Is University Necessary?
The short answer to this question is, unfortunately, it depends. It depends on the individual and their own personal goals, but as you ponder on your next move in academia take a few of these points under consideration:
Think about life in terms of ROI (Return On Investment) because that is what education is- an investment in your future. University is expensive and, while the majority of students make do with a combination of government aid/scholarships, private loans and/or financial support from family, tuition isn’t cheap and it’s only getting more expensive with each passing year. Still, year after year students are still enrolling and signing away their lives in pursuit of a degree and what they hope will ultimately lead to more work opportunities and higher salaries.
Although by not attending university you can save yourself thousands in debt, what does this mean for your employability? Your upward mobility in the workplace could very well be affected by your lack of a higher degree as many supervisor and managerial positions require them. Just think about the number of people who have been working in their careers for years that are stuck at mid-level after being passed over for promotions due to a lack in education. So although you saved money up-front by not going to university, you might actually be limiting your earning potential.
Career fields such as; Culinary Arts, Mechanics, Performance, Graphic Arts etc. do not require university degrees, so if your interest lies in these areas then you might want think about going to trade school that will provide you with the skills that you need and job placement assistance for less than half the price of university.
I have taken the time to speak with a few friends who made the decision not to go university (ages 27-33) and only a slim few have regretted their decision to take the less traditional route. While some felt that they had definitely missed out on the “university experience”, they didn’t feel as though they were at a disadvantage when compared to their university-going counterparts. But an important point that they all agreed on was that “Just because you decide that university is not for you, doesn’t mean you get to sit home and be lazy and that you should stop learning. If anything not going to university means that you will have to work harder than your contemporaries because you don’t get time as you would in school to start building your network, exploring your interests and gaining experience. Do some internships and the like to meet people and learn valuable skills on the job. It will be tough for a while, but it is possible to accomplish all your career goals with a lot of hard work.”
So, is university necessary? Not necessarily. Either way only you are in control of what you accomplish in life.