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Future study

Six reasons not to study at university

This article appears in: Balance work, life and study, Changing careers, High school to uni
Illustration of a study space

And how to switch that thinking.

If you are thinking about tackling a university degree, you probably have a few questions or barriers preventing you from taking the plunge and getting started.

From cost to time and inconvenience, here are the top six reasons many people find to put off pursuing ambitions and what you can do to jump over (or knock down) any obstacles standing between you and your dreams. 

1. Seriously, who has time to study for a degree?

Between caring for my family, working full time, long commutes, housework, sporting and social commitments, where would I find the time to study?

Good question. Many people can and do balance study with other commitments. But if you are going to take this on, you will need to make some seriously tough decisions. The first is to prioritise the day-to-day activities you spend time on. 

By documenting how much time you spend each week on activity you value, you might be surprised to find you actually spend quite a bit of time on other "not-so-important" things. Of course, we all need time to chill out and do nothing for a while, but if you are binge watching whole TV series or heading down Wikipedia wormholes regularly, that time could be devoted to doing something awesome for yourself.

So, if you are thinking there is no way you can find the time to commit to a degree, think again. Remember that you can study at your own pace and complete as little as one unit per semester.

2. A university degree takes years! 

When you have your eyes on a certain prize, you are probably keen as mustard to get to the end goal and slogging away at study for a few years can seem like the last thing you want to do.

A typical Bachelor’s degree will take three years of full time study, while a Diploma, Associate Degree, a graduate entry Bachelor and many postgraduate degrees can be completed in one or two years. However if you don’t have time to study full time and choose part-time study of course it will take longer to get to graduation.

But the sooner you get started, the sooner you will be building new knowledge and skills working towards your degree.

In five years’ time, you will be wishing you started five years ago. Don’t wait until you are "less busy", because that day will never come.

Remember: tomorrow’s success begins today!

3. I’m nowhere near a campus

And the thought of being in a classroom fills me with dread! 

Whether you live in a region where there are no convenient university campuses and you just can’t always attend classes in person or don’t want to, this is actually a pretty easy hurdle to overcome.

By studying online, you can watch pre-recorded lectures when the kids are in bed, post on online discussion boards during your lunch break or participate in tutorials remotely via virtual classrooms. And don’t worry about borrowing or returning library books, students have 24-hour access to digital library resources.

Goodbye crowded lectures in stuffy old halls and hello online learning, whenever and wherever it suits you! 

4. I don’t even have an ATAR

Whether you didn’t complete high school, didn’t achieve an ATAR high enough for entry to your chosen course or just haven’t studied since shoulder pads were in the first time around; getting in in to university might seem like a pretty big barrier.

The good news is that university is now more accessible than ever, with several pathway options.

The Tertiary Enabling Program (TEP) is for you if you didn't finish year 12 or didn't achieve an adequate ATAR. It's a free university course that gives you entry into most undergraduate degrees and helps you get into the swing of university at the same time.

A VET course can give you a good ‘taste’ of studying your chosen subject and a solid understanding of key principles which you’ll build upon in your degree. On completion, you can receive credit for prior learning which will enable you to fast-track your university degree.

5. I don't need a degree

That depends.

Studying at university isn’t the only way to success. Ask yourself where you want to be in five years’ time and whether a degree would help you get there. 

When you are starting out in a new industry or in a cluttered job market, having a university qualification behind you can give you some cut-through. In some cases, hundreds of applicants will be going for the one position, so having a solid educational foundation on your resume will help you stand out from the pack. In fact, many recruiters use degree qualifications as a first-stage filter when sorting through applications.

If you already have an undergrad degree and a few years’ professional experience under your belt, but need some extra oomph on your resume, maybe a postgraduate degree might be what you need to shine. Aside from increasing your chances for that next promotion, completing a postgrad qualification can help you stay ahead of the pack by keeping your industry knowledge up to date.

Similarly, if you need to brush up on industry skills (like learning a new technology or honing your leadership skills), why not consider a vocational education and training course? These can be a great addition to your CV and equip you with hands-on skills you can put to use right away. Plus, VET courses are usually shorter than higher education degrees. 

6. I can't afford to study

It’s no secret that a university degree is a considerable investment. Aside from the course cost, your income could also take a hit if you need to cut down on your working hours.

If you are wondering whether it is a worthwhile investment from a purely fiscal perspective, first look at what your degree will cost: tuition fees, course material and study supplies and any other costs such as additional childcare, transport or technology, as well as any reduction in your earnings. Then consider what your investment will return in terms of career outlook and earning capacity over five years or so.

If study stacks up financially but the immediate costs are still presenting a hurdle, ask about scholarships that can help with the cost of uni; from grants to cover the costs of books, to full scholarships and allowances.

Scholarships are available for students showing passion and initiative in their fields, for community involvement, and for students who might otherwise be excluded from study due to financial, social or geographic disadvantage - they’re not just for geniuses!

Remember you don’t need to pay your tuition fees upfront. FEE HELP can cover your course costs and you will repay the loan once you start earning above a certain threshold. In addition, some companies offer study subsidies to help with the costs of fees and allow you additional study leave – be sure to check with your employer. 

Are you thinking of studying but have some concerns or just not sure which course is the one for you? Book a call-back appointment and we will contact you to discuss any questions you have. 

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