Which Degrees are pretty 'pointless'?

(335 Posts)
DreadLock Thu 05-Sep-13 14:51:00

Just starting to look at courses with DS. So many choices. BUT I am sure there are some which are not particularly going to lead to much. Employers - what do you look for on a CV and what would you avoid?
And any other 'views' are welcome.
DS not even sure if he wants to go to UNI so we are having a good look into stuff.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 05-Sep-13 16:35:37

Poledra - yes... a lot of the people who got low degrees when I did my chemistry BSc went into accountancy. Or teaching...they may have higher requirements now than 30 years ago. But while the degree in the subject would be vital to the teacher, I don't really see what the point of spending 3 years doing chemistry was if at the end you're going to end up as a trainee accountant.

Surely his choice of course will be somewhat dictated by his A levels?

I'm so old that sociology was the joke degree.

If he has no clear direction then I agree with the gap year suggestion. Just after reading another thread about school exams expiring if he wants to go to uni eventually maybe aim to go within 5 years of exams?

Talkinpeace Thu 05-Sep-13 16:42:45

Accountancy, management consulting and professional services firms DO NOT LIKE "relevant" degrees.
they like analytical pure subject degrees that prove academic prowess and thinking skills
Pure Sciences
Pure humanities

Many of the old 'milkround' companies like linguists as it proves versatility

'proper' degrees are about learning how to think more than a particular subject

Medicine, Architecture etc are of course special cases

Poledra Thu 05-Sep-13 16:43:16

Ah - I wasn't very clear there Grimma - I was thinking of an ordinary degree in accountancy, to then go on and become a CA. It was an active choice of a friend of mine to not do his honours but leave to get on with his CA exams. Your point is well-madegrin

ChazzerChaser Thu 05-Sep-13 16:44:28

Because you're interested in chemistry. What degree would there be a point of doing before being an accountant? You could do a highly related one and be exempt from some of the exams certainly, so you'd get a couple of years head start. But you might have no interest in the subject so get a poor result in the degree and therefore not get the accountancy place in the first place. Accountancy firms aren't looking for people who've wanted to be accountants since the age of 16 to the detriment of everything else.

Talkinpeace Thu 05-Sep-13 16:44:45

another vote that Southampton Solent will not look good on a CV

filee777 Thu 05-Sep-13 16:44:57

Southampton Solent think they are a bit good though, they refused to look at my application for a social work degree even though I got into a much more relevant uni and they offer next to no statutory placements. Useless is the correct term!

GrimmaTheNome Thu 05-Sep-13 16:46:02

I'm afraid an ordinary or third in chemistry does not prove 'academic prowess and thinking skills' though. Rather the contrary.

DreadLock Thu 05-Sep-13 16:46:22

Gosh, all very interesting. Maybe he will just do well in his A's and get a job which he can work his way up. It is all quite a muddle in my head as not only are we looking at possible 'pointless' degrees but also 'pointless uiversities'

I may need to go into a darkened room grin
Seriously though I am keen to learn the process and how all these degrees work.
His strengths are History and Maths. What got me thinking was I read somewhere that History is the most pointless degree, and I thought it was a rather academic one myself. Hence my OP.

Talkinpeace Thu 05-Sep-13 16:47:38

speaking as the holder of a Third class honours degree, they are remarkably hard to get nowadays and mine has stood me in excellent stead. And the amount I drank to get it has preserved me well.

nooka Thu 05-Sep-13 16:48:30

People can be incredibly snobby about both degrees and universities, and that of course is a part of the problem if you have someone like that vetting applications.

I have an interesting degree from a not particularly respected university except in a few fields including my degree, where it was one of the very first internationally. Not that that is particularly relevant as I have never worked in the field. However it was primarily an academic rather than a vocational subject and I learned a huge amount about critical thinking which has been invaluable. I don't think it did me any particular harm or favours work wise, although it's an interesting talking point.

Both dh and I also have vocational masters, taken in my case while I was working in a related field, while dh's was in order to retrain. Very very different calibers but I think dh's was particularly good 'even though' it was from a poly because they were very connected with their industry and dh came out with highly in demand skills.

So I think for vocational courses look for employment rates, and for academic courses look for research ratings. Either way it's no good if you don't enjoy the course and work hard. If either are a bit of a question mark right now, then I would also recommend a year out.

LookingForwardToVino Thu 05-Sep-13 16:49:01

Another one wondering what the pointless universities are?

LeGavrOrf Thu 05-Sep-13 16:49:16

I would say History from a good university would be classed as a great choice.

