d imagine it’s harder to get a foot in the door with pre-requisite in place.

    I think the government’s idea a while back of trying to get more people to go to uni was ridiculous and has contributed to the situation we’re in now. Many people ended up studying courses that really should not have offered in the first place.


    If i had children I wouldn’t encourage them not to go for the sake of the fees, I’d just make sure that they were going for the right reason (which isn’t always easy to determine at 18 when everyone else is going)


    Left uni with no idea what I wanted to do, other than knowing I didn’t want to be an engineer. Eventually found my way into gainful employment and worked my way up from there.
    If I could go back and do it all again, I’d get a trade, probably as a mechanic.

    Am I the only one who sees a degree of irony there?

    Tom B

    Maybe…..probably I guess. I loved uni, but I now earn a lot less in a year than my debt would be if I were to go this year!….it doesn’t bother me as I love my job, and having a degree was a way into it.


    No, I wouldn’t. But that’s only because I’ve ended up as a wage slave, getting very little satisfaction out of being an IT Consultant.

    Having riches showered upon you while you sit comfortably in an air conditioned office is slavery? 😆

    I’m pretty sure you’d be miserable whatever you were doing.

    Premier Icon Richie_B

    Probably but not to do the five year course I did. To be honest with a starting wage in the low teens (if you can get a job) its difficult to see who would.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise

    I’ve often asked myself this question, irrespective of the cost of it. My studies were interesting and I have no regrets about going to Uni, but I’ve not applied what I’ve learnt to any of the jobs I’ve done since leaving. Unfortunately I’ve never had that lightbulb moment of knowing what I want to do for a living, so not sure what good a second chance would do. I will advise my kids to get plenty of work experience before they commit to 3 years of study and huge debts, with the hope they might pick something they want to do for the rest of their life.

    Premier Icon BoardinBob

    Am I the only one who sees a degree of irony there?

    Indeed. I loved all things mechanical when I was young hence why I chose engineering. As time went on I discovered I loved the hands on, tinkering with stuff side but detested the classroom/office/chained to a desk side.

    Premier Icon Stoner

    As for the people saying “some jobs need a degree” Id suggest that getting a degree later in life via distance learning is something that companies look favourably upon. You dont HAVE to do your degree at 18-21yrs old. I did a Masters at 28-29yrs and have just finished a diploma in plumbing studies 37-38yrs of which I am prouder than my degree 😛
    Next step is an NVQ2.

    There’s so many opportunities out there for continuous education/learning that I think it’s a pity people forget about it in the chase for a bachelors degree.


    As things were i got off lightly on the loan front

    Chose to stay at home and worked through out – home was only 20miles away

    Graduated in mech eng

    Had only the minimum loan at 0.5% above base which are repaid now

    The “experiance” of being skint and loading up with debt didnt really appeal – ican understand if your going to a leading uni in your field mind you and its not near home……

    If i went back today to 18 given the state of affairs with loans and interest rates they charging

    Id be away training as a welder.


    Nope, I wouldn’t (dont tell the wife though, as I met her there).

    There are people who I work with doing the same job as i am who left school st 16 and worked there way up with experience. They are all 3-5yrs younger than me with no student loan.

    Id prob train as a car mechanic or plumber.

    The whole idea of many of the jobs out there ‘requiring’ a degee is a load of BS. It looks good on the CV but there are soooo many jobs which dont in reality require a degree. Eg majestic wine ‘required’ a degree to be a shop assistant lugging cases of wine about all day.


    work up to the same position

    Not possible in my career to date, I have needed and will always need a degree to get into the jobs I have done.

    So yes, absolutely I would do it all again, same course, same Uni. As implied above though, (without wanting to sound too arrogant) I worked hard and had the ability to get a First from a red brick, which then leads on to the ability to make career choices that I am very happy with. I would recommend it whole-heartedly for someone with reasonable ability and a good work ethic, to do a degree in a broad science, engineering or professional area from a ‘good’ university (not necessarily a red brick but somewhere with a good reputation for that course). And the opportunity to move away from my (small) home town and mix with completely different people was good for me.


    Doubt I’d earn anything like as much as I do now if I didn’t have a degree – but it’s not just the money, I may work in IT but on the whole I have quite a varied and interesting job inc once spending 4 months in NYC.


