Stephanie Khan
13th Apr 2018

Why I turned down university to do an apprenticeship

Guest blog by Katie Schulten, previously an apprentice at Yell

During A-Levels, my college form tutor insisted that everyone made a UCAS profile, perfected a personal statement and applied to universities. Throughout secondary school I was always the person who said they didn’t want to go to uni and I felt this way throughout college too, but the pressure from my form tutor and my friends meant that I jumped on the bandwagon, went on university visits and applied to them even though I wasn’t keen on going.

Here are few things that put me off going to university:

  • The student debt… I have always been good with money and the idea of being in financial debt in my early 20’s completely scared me.
  • Endless essays… Another 3-4 years of essays, lessons/lectures and having a ‘student’ status just didn’t appeal to me because I’d already done that for most of my life so I felt ready to let all of that go and be an ‘adult’.
  • No guaranteed job… The thought of spending all of that time, money and effort in university which didn’t guarantee me a job at the end of it is one of the main things that put me off completely. I know people with Master’s Degrees that either never managed to get a job in the subject they studied, or fell out of love with their sector and now have a job which doesn’t require a degree at all.

How I came to do an apprenticeship

I got high grades at GCSE and I did great in my A Levels too, but that didn’t mean I actually wanted to carry on. When my Dad (who had taken me on multiple 4+ hour car journeys for university visits) questioned me on why I wanted to go to university I honestly didn’t really have an answer. I told him “well that’s what everyone does” but he didn’t accept this as a proper explanation and I’m so glad he didn’t. He suggested that I looked at apprenticeships instead and pick a field that I was already good at, or that I knew I’d enjoy, since the university course I had chosen was completely new to me and I may not like it or do well.

It was after that quick conversation with my Dad when I realised that those reasons why I didn’t want to go to university were exactly why I shouldn’t go. Shortly after that, I got an offer from my top choice university and most of my other choices, but just after a few days of deliberating I chose to completely withdraw my UCAS applications (I didn’t even defer my offers) and started looking for apprenticeships.

That’s when I came across Arch!

There was one Digital Marketing Apprenticeship going in my area and I applied for it. Not long after that, I had a phone call with a lovely lady from Arch and she invited me in to discuss my application and intentions of wanting to do an apprenticeship. My meeting with her went really well and I left the Arch offices feeling happy in knowing I had now made the first step to (hopefully) getting an apprenticeship and starting my career. I had a couple of interviews with local employers who had advertised apprenticeships themselves but their knowledge of the course and how it worked was nothing compared to Arch. Within a couple of weeks I was invited for an interview with the employer of the Arch apprenticeship and the very next day I got a call offering me the job!

Life after my apprenticeship

I had a great year doing my apprenticeship and thoroughly enjoyed the content and flexibility of the course. Unfortunately my employer was not able to offer me a permanent position due to budgets, however, I know that my work there was thoroughly appreciated. I am still in contact with my ex-colleagues including the recruiters of the company and I left over 6 months ago. Just 2 weeks after ending my apprenticeship I was offered a job as a Marketing Executive with a different company due to my experience and knowledge of marketing. I now earn a very competitive salary, I have no student debt and I have no regrets that I didn’t attend university.

Start your career on the right path like Katie did and apply for an Arch apprenticeship. Head over to our jobs board and take a look, new roles are added every day! 

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