LickleLemon Thu 05-Sep-13 16:49:38

A few years back I saw some young lad on This Morning who had just gained a degree in Air Guitar. I often wonder where it led him in life.

I didnt really know what I wanted to be when I was 18! But I knew I enjoyed science and maths, so I did a degree in those.

Failed my final year and so I've got one of those "pointless" pass degrees (thanks.) No opportunity to resit it either.

And so I ended up as a Chartered Accountant, with a rather irrelevant degree in nuclear physics.

My son's just graduated in what some would call a "pointless degree" in theatre sound. But he seems to be making a living in that field (judging from the lack of "Mum can I have some money" phone calls.)

And someone on another net site was livid that my daughter is using tax-payers money to do a degree in dance. Meh, I daresay she'll be able to earn money from it, and when she finishes her dancing career (it's a short and brutal one), she'll have a 3rd level education on her CV, evidence of an ability to study, write, reasearch etc.

TL:DR - there are no pointless degrees.

Talkinpeace Thu 05-Sep-13 16:50:47

"pointless universities"
have a look at clearing - which institutions have the most spaces left and in the daftest sounding courses
as really good unis will not have much left at all

Stokey Thu 05-Sep-13 16:51:30

I look for academic subjects rather than vocational subjects when I interview people. I work in finance but am surrounded by people who have degrees in arts/science subjects rather than economics.
I disagree that career choice is more important. I think it is difficult to decide on a career when you are 18.
I have friends who did degrees as varied as social anthropology, engineering and classics that went on to be lawyers for example.

But if your son is not sure if he wants to go to university at all, maybe he should just try working for a bit and see what happens.

LeGavrOrf Thu 05-Sep-13 16:51:31

Apparently the boat building or yachting related courses at Southampton Solent are very good and lead to full employment (sounding similar to the golf degree above).

But Football Studies there is a waste of thousands of pounds.

Bue Thu 05-Sep-13 16:51:40

I thought the Football Studies course must be an error. So I googled. Well imagine my shock! Also have never even heard of Southampton Solent!

I, and nearly all my friends (apart from the ones who did Engineering), did traditional, non-vocational degree subjects and then eventually went on to do some postgraduate training. This was 10ish years ago now but it seems to have worked out fine for all of us. I still believe that a solid degree from a solid uni, even if it doesn't seem immediately applicable to anything, is not a waste.

DreadLock Thu 05-Sep-13 16:52:37

Another question. Do most 17 year olds know what they want to do as a career or is it just mine? Mine is a very young 17 btw august boy if that makes any difference to their maturity. Maybe he will develop an interest in a career oer the next year? {hopeful emoticon}

Talkinpeace Thu 05-Sep-13 16:54:01

Do not confuse Solent's "yacht management" degree (my tenants were doing that one) with City College's yacht building C&G .....

must check if they still do Weather Forecast presentation
and the Art Appreciation tenant was an utter gimboid

nooka Thu 05-Sep-13 16:55:10

It totally depends on what you mean by pointless. dh has a history degree, which he took because he is passionate about history. It is not a vocational degree except if you want to be a history teacher or academic, and the problem with that is that both are difficult to get into because there are too many history graduates who want to stay in their field. This might have changed but I recall when dh was first looking for a job that the ration of applicants to posts was one of the worst.

That doesn't make it a pointless degree however. If you want to take a vocational course with the expectation of it leading to a job then you need to know what you want to do after you graduate and do a lot of research. You also have to be open minded, as some of the odder courses at the less prestigious places actually have the highest rates of post degree employment as the courses were essentially set up to meet an industry demand. If you change your mind about what you want to do during the course of the degree that might be problematic though.

Talkinpeace Thu 05-Sep-13 16:55:24

I knew I never wanted to work in an office : cocked that up by ending up as an accountant
None of my friends from Uni had any idea (apart from the medics) till about half way through degrees

Poledra Thu 05-Sep-13 16:55:51

DreadLock I don't have teens yet but IME, most of them do not have a scooby-doo what they really want to do. Which is why choosing a subject you enjoy and therefore will work hard at (hopefully!) is probably ther best course of action. Or taking some time out, maturing a bit then going back to studying once you have a better idea where you want your life to go.

creamteas Thu 05-Sep-13 16:56:21

have a look at clearing - which institutions have the most spaces left and in the daftest sounding courses as really good unis will not have much left at all

This will not help at all now. Since all universities can recruit as many ABB students as they want, many of the best universities in the country go into clearing and stay in clearing until it is certain that now more ABB students are available to be recruited!!

Clearing might have the same name, but it is now as much about good universities pinching students off each other as filling unfilled places grin

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