Sunday, 22 August 2010

Who would be a student now?

Who would want to be a student in this day and age? Seems like you can get five A* grades and still not get into your place at Bogmouth University. Even if you do, you'll come out the other side with thousands of pounds of debt, competing for jobs with hundreds of thousands of other graduates because getting a degree is now about as special as wearing a T-shirt.

OK, that's probably an unfair assessment. I was lucky enough to go to university in mid-90s - before the introduction of tuition fees (which I don't necessarily disagree with, by the way) - when it was still possible to pretty much get into the university of your choice as long as you got the requisite grades. My university of choice - Manchester - wanted three Bs or equivalent to get onto the Philosophy & Politics course. Thankfully, I met this requirement and I was in. Great times. Not sure about now though. You probably need eight A* grades, an enormous bag of cash and an endorsement letter from the Pope to get through the door. Even then, over-subscription means there's a chance you still won't get a place this year.

That said, if you can live with the expense and actually get on a course, it's without doubt one of the best times of your life. While I don't envy the students who, on top of annual accusations of A Levels getting easier, have to contend with incredible competition for places and then for a job afterwards, already up to their eyes in debt, I do envy the amazing three years they can have in the meantime. I graduated in 1996 and have pretty much been in full-time employment ever since. I know which I prefer.


Phil said...

My eldest is within striking distance of thinking about university (year 11). He is a bright lad - but I think that maybe I will be the only member in our family line that got the benefit of a university education. Unless you are either going for a specific professional degree (Doctor, dentist etc etc) or are rich and view it as a bit of a social doss (like the old days) a degree is a crap deal.I predict that the bright children of from the classes that need to work will see a degree as very poor value. I am sorry to say that the British education system has been trashed over the last couple of decades and is no longer fit for virtually any purpose

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