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.

FellatioNelson Fri 27-Sep-13 07:28:34

My son is doing English (Lit) and Philosophy joint honours at Reading. He turned down Birmingham because the feedback for his particular course there was not so great, but I wonder now, given that his degree is not focused toward any particular career if I should not have encouraged him to go to Birmingham just because a RG uni would have looked better on his CV, even if his experience of the course was not so good. Given that his subject choice is a fairly irrelevant to any job he might do, I think future employers would be more likely to care about the overall reputation of the establishment he went to than about how well his particular subject was taught. Not that Reading is not a very established and well regarded uni - it is, but people have such a bee in their bonnet about RG.

alreadytaken Fri 27-Sep-13 07:14:50

at Cambridge the history students are, I'm told, wined and dined almost as much by law firms as are law students (who claim never to have to pay for lunch in later years). This is third hand so reliability not guaranteed grin but indicates a history degree may not be poorly regarded.

Urely the best guide to what employers think is the employment statistics for different courses, providing you look at the detail as some degrees have a lot going on to do further degrees.

It's possible, although getting harder all the time, to get a job in accountancy with a 2.2 as I know a recent graduate who did so. He's now taking his professional exams.

Employers want to see evidence that he'll work hard, manage time well, meet deadlines and get along with people. Voluntary work or work experience looks good on a CV.

Poledra Thu 26-Sep-13 23:23:39

tb, I had to scrol back as I'd forgotten what I'd written grin

Anyway, my friend has an ordinary degree and did pass his professional exams <shrug>. But all that was some time ago and I am no doubt out of date. <in denial about own age>

tb Thu 26-Sep-13 23:14:58

Don't know if anyone else has commented Poledra, but to train as a Chartered Accountant, you need at least a 2:1.

If you weren't clever enough to get that class of degree, you'd never pass the professional exams.

greyvix Sun 15-Sep-13 17:03:57

I agree. I should have added that I interview for places on secondary teacher training courses, so a degree is essential. I should have been more specific.

bruffin Sun 15-Sep-13 08:58:36

I think your very shortsighted grevix.
There will be a lot more going down the apprenticeship route nowadays. When I left school in 1979 university was a privilege for a tiny minority. Having 5 o'level passes put you in the top 15% let alone having any A'levels. I have know someone who got turned down for a job because when she got to the interview they asked where she got her degree, because it wasn't mentioned in her CV.
She was a fully qualified accountant and had 30+ years experience, but they said the interview was terminated because they only employed university graduateshmm.
DH is an Incorporated engineer. He left school at 15 (august baby) and did a proper apprenticeship. He said in those days you could tell the engineers who came through the degree route. They could tell you all about the internal workings of an oscilloscope but wouldn't know how to turn it on hmm He might have left school at 15 but carried on learning for many many years afterwards.

greyvix Sun 15-Sep-13 00:23:31

I do not think that any degrees are pointless; they show an aptitude for learning. Ironically, DD did a media degree, at a Russell group university that was very challenging, yet others would deem it to be pointless.
I agree that the university is important. In my experience, however, motivation from the student is the key to success, whatever subject they studied, or uni they attended.
When I interview people, personality and commitment are key attributes, but I would not employ them without a degree.

lljkk Sat 14-Sep-13 17:48:43

Some of the best paid people I know are electricians. Uni not the only good path. Agree something one enjoys should be first priority.

mathanxiety Sat 14-Sep-13 02:20:55

Want2b there should be more people (especially women) like you allowing teens to shadow. What a great thing to do.

IMO someone doing say History with no clue what they want to do after or ambition is far worse/more pointless than someone doing Disney Studies with plans to go on and be a manager/designer/marketing at Disney world!
Amen to that -- you need a plan and the get up and go to make it happen no matter what you do.

DalmationDots Fri 13-Sep-13 20:43:52

My DD is doing a non-mainstream degree with a title which makes is almost off putting.. think a mix of education/social policy/psychology/family law... but with a title which badly tries to capture it all
When she went into it we were anxious whether it would be recognised or lead anywhere as it is the kind of degree where you could reach a dead end with employers just not understanding. But she knew reading the course content it was perfect and everything she is interested in and would be very beneficial for the career areas she is interested in - Educational Management/writing policy/maybe teaching/setting up a school eventually.
She took the risk, the course is at a Russell Group and it turns out her department was rated top this year. She has got a job offer for when she graduates next year already and has absolutely loved the course and studying it with 29 other very like-minded students.

IMO someone doing say History with no clue what they want to do after or ambition is far worse/more pointless than someone doing Disney Studies with plans to go on and be a manager/designer/marketing at Disney world!

Want2bSupermum Wed 11-Sep-13 16:44:45

Exotic I agree with you on some points. It was my Dad's advice and for where I was at the time it was good advice to give me. The world has changed and keeps on changing. I think the expectation of the world in the future will be to combine studying and work throughout your career. This is how things have worked out for me and I see many of my cohort following a similiar path.

