Are you unsure about whether or not college is for you? Or perhaps you’re the parent of a teenager or young adult who is debating whether or not to take this step. Sometimes, the choice to go to college is a simple one; if someone wants to take on a career that requires a certain degree (or even any degree in some cases), then of course, college or university is the next step. However, if you or they are unsure about what they want to do in terms of a career or the job they want doesn’t necessarily require a degree, it could be tempting to jump over this step and get straight into the world of work.
For some, this will be the right choice. For others, it will be a missed opportunity. With that in mind, here are some of the things to consider when deciding to go to university.
Is Now The Right Time?
The received wisdom is that people leave school and then go straight to university, unless they take a gap year, in which case they’ll go to college one intake later. However, although that is what the majority of people do, it’s not the rule – you don’t have to work with this timing. You could decide to defer entry for another year on top of the one you initially took off, for example. Or perhaps you’ll start working and then decide to go to college. You might even decide to do both, and take an online, part-time course so you can earn money at the same time.
You must definitely decide whether now is the right time for university or not, and it will depend on your individual circumstances. If it would be difficult for you socially, mentally, financially, or for any other reason, it’s best to wait until you’re ready. If it’s your grades you’re concerned about, you can check out the chances of acceptance using a tool such as the Baylor University chances calculator at CampusReel, and if you need to get more qualifications, you can work on that first.
Which University Should You Go To?
Another crucial consideration to think about is which college you should go to. It’s not always as simple as choosing the one that’s closest to home (or further away, if that’s what you prefer). You’ll need to think in terms of the courses offered, the college’s reputation, the accommodation, the cost, and much more. Choosing your local college might be convenient, but will it get you where you want to go in life?
To begin with, you’ll need to think about the course you want to study. If you know what career you want, this will be easier – you might not even have a choice. If you’re not sure what you want to do or you have free reign to choose, you should think about what you enjoy, what you’re good at, and what will give you the most options after you graduate. At that point, you can start looking for colleges that offer the course you want. Everything else is secondary, but it’s wise to have a few options.
When Should You Not Go To University?
Just as it’s important to know when you should go to college, it’s crucial to know when you shouldn’t, and whether that’s a temporary idea or a permanent one. In other words, are you delaying the start of your college education or are you not going to go at all?
Not everyone needs to go to college, and not everyone will thrive in that kind of environment. Vocational jobs or careers where you gain experience as you go along might be a better option.
If you know that university wouldn’t be right for you, don’t force yourself to go. There are many options, and it’s not worth being miserable for three or four years, especially if you’re not going to use your degree at the end of it.