Don’t want to fit the mould? Go for a less conventional degree
With the rise in tuition fees shortly taking effect there is an increased pressure amongst students to pick the right university for potential career prospects.
The top universities have taken full advantage of the tuition increase and are now charging the full amount which may discourage some people from applying to university at all.
However, there is still an opportunity to study for a cheaper and perhaps less conventional degree such as at an agricultural or local college, which may widen career prospects if related to the subject area of interest.
Although studying a degree at a college might not seem as impressive as studying at a university with a prestigious reputation, it may offer a subject that is more relevant to your needs and work out cheaper.
Most universities charge around £9000 per year for tuition fees however most colleges offering degrees charge £6000 to £7000 per year. This means that you could potentially save £9000 for your degree.
Colleges offer a wide range of interesting courses. Many of these degrees cannot be found at traditional prestige universities as they can be considered to be ‘un-academic’. This should not dissuade potential applicants from considering them as they tend to be more relevant to the workplace with more practical input than is found at traditional universities.
Examples of such courses that may be beneficial include FdSc and BSc agriculture for those looking to enter this industry however this is not generally encouraged by schools as the general consensus is that traditional universities are better although this opinion is often false.
There are degrees in childcare, equine, animal studies, food, horticulture, sport and many more around the country to cater for different job prospects. Some less obvious choices for degrees include the study of wine (viticulture) at Brighton University, poultry production at Scottish Agricultural College in Ayr and Puppetry in The Central School of Speech and Drama.
As you can tell there are plenty of opportunities for applicants to progress in to various careers that may be less competitive and may give a better chance of getting a successful job compared to, for example, having an English degree and applying for a literature job as this would be highly competitive.
Therefore, the current advice is to search around to ensure you pick the right course. Take the time to consider the implications and how that course will benefit you as a mistake in your decision may lead to a bigger debt at the end of the university experience.
If staying on a rural campus does not appeal to you and the courses are not what you are looking for then it may be an idea to look at colleges within cities who can offer the same type of courses as the prestigious universities but at a reduced cost (but also bear in mind a reduced reputation as well). For example York Uni plans to charge the full 9k tuition fee but York St Johns will only charge 3.5k for certain courses so it is worth keeping an eye out for similar situations.
If you know of any great courses on offer for a price that is not £9,000 a year then why not tell us in the comments section.
Last updated 1st September, 2011