    Probably not, doubt I’ll ever pay off my £21k debt so any more seems even worse. Mind you considering I wont pay this debt off then an extra 20k makes no real difference I guess.. also I probably wouldn’t have got to where I am without my degree, despite my job being pretty easy with no real need for the degree – it got me the interview, but then again maybe equivalent experience would have done as well?

    Premier Icon woody74

    I would only go to Uni now if it was a course I really really wanted to do. It would have to be that jump out of bed cant wait to get to lectures type of thing. I think to many people including myself went / go to uni as it is just the next thing to do and want all the fun of being a student. I had no interest in my course and I don’t really know anyone that was passionate about there course. There are too many people doing academic courses that will never lead anywhere and not enough vocational courses that train you ready for a job. In the past when the state paid that didn’t really matter. I am sure you could have a hell of a lot more fun traveling the world for far less debt. At the end of the day once you have your chosen job the degree is irrelevant and experience is more important.

    Yep, without a 2nd thought, I’d be more likely to do it now infact. I based my decision to go on the estimated starting sallary, if they’d told me that the pay rises were 50% in 5 years I’d have been even more keen.

    I suspect though that your question is aimed more at people who didn’t study medicine, dentistry, engineering, architecture, or other ‘vocational’ degrees leading to well paid jobs.

    I dont think id bother, ive not managed to pay off £12k in over 10 yrs, somewhat by avoidance i must say but with £40K + to repay i dont think i could do it to myself and i dont think id encourage my kids to either.

    Willy waving maybe, but I know (single, not couples) people with engineering degrees who’ve saved near £40k house depiosits in under a year not long after uni. So £40k for that kind of earning potential is a bargain.


    No but then I went at 21, which I appriciated alot more, still not paid off my student loan though, worked all the time I wasn’t studying as well.
    Have started saving to finance our two already (9 months & 3 years)

    Premier Icon stilltortoise

    Eg majestic wine ‘required’ a degree to be a shop assistant lugging cases of wine about all day.

    Interesting point this.

    In my post Uni and travelling years I needed a job sharpish, so got something local to me that didn’t require a degree of any sort. I was over-qualified but fitted in well and did a good job, with fairly regular pay rises soon getting me to a half-decent salary (for a young ‘un). When the company required someone else for a similar position, they asked for degree-level candidates. I’d clearly shown them more skills than the specific – and irrelevant – ones from my degree.

    Premier Icon DezB

    Yes – I didn’t get in and now they’ll take any thick idiot.


    Probably not. I had a fantastic time, broadened my horizons, met some great mates, most of whom I still see at least once a month, and it led me to the life I now live – happily settled, living in sin and with two lovely kids.

    Experiences aside, I’ve got where I am now through hard work and time spent on the job – something I was sadly lacking the ability to commit at University, hence I left before my final year and spent the next 5 years drunk in far off lands. If I’d started work instead of uni and knuckled under I’d probably be in a better position now.

    Sadly the biggest difference financially would be if I’d not gone to uni and bought the biggest house (or houses) I could afford. I’d probably be paying about 27p a month off of my very small mortgage, buying bikes and going on holidays 🙂

    I had a relatively free ride, the thought of £30k + of debt at the end of it makes me very worried for my kids. As much as I’d love them to go to university if things are the same or worse by the time they can go (15 years yet!) then I doubt it’ll be possible.

    yes – it was an incredible experience and incredibly formative. without it, i’d not have had the same experiences and opportunities i’ve since had – i simply would not have had them other wise, and I wouldn’t be where I am now (quite honestly, my dream job).

    and the whole fees thing certainly wouldn’t put me off – there’s a lot of mis-information out about them.

    (from here)

    Student Finance Day 2013 – Ten point myth-buster

    • You don’t pay up front to go to Uni. First time undergraduate’s fees are automatically paid by a Student Loans Company loan. There are also loans of up to £5,500 to live off (£7,675 in London) and those from families with income under £42,611 get living grants of up to £3,354.

    • Students don’t repay, graduates do, but only if they earn £21,000+. You repay 9 per cent of everything earned above £21,000 starting the April after graduation (2017 for most). This £21,000 will rise from 2017. Those who never earn over it, never repay.

