University is still the top choice for Scots despite pandemic

Half of Scottish prospective students believe that university is still the pathway to securing the best job prospects, according to new research from the Bank of Scotland.

Cameron Green, a 16-year-old from East Kilbride with ambitions to become an architect, is set to attend the University of Strathclyde, to study Architectural Studies in September.

“Going to university has always been part of my plan because I’ve wanted to be an architect for years; I love the idea of creating beautiful buildings that people will use and enjoy, designing them so they work for future generations, ” he said,“I think some university courses will lead to more lucrative careers in terms of salaries – doctors, dentists, engineering, IT – all feel like they’d provide financial security in the future. However, it’s a lot of hard work to qualify in those fields, just like architecture.”

Cameron is part of a third of young people who also believe that attending university will net them a better salary in the long run, compared to those who decide against taking the higher education route. 

HeraldScotland: Cameron Green is going to the University of Strathclyde to do Architectural Studies.Cameron Green is going to the University of Strathclyde to do Architectural Studies.

For many prospective students, the pandemic and being faced with attending university virtually has been at the forefront of their minds.

Despite this, just 5% of young Scottish adults delayed starting university as a result of the pandemic according to the research, and less than a tenth believe that going to university is no longer financially viable. 

Cameron added: “The pandemic has been rocky for students.  I was really concerned about the prospect of doing all of my learning virtually as it wouldn’t have felt like a true ‘uni’ experience. 

“I thought long and hard about whether to defer.  However, Strathclyde were great, and held a meeting to explain how everything would work that made me feel a lot better, so I’ll be pushing ahead and won’t be deferring.” 

For 18-year-old Kiera Gowans from Kirriemuir, the pandemic changed her perspective on university.

HeraldScotland: Kiera Gowans (front) changed her mind about going to universityKiera Gowans (front) changed her mind about going to university

She said: “I’m really keen on joining the police force and, for a long time, I didn’t want to go to university.  My plan was to apply to join the police straight after school but the pandemic really changed my perspective.  

“It made me realise that you never know what’s around the corner in life and you should make sure you’re doing the things that you love.  

“I decided I didn’t want to jump head first into a job after school and that I had an opportunity to study a topic I’ve always been interested in – crime, the reasons for it, and the justice system – so when I saw the criminology course at Abertay, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to apply.”   

Two fifths of the young respondents (41%) believe that, despite the costs, having a degree is still worthwhile, compared to one in five (22%) who think university is not good value for money. 

Pete McCarthy, Director at Bank of Scotland, said: “Despite the uncertainty the last year created for young people, it’s reassuring to see this hasn’t deterred the next generation of students from following their educational and career plans. The overall picture is positive, with just 5% delaying their course as a result of the pandemic. 

“Young people are also taking their finances seriously, with a 16% rise in those saving money to fund their degree aspirations, compared to pre-pandemic.  It’s a good idea to start looking at higher education costs as early as possible, as it will help with getting a good idea of what may need to be saved to fund the course, accommodation, books and the all-important nights out.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992