Applications to undergraduate journalism degrees were down by 18.95 per cent this year according to statistics from UCAS. With applications to university only down 7.5 per cent on a whole, it’s interesting that there has been such a drop in journalism applications.
But, when you start to think about it, maybe it’s not such a surprise. This is the first year that students will be paying £9,000 a year for their university education. And, honestly, not even the best journalism courses in the country can offer good value for money at that price.
Having just graduated from a journalism course, I struggle to see how universities can justify charging that much. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed my degree, it taught me a lot and I had amazing opportunities through it that I wouldn’t have had if I’d not gone to Staffordshire University. But I don’t know why anyone would choose to get into debts of about £40,000 (when you include maintenance loans) when there are so many other options available.
My journalism degree was great but I wouldn’t advise anyone thinking about a career as a journalist to take a three-year journalism degree now. To be honest, I’d probably advise them against doing any degree. Journalism is not a profession where a degree is required. Having work experience is so much more important in this industry. And that’s something that you can start doing at any age.
And yes, qualifications do help a lot when applying for jobs but that doesn’t mean you have to do a degree. Doing an NCTJ diploma course will get you a very similar education to doing a journalism degree but you’ll complete it in a year and (depending on where you apply) it could cost as little as £1,975 for the course.
And that’s why I really struggle to understand why anyone is willing to spend £9,000 a year on a journalism degree. It’s not like there aren’t other options available. So it’s not surprising that journalism degree applications are down so much.
What do you think? Are you about to start a journalism degree? Or did you decide against university to take another route into journalism? Let us know via the comments or tweet us @wannabehacks