University is the ‘most influential time of your lives’, say graduates

With A-Level results released today, and huge numbers of young people set to head off to university in the coming months, it should come as good news to them that two thirds of graduates of all ages have attested that university was the most influential period of their lives, ahead of childhood, teenage years, first jobs, and even marriage, shattering the common myth that your childhood years are the best of your life.

The research, released this week by the London South Bank University, reveals how graduates look back on their time at university, and the long term impacts university has on their lives.

The life long impact of going to university:

  • Almost 9 out of every 10 graduates (87%) said that the lessons learnt at university ‘stay with you forever’
  • 4 in every 5 (80%) asserted that the qualifications earned at university ‘open doors for the whole of your career’
  • And two thirds of graduates (66%) believe that university improves people’s potential by building up their confidence

But it’s not just in their careers that graduates acknowledge the impact of university, with:

  • Almost half of graduates (44%) having met their closest life-long friends at university
  • A quarter (25%) having met their husband, wife or life partner whilst at university
  • And a little over 1 in 10 (12%) having met their life-long intellectual mentor at university

The research also shows the extent to which people expect university to provide the basis for a long term career.

  • Two thirds (66%) expect university to provide careers advice
  • More than half expect job opportunities via university partnerships, direct contact with employers and work placements to lead to long term employment (50%; 53.5%; 56% respectively).
  • Almost half (49.5%) expected to gain practical on the job training or experience during university, while 46% expected direct contact with industry experts.
  • More than 1 in every 5 expected university to give them the platform and support to start their own business.

Well over half of those who took part in the research, including those who didn’t go to university, felt that those not going to university miss out on a key life experience (64%), while nearly half (46%) would attend university as a mature student given the chance.

Louise Andronicou, a Director of Recruitment at London South Bank Universtiy said “universities are incubators for entrepreneurship and one of the best places to forge early connections with industry and commerce. That’s why it’s so important to choose a university that’s well connected.”

Research conducted for London South Bank University by Opinion Matters Market Research Agency.