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Should students study subjects they love or a degree that will get them a job?

(111 Posts)
bevelino Sun 12-Feb-17 22:59:18

My dd's will be applying for courses for 2018 and have asked me whether they should study subjects they love or a degree that will lead to a job? I am unsure what to advise. What do mumsnetters think?

Bedsheets4knickers Sun 12-Feb-17 23:00:41

I think job , she can always study her interests aswel as work , also at her own leisure

bevelino Sun 12-Feb-17 23:03:44

I will have triplets off to university at the same time next year and all are fretting about their future, post Brexit. I have said to stay calm and that I would ask on mumsnet on their behalf smile

BossWitch Sun 12-Feb-17 23:06:08

5 years ago I would have said love. Now I say job.

Motherofhowmany Sun 12-Feb-17 23:08:15

What she loves. Most graduate jobs aren't degree specific. And if she doesn't enjoy the subject she won't enjoy the degree. It's three/four years of her life after all.

I did history and I don't think myself or any of my course mates have been held back because it doesn't have obvious job routes. My partner did biochemistry and now works in buisness/procurement after discovering there were few jobs in the biochem industry that paid well.

Insertwitticismhere Sun 12-Feb-17 23:11:06

Something they love! The majority of graduate positions don't specify a degree discipline (bar vocations I.e medicine, pharmacy, etc.) much more important that they do well on the course and maximise the opportunities available to them whilst at uni. All much easier if you enjoy your subject.

gillybeanz Sun 12-Feb-17 23:11:49

What she loves because you tend to do better at what you like.
Very few people get to choose what they want to do with their life.
If you love the topic of your work it helps a lot.
If you have a passion/ love of a subject, you're stupid if you don't go for it, imo.

OnGoldenPond Sun 12-Feb-17 23:14:15

Definitely study subjects they love. They have to immerse themselves in their degree subject for three years, that's a long time to devote to something they are less than completely enthusiastic about.

They will get the best class of degree by studying subjects they love, and for most graduate employers the class of degree is more important than the subject studied as training is done on the job.

Also ask yourself, if the job related degree being considered is not the subject your DC most enjoys, is it really likely to lead to a career they feel passionate about?

This is advice I wish I had had when choosing my degree subject.

Maylani Sun 12-Feb-17 23:14:21

As an academic with many years experience of teaching undergrads: definitely, 100% what they love (maybe try not to go for a complete Micky Mouse degree at a rubbish uni, but anything else, absolutely) - unless they're very materialistic and want to earn loads of money. There are so many dropouts from courses people felt they 'should' do.

What's maybe more important is that they give it their full effort and get the best possible grades they can. Many employers aren't so fussed about the subject but about seeing that graduates did well in their chosen degree. And thankfully our world doesn't need just doctors and lawyers and MBAs!

SwedishEdith Sun 12-Feb-17 23:16:34

Love, definitely. Hate the idea of universities being job factories.

Flum Mon 13-Feb-17 04:52:56

Definitely what they are interested in. Strong traditional subjects best and can work in many jobs.

I did Business Studies, it was mostly boring. I would have dropped out but stuck it out to appease my Mum.

AnnaFiveTowns Mon 13-Feb-17 05:27:03

Definitely, definitely what they love.

SorrelSoup Mon 13-Feb-17 05:43:40

A degree is hard going; it's a big commitment, so it has to be something that will.keep you interested for 3/4 years. Once at uni you can keep an eye out for postgraduate programmes that are more vocational/lead to professional status.

PlumsGalore Mon 13-Feb-17 06:16:16

I dunno, DS studied one he loved, got a First and went into an unrelated career he loves but could have done a degree in, but didn't need a degree for, if you understand me!

DD is doing a degree in a subject she absolutely has to to get her HPC registration to do a job she really wants, but she hates lots of modules of the degree and isn't that good at them such as maths and physics. She will probably graduate with a 2:2, but will have that job she loves and will never use the maths and physics again.

No words of advice grin

SaltyMyDear Mon 13-Feb-17 06:26:56

Is there no middle ground?

I would say think about ALL the subjects you love, and choose the one - out of them - which is most likely to lead to a job.

Study the job sites now. Which jobs would they like to apply for - and what qualifications do they require?

jeanne16 Mon 13-Feb-17 08:09:29

I chose a subject I loved at school but half way through the degree I realised it was so theoretical at university that I no longer particularly enjoyed the subject. I also knew it wasn't really taking me anywhere.

So I would say choose a course that should lead you somewhere in the job market so when the course gets difficult and possibly a bit dull, you will be able to focus on your next step.

The fact is that only highly academic kids truly love their subject at university level. For the vast majority of students, this is not really the case. You will pay a lot of money to go to university. You have to try to get your money's worth!

CactusFred Mon 13-Feb-17 08:19:14

I'd say job every time these days.

yomellamoHelly Mon 13-Feb-17 08:24:35

I did job. (And found I hated it, but persevered with it for the course and the next 5 years as there was a recession.)
So would say go for something you love. Would probably have given me more options now. (Would quite like to teach now, but my degree's realy awkward.)

My dh managed to combine the two.

titchy Mon 13-Feb-17 08:30:18

The fact is that only highly academic kids truly love their subject at university level.

I don't think that's true at all! The plethora of media studies, computer games design, dance, musical theatre etc courses kinda proves that isn't the case...

I'm firmly in the do what you love camp. Doing a course you hate because it leads to a good job has to be one of the most soul destroying things ever. Don't forget kids who do degrees they're disinterested in tend to drop out. Now THATS a waste of money...

Mamia15 Mon 13-Feb-17 08:41:15

Both - choose something you will enjoy studying as long as its not a mickey mouse course and is at a respected University - not necessarily Russell Group but has great employment prospects.

Unistats is a good site to use when looking at particular courses to find out what kind of outcomes these tend to offer.

For highfliers, this report might be useful e.g it states that doing sandwich courses are more likely to lead to good prospects.

Mamia15 Mon 13-Feb-17 08:41:28


TheWildRumpyPumpus Mon 13-Feb-17 09:00:05

I studied for a job and ended up with a great well-paid one.

Made me bloody miserable and now 15 years later I'm back studying something I actually enjoy and the difference is enormous.

jeanne16 Mon 13-Feb-17 09:02:49

Titchy. I am sure a degree in dance or media studies is great fun. However I would be amazed if these degrees ever lead to jobs. Does that matter? Well I think it does, unless you are either extremely wealthy or happy to live on benefits.

Turbinaria Mon 13-Feb-17 09:12:57

I'd go for a course with lots of elements I enjoy but also has makes you more employable. So if you like the sciences subjects such as food science, biotechnology I think are better for jobs than biology, biochemistry. Also physiotherapist, dietetics, speech therapy, radiology are very science based and train you to do a job at the end.
Subjects such as Maths, physics, chemistry, engineering will always be in demand.
If you do a subject like politics try to make it a joint honours with a MFL
Agree with sandwich courses it's definitely a good way of getting your foot in the door for your chosen career

OllyBJolly Mon 13-Feb-17 09:22:53

Subject you love. (Love, not think might be a bit of fun).

But with Maylani 's caveat as long as it's not a crap course at a crap uni.

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