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Degree Or Not Degree? ... That Is The Question.

Discussion in 'Universities & Training Forum:' started by Josh Owens, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. Josh Owens

    Josh Owens New Member

    Hi all,
    I have recently joined this forum and am so far thoroughly enjoying myself!!
    There's one thing that has been lingering on my mind recently,
    I am really wondering whether I should go on to study a Graphic design bachelors degree at University when I finish college. Or whether it would be a more effective use of my time if I attempt to teach myself design theory and design history by using the internet and various books with the aims of putting together a portfolio and trying my hand at freelancing.
    If anybody has any advice, it would be greatly appreciated,
    many thanks.
  2. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    what level of college graphics are you doing?
  3. Josh Owens

    Josh Owens New Member

  4. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    Rather than focussing on teaching yourself, put together a portfolio and try and get an internship at a studio, you'll learn much more. I don't think a degree is necessary for everyone, but doing a degree course gives you contacts, opens you up to experiences you wouldn't normally have access to, and allows you to live the student life that many people miss out on. You might find you gain a lot from doing one, or you may feel it's a waste of 3 years of your life, it really depends.
  5. Josh Owens

    Josh Owens New Member

    Okay, thank you. It's definitely something I am going to have to take into account.
  6. Aura

    Aura New Member

    University will teach you important design theory and thinking, and help you make contacts with like-minded people. But most importantly, University is an amazing time to learn life skills and have some fun without the pressure of having to act like an adult! I loved university and wish I was still there!

    Also, sadly, a lot of companies won't even look at your portfolio when starting out if you don't have a degree.
    @GCarlD likes this.
  7. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    I couldn't agree more & that last point is so true, I can't emphasis that enough! In my first design job, my employer told me that he wouldn't of even looked at my portfolio if I did not have at least a 2:1.
    Aura likes this.
  8. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    That's kind of a tricky one.

    With the internet, the resources, inspiration and learning that's available is mind boggling and I could have only dreamed about having that when I was at college.
    The library and over priced design magazines were the limit of what I had access to.
    Mac's were frowned on. We were taught ancient/obsolete working practices. One tutor was half cut most of the time. o_O

    I'd say if you were to go down the self learning route I'd ask myself a few questions.
    Is what I've learned already sufficient to serve as a base?
    Do I have the determination and self discipline to make yourself learn without tutors cracking the whip?
    Am I confident enough in my own abilities?

    In the job market you will be up against grad's and more experienced designers so your folio and skill set are going to have to stand out.
    Once you get your foot in the door your qualifications become less and less important and you'll be judged more on your work and experience.

    Fact is... it's not really an 'either, or' at your age.
    You could take a year out and have a go at learning yourself to see how it works out.
    If it doesn't and you feel you need a Uni education after, then go. It's only a year.

    Do you need to go to Uni?
    In all honesty I don't think you do but you'll have to work hard.

    I've learned pretty much all of my skills myself even though I spent three years at college.
    So... Yes it is doable.
  9. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    To add:

    If you did decide to go to Uni after having a go yourself, that time will not be wasted.
    You'll have still learned things and improved your skill-set.
    This could get you on a better course and set you above the other students.

    You'll also be a year older so you'll stand a better chance with the chicks. ;)
  10. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    I'd maybe look at doing a btec (foundation) or whatever it's called now. It's a step up from A-level and just below degree level.
  11. Josh Owens

    Josh Owens New Member

    Thankyou all for your replies. It's definitely given me a lot to think about when deciding which path to take, thanks.
  12. Dee W

    Dee W New Member

    I didn't go to university and was lucky enough to land myself into a job as a junior artworker. I agree with that you do miss out on the network and the people you meet throughout university, but there are so many meetup groups and events out there now...I do believe it's all about being brave and throwing yourself out there! Good luck Josh

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