University applicants are overwhelmingly driven by graduate employment prospects when deciding to go to university, the latest Which? University survey reveals.
Improving employment prospects and the pursuit of a vocation were cited by the majority of applicants as their main reason for going to university (63%), polling far higher than learning about a subject or to stretch themselves intellectually (22%), moving away from home (1%) or to have a good social life (less than 1%).
Which? University, the free website from Which? that helps students make informed university decisions, includes graduate employment rates for universities and courses, typical job outcomes and employment market commentaries.
Top graduate employment factors
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘It’s encouraging that savvy students are focusing on employment benefits when deciding whether to go to university, but it’s worrying that more aren’t getting one-to-one careers guidance when making their choices.’
Almost six in 10 applicants said that graduate employment rates were important when making their choice of course or university, while half considered links between the university and employers or reputation for a certain degree (48%) important, the survey of 1,000 applicants found.
However only 38% of them had actually researched graduate employment performance when making their choice and just a third (33%) aged 19 and under said they accessed one-to-one advice with a careers adviser when choosing.
Making firm and insurance choices
If you or your child is currently deciding on firm and insurance course choices, here are some top tips to help with this important but tricky stage in the application process:
• Take some time to revisit your course and university options. Look closely over the course content and try to visit the university you’re considering – it’s the best way to get a feel for whether it’s right for you.
• Make sure your firm choice is the course and university you most want to go to (and not just the course requiring higher grades).
• Your insurance choice should act as your ‘back-up’ option if you don’t get the grades you were hoping for. Only put down an insurance choice if you’d be happy to go there.
• Choose the best course and university: search and compare undergraduate courses on Which? University
• Uni applicants 2014 insights: more on how and why students made their course choices
• Download our free 24-page parents’ guide: everything you need to know about university