    • Monthly repayments are the same on £6,000 or £9,000 fee courses. As monthly repayments depend only on earnings, the course fee size doesn’t impact it.

    • It’s wiped after 30 years. Whatever you still owe, repayments stop after 30 years.

    • There are no debt collectors. Repayments are taken via the payroll, just like tax. So you never actually handle the cash, meaning there are no debt collectors chasing.

    • Repayments are £470/year lower than before. Those asking “how can anyone live with such debts?” may be surprised that future graduates will initially have more disposable income than today’s graduates as they repay above £21,000 earnings (under the old system, it was £15,795). This is also a mild improvement for building a deposit and getting a mortgage in the early years after graduation.

    • You will owe for longer and may pay more. The bad news is compared to today’s graduates, 2012 starters onwards have much bigger loans and pay higher interest (as much as inflation plus 3 per cent), so it’ll take much longer to repay than now and depending on earnings, may cost a lot more.

    • Many will never pay it all back. Even many starting on £25,000 graduate salaries (and rising after) won’t repay everything owed within the 30 years (test your situation at http://www.studentfinancecalc.com) meaning they’ll often be repaying for much of their working life.

    • Many won’t pay more on £9,000 courses than £6,000. As even many £25,000 starters won’t repay combined £6,000 tuition fees and living loans before the 30 year wipe, it won’t cost them any more to take a £9,000 fee course.

    • Paying up front could be throwing £10,000s away. Fee fears mean some parents aim to pay them upfront. For those planning to use savings, remember as many won’t repay what they borrowed at today’s prices before the 30 year wipe, you could be throwing big money away. Don’t make knee jerk decisions to pay upfront without doing research.


    Apart from the fact that all this was just fields when I was 18, the job market was also different back then

    Having a degree was something special, an indicator that you were prepared to work hard. The courses were nearly all what you might call ‘core’ subjects and qualifying opened a lot of doors.

    Things are different now and if I was 18 I seriously doubt I’d do anything other than a degree at a top-level uni (if I could get in)


    Yip. I would go to uni if I had my time all over again. I had too much fun, met too many good people and learnt a lot about life to say that I wouldn’t repeat it again.

    Premier Icon unklehomered

    Not at 18, would wait until I A) grew up a bit to take seriously B)knew what the hell I wanted to do. I just went hated, did poorly, mucked about, could not wait to leave as I went a little squiffy in the head.


    I did engineering when I was a fresh faced 17year old. Next choice was Geography, so clearly I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

    My degree definitely helped me, got my last year company sponsored and a job after graduation, but its largely redundant now. Mind you 12 years later I’m still in the field, largly aircraft with a bit of boats for good measure. Does it excite me greatly? no, but I had a great time at uni, in the good old days of no fees and grant cheques. No loans, I worked part time the whole way through, and stayed at home, my uni wasn’t far enough away to justify moving into Glasgow.

    My parents have never been prouder. It was for them as much as anything. Ahh nostalgia. As my wee mam says “no one can take it off you”

    Premier Icon MSP

    The problem now seems to be not what going to uni gives to most people, but what not going loses.

    It seems that even the most basic jobs now require a university education, it is very hard to get a start without one. I would hate to be starting my working life now as just a school leaver as I did in the mid 80’s.

    Premier Icon kimbers

    to get into the field Im in (cancer research) yes theres no choice

    but the pay is no where near good enough to deal with that kind of loan

    so bit of a tough one really



    I wouldn’t be doing the job I am now without a degree, and it’d be a different job again without the PhD. Whilst like any job it has its bad points and drudge work, for the most part it’s fascinating, hard, I get to learn, and it’s pretty “cool” work.

    I realise I’m in a minority though.



    This country in general, the students and the parents need to break this fixation that you need a minimum of a degree to get on in life these days. A lot of graduates seem to finish uni and not have a clue what they want to do, or have too high an expectations of what job they believe they are entitled to. They also don’t seem to realize the sectors where jobs are when they pick their courses.

    I did an apprenticeship when I left school at 16, as well as college you get more real life training in your subject. Graduates that came in to the industry were so out of touch with the reality of the work environment as it’s all black and white to them.

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