For professions the basic degree gets them started and I think the only focus should be on where employers recuit from. If your child(ren) are not sure what they want to do I would suggest your child does some research and finds out which universities companies such as Unilever, General Mills, P&G etc hire from. I would also be pushing my child to go get work experience. When a child is curious most adults want to help. I have had about 15 kids shadow me this summer. One child was as a favour to the parent I am friends with but the other kids approached me themselves. It wasn't paid because they were shadowing me and two came back and asked about getting work experience. I pushed for both of them to be offered internships and they are coming back in January to complete paid 12 wk internships that will give them 9 college credits.

The other kids that shadowed me learnt that they are not interested in a career in accounting. That is fine and I explained that it isn't for everyone but they should think about what they want and call me as I might know someone within the firm I work for or at a client they could shadow.

mathanxiety Tue 10-Sep-13 17:12:40

My exBIL did Philosophy and now writes software for the aeronautics industry (in the US). When he first applied for the job he got an offer over the phone, no interview whatsoever.

MaddAddam Mon 09-Sep-13 16:37:54

I read Philosophy. Which has to be the meeting point between Utterly Pointless and still academically respected - graduates tend to have good job prospects.

It gives you the skills to write whole essays on what the term Pointless might mean.

I loved it.

Chunderella Sun 08-Sep-13 14:57:28

No doubt, Russians. It's bloody tough at the moment, and with a disability you have to go the extra mile. I know it isn't meant to be that way, but no point pretending it doesn't happen.

78bunion Sun 08-Sep-13 13:38:42

It is lawyers who will sort this out of course... as if you are just watching or shadowing you don't get the minimum wage. If you're doing work you should be as the test cases are showing.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 08-Sep-13 13:20:32

Chunder try being working class Oxbridge educated and in possession of a not widely understood disability. sad Although actually, I can't really complain since things have worked out OK. I suspect had I not had Cambridge on my CV though, with the other strikes against me I'd've found it rather more difficult to succeed...

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 08-Sep-13 13:17:54

I have several friends making an absolute fortune (in anyone's terms) in media jobs.....

Chunderella Sun 08-Sep-13 13:12:02

Frankly 78bunion I'd rather be able to make that call for myself. It's no blessing at all to know that despite your education and ability, there are still many doors not open to you. Especially as actually many of them pay well once you've got past the early years. My friends who did get into TV and media stuff actually earn quite a bit more than I do now, ironically!

78bunion Sun 08-Sep-13 12:55:07

It is worth remembering that when I went to university many many of us did not get the "full grant and unless our parents were rich or kind enough to make the money up plenty could not go to university at all. It was not a totally free education (although it is true there were no fees). There was still an expectation parents would pay unless the parents were not very well off and still the problem that some parents chose not to pay and others did pay. There were also no loans at all and jobs were not always that easy to get. It was not a brilliantly easy nirvana.

I agree that in careers like law if you are Oxbridge working class as all the internships etc are fully paid and fees are paid for your professional qualifications in the big firm (and banking etc etc) it is very different from those working class graduates wanting to get into fashion, media etc but on the other hand they will never make much money in fashion, media etc so perhaps it is a good bonus that they are put off those lower earning careers women have far too often been pushed into where you earn pin money on the whole. Perhaps the absence of paid internships in jobs which do not pay women well is a blessing in disguise for the Oxbridge working class person made good.

Mumzy Sun 08-Sep-13 12:19:31

I think a gap year would be a very good opportunity to find out what type of work might suit. For example Volunteering for 6 months in a healthcare setting then 6 months in a law firm enables you to see the jobs warts and all. However you need to be proactive to get the opportunity and have dps who can afford to keep you for another year. I agree its sad this generation will not have the luxury of doing a subject just for the pure joy of it without the need to think about employment prospects. However its either limiting university to the most academic 10% of the population which the taxpayer supports as in the 'old' days or expanding up to 40 % of the population which has to paid for by the individuals themselves.

MagratGarlik Sun 08-Sep-13 12:04:43

I think though that those of us born in the '60s, '70s and '80s had the luxury of being able to use university as a chance to have fun, grow up and explore life without responsibility is something which was not available to previous generations and nor is it available to current generations. Being a graduate from a 'good' university is not enough any more, because graduates from 'good' universities are ten-a-penny. Choosing a career and then choosing appropriate training to get you there are pretty much the way things are going and yes, that means young people have to make decisions sooner than in previous times.

LaFataTurchina Sun 08-Sep-13 11:43:47

I think the £9000 tuition fees are such a shame.

My friends and I were probably amongst the last bunch who still thought right I'll just do a tradtional subject that I enjoy at a redbrick/older uni for three years and then tada! I'll get a graduate career (graduated 2010).

While it didn't work out that way, (what with graduating into a depression), and we've all had to go into further study or into non-graduate careers initally I feel so lucky that we got three/four years doing something we enjoy, and learnt to live away from home in a safe sort of environment before being chucked out into the real world.

Things just seem to be getting harder every year for young people, and they are having to make important decisions at a much younger age without really getting any breathing space sad

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 08-Sep-13 11:41:49

Chunder (great name grin ) It does depend what the career you want is, though. Being great at maths but unable to string 5 words together in a sentence, is not an attractive selling point.

Chunderella Sun 08-Sep-13 11:34:07

Good call re A* Maths. That's always going to look great on a CV.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 08-Sep-13 11:15:08

Magrat And me. That's probably why we agree! grin

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