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girl89

What Do You Think Of University?

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treat my subjects as a joke (Because they're studying a "proper" degree like Law or English). That's fine with me, people who put down any degree course as a mickey mouse degree are generally the kind of people that need to feel superior.

 

English is an interesting example because when it was first instituted (around about 100 years ago) as a degree subject it was seen as one of the original "micky mouse" degrees (often seen as a poor man's Classics), frowned on to the point where many universities wouldn't run it. As time has gone by it has steadily become, and rightly so, more respected and highly regarded. The same happened to Psychology and Sociology, and only recently have we seen total acceptance of Business Studies as a legitimate degree (until comparitively recently there were still a few universities that resisted teaching it). The same will happen over time with the newer degree courses.

 

The fact is that higher education is changing, as it always has. Initially European universities did little but induct people into the priesthood, later they served the purpose of training the ruling elite in the arts of government and lawyers (both still then often concerned primarily with papal law and ethic). (much) Later still they expanded their role to train people into the professions such as medicine, academia, engineering and science, and later still they incorporated cultural and social analysis in their role (i.e. economics, politics, and so forth). The role of higher education has once again expanded, this time to include vocational training in the non-professional (in the old sense of the word professional) careers that nevertheless require a fair bit of background knowledge and theory, or in which such things would be advantageous (a business student can only benefit from an introduction into economic and sociological thinking, after all). There always have been, and there always will be people who grew up respecting the old system who rail against the new, but comfort can be taken from the thought that they've nearly always been wrong in their grumbling.

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No I don't - what the hell gave you that idea? But I know it's not done by media studies people and artists.

 

So we're now saying all BA's are mickey mouse degrees?

 

I do a "mickey mouse" degree by pretty much anyone's definition of the term (Dual Honours in Marketing and Media, Communications and Culture.) However the reason i am studying that degree is because i wanted to, nobody forced me, i didn't consider the implications to the economy and i didn't consider what people would think of me for doing it. I've been told by more than one person that it's a waste of a good mind, that i'm just pissing my money away without having anything respected to show for it at the end and that i would have been better going straight into a job after a-levels.

 

I've tired of having this argument, even people at my own university (some of them friends) treat my subjects as a joke (Because they're studying a "proper" degree like Law or English). That's fine with me, people who put down any degree course as a mickey mouse degree are generally the kind of people that need to feel superior.

 

I have enjoyed and am currently enjoying my time at university, i have a much wider knowledge base than i previously had. I now understand (to the extent that it can be understood) the term post-modern, I've created several documentaries on subjects that have interested me, I've made lots of friends (and lost a few) and experienced lots of different cultures. Frankly I've had the time of my life and I envy anyone who has it all to look forward to.

 

To argue the economic benefits of certain degree subjects and whether they should be offered in the first place is to deny some people the chance of this experience. And for me that's what a degree is, an experience that hopefully produces something useful to the student at the end of it...

 

Therefore as most life experiences have to be funded by the individual for themselves should the government either:-

 

a) give funding for all peoples life expanding experience no matter what form that should take?

 

or

 

B) stop funding any degree which isn't going to make a useful contribution to the economy??

 

Answers on a postcard please......

 

What, you mean like the UK? Aye, probably. Go and put it to your MHK, not me. Just because i was fortunate enough for the Govt. to pay my fees means nothing, it would be churlish of me to reject them offering to pay my tuition fees. However perhaps the IoM should continue to pay for degrees, i'd suggest that a lot of those people benefiting from the fee paying Govt. will return at some point. An economy that has a large base of Graduates is generally an economy that is better off than one with a limited amount, like it or not that's just unfortunately the way it is.

 

Hold on, while we're talking about Graduates, not every one of those "graduates" have been to university in the same sense that Ean has. Some of them will have studied by other means - eg the OU, others will have taken degrees in conjunction with the role they're doing. Most of them have been funded either by themselves or their employer & not by the government. So why are you any more special than a graduate who has had to fund themselves so that they can also work at the same time?

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Well if the employer is willing to fund it why should the Govt? And anyone under the age of 40 is eligible for funding for a university course, i don't quite know where OU qualifications come into that but i'd suggest that some funding is available for it.

