Heading away to university is one of the most exciting periods of your life – you’ll be surrounded by new people, studying your chosen course and laying the foundations for your future. It’s also a considerable investment in terms of costs and also your time. Most people generally spend at least three years at university, although longer courses are not uncommon. As such, it’s really important to sit down and consider if you’re making the right choices for yourself before you’re half way through a degree and realise it’s not really your passion or what you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life. Here are my top 3 things you should consider before going to university.
1. Do You Really Want This Career?
If you’re going to study law, check in and ask yourself if you really want to work as a lawyer. It may sound silly, but really ask yourself. If you can find an opportunity to do a bit of work experience in a lawyer’s office before you head away to university, that is a great way to check in and see the realities of that profession. Likewise, during the summer break before you start university, why not consider taking an internship in a lawyer’s office to get some real hands on experience and to see what the workload is like. This is a great idea no matter what you intend to study – there’s nothing quite like seeing what the profession you’re considering is really like so you can be realistic in your study choices.
2. Are You Eligible for Any Scholarships?
I have a friend who received a scholarship that paid for their entire academic studies. They weren’t a particularly standout student, had no sporting talents and were very surprised to hear that they were awarded it. They were even more surprised to hear that they were the only one who applied for that scholarship. You don’t know until you try and while it obviously does take a little effort to apply for a scholarship, the benefits could be life changing. Walking away from university with zero debts is a reality that very few students face. It’s also frustrating to start your working life with considerable debt. Apply for any scholarships that you are eligible for, you may be surprised to find yourself with considerable financial help!
3. The Opportunity Cost
I personally think it’s important to be realistic about how much studying costs you. It’s not only the fees that you spend on university, but there’s also the cost of the time that you’ll spend there and the lost earning potential. If you end up with a student loan, you need to also factor how much money you’re going to be spending on interest over the course of your loan. Obviously university can be 100% worth and for many of us absolutely essential to doing the work we dream of, there’s a lot of costs that you should consider before signing along the dotted line.
Heading away to university is an exciting period, but make sure you’re realistic about what you’ll do and where you’re headed. Taking a moment to really consider your career, the costs and what you can do to keep your debts in line is a really important step before you head to university.