When you are in high school, deciding what to do with your future can be a really tough thing to work out. In my experience, it is common for most people to either go straight out into the workforce, or to continue with their education either through Tafe or University. Obviously there is no right or wrong answers here, and your own choice will depend entirely on where you see yourself and what skill set you have, but for me I decided to continue with my studies and ended up doing both a Tafe course and a University degree.
Occupations and Qualifications
If you have decided that you want to study some more after school rather than heading straight into full time employment, then your next step will be to decide exactly what you want to study and what type of work you want to get into. Once you know the occupation you are aiming for, you will understand the type of qualification you will need to attain to be able to get into the field of work that you are interested in getting into. As an example, if you wanted to become a solicitor/barrister you would need to get a law degree, or if you want to be a doctor or surgeon, then you will need to get a medical degree as these are prerequisites to being able to perform these duties in the workforce.
Something you should be aware of if you do want to go to uni is that not all degrees are created equal, and some will take significantly longer to complete than others. As an example, the Information Technology degree that I did was a 3 year degree, whilst if you want to get into engineering you will take 4 years, and studying to become a medical specialist can take over 5 years plus work experience.
Going to university costs a lot of money, but the government does help you out by offering student loan facilities which in Australia is called HECS. Again, as with the degree length, some degrees will cost you more each semester. These costs can vary greatly between universities, so it is worthwhile checking out which ones will provide you the best bang for your buck, but also remember that some university degrees are deemed to be superior to other university degrees, and this can sometimes be reflected in the cost.
Employment Prospects and Money
Ultimately you need to think about what your employment prospects are going to be when you finish your degree. You don’t really want to end up spending years of your life getting a degree when there is only limited employment prospects in that field. Another aspect to consider before entering a course is – what will my pay packet look like once i’m qualified and working? Many undergraduates never even look into this and they are shocked to realise that their selected career pays less than other careers that didn’t involve study.
Is University the Right Choice?
Getting back to the initial question of if you should go to uni? Well for me it worked out well, but you really do need to consider all the options available to you. The one thing I would say to anyone reading is that having a degree will open a lot of doors for you that would otherwise be shut. This isn’t to say that a degree is the be all and end all, but it can help with your employment prospects and future earnings potential.