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Vinnie & Stuart. You are both right and you are both wrong. :rolleyes:

 

With respect to employment policies it isnt usually a mutually exclusive choice between experience and qualifications.

 

Most good sized companies have a fairly reasonable idea of the blend required and recruit accordingly.

However, Vinnie is correct in saying graduates should be able to fast track A good number of companies offer fast track career routes for graduates and these opportunities are just not open to non graduates.

This seems entirely reasonable to me in so much as most graduates have invested heavily in gaining their degree.

 

To develop Stuart's point a little further, a degree doesnt really qualify anyone for anything vocationally except .. and its an important except ... the opportunity to apply for certain jobs closed to non graduates.

The graduate isnt expected to step straight into positions of responsibility requiring experience. Furthermore, a good company will make sure graduate recruits are placed with a variety of experienced people as part of their training. Bear in mind some if not most of those experienced people may well be graduates themselves. [people have been getting degrees for a long time!]

 

We also need to remember there are now opportunities for anyone to embark on degree courses or similar right throughout their lives. It isnt the easiest way to get qualified but the opportunities are there. so there is no reason for anyone, who feels they are held back because of lack of qualifications ,not to get qualified.

 

To answer Stuart's question "Who would you employ?" .. My ideal candidate for a responsible position would have a PhD and years of experience :rolleyes:

 

Anyone on this forum who is wondering whether or not to go to Uni, my advice is go for it.

Its an opportunity far too good to turn down and you will benefit from it in the long term.

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Are you comparing like with like though - in many cases you will find that take two people of equal ability - 1 leaves school & starts work at 16, the other goes to uni until they're 23, then in that 7 years the school leave will have advanced in salary & will be on a far higher level of salary than the graduate when they leave uni.

 

Pretty much yes. Studies have shown that higher education is "worth it" financially - On average a graduate will make far more money over their lifetime than a non-graduate. Indeed, this fact is one of the more convincing arguments for some kind of graduate tax or some other system of fees that might help fund university without deterring people.

 

Also you are producing a discriminatory system - those from lower income families are far less likely to have an environment which is conductive to study or have the funding available to them so that they can go to uni. Evectively the system says no matter how hard they will work they will always stay at the bottom. Is that right? It's no different or any more egalitarian than any other system - and probably a lot less so than one in which people prove their merit by practical work rather than by paper based qualifications.

 

But that's a different argument: One about how to give everyone an equal chance to go to university, it's not a critique of the merits of a degree itself. In any case, the argument is far more complex than a mere discriminatory system: a lot of it has to do with attitudes towards higher education in lower income areas and how well the secondary system of education functions. As one example, I know of plenty of people who come from low income families and have gotten into a "top ten" university and gone on to work as barristers, doctors, and other high profile jobs - the system didn't discriminate against them, and it's their experiences that probably can reveal more about the supposed bias in higher education towards the middle classes.

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As one example, I know of plenty of people who come from low income families and have gotten into a "top ten" university and gone on to work as barristers, doctors, and other high profile jobs - the system didn't discriminate against them, and it's their experiences that probably can reveal more about the supposed bias in higher education towards the middle classes.

 

Well said Vinnie. I dont know if anyone else noticed, this year, but the local newspapers had graduation photographs of a remarkable number of people who all lived in one road in Willaston [barrule Road]

Presumably they all were educated at Willaston primary school and grew up on a council estate. They are in good company. I personally know 3 chartered accountants and 2 hospital consultants who grew up together in Willaston and I have no doubt there are many more.

 

lol: edited for numerous spelling mistakes [i studied maths!]

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As one example, I know of plenty of people who come from low income families and have gotten into a "top ten" university and gone on to work as barristers, doctors, and other high profile jobs - the system didn't discriminate against them, and it's their experiences that probably can reveal more about the supposed bias in higher education towards the middle classes.

 

Well said Vinnie. I dont know if anyone else noticed, this year, but the local newspapers hadd graduation photographs of a remarkable number of people who all lived in one road in Willaston [barrule Road]

Presumably they all were eductaed at Willaston primary school and grew up on a council estate. They are in good company. I personally know 3 chartered accountants and 2 hospital consultants who grew up together in Willaston and I have no doubt there are many more.

 

 

I'd agree that's fair enough, indeed I would commend these people, those who come from disadvantaged families and who 'better themselves' are certainly worthy of our respect.

