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How important is a Uni education?

(30 Posts)
gerardway Thu 16-Jun-11 19:54:12

DS is VERY bright (high IQ) but dyslexic and finds writing hard he's also bloody lazy. He messed up his GCSE's, messed up 1st year at college and is back at college doing A level this time. He has 1 year left. Other people keep going on at me that he needs to go to Uni or he will never get a decent job. Is it true that firms no longer promote from within based on how hard you work (without a degree) and if you don't have a degree they will not give you a job in the first place. DS doesn't want to go to Uni but does wavier sometimes. I have suggested going to an open day at a Uni but he doesn't want to.

gotolder Thu 16-Jun-11 20:26:16

Uni no longer guarantees ANYTHING. Does your DS have any aptitudes in other than academic directions? Encourage him to go in the direction that would make him most fulfilled and would make employment at least a possibility.

Going to Uni straight from school may not be the best thing for him: a good friend finally got his degree (in photography) in his thirties and my DD1 has got hers in Business at the age of 46. Both had worked since school in a variety of jobs had families and bought own homessmile.

tinkgirl Thu 16-Jun-11 20:29:51

check this site out and tell him to see his connexions adviser in school. They will tell him what apprenticeships are out there at the moment, what does he want to do for a living?

MedusaIsHavingABadHairDay Thu 16-Jun-11 22:59:40

I have one at Uni, one who has just finished school (age 18.. did a btec media) and one doing A levels now...

The eldest knew she wanted to be a doctor from age 4 and worked solidly towards her goal.. now at Med school.. loving her course but has found living away horribly stressful..

The second knew he didn't want to go.. still has no idea what he wants but is now looking for a local job of any sort

The third is very academic but utterly unsure about going to Uni. As she doesn't know what she wants to do and doesn't want to go for the hell of it without an end goal. Her plan is to finish A levels (she's AS now) work a year or so and then reassess... I think she is being very sensible.

To be honest it makes no odds how high your son's IQ is if he is isn't committed to academics, no matter how much you would like him to be.. if he has messed up several times in a row already then he doesn't sound ready. Uni generally means self directed study a LOT .. and it's easy to fall behind and fail especially if you don't have your parents breathing down your necksmile
He should only go if he really really wants to. If not..well if he gets his A levels he can go at some later date!

My brother (now 27 ) did A levels but did NOT want to go to Uni as he liked earning money.. started in a shop job.. moved to a job with a bank.. moved sideways into web design... now earning MUCH more than his friends who went to uni... there are many ways to decent jobs !! (not that money is the be all and end all but just saying that you can get on without a degree!)go

Also.. if he does go... some degrees are more worth doing than others employment wise... he needs to do his own research and find out what he would really like to do.

I haven't find it easy to accept that my no 3 child ..who potentially is Oxbridge material.. isn't at all sure she wants to go to uni, but I also respect her ability to know her own mind.. as yet she doesn't feel ready.. and frankly.. I have a good degree and didn't 'use' it as such and am none the less in a job I enjoy, so I know it's not the most important thing in the world...

RoseWei Fri 17-Jun-11 08:30:35

I think the funding for level 3 courses, A levels. BTec and the like goes on until age 25 inclusive - that is fees paid until then. If your DS is unlikely to get the clutch he needs for uni sometime in the future (or for whatever), worth checking out. I relaxed quite a bit when I found this out because DS3 was really mucking things up for himself in last years of school.

There are of course one year Access courses where no formal academic qualifications are necessary and 'mature' starts at age 19!

As for Uni - I've met recently a number of people, heads screwed on, bright, not in debt for one thing, who aren't at Uni and haven't been. Maybe one day they will go but for now they are getting a good track record in the world of work and of course there are any number of courses/qualifications out there which lead into work.

Open days - good idea - also some Unis (I know Staffordshire does) put on residentials so prospective students get an idea of what it's like living and studying in the one place. Uni of London Careers used to (not sure if they do now) run a whole programme at the various London Universities of study days ie Politics at LSE for prospective students.

Good luck - DH wishes that he had postponed as he wouldn't have studied a subject he didn't altogether care for or work very hard in - then.

GnomeDePlume Fri 17-Jun-11 10:54:56

A degree can be an entree. However once over the initial hurdle I think that other things become more important like having relevant professional qualifications. I'm an accountant, it is a profession you can enter as a graduate or as a non-graduate.

