I am a firm believer in higher education. You don’t only get an in-depth understanding in a specific field but you also learn many things that will be useful in a work-environment; you learn to think critically, to present your arguments in a structured way, to meet deadlines, to work in teams, to interact with people from various social and cultural backgrounds.
However, these benefits come at a price and with the expected increase in tuition fees from 2012, I can even say that they will come at a really high price. So, before you apply, you need to do your due-diligence and you need to decide whether the benefits you get outweigh the costs.
The situation reminds me of property investment. My father used to say ‘Invest in property, it never loses its value.’ Recent times though have shown that this statement is not entirely true. Many have seen the value of their property plummeted and they are stuck with it.
Areas to consider when you invest in property:
- your expectations (e.g. do you want to get a good rental income or do you expect its value to appreciate and then sell it?)
- the potential of the property you buy (e.g. is it in up-and-coming area?)
- the financial considerations (e.g. can you afford the mortgage payments?)
Similar thinking process for higher education is needed.
- what you want to achieve with your degree (e.g. do you want to improve your career prospects or are you simply interested in learning about a specific subject?)
- what to study (e.g. have you chosen to study in an up-and-coming field or do you want to do a degree in an area that is already saturated?)
- what the financial considerations are (e.g. what salary do you expect to get after graduation? If you plan to take a tuition fee loan, have you checked the small print?)
Higher education has many benefits and these benefits come at a price. As with any other investment, you need to do your due-diligence before you make the decision whether higher education is for you or not. And remember, you don’t necessarily need to have a degree in order to become successful. Think of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
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Korina Karampela is the founder of b4iapply, author of 2 books, consultant and speaker.