On the eve of A-Level Results Day, has university become the default option?
New research released today from AVADO has found that around three quarters (72%) of school leavers across the UK are planning on going to University when they finish school, more than those planning on getting a job (10%), doing an apprenticeship (5%), or taking a gap year (4%).
However, despite the enduring popularity of university, 44% do not believe a degree will equip them for a job, admitting it will only delay entry into the world of work (8%). In fact, one in five (20%) believe that two-three years of work experience would better prepare them for their career. 13% of degree hopefuls also reveal their A-Level subjects do not even match their degree.
With more unconditional offers to universities than ever before, and some universities set to go bust , it’s perhaps no surprise that 30% believe it’s easier to get into universities now than ten years ago. When asked why, students said it was due to the institutions needing more funding (30%), degrees becoming less valuable (39%) and universities worryingly offering more unconditional offers to increase student numbers pre-results day (53%).
These concerns echo those raised in the media in recently months, looking at a possible collapse of the university system as we know it today due to financial pressures.
With these perceived problems in mind, why are students still so drawn to a degree over qualifications such as an apprenticeship?
It may come down to the schooling system and pressures, with 43% saying they chose their A-Levels based on subjects that they would most likely to get good grades in, whilst 28% said there just wasn’t enough careers advice available when it comes to making importance decisions post A-Levels.
Students also believed universities could be doing more to champion alternatives, with almost half (49%) saying they should be offering more degree apprenticeships or creating internship / apprentice opportunities to students in line with their degree subject (41%).
Mark Creighton CEO of AVADO commented:
“A- Level Results Day is a stressful day for sixth-formers up and down the country, with thousands banking on their grades to cement their careers at university. But with so many readily believing that these future degrees won’t prepare them for their careers, why do they insist on going? Here at AVADO, the UK’s leading apprenticeship provider, we’re breaking the mould and today, we’re encouraging students to consider alternative options. Not only could you earn money whilst studying through degree apprenticeships, but you even could enter the world of work from the get go and leave that university debt and student life working across tech, HR and digital for innovative brands like Microsoft, Google and MTV. “