So, the day’s arrived when you leave home to start a new life at the University that’s been sending you exciting emails for months, with the people who’ve been WhatsApping and Snapchatting you all summer and who’ll soon be like family to you.
You’ve packed all the essentials (phone charger, hair products, headphones and beer), the stuff your parents are forcing you to take (underwear, tins of food, cleaning products and toilet roll), made it clear to everybody that your room is not to be touched while you’re away, and you’re ready to embark on the single most important adventure of your life so far – three years as an undergraduate in a far-flung place where you can live exactly as you want with no restrictions or parental pressure other than the odd phone call when you need money or a reminder to get your room ready for the next (short) visit home.It’s unbelievably exciting and you’ll probably have the best time EVER but, and here’s a slight reality check, it doesn’t work out like that for everybody.
You may be reading this and thinking that I’m a miserable old goat determined to rain on your higher education parade, but the stark fact is that an awful lot of young people who go away to University come home again before their course is completed (and in some cases, barely begun). The reasons for this are many and varied. Some people just get homesick – that home and family you’ve been itching to escape are the people you most want to see when you’re on your own and feeling a bit lonely – while others find that living on almost no money is just too hard. Some students realise they’ve chosen completely the wrong course and no amount of time or study is going to change their mind, and others decide that University life just isn’t what they expected and investing three years and a lot of money is a bad idea. Whatever the reason, more than one in 10 undergraduates drop out of University in the first year and look to do something different, either finding another course or leaving education all together.
If you turn out to be one of the 10% who come back home early, there’s no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed, indeed making the decision early will save you time and money and give you the chance to decide what you really want to do with the rest of your life.
These days, higher level Apprenticeships are worth considering. They give you a chance to learn and earn at the same time and you’d be amazed at the opportunities available. And if you want to develop technical skills to enable you to go into a specialist profession, you might consider a Higher National Certificate or Diploma of the type we deliver at Northampton College. HNDs are the equivalent of degree level study, give you a set of technical and specialist skills, run over two years rather than three, offer excellent access to employers and generally cost less than a degree.
At Northampton College we offer a range of arts, engineering and vocational HNCs and HNDs in an environment that is similar to university study with small groups, highly experienced and skilled teachers and industry standard resources with which to work. You can find out more about our higher education on our website www.northamptoncollege.ac.uk/higher-education.html
So, we wish you all the very best in your next big adventure, have a brilliant time and enjoy every minute. Just don’t forget to call home every once in a while! And, if it doesn’t work out, come back home and find out about our HNDs!