Benefits of Higher Education

Higher Education (HE) offers you the opportunity to study an area you are interested in at a more advanced level than school. There are two universities in Cardiff where you can study higher education courses (Cardiff University and Cardiff Metropolitan University), but it is also possible to study some HE courses in college. There are many benefits to continuing on to HE – these are listed below, as well as the major differences between school and university.

Ten Reasons

why you should consider Higher Education

1

Better Job and Earning Potential

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1. Better Job and Earning Potential

Having a degree – the qualification you usually gain at the end of a university course – makes you much more valuable to employers. Studying for a degree will also help you to develop a huge number of transferable skills such as communication, organisational and team skills. These will be of particular interest to employers looking for skilled workers!

Certain jobs also require a degree in order to enter the career. These include accountancy, dentistry, medicine (and most healthcare professions), teaching and many others. If you want to enter one of these careers, higher education is the route for you!

Depending on which subject you study, on average, university graduates will earn £120,000 more during their lifetime than those who do not go to university. A university graduate’s average starting salary is £25,000, on top of this, they are more likely to be promoted to higher positions.

2

Independence and Gaining Life Skills

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2. Independence and Gaining Life Skills

Surveys have shown that one of the most enjoyable aspects of university is the freedom. You manage your own time and choose when to study, when to socialise, when to go to sleep and what to eat. Independence is even part of the learning experience – in all courses there will be the opportunity to expand on areas of interest to you. Usually this is through a choice of modules in your course, a choice of research project that you want to undertake, or even making the choice to read further on a certain topic. There are no teachers telling you what to do, you will learn to be self-motivated and work to deadlines. The experience of freedom and independence is one of the most rewarding parts of university life.

3

Expand your Interest with Teaching from Experts

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3. Expand your Interest with Teaching from Experts

As you spend your time in school, you may realise that you have a certain interest that you would like to focus on. You might have a keen business sense, want to help people who are ill, become a scientist, or even a journalist. The list really is endless. Wherever your passions lie, with over 50,000 different courses offered in the UK you can really focus on what you are interested in. You might even end up becoming a world-leading expert in the field!

If you can’t choose, there is the option to take up to two courses in a ‘double’ or ‘joint honours’ degree – and if a course really isn’t right for you, there is usually the option to change onto a different course in the first few weeks. University courses are run by experts in their subjects, and people who have made a real impact within their field. This includes those who have contributed to research or people who carry years of expert experience. There is no other opportunity for you to be surrounded by experts who want to share their knowledge with you. You’ll quite often find that the people teaching you will have also written the text books you use in university and currently in school

4

Support when you need it most

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4. Support when you need it most

Whilst these opportunities sound really exciting, it’s understandable that they can also seem a bit scary or daunting – but not to worry! Each university has a dedicated student support and welfare service. This includes help and guidance to settle into living independently, advice on managing your finances and support with how to plan your study time. Don’t think that you will be alone – you will have the support of your friends and family, as well as access to free, professional advice from members of staff.

5

The Student's Union

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5. The Student's Union

University is a fantastic environment for meeting a wide range of people, and there’ll be plenty of opportunity for socialising and extra-curricular activities in between study! You will automatically become a member of your Students’ Union– a service to support all social sides of student life. The Students’ Union can bring students together based on their interests. Students have joined together to volunteer abroad, set up orphanages, influence the government, fight for fair trade and much more. There are also hundreds of different societies and sports teams that you will be eligible to join; you could end up taking on a new hobby that you hadn’t heard of before! If you have an idea and you want it backed up, your time as a student may just be invaluable to you!

6

Subjects

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6. Subjects

At school you will have a fairly limited amount of subjects to choose from – you might get to pick three or four subjects for GCSEs, but the rest may be compulsory. At university, there are literally thousands of subjects available! The subject(s) you choose can be anything you like, from Animal Behaviour and Equine Studies, right through to Business Management and English Literature.

7

Studying

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7. Studying

In school, the way you learn is managed by the teachers, your modules are set by the school, and learning time is very structured. University gives you independence and freedom to learn the way that best suits you. The amount of self-directed learning that you will undertake will help you develop important skills.

The style of teaching will also be very different. Unlike the class you are in at the moment, you could be in lectures with hundreds of other students, seminars of 10-15 students where you discuss ideas, or in a hospital training how to be a nurse.

Most students have quite a flexible timetable, allowing them to choose when they want to study, and when to socialise. It’s important to get the balance right, though.

8

Living arrangements

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8. Living arrangements

For most students, university will be the first opportunity to move away and live independently. You will be in charge of your finances, your studies and revision, and your social life. Most students choose to move into university accommodation (also known as halls of residence) for the first year. These tend to be very sociable environments, and allow you to meet people really easily, everyone is in the same boat!

9

Social life

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9. Social life

Although it may seem daunting at first, university life is one of the most social experiences available to a young person, and you will meet hundreds of people from a variety of different backgrounds.

On top of this, you will have the choice of hundreds of different sports teams and societies to sign up to. There are many societies and groups available to join at university, where you’ll meet other students with similar interests. There are societies for students on the same course (e.g. the Law Society), religious and political beliefs, and many more of the whacky variety, including Custard Wrestling and the Harry Potter Appreciation Society!

Being a student opens your door to many opportunities. And, on top of everything we’ve mentioned above, you get access to cheap nights out, deals on the high street and discounted student holidays!

10

Opportunities to Travel

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10. Opportunities to Travel

Depending on your course, you could get up to a 3-month summer break. This period is a great opportunity to take up student internship programs, or travel the world, helping to set up a business or develop skills within a world-leading company. Not only are these amazing experiences and opportunities, but they will help you gain the skills employers want to see when you graduate.

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