If you’re thinking about taking an undergraduate course, you’ve probably already got prospectus after prospectus telling you which undergraduate courses you should go for. Before you start thinking about subjects though, have you thought about why you might want to choose an undergraduate course at all? Studying at undergraduate level can be very different to any learning you might have undertaken before so it’s worth asking yourself if a degree is definitely for you.
You’re much more likely to earn more money over your lifetime than those without an undergraduate degree. According to the Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey, the typical yearly salary for a working graduate is £12,000 more than someone who hasn’t been to university and hasn't got a degree. That’s quite a big difference and over a working lifetime adds up to around £516,000 – that could bag you a 3 bedroom house in London!
Improve your CV
Undergraduate courses are also a great place to develop general skills that will help you, not just in the workplace but in life as well. With a timetable filled with lectures and seminars, you will learn excellent planning and organisation skills as well as understanding the importance of punctuality. You will learn how to work independently, and as part of a team, which will mean you’ll improve your communication skills. Most undergraduate courses are three years long, so these skills will be ingrained in your brain by the time you head out into full time work.
Expand your horizon
Undergraduate courses often involve moving away from home and staying in a new city. You’re likely to meet people from all walks of life that you might never have come across before. With loads of clubs and societies to join, you can try new hobbies and sports while socialising with people that share your passion. You might choose to study your undergraduate course abroad, in which case you could consider learning a new language. Even if you choose to stay at home, there’s no escaping the wealth of new experiences you will gain doing a degree – from debates about academia to drinks at the student union.
The fees are often a turn-off for students considering undergraduate courses, especially with the increase from 2012. The good thing is you don’t have to pay straight away. The government provides loans, grants and bursaries for students that don’t have the cash to fund their undergraduate degree while they study. You don’t have to pay any loans back until you’re earning £21,000 a year and grants and bursaries don’t have to be paid back at all. The best way to look at it is you are investing in your future. So if you are passionate enough to do the best you can, the money will all be worth it.
Though university is often painted as fun, friends and foam parties until the small hours, it’s actually quite hard work too. Full-time undergraduate courses require a lot of time each week in lectures and seminars, but they also involve a hefty share of homework too. You will need to be disciplined enough to turn down a shopping trip if you have an essay due on Monday and organise your time so that you get everything done. Obviously there will be time for partying, but you are there to study first, so sometimes this will mean staying in and getting early nights.
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