DH and I have agreed that if our DCs dont know what they want to do at university then we will be encouraging them to get jobs and only take on all that debt if they have a clear plan.

eatyourveg Fri 17-Jun-11 16:17:06

Might he consider doing a distance learning degree? Not just available from the open university, BPP and Staffordshire are two for example. Staying at home and maybe working part time whilst studying might be another option

gerardway Fri 17-Jun-11 17:15:22

Thanks for all your replies. The general consensus at home is that he finishes his A levels and then tries to find a job. He really doesn't seem to know what he wants to do which drives my DH mad! DS was talking about Uni again last night but he doesn't even want to move away from home and he won't get high enough grades for our local Uni. I agree that you are never to old to get a degree and maybe the open university would be the way to go in the future. It is just so frustrating that the colleges more or less tell them that no Uni no career!

gotolder Thu 23-Jun-11 16:51:13

Just came back to add that my DD has not only got her degree at 46 but has got a FIRSTgrin so never give up gerardway, you may have an unacknowledged genius in the future.

Please raise a glasswine with me to my DD's amazing result and your DS's future possibilitiessmile

Socy Thu 23-Jun-11 19:46:38

Congrats gotolder! I too got my first degree in my 40s and am now finishing up a PhD. I'd always worked and had no real problem getting jobs (I did have very good A level results to put on my cv), but I know that sometimes I was not shortlisted for interview as I did not have the pre-requisite degree. Once I was in somewhere, or used personal contacts I was fine, as I had a chance to prove myself, but I do think not having a degree can just be one of those deciding factors over who to interview - it is an easy way to eliminate some people when you are overwhelmed with cvs.

If you find reading difficult uni can be very hard, but some offer more support than others. I think the 'new' universities tend to give the best support (they are also easier to get into with lower grades). A foundation year would be another option - taking four years to get a degree can be the way to go for some people. But taking a year or two between school/college and uni is a good idea for most people - to go to uni with a little bit more maturity means you can really make the most of the experience. And as a humanities graduate I would definately say it is worth studying for its own sake rather than for a specific career! smile

springbokscantjump Thu 23-Jun-11 19:52:33

My friend started at uni with us but was not really suited to either the course or uni life plus had some very stressful events happen. He left and got odd jobs that built on his fantastic woodworking skills - he started designing and making bespoke furniture (think incredibly high end) and now has his own business. He did halfway through do a much more practical degree along the way but only after he had found his way.

I think it is much better to do a job that you enjoy than join the hundreds (thousands?) of students who are doing rubbish waste space degrees or ones that aren't going to help them in the workplace.

gotolder Thu 23-Jun-11 20:41:44

My DD never thought of herself as academic and left school at 16 with not particularly good "O" levels and GCSEs, worked in a variety of not very stimulating jobs: was left a lone parent when her partner was murdered and has since worked and bought a house. She did her degree part-time whilst working.

So you can understand why I am particularly proud of hergrin.

gerardway never give up on your DS.

cory Fri 24-Jun-11 09:30:12

Personally I'd say (and I am speaking as an academic teacher) that the important thing is not getting a degree, as in, any old degree, but in getting the right degree for you if you are going to get one- and if that means waiting a few years, so be it. My niece is going into HE now, after a few years of working in call centres/as a temp, and I seriously believe she will get something out of this that she couldn't possibly have got if she had been pushed into the first degree programme that came her way at 18.

noddyholder Fri 24-Jun-11 15:18:50

Most of my friends who are very succesful don't have degrees which has surprised me. And all the young people I know with a uni education are unemployed or working in cafes etc whereas those who went into work are still in work.

wimpybar Fri 24-Jun-11 15:23:37

a degree usually guarantees a highly income doesn't it. i'm doing a p/t degree just so i can apply for better paid jobs. sick of working like a hound for shite money.

my ds want to go to uni and i won't stop him

RunnerHasbeen Fri 24-Jun-11 15:31:43

I agree with cory, just going to a middle of the road university and getting a degree in something he isn't too bothered about will not help him in any way, he would be better off working. If he finds a career path later, he still has the option of going to university then, sometimes funded if he is working in a related job. If he gets a random degree now and then decides to do something else, he will be paying even more then.

