The society we live in continually perpetuates the idea that going to university automatically makes you a more valuable member of the society. In recent decades, the number of people applying to university has ballooned and 2015 saw a record number of people applying to university, with UCAS receiving 592,290 applications by the January 15th deadline. These figures would have been unthinkable even just fifty years ago but we must ask ourselves whether or not those students applying genuinely want to go or whether it is something they feel they have been forced in to.
Unfortunately, many schools and colleges make the assumption that all pupils who are able to will want to go to university and as a result they fail to provide enough suitable information on alternatives. The result of schools and colleges failing to provide sufficient information on alternatives to university is that many students come to believe that the only way they can achieve their goals is if they attend university. In reality this is, of course, not the case and there are many other alternatives available, such as apprenticeships. I would imagine that the reason for this lack of information is down to the fact that there is immense pressure upon schools and colleges to churn out as many university candidates as they possibly can. Hence, they will often be judged on how many students they manage to send to university and so are keen to ensure numbers are as high as possible.
This pressure is not only evident in education but also in society where it has become clear that people often hold graduates in a higher esteem than they do non-graduates. Hence, there is a culture in that in order for you to be a “success story” then you will need to gain a degree. This is a harmful concept because it perpetuates the idea that society can define how successful you are where the reality is that you yourself should be the only person who can measure your success. Success means different things to different people and a society like ours which emphasises the idea that success can be measured by others is damaging.
Often if pupils who are considered intelligent decide against university they will be told “but you’re ever so clever” as if those who do not go to university are automatically less intelligent than those who do. In reality, there are people of varying levels of intelligence in all walks of life and your decision on whether or not you will go onto university does not determine your intelligence. This is possibly the root of the problem, in that our society is intent upon measuring all intelligence with the same formula and so promotes the concept that different people should go into different careers based purely on their ‘’objective intelligence”.
The fact of the matter is that whilst, for many, university is the right choice, it is by no means the only credible choice and that is something that we must begin to recognise as a society. Government after government swear that they will ensure we see an increase in the numbers of young people going to university but, in reality, education systems should be looking into what is best for the individual rather than simply looking to ensure as many students as possible attend university. There is absolutely no point going to university if it will neither aid you in achieving personal goals nor make you happy.