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Think uni isn't for you? Here's how to decide

You have plenty of options, so don't feel forced to go to uni.

University isn't for everyone. If you're aren't sure if you want to commit to a degree, here are some things to consider – as well as four steps you can take to help decide your next move.

Listen to what your thoughts are telling you

It’s easy to get swept away in the conversation when everyone is talking about applying to uni, but there might be a few doubts creeping into your mind every now and then.

Here are some common concerns:
  • "Everyone is talking about applying to uni, but I don't feel interested."
  • "I don't feel like I'm ready for uni yet."
  • "I'm not sure if I can face another three years of study and exams."
  • "I think my parents are assuming I'm going to uni - I don't want to disappoint them."
  • "All my friends are applying to university, I should apply. I don't want to be left behind."
  • "Uni could be an easy way of putting off making a decision about a career for another three years."
If any of these sound familar, chat to someone you trust about how you're feeling.

University is a huge decision. Tuition fees aren't cheap and it's three years of your life – so be honest with yourself and take your time deciding. 

Here are three questions you can ask yourself to help you make up your mind: 
  • Is there any reason why you would really like to go to university?
  • If none of your friends were applying to uni, would you still feel pressure to go?
  • Would you take a year out after your exams to decide what's next?

Explore the options available to you

Think about the workload – you'll be responsible for your own learning at university, so it's hard to stay committed if you're not too interested in the course.

The student lifestyle can be fun but it's not worth it if you're unsure about the degree you’ve chosen. It’s worth exploring alternative options before committing to three years of academic study. There’s no right career path, so think about whether taking a degree is the best option for getting the kind of job you want.

A degree isn't your only option. HNDs, HNCs, Btecs, diplomas and City & Guilds are examples of other qualifications. These options offer practical training and may be accredited by a professional association, which could come in handy when you're looking for jobs.

Apprenticeships aren't for people who fail at school. There are a vast range of apprenticeships, including higher apprenticeships which offer university study as part of the package.

Don't feel pressured into taking a degree. Even if a degree course is available in your preferred career, that doesn’t mean you have to take it to work in that field. Apprenticeships and entry-level jobs where you earn a wage from the beginning could be a more suitable route.

Four things to do now

1. Give yourself time to think – you don't need to make a decision immediately, so don't panic about it.

2. Start researching other qualifications and options for apprenticeships and school leaver programmes. There's never been so much choice – it's worth exploring each opportunity. 

3. Book in with a career adviser at your college and ask for their advice. They should be able to give you lots of helpful information on your options.

4. Let your know parents know what you're thinking – you can bounce your ideas off them. Having their support will also make you feel a lot more comfortable when it comes to making a decision about what to do next.

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