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Why go to university?

Going to university is a fantastic, yet affordable, way for a young person to follow their passions, enhance their career prospects, gain independence, make friends and open up their world with new experiences.  

Passion for a subject

A prospective student may have a particular talent or favourite subject studied at school or college and university can take their knowledge up to the next level. They’ll be able to explore their passion in greater depth and with more critical understanding. Or, they may wish to explore a completely new subject area and make a fresh start.


Enhanced career prospects

Particular careers may require a university degree, for example medicine, law or teaching. Even if a degree is not required for a career route, university provides a young person with the opportunity to develop transferable skills sought by employers such as creativity, interpersonal skills, adaptability, leadership and time management.

Graduates continue to have higher employment rates compared to non-graduates and earn on average £9,500 more pa. In addition, almost two thirds of graduates are in highly-skilled employment compared to just under 25% for non-graduates.*

Many courses combine academic study with practical elements or placements which will enable students to apply their academic learning in a work-related setting, thereby enhancing their career prospects.

*Graduate labour market statistics 2020



A student can head off to university without worrying about paying back student loans until they’ve graduated. UK students, Irish nationals and those with EU settled/ pre-settled status* can apply for two types of student loans to fund their time at university - a tuition fee loan and a means-tested maintenance loan for living costs. In practical terms, what a student will repay will depend on how much they earn after university. Our Student Financial Guidance team provides a comprehensive range of tips and guidance to help our students manage their money .

* Subject to residency criteria.


Growing independence

Independence is an important skill a student will develop at university. Taking control of their own learning, deciding where to live, budgeting and balancing academic and social commitments are valuable experiences that prepare them for adult life. At university, a student will meet and make new friends from different countries and background, often creating lifelong connections. At Sunderland, our Students’ Union helps new students to settle in by pairing them with a current student through the SU Buddies scheme.


Open up their world

University isn’t all about the academic side! Whilst we encourage our students to work hard at their academic studies, university opens up their world. Building a social network of friends, joining clubs and societies through our Students’ Union, taking part in sports activities, volunteering and perhaps taking on a part-time job all enhance student life and are very positive for a young person’s longer-term development. Social activities can help them to develop routines, establish shared goals, prioritise workload and build techniques to switch off from academic or work responsibilities.