What can a degree do for you? It is, in essence, a piece of paper that a university has provided you in recognition of your ability within a subject. That piece of paper, of course, does have its uses of course when attempting to find a job, however not having a degree does not mean that you cannot be successful.
The founders of Apple, Microsoft, Uber, Whatsapp and Facebook are all college dropouts. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Travis Kalanick and Jan Koum all went on to become hugely successful and none of them owned a piece of paper that acknowledged their talent. Talent comes from you, and no recognition from a university will change an individual’s motivation, desire and passion.
By no means am I trying to imply that gaining a degree is a waste of time, it is most definitely not. In fact, graduates are expected to earn £9,500 a year more than those who did not go to university and this figure can become much larger. However, I would like to question is it the people who go to university who are successful, or is it the time they spend at university that makes them successful.
Oxford and Cambridge pride themselves on being the best universities in our country, however, are their league topping results a result of their teaching and facilities or the nature of their students being the most academically gifted among the nation? I would argue that it is the latter. The founders of the global corporations that I listed earlier almost all managed to make their way into the Harvards, Yales and Ivy Leagues of our world, yet they did not need their support to be successful. What they did need was creativity and entrepreneurial flair, something that no university will be able to teach.
For those with the potential to access university, the modern labour market is beginning to provide alternate routes and career paths. School leavers programs are becoming widely popular among financial, software and engineering firms. To name a few IBM and Ernst & Youngs offer school leaver programs that let people enter the workforce directly after their A-levels, giving the opportunity to earn income from day one and also to even gain formally recognised qualifications such as the ACA for accounting.
Overall, going to university and getting that degree is what many students around the country aspire too. It is not a bad aspiration and is highly credible, however, this is no excuse to follow it blindly, there are more options available to you and getting a degree should not limit your entrepreneurial flair. The students make the university, not the other way around. So, by all means, go to university, but just know that there are more options available.