Why go to uni?

Higher education can be a hugely rewarding experience. It can open up all sorts of opportunities and help you achieve your potential.

This section tells you about some of the reasons to go to uni and some of the things you might want to think about when deciding if it’s the right thing for you.

Going to uni can give you the chance to study something you’re passionate about or develop a new interest. You might just love to learn or enjoy a challenge.

Experiencing student life offers more than just learning and can be very beneficial.

Many universities and colleges have:

  • clubs and societies
  • sports and other facilities
  • volunteering opportunities
  • students’ unions.

The National Union of Students has information on what students' unions are and what they offer.

National Union of Students

The Student Room has discussions between students on what they get out of student life.

The Student Room

Doing new things can help you become more confident and develop skills like problem solving, creative thinking and how to study independently.

Taking part in activities will give you the chance to:

  • meet new people
  • be introduced to different cultures
  • better understand the world
  • grow personal networks
  • develop a sense of belonging.

In your free time you could get involved in research projects and try out different part-time jobs. Your course might also include the opportunity to study abroad.

Having a higher education qualification can give you better career opportunities.

Regardless of whether or not you have a specific career in mind, going to uni will give you the chance to develop knowledge and skills in your chosen subject area.

You will also be meeting new people, which can help you build a professional network.

Universities and colleges offer support with career development and give you the opportunity to:

  • explore different types of career
  • take part in a work placement
  • make links with employers.

Studying will help you develop transferable skills that make you more attractive to employers, as well as contributing to your personal development. These might include:

  • team working
  • communicating effectively
  • managing your time
  • leadership skills
  • critical thinking.

Information that can help

The Prospects website has information on what you can do with your degree.

If you know where you might want to study, you can contact the careers team at the university or college. They are there to support applicants as well as current students.

While having a higher education qualification doesn’t guarantee a higher salary, graduates typically earn more money than people without a higher education qualification.

If how much you might be able to earn afterwards is an important factor in your decision, you may want to explore what your starting salary could be after the course and throughout your career.

Information that can help

The Prospects website job profiles give suggested starting salaries for different careers.

Our Employment prospects page explains the information on graduate earnings that can help with your decision.

Higher education will take time, energy and dedication. It’s worth thinking about the workload and standard you need to achieve to get the qualification. Consider how this will fit in with other things in your life.

Studying can limit how much you are able to work. By the end you might not have progressed as far as you would if you had worked instead of studying.

Going to uni can cost a lot of money, and not just for tuition fees if you live in a country where students pay those. There may be more financial support available than you realise, but it’s a good idea to think carefully before making a commitment.

There might be other options that suit you better or get you where you want to be in terms of your career.

Information that can help

See our How will I pay for it? and Costs sections to find out more about costs of studying and the financial support that is available.

The National Careers Service has guidance on careers and skills.

The Prospects website has information on what your degree can lead to.

NIDirect offers careers information, advice and guidance throughout Northern Ireland.

Skills Development Scotland offers careers guidance and information.

Careers Wales has information on jobs, education and training in Wales.

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