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There has been lots of media about university lately that makes parents wonder whether it is the right choice for their sons and daughters. This article starts by acknowledging the negatives and worries, but read on for a balanced perspective and advice. Some of the recent arguments against university include:
• In the new digital economy, the workforce is changing, work is being replaced by computers; there is more crowdsourced contract work and there are fewer traditional full-time careers.
• There are free alternatives to university such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which some futurists believe are going to replace campuses.
• It is challenging to choose a degree pathway because the types of jobs graduates can expect at the beginning of their degrees will likely have changed by the time they graduate. Furthermore, universities are often unclear about what degrees lead to what jobs.
• In the massification of higher education, there are far more graduates than there are relevant discipline-related job vacancies.
• Graduate outcomes (the percentage of graduates employed full-time after four months) are the lowest they have been in 20 years.
• Employers say that university is not giving graduates the skills, capabilities and attitudes they need to be hired and then to be successful employees.
• There is an increase in the opportunities and support for entrepreneurship and start-up ventures that do not necessarily take a degree.
• Pressure-related anxiety and stress are on the uprise and the first-year drop-out rates are high.
• Enrolment costs are rising; government funding is predicted to significantly decrease, thereby putting more of the costs onto families, and cost of living while attending university is expensive.