Your post-school career is arguably the most crucial time in your life. You’ve made your way through secondary school, and now you’ve got to decide where you go and what you do. In recent times, the conventional approach is to go straight to university. Here, you study for at least three more years, then try and find a job with a degree backing you up.
It’s not essential to go to university, and there are some arguments against going there. It’s worthwhile for people who want careers in very technical fields like medicine, dentistry, engineering, law, etc. In these cases, you need degrees to find work, so the job prospects are good. But, if you don’t know what to study, then going to university can be a waste of money. Instead, you might be better off exploring these post-school career options:
An apprenticeship is a great career option as it gives you a combination of education and employment experience. When you’re an apprentice, you essentially work in a certain field while receiving ongoing training through classes. You have to take tests during your time as an apprentice, which provide you with skills and certificates. When you’ve finished, it’s possible the company you were an apprentice for will hire you full-time. If not, then you have enough experience to provide a good job application to other companies.
There are loads of different apprenticeships you can choose from, and they’re all aimed at specific fields. Nowadays, IT apprenticeships are popular as the world is going digital, and businesses need people with good computer skills. There are marketing apprenticeships as well, along with a whole host of others. So, if you’re looking for work, but don’t have much experience – or many qualifications – then doing an apprenticeship is a great way to get your foot in the door.
Some of you might be able to jump straight into the world of work. If you possess specific skills, then you can use them to begin a freelance career. A lot of people finish school and are blessed with extreme talents. You might be an exceptional writer, a gifted graphic designer, or a brilliant musician/artist. In creative disciplines like these, a degree won’t really provide you with any benefits. You don’t need to have specific qualifications to make it in these fields; you just need to prove your talent!
As a consequence, you can start up your own freelance business where you provide services to different clients. The key to getting started is to ensure you have a portfolio of your work. This shows prospective clients what you’re capable of. If you struggle to find clients, then start off by doing volunteer work instead. Show off your talents for free, and this helps create a buzz around you. Market and promote yourself online as well, so more and more people know you exist. For some, freelancing is a great way to get on the career ladder without going to uni.
Of course, you can always go straight into employment from school. There are pros and cons to this, but it might work out as an excellent option for you. The downside of entry-level jobs is that they’re rarely that well-paid, and they tend to be quite a lot of hard work. We’re talking about things like admin roles in offices, call centre roles, retail jobs, and so on. You don’t need many skills or work experience to get them, which also makes them highly competitive. When you have a degree, you unlock more exclusive and higher paid jobs in some sectors.
But, the advantage of entry-level jobs is that you can start earning money as soon as you leave school. You don’t have to pay for uni tuition, which saves so much money as well. Also, a lot of entry-level jobs offer room for growth. You might start out behind the till in a shop, then get promoted to supervisor, and fly through the ranks to a management role. So, there’s definitely potential, and a lot of companies offer internal training opportunities for you to develop your skills as well. If you are going to pursue an entry-level job, then my advice is to find one that offers good prospects in the future.
Is University Right For You?
You’ve seen three alternatives to university, but there’s one question you have to ask yourself; is uni right for me? It sounds like this article is bashing the idea of higher education, but that’s not the case at all. I’m merely trying to point out the other options available for people, which can help you on your career path.
Ultimately, your decision comes down to what you think is best for you. In my eyes, university is for people with clear career ambitions, looking to make it in a field that demands higher education. If you don’t know what you want to do, then pursuing apprenticeships, finding an entry-level job, or being self-employed may work best for you instead. The same goes for individuals who wish to make it in an industry that doesn’t demand a degree. Exploring these other opportunities can save a lot of money and help you kickstart your career quicker as well!
Yes, going to uni will provide you with lots of new experiences and lets you meet new people. But it is very, very, very expensive. So, weigh up all the options before you come to your final decision.
Summary: Keep Your Options Open
To summarise; don’t feel like you have to follow the crowd and go to university. There are other options out there to help jumpstart your career. Also, you could take a gap year instead of going to university. Sometimes, taking this break can help clear your head and help you come to the right decision. I would also say that it makes sense to apply for university even if you’re unsure if you should go or not. If you don’t want to go, then there’s no harm done.
Are considering not going to university? What path are you going to take instead?