Why should you go to the university?

The fourth point of my speech was about university and what a student should expect to gain going there.(if you have not you can read the previous three points by clicking on the links: “Choosing a Profession”, “You never stop learning” and “Travel and get to know other cultures”).

If you ask people why do they go to the university, specially if you ask that before they go, most of them will answer with one word: knowledge. Now, I do believe that knowledge is something you will get out of university, but is not the only one nor the most important.

So, if you are not going to the university to gain knowledge, at least not mainly for that, why should you bother spending a heck lot of money and time there? I believe there are 3 key reasons: the stamp on your resume, the network of people and the competencies.

The stamp on your resume: the first reason why you should spend some years on the university is to be able to stamp that on the resume. To understand why this is important you should put yourself in the place of organizations. Once they open a certain job they usually receive tens of thousands of applications within a couple of weeks, maybe more if you consider the Internet effect. For obvious reasons interviewing all those people to see whether they have a matching profile would consume too much time and money. In order to solve this problem organizations use filters, and one of these filters is the university degree. Now, I am not saying this system is fair, it is just the way it works. You can have someone with no degree whatsoever who is extremely talented, but statically people who own a degree are more likely to perform well at work.

The network of people: the second reason to go to the university is the network of people you will create. This network will be formed with people from a variety of backgrounds. First of all you will sit next to other students who will be occupying positions within companies tomorrow, increasing your possibilities to find a good job. You will also get in contact with professors, guest lecturers and the like who might help you to develop professional projects or counsel you once you have one. Finally the university also offers many channels to get in touch with companies and organizations, including the contact of people working inside the HR department.

The competencies: the third reason to go to the university is connected to the competencies you will develop there. Apart from the knowledge the university will teach you how to collect, filter, interpret and present information. It will also teach you to communicate clearly, to interact with other people, to take responsibility of your actions, and so on. All those competencies (some of them are attitudes but I will cover that on my next article) will be useful for the rest of your life regardless of the career you will choose. The knowledge you will learn there, instead, will get used only for specific tasks and for a limited time frame. Bear in mind that I am not defending that knowledge is not important, you will always need to update your knowledge, but knowledge will go and come while competencies stay once you develop them.

Summing up, opposed to what most people say it is worth to go to the university not only for the knowledge you will get there but also for the stamp on your resume, the network of people you will create and the competencies you will develop. Knowing what to expect out of something is half way through, so make sure you get it all from your experience at the university.

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