After A-Levels - Work or University

April 22, 2016

Life after A-levels: Work or University?

Are you going to college or work after A-Levels?

On the run-in to finishing A-levels or their vocational equivalent, there will be a lot of talk about your 'next steps'. Your place of learning may be pushing you to apply to university, your parents may have mixed feelings, and you may just want to get out there and earn some money. How do you choose?

The university route

University can be a wonderful experience; you get to move out, meet new people and challenge yourself in a new learning environment. You can choose a course that develops you mentally and gives you room to consider what career you would like to go into.

A university degree can open doors for you and also teach you to be independent in many ways.

On the other hand, one of the biggest concerns most people have about university is the cost; you need to look at how much you will be spending overall. This is a discussion you need to have with your parents. If they cannot help you, do not be deterred, there are lots of loan plans that can help.

University is generally a time to branch out academically, if you are not keen on studying hard (and often independently), it may not be for you.

The working world

Getting into the working world straight from sixth-form or college can be a great idea. If you want to get some real working experience or want financial independence, work might well be for you. Start by writing your CV and job-hunting in your area.

But remember, when you go straight from further education into a working environment, it is likely you will be starting at the bottom. This may mean working a job that is not very challenging and the pay might not be great either.

Working a 37-40 hour week can be a shock to the system so be aware that some of your social activities may suffer.


Your path, your choice

Ultimately you must make the decision that’s best for you. If you choose university, you may have to leap some hurdles such as finances but you may also be completely suited for university life and thrive there. If you choose work, you may find it unrewarding or you may love it.

Aged 18, it’s important to bear in mind that you are still very young and have plenty of time to find a path that works for you. You shouldn’t need to jump right into a university course or full-time job.

There are lots of things you can do so weigh up your options carefully; speak to those around you about what you want but remember to choose your own path.

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