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Is going to university overrated?

by Vee (follow)
Education (92)      School (54)      Skills (17)      University (14)      Employment (14)      Knowledge (13)     

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Some of the world’s most successful men and women failed to graduate from university, others didn’t even complete their high school education.

I believe that education plays an important part in personal and professional development, but is going to university overrated?

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Great question! Um...yes and no. Sometimes I wish I hadn't gone to uni straight after finishing high school because I didn't really have a clue what I wanted to do with my life and ended up with a huge debt for something that didn't really make me more employable. On the other hand, I had a good time at uni and I learned a lot, and there is something to be said for education for its own sake.

I think it would be better if less pressure was put on kids about going to uni, and they were encouraged to think about whether they really wanted to go yet, or at all, and given some other options. It depends what you want to get out of it. You might not need a degree to get the job you want, depending what that job is.
I am in total agreement with you Jennifer.
by Vee
yes, i agree with you. know of many parents who have pushed their kids into studying for a 'career', medicine is a good example.
by sandw
I don't think it is overrated, as gaining knowledge and experience can never be rated highly enough. At the same time, university is not necessary to have a successful career, nor does it guarantee one.
There are a lot of factors involved here: what degree are you working towards? What are your personal goals with Uni - employment, knowledge, both?

When my wife went to university, she expected to gain employment in her field because of her bachelor's degree. Only after graduation was she told that she needed a master's degree to even get a low-level assistant's position. She didn't return. Her degree is specialized and not terribly in demand, but she is still happy to have gone because of the knowledge she gained.

From watching her experience, it looked like Uni was akin to running through a field full of landmines. You have to dodge the poor career choice landmines, dodge the crappy professor landmines, and dodge the poor course choice landmines to reach the safe haven of gainful employment. I'm not saying college is a better a choice, my experience was not exactly awesome.

Both our experiences had one thing in common though, we both really enjoyed the learning process, and the process of learning to be critical thinkers. We became, maybe not smarter, but we gained the capacity to become smarter thanks to the experience.

So the question university being overrated is really about expectations and choices. If you expect that university is an easy ride to success, then you will be disappointed, but if you are looking to learn then you likely will not be.
That completely depends. My husband is an engineer and so university was required. But as a professional photographer I am 100% completely self taught and have a very success and rapidly expanding business... And I never even finished high school. I have one son who is going to uni and one who didn't and I see them both as successful.

Any educational experience is valuable. Success in life doesn't require a university education. Having said that if there are people who wish to acquire their learning in such a way society should support this. Not only support it but do everything it can to make it accessible, affordable to everyone. A healthy society is diverse and doesn't limit its members by narrowing and limiting the options and opportunities for an individual to succeed. If we foster self fulfilment and aspirational living in all then society becomes the winner.
Some people find that the University of Life is the best teacher, but personally I think university study is great if it is in your heart.
Over-rated? Yes. Waste of time? Absolutely not. Time spent learning is never time wasted.
by kimp
I think there is an overemphasis on going to university. While it's great learning new things - not everything that is taught is practical.

I think some employers would do well to focus less on academic achievements and ask what people have actually done.
It is a way to get an education.Two of my sons are Locksmiths, and have done extremely well. My third is going to go to Uni in a few years, to become better qualified.It depends on the career one wishes to do, that's about it.
Some really must have that uni training and learning, some not.
Lately, I have been questioning that myself. Universities are more focused on how to fleece students for an education which may or may not teach them life skills needed in the employable world. Many successful people in the world never went to university. But I did enjoy my university years. Like Jennifer, I also didn't have a clue as to what I was doing and whether I really liked it. I know now what I would like to do, but haven't found the opportunity to go back. However, I do intend to in the coming years.
I don't think this can be a general question as it is up to the individual who is going to Uni -some may think it overrated and some not.

I do not as I feel getting a further education can not do any harm and could only enhance your chances of getting better, higher paid jobs, at the end of it.

However, life is not all about money, so it has to be, if you enjoy going to uni, then it is not overrated.
by Finy
Anyone who thinks that they can repeat the past successes of others in this modern time is absolutely lost.
I think it depends on the field of academic study. For example, I certainly would not want a doctor looking after my health needs if he didn't have a medical degree.
My son has two degrees Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Geology, and Bachelor of Nursing, both of which were necessary for his careers as a geologist and nurse.
On the other hand one of his girlfriends is a photographer who has an extremely successful photographic business and has never been to university.
To answer the question - I don't think going to university is over-rated - it's more a case of is it necessary to obtain a degree to gain employment in your chosen profession.
I'm not sure, my husband did party time study at uni,lots of time lots of money on a degree, and he didn't get a job out of it, I've always been sorry for the money he spent to do this degree, at Flinders Uni, only for it not to be recognised.
Diana, I understand completely. What are your husband's thoughts on the matter? I couldn't imagine having spent the time only for it not to have been recognised.
by Vee
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