Tag Archives: universities

Review: recent careers posts (The Independent)

There’s been some nice career-related articles in The Independent in recent months, with an interesting range of topics. Many have chimed with issues discussed before on this blog, or reaffirmed points made here.

Firstly, there’s this article on the benefits of studying outside of the UK – although the event is refers to is in the past, look at the points about how to seek decent opportunities and be open-minded about other options when considering universities. And whilst a university degree remains the most safe, predictable and assured route to career success, here’s an interesting view about why not going onto a degree might be the making of you.

Several interesting articles come together to help you reflect on the sudden huge hike in fees at UK universities, and whether this makes degrees worthwhile (or even accessible) any more. Maybe start with an article from 2010 where the universities minister talked about wanting more online degrees (i.e. not attending the university) – is this embracing a new digital age or just a cop-out with cheap degrees worth less than “real” ones? Once you’re paying more, of course, you can be a bolshier customer, so the question of whether students are getting value for fees money comes up. One way universities are starting to try to draw the best is by offering fees reductions to the best A-level performers – I’m tempted to¬†predict more and more of this will happen. The best grades might soon not just mean the best places but also the cheapest fees. Meanwhile, universities look like they’re starting to withdraw co-operation with FE colleges in order to make students take only full fee-paying courses – reducing choice and opportunity for some students, particularly those at the weaker academic end. You might think this unfair – or perhaps you take the view that university places should be limited, and only for those who aim high, work hard and compete for limited places at good institutions?

Finally, higher fees (which have already savaged application numbers nationally in the UK) means the death-knell for courses which aren’t popular. For some commentators this means good riddance to worthless degrees and good news for students – but in the age of the mindlessly narrow and pointlessly¬†traditionalist EBacc, does this mean we’re cutting “new” style courses – IT, service industry, media courses – on which the future western economy depends? And will students have to go further to study the degree they want – at more cost to them?

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An amazing future

Amidst all the current gloom, it’s eminently possible for us to forget the excitement inherent in the kind of amazing work done at universities. If you’re feeling like you’re wondering why bother, take a look at this list of major scientific projects being worked on in British universities right now.

Most of this work is graduate level and beyond, of course – but the point is: only by doing well, going on to university and getting involved with the brilliant people who work there will you have a chance to work in these rewarding (and well-paid?) fields.