I suspect there is going to be an increase in companies offering sort of apprentice style positions and paying university fees for promising workers (my DH did this: engineering, fees paid, guaranteed job in holidays and at the end of his course, £9k a year to live off from summer job, couple years older than other undergrads and mature enough to cope). I think this is the worst time to fall into further education because you can't think what else to do (and I say that as an academic who had never really left university).

noddyholder Fri 24-Jun-11 16:00:42

There was a local news programme about 4 months ago about a local girl who dropped out of uni because one of her parents was ill Iirc. She decided to take on a trainee type buying position in a big dept store instead and they paid for various courses etc,at the end of 4 years she had her own flat car and a really good salary and was so glad she had done it. She was part of a group of 7 or 8 girl friends who all went on with university and they were all unemployed at the xmas after uni finished in June.It does not always guarantee a better salary. It used to though. My dp has graduates coming to his workplace at least 3 days a week offering to 'work' for free. And I have a friend in a film co in London who says they never hire graduates apart from one who was a computer whiz all the others were apprentices working as runners. I think now it is essential to think out of the box. Having said that I went and ds wants to!

nocake Fri 24-Jun-11 16:18:09

If he's 18 I'm not surprised he doesn't know what he wants to do. I didn't at that age and neither did DW.

I work in IT and have worked alongside loads of people who haven't got degrees. There's nothing wrong with starting at the bottom and working up. In fact it can give you a better view of the company and working environment.

mumsamilitant Fri 24-Jun-11 23:32:20

What is all this "must go to uni" thing at the moment? There are loads more options.... I really believe the only time a kid should go to uni is if they have a solid reason... ie. I want to be a doctor, I want to be a teacher. Otherwise i think its a waste of time to be honest. If they arent academically minded (this has nothing to do with brightness) then they arent.... No big deal! the last government gave soooo many soft options that it was untrue. I know quite a few kids that have done something like "media studies"????? and are still no better off but have sky high debts! This all needs to be curbed and stopped! There many many other options out there!

AngryFeet Sat 25-Jun-11 07:58:18

The most successful (and rich) people I know did NOT go to university. They are all hardworking, ambitious and confident individuals which I think are very important in how far you end up getting in your career. Some people just hate/struggle with formal schooling but thrive in the workplace.

gerardway Sat 25-Jun-11 10:23:03

That's wonderful gotolder. It's rather early for wine now but I will raise a
brew to you both. Thanks for all your advice. He seems to have gone off the idea again hmm. I think we will be encouraging DS to go out there and find a job and hopefully something that he loves will turn up.

cory Sat 25-Jun-11 10:26:31

In my own highly academic family, there was an even split: out of 4 siblings, 2 went to university and stayed there, 1 dropped out after his first semester and started a business of his own, 1 went straight into work. Financially, the one who is doing best is the one who started the business.

Batteryhuman Sat 25-Jun-11 16:44:15

I work in the property industry where the majority of my clients are not degree educated. They employ lots of highly educated professionals (lawyers like me, surveyors, planning consultants etc) but the ones who take home the profits at the end of the development are the entrepreneurs who have got to their positions in a number of different ways but generally without the benefit of higher education. I have some very clever, successful (and wealthy) clients who started on building sites or as juniors in estate agents.

niceguy2 Sat 25-Jun-11 21:27:50

In my culture, education is everything. My parents brought me & my sister up to think that you'd be a complete failure if you didnt go to uni.

When I had my own kids, I didn't want to be as extreme but I did carry on the belief that a uni education is incredibly important if you want your kids to be successful.

But I must say that now my DD is nearly 15, I do find myself wondering if it's worth it.

So basically she will (or I will) have to find £27k for fees (£9k a year) plus don't forget during this time, she won't be earning a proper wage, perhaps a part time job. So lets say she's losing £10k a year there (another £30k). On top of that of course there are living fees. Let's make it simple and say £6k a year.

You're looking at an "investment" of £73k and I reckon that's on the low side and not including interest on the loans!

The question becomes then, what job do you think you NEED the degree for which will pay that back? Not flipping many is my conclusion.

Especially not when you consider that many people (me included) will prefer employees with the drive and experience over a piece of paper any day.

It's a real dilemma and for me, much will depend on my DD's attitude when she's nearer 18.

mountaingirl Sun 26-Jun-11 08:52:17

Everyone seems to want a degree nowadays.

I nursed the old fashioned way, hospital based, even taught nurses returning to the profession. Moved abroad, had my three dc and found it impossible to continue. Dc are all getting older and thought maybe I could pop back and earn a few £££ doing agency work. Not a hope in hell one has to have a degree now. What a waste of 13 years hard work just because I haven't got a degree. The annoying thing is I had the A'levels, could have gone to uni but my stupid mother was of the opinion that unless one did medicine or law it wasn't worth going. Not true today.

op my darling niece has dyslexia and has just finished a history of art degree so it can be done. There is no guarentee of a job in fact Dn & her friends are finding it almost impossible but I'm definitely encouraging my kids to get a degree.

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