Are students going to university for the social life and not the education?
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The problem is that as the numbers of students rise, the external image of university dwindles. The Government doesn't mention what many students know themselves - the issue that more people are going to university for the social benefits. Perhaps now it is seen as a latest fashion - the best new pair of kicks, the newest phone, complete with the coolest apps. Through the neon wilderness of endless student's nights, discount offers and one night stands comes the controversial question: 'are students going to university for the social life and not the education?'
Gazing out onto the 21st century euphoria of information that is Facebook I see statuses from past sixth form students now in the midst of university life; typical comments include "Forgot I came to University to work as well as play" and "missed 3 lectures this week from being hung-over lol". These are people who never were the best students but who were instead the people downtown sailing through a sea of Jaeger bombs and vodka shots three or four times a week. I already know some of these couldn't afford books for their course because they had burnt their student loan on fresher's fortnights. With people like this increasingly going university, are the figures that show more and more students going university misleading?
Not that it is a bad thing that an increasing amount of sixth form and college students are turning up on universities doorsteps; of course it's not if people have their heart set on a subject where they want to enrich themselves and propel their education into a career. You know - like 'in the old days'. Forgive the cliche but it is becoming apparent that a minority of students aren't in it for the grades and career. The latest figures show that more than 1 in 7 people are dropping out of University in their first year. That's over 100,000 people. Holistically, nearly a quarter of all UK students (23%) don't see out the whole of their courses. Maybe the cuts to the higher education sector, resulting in the tuition fee cap being removed, will see some students questioning whether the glitz and glam student life is worth it knowing their accompanying course may be £7,000 a year.
With up to 20,000 proposed places at university trying to be opened up by the government, it's still unclear whether the rising fee's will actually see a decline in students going into university. While this can only be a good notion, the on-going talk of people in year 13 on Facebook at the minute is of which 'university has the best clubs and pubs surrounding it'; this shows the course to be studied is becoming only the second point of decision after the nightlife. Perhaps this then answers the question as yes - people are going to university for the social life over the education. Whilst there should be some point of worry, student clubs must be licking their lips at the prospect. What are you in it for - the education, a social experience? Personally, I think a healthy blend of both with education taking priority is needed. However, it is emerging that a degree is becoming second fiddle to the experience and I'm not quite sure if the government are fully aware of this as they continue to aim for that aforementioned 50% statistic. Only time will tell if more university places is beneficially as a whole to the economy.
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