Choosing to study at university is a monumental decision. The location, the course, the career prospects, is a few of the many things you have to consider. However, one of the key things to remember in regards to Higher Education is that university is about more than education.
I chose to study History at BA, and then Global History at MA level, and through my knowledge was greatly expanded, it was the skills, confidence, and experience that are significantly more important. Whether you are a school leaver, or mature student, university opens up a host of new opportunities, and lets you take firm control of your future.
Depending on the course, you choose to study at university, and your career aims, will determine which part of the graduate labour market you will fit into. However, a university degree provides you with a great deal of specialist knowledge; for instance, studying a science based degree will allow you to more easily pursue a career in that specific field. Nevertheless, the wider university experience develops a number of other vital skills such as, communication, teamwork, problem solving, using your initiative, enterprise, planning and organisation.
In regards to today’s competitive graduate jobs market, and the higher proportion of people changing careers several times throughout their lives, the transferable skills you gain from university will be invaluable in a variety of jobs and life situations.
The long-term plan
After completing my own History BA at Queen Mary, for me it made sense to continue my passion and academic curiosity, by continuing my academic experience to MA level. However, this time I was able to specialise into a particular field of interest, Global and Imperial History. The greatest distinction between undergraduate and post-graduate study is that the latter allows you to more intimately research, study and analyse a specific field; this could apply to any number of subjects from History, Physics, English, Law and Biology, to name a few. Given the lack of funding available for postgraduate education, it makes sense to have a plan. Why study this particular course? How will it help you in the long term?
My choice to study an MA in Global and Imperial History has laid the groundwork to being accepted on the History PhD programme at King’s College London. Here I hope to continue researching into a specific field of imperial history. For you your post-graduate course might allow you to increase your chances of getting entrance into a specific job, which may have specific entry requirements.
Widen your horizons
A final significance of going to university allows you to develop as an individual. It affords you many opportunities to develop new interests, learn new skills, and meet new people. For instance, there are many societies to get involved in, from sports teams, to departmental societies, and the weird and unusual ones.
Every experience at university will allow you to become more independent, socially aware and self-reliant. The amount of new people, from across the globe that I have met during my time at Queen Mary has broadened my outlook and horizons. University exposes you to new ways of thinking, and if you part-take on an overseas course you will be given the opportunity to learn a new language and experience a new culture
Studying at Queen Mary gave me four incredible years. There are many reasons to study at university. It allows you to study a specific interest in great depth and by experts in that field; you will meet a whole host of new people; you will be exposed to environments and experiences that you would never had before thought possible, and above all, you are guaranteed to have an incredible few years. Some would say life changing –and they would be right