With university fees and youth unemployment at record highs, choosing what to study at university is more important than ever. Are 17 year olds experienced enough to make such life-changing decisions?

Making future plans is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. For students who have made the choice to continue into higher-level study, choosing what courses to apply for can be stressful. Students are constantly being reminded to make the ‘right’ degree choice but with over 50,000 undergraduate courses available at over 395 providers, the decision is daunting. University and careers advice is therefore paramount to ensuring that students are well-informed and supported through the transition from school into the workforce.

On Thursday 24th March, the careers department at Bancrofts school hosted a Universities and Careers Fair, with the aim of helping students make informed choices about their future. Representatives from over 30 universities outlined the university application process and gave students an insight into the opportunities available at their respective universities.

Students were also encouraged to explore apprenticeship schemes, specifically degree apprenticeships which combine on the job learning with academic study. Students were intrigued by the exciting apprenticeship offers from the Metropolitan Police and successful construction company Galliard Homes.

The representative for Deloitte shed light on her company’s ‘BrightStart’ apprenticeship scheme which enables driven people to ‘leap into the world of professional services’, while gaining degree level qualifications. Year 12 student Lakshmy Narayanan was particularly interested in the scheme explaining, ‘I’ve always worried about the debt that comes with doing a traditional university degree, but a degree apprenticeship is a compelling alternative as it will enable me to continue studying without having to worry about the financial repercussions.’

Krishan Parmar, a student keen on studying an economics related course at university, was very grateful to the Bancrofts careers department: ‘For me personally, it can be hard to get the correct guidance and advice when it comes to careers. However, the careers team at Bancrofts have always offered great support. I was really appreciative of all the efforts of the visiting universities and companies.’

In the aftermath of a global pandemic and in the midst of a dire economic backdrop exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and Brexit, many students feel pressurised to choose a more conventional course with a more certain career path, rather than studying subjects which they are truly passionate about. But thanks to careers counsellors like those at Bancrofts, A-Level students are being encouraged to pursue their passions and consider a variety of career options.