When it comes to any big financial transaction – buying a house, a car, choosing a financial product – the need for good advice is a no brainer. With uni fees so high, why are so few students getting one-to-one advice?
Alarmingly, our latest research found that a large chunk of students chose their uni without any real guidance.
With fees topping £9,000 a year and record youth unemployment, making the right choice has never been more important.
An informed choice?
A-level results are out this week, meaning students will find out which unis have accepted them. But our research has found that many students are putting their options together without the valuable advice they need:
- Over one third of prospective students aged 19 and under didn’t access any one-to-one advice from a teacher or careers advisor when choosing a university – this could be more than 150,000 prospective students each year.
- Around four in ten had not attended a university open day ahead of making their decision.
- Nearly half of young people would have liked more information, particularly about employment prospects, activities and course structure.
Making the wrong choice could have serious financial implications, and more so now than ever. As you know, fees are pretty hefty now (half of young people told us they’re not happy with these higher fees) resulting in students taking out huge loans to fund their time at uni.
The prospect of debt
With three quarters of prospective students saying they want to limit the amount of debt they have when they leave uni, and half having researched additional costs of university beyond the course fee, the cost of going to uni is clearly important to them.
That’s especially true when, according to our latest Quarterly Consumer Report, young people are feeling the pinch more than any other group. And it’s the promise of a good job that’s driving them to go to uni – improving their employment prospects was the main reason students told us they were applying.
However, graduates will be entering the most challenging job market for decades. In fact, a fifth of graduates told us they’re not confident about their employment prospects over the next 12 months.
And, with a quarter of graduates saying they wished they’d done more research before making their choice of uni, there’s clearly a need for proper guidance and advice. The government has placed a keen focus on providing easily comparable information to help students, but with the onus now put on to schools to provide good careers advice, the future looks uncertain.
We’ll be launching Which? University to try and fill this gap in advice, but do you think prospective students are getting access to the proper guidance they need? And has the rise in uni fees spurred you into more carefully researching your uni choices?