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To think DD should pick a different degree/do something else?

(41 Posts)
Shivers11 Tue 23-May-17 23:59:49

DD has an A level in maths at grade C. She is starting uni in September which is a degree with foundation year for wildlife conservation... AIBU to think she should waste 37k odd on it?!

Shivers11 Wed 24-May-17 00:01:53


Uni is also down the league tables.

I just feel very worried about the debt, especially as it's 4 years and isn't the best subject in the world (as in, it's quite restricted?)

ThePants999 Wed 24-May-17 00:02:50

I would certainly check she's done her research and verified that this is indeed the correct/only route to the career she has in mind. I do have a sneaking suspicion that many/most people currently working in wildlife conservation don't have a degree in it...

Shivers11 Wed 24-May-17 00:04:58

I've tried saying that. She says I'm wrong and nowadays most people do confusedconfused I'm really worried she's jumping into this as she only has 1 a level and thinks this is the only thing she can do. She says I have got that wrong and she's doing it because she will find it very interesting and helpful for a future job in the subject. However, 37 k or so in dept is eye watering. sad

GardenGeek Wed 24-May-17 00:08:08

Foundation years only 1 year.

Check how it affects future degree funding, and that she can do a full degree funded after. She may be able to sign up for the next stage when she signs up for the foundation and that would count as a 4 year course so it would all be funded as one course rather than 2.

If theres anything we have learnt today is life can be very short. She should live for now and do it if it interest her.

I studied in something related and I am very passionate about it.

All the best.

Mouikey Wed 24-May-17 00:09:30

I regularly interview for a Saturday seasonal job with the rangers at a lical reserve. Some of the applicants have qualifications as long as your arm are incredibly knowledgeable but are willing to take a (pretty much) minimum wage Saturday job to get in the field - most have years (and I mean years) of volunteering almost full time. Positions rarely come up and are hard to obtain. Competition is fierce and many are not recent graduates.

On the other hand the work that they do (rangers not Saturday staff) is amazing and everyone of them is so passionate about it.

I'm floored every year to see such well qualified people applying for thebsaturday jobs because it is literally the only available paid work in the field 😢

IrridiumFlares Wed 24-May-17 00:24:29

The money's terrible, working conditions can be dire and dangerous, lonely and expensive, and the competition for any kind of job, part time, full time or, more and more, seasonal contract, is absolutely a killer.

Again and again I've sat in the waiting room with all my colleagues and friends from college and previous jobs all applying for the same contract.

If she loves it, she should study it, but she'll never earn enough working in it to pay off the loan.

Personally I loved working in the field, even though the life sciences were seasonal, and didn't mind earning a few quid per day (taking all my expenses, transport and accommodation, into account) with two degrees under my black belt!
I was in uni for 8 years all told, as I worked afterwards in a uni, and kept studying - statistics actually.

But I saw sense eventually and now work in IT, all year, full time. Am still passionate about science, but can pay my bills now.

unfortunateevents Wed 24-May-17 00:24:32

Does she have any interest in wildlife conservation? Has she done any volunteer work in that field, what kind of work experience did she do in school, is she interested in the outdoors, is she good at being cold and muddy at times? Is there anything that leads you to think that she has thought this through?

HeddaGarbled Wed 24-May-17 00:26:34

With a Foundation Degree, she is only committed to one year initially. She won't be allowed to progress to the second year if she doesn't get good enough grades. And that year will hopefully be enough for her to decide whether it's the right course for her, without committing herself to the full £37k.

GardenGeek Wed 24-May-17 00:29:57

FWIW most people who studied non-specific degrees such as English, History, Social, (basically all humanities) are all retraining as trades.

Accountants, Electricians, Plumbers etc.

So what ever degree you do these days. Unless its trade specific like doctor or architect you will be in the same boat anyway.

HildaOg Wed 24-May-17 00:35:26

I would try to make her understand that it's not what you care about that's important, it's developing skills that you can sell in the workplace. Many degree holders are working in Starbucks because they didn't get a degree in something that makes them employable. So what was the point?

It's so easy to be idealistic when you're young. Nowadays it's stupid and reckless to be idealistic. With globalisation we have more workers competing for fewer jobs and the competition is fierce. Kids should be encouraged to go where the money and opportunities are.

ZaphodBeeblerox Wed 24-May-17 01:10:38

Was just chatting with a friend whose partner is doing a master's in this field. Friend's DP is doing it for passion and is well off, and a mature student to boot. But her peers on the course apparently all have v limited prospects and most are looking to switch careers completely after graduation.
Don't know enough to advise but your DD might want to do more research before committing to this field. A) does she need degree in field to work in it or is a more fungible degree enough; B) if she changed mind on field what else can she do with degree.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Wed 24-May-17 01:19:09

Maybe point her to this thread if a few more people with actual experience come on?

I have 3 degrees in areas that are next to impossible to make money in. I just adore studying and I wouldn't give back the wonderful things I've learned for well paying but boring job.

BUT I am not very employable. I'm fine to get cushy admin jobs that allow me to enjoy my interests outside work, but I'll never pull in the big bucks. My ultimate goal right now is a long term reception job in a very quiet but nice office that allows me to read novels all day. There are worse ways to spend your time.

If it's a true passion for your DD then I think you should try to support her for the first year while she sees if it suits her. Maybe help her learn more about future employability and volunteering opportunities. In a helpful way of course, not a dismissive way.

