Education & Family

A-level results: 'I've decided not to go to uni'

Honor Morrison Image copyright Honor Morrison

Is going to university really the best option for A-level students?

A recent report argues that those entering apprenticeships after school could earn much more over their lifetime than those going into graduate careers.

So has avoiding university fees and heading straight into work after A-levels become the smart choice?

Three students tell us why university is not for them.

Honor Morrison, St Albans

Honor did her A-levels in the hope of going to university to study history.

"I have chosen not to apply for university last year as I couldn't decide where best to study history - there's not enough time to decide where to study," she says.

"I have decided to put it off for a year so I could give the choice my full attention rather than let it distract me from my coursework.

"But now I think I'd be better off doing an apprenticeship or just starting work.

"I want to work in the media and I've been hosting a show at my local radio station. I love getting out there and actually doing it.

"That's how you prove your worth and build a career.

"Media companies are looking for young people so why wait three years when I could start now?"

Incurring university fees was also a factor in Honor's decision.

"It's also a lot of time and money to spend on something you're not sure about," says Honor.

"I've heard horror stories where if you go and don't like it they won't refund your money.

"I suppose there is a slight fear of missing out, as everyone seems to reminisce about their uni days.

"But there's no reason why the experience of uni can't be matched by getting a job or doing an apprenticeship, you get to meet new people, have new experiences and you can go on nights out with them, which I suppose could be like Freshers' Week.

"The only thing is the chance of being away from home, but hopefully that will eventually happen."

Image copyright Daniel Harker Barnes

Daniel Harker Barnes, Sharnbrook

After his A-levels, Daniel plans to start work full-time in a company he set up when he was aged 15.

"My results have no immediate effect on what I plan on doing next," he says.

"At school my friend and I started a video production company. We wanted to get some real experience of work.

"We had a camera and we approached a local company that let us film a video for them.

"It did well so we covered something else for them and then we started to get approached by other companies.

"It's grown to a point where we've decided to take it on full-time.

"It's a big step up from being part-time and we will have to make more sales to sustain it, but we're enjoying it a lot.

"I only went to sixth form after GCSEs because it was the next logical step.

"I went to a good school and enjoyed certain subjects so went on to do them at A-level.

"I found the maths, economics and physics much harder than at GCSE and my enjoyment of them went down.

"I did intend on going to university initially, but this changed during sixth form.

"When I went to university open days last year I realised that university wasn't the route I wanted to take, and how much I actually enjoyed work.

"As much as university is right for some people, continuing to grow our business is what we want to do.

"I am slightly annoyed about missing the social side, mostly living by myself, but some good friends are staying as well."

Image copyright Liberty Frankland

Liberty Frankland, West Sussex

Liberty decided not to apply for university and opted to do an apprenticeship in engineering.

"I feel there is more security as you train on the job," she says.

"People studying engineering at uni will learn for exams but an apprenticeship gives you the chance to put what you learn into practice.

"It's more focused learning that you need.

"I'm more practically-minded and the university system is more for academic people.

"I also have various learning difficulties and learning always took me a bit longer."

Finding an apprenticeship has proved more difficult than Liberty had hoped. She thinks a lack of support from her college hasn't helped.

"I've been searching for more apprenticeships yet they are very hard to find," says Liberty.

"It's said that companies want more women in engineering but where do we look?

"I found that at college everything was geared towards going to university; the personal statement, UCAS.

"I feel like I have slipped through the net as when I asked for help there was no one able to help me.

"I really want to stay in England but I feel like I'm being pushed towards Germany as there are more opportunities there.

" I've already worked there for six months in my gap year."

Living alone in Munich has convinced Liberty that she doesn't need to go to university to enjoy a full social life.

"I've done a lot of what I would do at uni," she says

"I even did an evening course at a university there.

"It would be nice to see people around my age but I'm good just visiting friends."

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