Before we begin, it’s important to know what your options are. As well as university, you may also wish to consider:

Degree Apprenticeship

This is when you work for an employer who is linked with a University, you will work for part of the week and attend university for the other part. This is usually an 80/20 split, so 80% of your time is in the workplace and 20% is at University/studying.

You are able to earn whilst you learn and will still come away with a degree, the same as your counterparts attending university full time. Degree Apprenticeships are competitive to find, this is due to the fact that the company pays for your degree - meaning far less student debt! You can read a case study of a student who chose a degree apprenticeship over a Russell Group university by clicking here.

Further Educational study

You may have decided that you’d like to consider another industry that your current Level 3 studies do not lend themselves to. For example, you may have spent the last two years studying A Levels but have now decided that you’d like to pursue a career as a hairdresser. In which case, you will need to look at Further Educational study at a college or sixth form that focuses on your new area of interest.


This option means that you are leaving the UK education system and going into the big wide world of employment. This is a good option for people that do not want to study for a degree and know what job role/career they want to pursue. It is worth noting that people without a degree earn, on average, £12,000 less than someone with a degree. So, if money is your main motivator, then you may want to consider university/degree apprenticeship to access higher paid roles.

Gap Year

This can be a good option for those who are looking at going to university, but would like to take a year out before returning to education. You need to make sure you have a plan for this year - it is not a “year off” but a year to experience. This could include travelling, volunteering or working. You can read more about Gap Years by clicking here.

Now you know your options, you can use the following questions to help decide which could be the best option for you.

1. Do I need a degree for the job I want to do? If the answer is yes then you have two options: University or a Degree Level Apprenticeship

2. Can I do this via a degree apprenticeship or do I need to go to Uni? For example, you cannot do a degree to become a Doctor, Uni is the only choice.

3. Am I ready to enter the workplace? If the answer here is no, then look to remain in education via University or College before considering your route into the workplace.

4. Am I sure enough about the job role I want to do to enter the workplace now? If you're not sure of what you want to do, it will be challenging to look for a degree or job. Maybe staying in education, or taking a gap year, will help you to make a better, more informed choice.

5. Will I enjoy the Uni life?! Uni life isn't for everyone and that's ok! Speak to people who are already at university to find out what it's like but keep in mind, everyone's university experience is different. You may choose to live at home or complete an online university course.

Good luck! If you need further support, you can see more resources that you may find useful here.