Is further education right for me?

Is further education right for me?

Before you apply for an institution and pay thousands of pounds towards further education, ask yourself the five questions outlined below. You may find that further education is not necessary- extra on-the-job training may be the better option.

Vocational or academic?
Are you more hands on or open book? In an era where candidates are expected to have academic knowledge with work experience, vocational might be the best option. It would be ideal for those who are set on their chosen career path. If you prefer exams and essays over getting your hands dirty then become an academic. Note: do not let anyone tell you that the vocational route means you are dumber than academics. Both routes have their pros and cons, and are easier and more difficult in different ways.

Degree necessary for job?
If you are only moving on to further education for a specific job, do some extra research to confirm that a degree is absolutely. Sometimes years of relevant work experience are enough to get you the position you seek. Unlike a degree, paid work experience will decrease your debts instead of increasing them.

Part-time of full-time?
Depending on the amount of free time you have, you need to decide whether you will attend part or full time. Remember that going part-time extends the amount of time it will take to complete the qualification, but you will have time to work and gain that valuable work experience.

What you enjoy?
Have you chosen a subject you will enjoy? Choosing a degree associated with your degree can give you insight into the job and exempt you from some exams. However, if there is a another subject you enjoy more then do that instead. You do not always need a degree connected to your ideal job, but do extensive research to be sure before making a final decision.

Also, remember to choose the best subject for you, not your family and friends. You need to enjoy the next 3+ years of your life so choose carefully. No one else will be sitting exams, writing essays, doing equations, etc in your chosen subject with you, so it needs to be your decision.

Can you afford it?
Tuition fees, new textbooks every year, day or week long trips, and accommodation fees (rent, gas, electricity, water, internet, TV license in some countries) all eat away at your budget. Grants and loans can only go so far, so make sure that you have another source of reliable income. I recommend that you get a part-time job and/or start making money online. Making money online could be many things: doing paid surveys, selling products you made e.g. jewellery, websites, and anything else easily sold via the internet, and running a forum or website. Unlike typical jobs, online work happens while you sleep because the internet is open 24hrs.

Nowadays a degree is not enough to stand out from the crowd. A degree with work experience, voluntary work, and respectable positions in clubs and societies is favoured.