BA or Bust: Should You Follow Passion or Pay?


Back in August, the Conservative Government announced that maintenance grants would no longer be available, despite the fact that they are essential for many individuals who wish to broaden their horizons with a degree. This, coupled with the fact that tuition fees have increased over the past few years, is making it more difficult than ever to justify studying for a degree – unless of course you have the money for it. Alas, we are continuously told that we won’t be able to apply for numerous positions in the future unless we meet the necessary criteria, i.e. at least a 2:1.


This is the complex scenario many young people find themselves stuck in these days. Still, this is a somewhat simpler choice for anyone who wishes to become a doctor or a chemist, as they don’t just let anyone in and you must have a proper qualification. No, it is the arts students who must contemplate these difficult decisions as experience can often outrank education when it comes to getting a job.

Furthermore, according to a study recently published by Voucherbox, those who choose to study an arts degree such as History, English Literature or Theatre are paying three times more per hour than Science students. This is due to the amount of contact time that students have with their teachers over an average week. So, whilst a biology student will typically have 22 contact hours per week, a history student will only receive 8 hours.


Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll receive less knowledge, attention or experience during an arts degree. Plus, you’ll have more free time to get a part-time job or complete an internship. One thing you should consider though, is whether you need hands-on teaching similar to what you received in school in order to learn and stay focused. If the answer is yes, an arts degree may not be for you.

Fortunately for anyone who does pursue a BA, jobs are not quite as niche as you may be led to believe. For instance, if you choose to study English Literature your career options will not be reduced to teacher or librarian. In fact, you may even have far more options than your scientist counterparts.

Throughout your degree you will learn how to self-manage, to think critically and evaluate situations, as well as how to communicate with others through various different media. These qualities are highly sought after in the business sector and the media industry, so you could become anything from an advertising account executive to a broadcast journalist. History degrees offer similar prospects, plus you could even go into law, archiving or criminology.

When all is said and done, it is entirely up to you how much your BA is worth. If you put in a lot of effort and have a career in mind then your degree is going to be worth a lot more to you than it will be to someone who took the same course on a whim. If you truly wish to follow your passion despite the possible uncertainties you could be faced with in the future, we applaud you. However, if you’re thinking of following up your degree with a Masters, that’s an entirely different story.


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