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‘Post- graduate reflections on the value of a degree’

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Discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks of studying for a university degree. Which appear to be more persuasive? Refer to the set text and other sources This essay will be exploring the benefits and drawbacks of studying for a studying degree, it will be including points from the given article by Brook R. and Everett G. (2009) British Educational Research Journal. 35 (3). pp. 333-349, in which it shows the studies of the impact on young adults due to the change on the higher education system.

For many students studying at university is seen as one of the most vital and valuable experiences in an individual`s life.

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It is true that various benefits can be given why people want to attend university. Studying at university for a degree for many past years has been seen as a benefit however now many people have been discussing the drawbacks of studying for a university degree. This essay will look at and discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks.

This essay will also include a study position in which I as the student will be writing up previous education, it will also include future goals for further learning and career ambition in life. Study position

I am a very confident student and eager to learn and progress as an individual to craft a fulfilling career path. The reason why I have chosen to do this course in childcare and education as it is a passion of mine to work with young people and provide opportunities for them that wasn’t there for me. I’ve always had the responsibility of putting other people before myself and being there for others, I also had the tasks of looking after my younger brother and sister and being there for my younger relatives. My previous studies A-level Media, Photography and Sociology I find have helped to equip me with the learning skills and discipline required for further study in higher education.

The subject I enjoyed the most was Sociology because it looked at people and society’s problems, I have also studied family looking at the development of family from the past and how it has changed. I have also looked at the development of childhood specially the socialisation and how this has changed rapidly due to changes in the law and other factors about how children should be treated. It has also helped me understand the society we live in enabling me to develop my critical thinking skills, to analyse and interpret the world around me.

My subjects have allowed me to enhance and develop my skills such as working with IT, teamwork and meeting deadlines. I feel that these skills are transferable and I hope to develop them during my time at university. Although I find my previous skills transferable I find that this degree course would push me even more to develop these skills and will enable me to be academically adequate to the fullest of my potential. During this time I would like to work on the skills I already have to a better quality. I would also like to gain more as for the things and qualities I lack and don’t have and doing this course I believe would provide me with that. After this course I would like to embark on the third year to complete a BA (hons) and then I would like to do the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) which would help me complete my ambition to become a primary school teacher. The set article refers to a research examining the extension of higher education and the negative impact it had among the graduates in the UK, causing a dissatisfaction feeling regarding the value of their degree when entering the labour market. This research is based on 90 adults opinion in their mid twenties how had graduated in 2000. A life history interview method was used to allow students to reflect their own story in their own words through guidance from a ‘topic guide’ as a basis.

The fact that the graduates in this study were able to express all aspects such as ‘higher education, employment and any education, training or other form of learning they had undertaken since leaving university’ (Brooks, R, and Everett, G 2009. p. 336) , allows a realistic view of these graduates after completing their university degree. The author of this article exposed the reality of the labour market for young people for people who had completed their degree and graduated and their decision whether to proceed with studies and going on to higher education course or even considering on going into further education, training and post graduate courses. Almost a quarter of the graduated sample had similar concerned about the benefits of having a degree.

Throughout the article it is noticed that there is more drawbacks than benefits of studying for a university degree, the obvious drawback that kept appearing in this article is the employment after leaving university as the issues that arise from this varies considerably when portraying the question a student faces once they have completed their degree. This can be seen when Purcell and Elias cite in Brooks and Everett (2009, p.334) ‘they argue that the majority of their sample believed that they were in employment ‘appropriate’ to their level of qualification’ which shows that once the student has completed his/her degree and when they enter the labour market, their degree is applicable to their job roles in what sector they are working in. Not only do they feel this applicability with regards to their degree, but also the skills they acquire whilst in their undergraduate course benefits them greatly, as seen in the quote ‘almost 80% of their respondents claimed that they had used the skills they had developed on their undergraduate courses.

However, the article goes on to mention that after a period of seven years after the student has acquired his/her degree, altogether 35% of the participants were in jobs which did not require them to hold a degree ‘seven years after graduation 10% of males and 15% of females were in ‘non graduate’ jobs’ by Purcell and Elias (2004) in Brooks and Everett (2009). This is also backed up by the claims made by Brown and Hesketh (2004) stating that a large number of graduates are in jobs which require one to hold a degree ‘around 40%of graduates are in jobs that do not require degrees’ as well stating that a few number of graduates can even get into firms which are of high standard in terms of quality and reliability and are steadfast regardless of their situation ‘only one in 20 is able to secure a lucrative job with a blue-chip firm’. Not only do Brown and Hesketh say this in their article but also Smertherham’s study (2006) points out that the graduates felt that they were much to qualified with respect to their job roles ‘five years after graduations, 22% of those with lower seconds and 19% of those with firsts stated that they felt over- qualified for the jobs they were doing’. Other sources found in the GMT research (2012) has shown that ‘The university degree provides extracurricular activities or other signifiers of competence, which are all used to enable students to stand out from other graduates’.

This could be seen to boost young adult’s credentials for employers and allows a way for them to enter the very competitive labour market. The GMT (2012) also states positive experience that other ‘ graduates claimed to have found participating in higher education had contributed to their personal development’ studying for a degree allowed them to grow in confidence, express their own ideas and to also challenge others opinions. They expressed that attending university allowed them engage with learn from, people they might not have otherwise have met, explaining how this prompted them to re-assess their priorities and think more critically about their own ideas and ambitions, to broadening their horizons and developing their understanding of the world’. This above quote shows that for some people the benefit of studying at university is all the experience and skills they learn which can be transferable when they reach the labour market and go on to pursue a job.

The students position themselves in the ‘labour market’, It has also been found that some graduates found that their higher education ‘was of little or no value’ and had not been able find what they described as a ‘graduate job’ (GMT 2012 p.13). Graduates have expressed further and have gone to say that they would have been better off if they have participated in ‘pursuing professional or vocational qualifications which are designed to prepare them for employment, and wished they had done the same.’ GMT (2012 , p. 13). In the journal article by Gedye, Fender and Chalkley (2004, p. 386) found that both undergraduates and graduates surveyed “the dominant reason they chose to study for a degree was to improve their job/career prospects. In total, 84 per cent of undergraduates and 72 per cent of graduates gave this as a reason why they went into higher education.” This journal mentioned that graduate and undergraduate students of Geography of the University of Plymouth didn’t only chose to study this degree based on its content but its high level of employability once finished the degree. However it was found that Geography graduates and undergraduates were one to be least successful once entering the labour market as pointed out in Brooks and Everett (2009).

To conclude from what has been found from the information I have gathered it is obvious that there are clearly a number of benefits a university degree provides. Which have provided young people with certain skills and attributes to allow them to move further successfully. Many students have found that this is the most useful experience they have had. However the major drawback is the disappointment that comes along when young adults enter the labour market as some gradates finds it difficult to get into employment of the correct level. Reading the set article doesn’t help me as a undergraduate student it just made me think that everything is so true if people how have done a degree found it hard and struggled to get a degree then how am I going to do it. However I agree with the point made earlier about university. However I am still a determined student and know what I have to do in order to get to where I want.

Cite this ‘Post- graduate reflections on the value of a degree’

‘Post- graduate reflections on the value of a degree’. (2016, May 29). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/post-graduate-reflections-on-the-value-of-a-degree/

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