Thinking of going to university? Before making any decisions, get clued-up on the reasons to go, what life is like and what it’s going to cost.

Why should I go?

Going to university will make you more attractive to employers and you’ll have loads of new experiences. You’ll get to study your favourite subjects in more depth, and if you study away from home you’ll find out what independent adult life is like. But university isn’t for everyone.

What should I study?

Doing any degree shows employers that you’re smart and motivated – important skills for any job. The main thing is to study something you want to learn more about. Talk to your teachers or careers advisor. They’ll advise you on which university subjects are best for your personality, skills and abilities.

Can I afford it?

Here are the top three things you need to know:

  • Tuition fee loans are offered to university students to pay their university fees. These are paid straight to the university
  • If you come from a medium- or low-wage family, you can apply for a maintenance loan to cover your living expenses.
  • Once you are on a high enough income after university, you will start to pay your loan back.
  • Parent and student information guide about university tuition fees: A complete guide to the cost of university for the parents - The Scholarship Hub
  • GA guide to student finance for undergraduate students from England about how much going to university costs and what funding is available.
  • University tuition fees and financial support in England (
  • Extra money to pay for university: Extra money to pay for university - GOV.UK (

What is student life like?

You’re expected to study hard, but university is also fun. The social scene is buzzing around and you’ll make new friends and try new things. It may be hard being away from friends and family though, and money will be tight so make sure you know how to budget.

Can I get a good job without a degree?

While some jobs require a degree, there are plenty that don’t. You will need a degree if you want to study something specific like medicine. You are likely to start on a lower wage without a degree.

There are many options for school leavers. Distance learning is a good way to get a degree and avoid debt as you can have a full-time job and study in the evenings. Some universities offer scholarships or can give you additional money towards your study. There is the option of studying abroad with many universities across the world teaching a huge spectrum of courses. Tuition fees are often a lot lower if you study abroad and you get to experience living in a new country. Other options post 18 include Higher Apprenticeships, taking a Gap Year and Volunteering.

Higher Education

UCAS – this website will give you information about which courses are available, and an idea of current entry requirements. It also contains direct links to the websites of most UK universities to help you find out more.

Universities are often ranked in league tables compared by things like student satisfaction, entry standards, research quality or graduate prospects. This is a useful way to get more ideas and information about the courses and universities you’re interested in. You can even find out more about how much you might earn after you’ve graduated!

Local Universities that you could visit to see what a university is like.

However, remember you can choose to study anywhere in the UK and still take advantage of the financial help available:

July 2024


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