Six of our seven children who’ve reached 18 have entered higher education, and it’s a relief that 4 finished their studies before the associated fee of living crisis – although repeated lockdowns detracted from their experience. We now have just two children at university, and one has a part-time job which covers her expenses, aside from rent.
Our youngest daughters, now 14 and 16, should consider all the choices. University is greater than only a financial transaction, but with 1 / 4 of degrees unjustifiable by way of earning power, the choice must be a considered one – or an acknowledged luxury.
I’m not going to discourage them, but neither will we push them to go “come what may” – or to review a subject they don’t enjoy just because it has higher profession prospects.
Think tank Onward suggests no humanities degrees make it into the highest 10 for earnings potential – however it can be a shame if everyone took a purely utilitarian approach. As a Philosophy student, I learned never to simply accept conventional wisdom, for instance, which proved highly helpful (literally) once I became a fund manager.
But unlike the “autopilot” days when university seemed an obvious alternative, today’s reality is more complex. A college leaver apprenticeship, a technical or vocational training course, or “following the dream” (certainly one of our younger daughters is sporty, the opposite loves drama) are all contenders for those years once they are a not-quite-grown-up, not-quite-child.
All I do know is that they have to attempt to avoid starting young adult life with a giant debt, weak job prospects and high levels of hysteria.