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To fling another into the mixing pot after LW's post, I think that most school leavers from the IOM are very well placed to do well, even those from what would in any other society be called 'disadvantaged'.

 

A bit like the Irish, but an intelligent Manxman is a force to meet, regardless of his social background.

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Think I will develop that a little further, I would hazard that the average intelligence on the IOM across the social spectrum is above that of across the water. It may be because we do not have the social privations (despite what many would argue to the contrary) or it may be that the isolation has created a more 'interested' populace, or it may just be genetic. But for a small population there are very many 'thinkers' and just those with a quick wit (which in itself is a sign of high intelligence).

 

Discuss.

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Also you are producing a discriminatory system - those from lower income families are far less likely to have an environment which is conductive to study or have the funding available to them so that they can go to uni. Evectively the system says no matter how hard they will work they will always stay at the bottom. Is that right? It's no different or any more egalitarian than any other system - and probably a lot less so than one in which people prove their merit by practical work rather than by paper based qualifications.

 

Why is that the case? There is a means tested grant available, it's not too shabby either, considering the acedemic year runs from late September to mid May. If you want to go to uni to further yourself, I'd say coming from a low income background would make you more inclined to try, in order for you to get in to a higher income way of life.

 

If it's their background that causing them to be low achievers, therefore taking away their chance to go to uni, then they're also less likely to try and work themselves out of that rut by taking up apprenticeships or studying while they work, are they not?

 

It's all very subjective, there are times when going to uni is the only option, depending on what you're chosen career is. It's also down to personal choice, there are also people who go to uni because the oppertunity is there and there are people who have both the means and the ability to go but would rather learn as they earn. What ever you choose to do, I think you should just be grateful you have that choice.

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What ever you choose to do, I think you should just be grateful you have that choice.

Seconded, and allow that same choice for the other fella that you (not FLIS) may be criticising!

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Wow what alot of discussion. Long detailed replies, and a lot of passion!

 

Fascinating stuff.

 

For me I'm surprised no ones mentioned the changing demographics of university and what it means.

 

40 years ago 5% of the population went to university. I'd love to know the figures, but I image the Classics, PPE, and the liberal arts were more popular than physics and engineering.

 

Now 50% go to university. The courses available have expanded massively and the qualifications to get into a degree course have widened out, and lowered.

 

These changes work both ways ... nowadays a degree is worth less ... everyones got one! But also a degree is worth more ... if you haven't got a degree you are going to have to compete against grads in the employment market ... any person who hasn't got a degree is going to have to explain why they didn't go.

 

And for all StuartT's pleas, unless the non degree applicant has done an awful lot with their life to make up for their lack of qualifications they are going to be at a disadvantage.

 

I don't want to put down people who haven't got alot of academic qualifications; and I agree its perfectly possible for a person who hasn't got qualifications to be much more capable than someone with a degree.

 

But to be honest, is the exception or the rule?

 

Especially in today's world where 50% of people get a degree.

 

When there wasn't much opportunity to get a degree I'm not surprised lots of people who were very capable managers and business leaders didn't go.

 

But now, especially when our recruitment and education systems are based on getting people into university, those who don't go don't go for lack of opportunity, but due to either lack of ability or a deliberate choice.

 

Stuart T is emphaisising those who don't go out of a deliberate choice; people who cut their course. I fully agree with him these are unique people and you'd be mad to discount their abilities.

 

But I think they are increasingly rare ... simply the increase number of university candidates, and the much wider spectrum of courses on offer ... means that people who don't want to be pigeon-holded are able to find alternative degree courses. This increase in options via university is also coupled with a decrease in alternative non degree options like apprentiships etc.

 

I hear what StuartT is saying, and agree with him that exceptional people don't need degrees. But generally, if people are asking me for advice I'd recommend finding a degree course they think fits their ideas, and don't be pigeon holded folks - its a diverse world out there.

 

A degree isn't the bee-all and end-all, there are many exceptions ... BUT generally its best if you can get one to do so. I realize this is very conventional advice ... if your a free spirit do your own thing fine. But generally the world is conventional as are our career paths.

 

Uni gives you a chance to explore and grow. The world of work may let you do that, but also it may trap and restrict you; and then you lack qualifications to change career.

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