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To Uni or Not to Uni: Things I wish I knew when I was making some of life’s bigger choices

The topic of careers is always one that most adolescents dread throughout school. The abundance of choice seems daunting, with information being bombarded at young students from as young as 13. This can be a lot to handle alongside the numerous other challenges faced by most pupils. A recent survey commissioned by educational services charity, NCFE, found that only 18% of the UK’s 16-24-year-olds felt confident about their future career prospects. This raises the question of what can be done to ensure that young people are appropriately guided through this period of their life, whilst being mindful of the stressors that are associated with this?

With UCAS application deadlines quickly approaching on 26th January 2022, students at Sixth Form and even GCSE level will be feeling the pressure to make important life decisions. Options range from university, apprenticeships to internships and entering the world of work. Leading EdTech platform MyTutor has unveiled research that has been examining the nation’s attitudes towards further education. The landmark research shows that 43% of parents agree that their child’s self-esteem is linked to the grades they achieve at school and university. However, university is not the only route that will lead teens onto a successful career in the future. MyTutor also found that nearly two thirds – 62% – of parents say university is not the only path they are recommending to their child after their school career, as it is not essential for them to get a good job. Equally, 43% of parents agree that their child’s self-esteem is linked to the grades they achieve at school and university, in light of this, MyTutor has provided their top tips and guides for helping students who are deliberating their choices after school.

In light of this, MyTutor has provided their top tips and guides for helping students who are deliberating their choices after school.

1. Research, research and research more!
Whether debating going down the university route or considering embarking on an apprenticeship it is important that one makes extensive use of the resources available. Generally, university websites offer a good insight into what is involved in a certain course, and it is helpful to scroll through what modules are included to get a feel for what topics will be covered. Not every university covers the same content so it’s good to have a look at what each course has to offer. One graduate found it helpful to locate the course most suited to them prior to selecting the university or location. Similarly, in choosing which apprenticeship to sign up for, individuals reinforced making full use of company websites and the requirements expected to be eligible. Calling up local providers and asking what they have available also goes a long way; make yourself known and show your interest. If deciding between the two, the mentors recommended weighing up the outcomes of both courses and assessing which best align to personal and professional goals.

2. Attend open days and career talks

Events about careers, uni and apprenticeships can show young people the variety of options they have, and really inspire them when thinking about their future. These can typically be found online, or on university and school websites. Specifically, existing students recommended attending specific course open days so that the prospective student gets introduced to the professors, and get a sneak peak into what lectures might look like. Whilst visiting, it is also beneficial to get the opinions of existing students who can offer more realistic insight into uni-life. If contemplating the apprenticeship, MyTutor and fellow apprentices recommend exploring the Multiverse platform, which shows the amazing range of apprenticeships that are out there – from Google to Rolls Royce to the UN.

3. Keep having conversations with academic advisors, parents and friends
If you’re ever unsure about what to do after school, the webinars highlighted the importance of having conversations with those who know you. Whether that be your teacher, your best friend or your parent it’s always good to start having conversations early to map out ideas and know what is out there. The journey to your career is scarcely going to be linear, so it’s helpful to share the experience with people going through it as well or people who have previously gone through it. By talking about your interests and ideas, different perspectives can give rise to different opportunities.

Bertie Hubbard, co-founder of MyTutor, comments on the pastoral care the platform can provide:

“Teens are in more need than ever for support and reassurance with their studies, and that’s exactly what our tutors offer. Our tutors are all from UK universities, and because they’re just a few years older they can easily relate to what teens are going through. With their dedicated one-to-one support, teens get some much-needed reassurance and come out with a stronger self-belief – 88% say that lessons made them feel more confident.

Rather than replacing teachers with robots, the biggest power of EdTech lies in enhancing person-to-person learning. At MyTutor, we provide online tuition that raises kids’ grades, boosts confidence and helps them fulfil their potential in life. Because it’s online, kids get access to amazing tutors from across the country, rather than whoever’s nearby. As there’s no travel for the student or the tutors, it also saves time and money travelling – reducing the cost and stress involved for parents.”