She can change her mind later. I think by university it's time to let her make a few of her own mistakes.

Notmyrealname85 Wed 24-May-17 01:27:55

Have you said that you can't/won't help her repay that? Maybe if she knows there's no security blanket she might rethink

Sounds boring, but what about accountancy? She won't need a degree FYI

WiddlinDiddling Wed 24-May-17 01:35:20

I'll go the other way to the majority here..

Right now she has the opportunity to study something and spend time involved with something that yeah, may not be the career she settles on for the rest of her life, but shes passionate about it now and it will give her some transferable skills.

It's unlikely to be an opportunity that comes around again - how many of us would LOVE to do some of the fascinating and amazing courses available now, but we have to earn money, we have dependents, we don't have the time.

University is not just about coming out employable and getting a job - going to university, sticking to your studies, learning who you are and how to manage your life is also a huge huge part of it.

I did a similar sort of thing (college not uni though), instead of A levels I did a National Diploma in equine studies - basically playing with horses, riding horses, learning how to manage land.... it was huge huge fun, I lived away from home, I learned a TON about myself and how to manage life...

Ultimately I learned that working with horses was not for me, but thats ok, better to learn that at 16/17 than to spend the last 20 years regretting not trying it out when I had the opportunity to do so.

So maybe this will be a stepping stone to other related work, or maybe she gets it out of her system and realises its not for her or, that she'd rather be involved in a different way.

Thats what this time of life is FOR, an opportunity to test things out whilst there is still a bit of a safety net.

Let her make her own decisions, I always think better regret the things you did.. than the things you didn't.

Taytotots Wed 24-May-17 01:38:44

She should be able to get employment statistics from the university for graduates of the programme. As others have said above this field is very hard to get work in and many people do have a degree or masters even if not actually needed for the job. She will also need lots of (probably volunteer) work experience - often you get paid jobs through contacts. Many jobs in the field are low paid but often extremely rewarding. Look if the degree offers chances to get the skills she needs - depending on field can be very practical like chainsaw qualifications.

araiwa Wed 24-May-17 02:36:43

i can only think of a couple of friends from uni who have ended up doing something directly related to their degree

TenColours Wed 24-May-17 02:41:55

Do the foundation course for one year, and then use that as a stepping stone to get on to a different degree course.

Plenty of biology departments would take someone with that foundation degree and a C in Maths.

Greyhound81 Wed 24-May-17 03:20:47

I have a degree in a subject totally unrelated to any job I've ever had. I was an enthusiastic eco-warrior but completely unable to get a job in that area so ended up falling into admin jobs. However - my degree has definitely helped me secure employment over the years - it shows a level of learning and a lot of person specs have 'educated to degree level' on them. A few specify a related area but not many in the area I am looking. I have managed to work my way up and I am now earning decent money in more senior roles.

Have only been talking about this today with my boss who although is vastly experienced can struggle to be shortlisted as she hasn't got a degree and some companies dismiss her straight away which is a shame and limits her somewhat.

DP had also been told he is now limited progress wise as he doesn't have a degree despite being hugely experienced in his field and being fairly well respected - he will never make it into senior management without one apparently.

If I had my time again I would definitely do something vocational as I really do not work in an area I am passionate about but it does pay the bills and allows me to do things outside - I wish I had done radiography but alas I am have to realise I'm good at organisation and admin and go with it.

I do think the fees are eye watering - and it's so young to expect them to decide what they want to do with their lives I think. Trouble is if you leave it till 'later' it can sometimes become to difficult to leave jobs and commitments etc.

I know I will get splinters but I can see both sides of it. She will also get a great life experience. I can see why it concerns you though.

SomeOtherFuckers Wed 24-May-17 03:27:21

I did English ... a lot of people think that's a waste but tbh I wouldn't even get a look in at any interesting jobs in my passions without it and it's taught me an immense amount about life, people, responsibility and a lot about the way the world works ... and that's not including my course. If she wants to work in conservation ... she should go for it. We all have a shit tonne of student debt .. it's a fact of life for many in my generation

LessConversation Wed 24-May-17 08:50:49

I did it the other way around - worked in a particular field then my employer paid for my degree.

Agree with pp to let her try it for the year, it is an expensive course tho.

BarbarianMum Wed 24-May-17 08:58:54

I work in wildlufe conservation and you dound like my dad OP - he thought i should do microbiology instead as it was the safer career option. Does your dd want to work in wildlife conservation ? If so, she's on the right course (or a right course, there are a number of ways in).

It is a competitive field and not highly paid but jobs exist. Persistence and good planning are key to getting your first job, and once you're in it gets a lot easier. Ive been unemployed for 3 months in 20 years.

LouBlue1507 Wed 24-May-17 09:02:25

Student loans aren't like regular loans. The 37k debt won't have any real affect on her at all. She doesn't even have to start making payments until she's earning £21,000 and even then it's only £30 a month. Very manageable!

Demesne Wed 24-May-17 09:43:30

She doesn't exactly sound academic enough for University. She isn't going to learn something that will make her any money, and she isn't going to learn because she has a passion or aptitude for learning. She's basically wasting time and avoiding getting a job.

I'm with you, OP, it's a silly idea. She needs to get a real job.

Sexstarvedredhead Wed 24-May-17 09:45:56

YANBU. Conservation is a very hard area to get a career in (generally people have several degrees not just one). Also not one where many will earn over the loan threshold for repayment.

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