Hello lovelies! So a lot of you have told me you would like to see a blog post on why I decided not to go to university and why I personally think it was the best decision I ever made!

I am hoping this helps some of you who feel like they don’t know what they want to do in respect of whether to go to uni or not – it would make me happier than ever if it helps even a little bit!


1) The debt – It is no secret that university fees and the cost of living as a student is a joke. When I was looking, I calculated that my total debt would be around £50,000 plus. I did not come from a wealthy background so my parents would not have been able to help, and I didn’t fancy being in that much debt without any reassurance I would get a job at the end of it.

You pay back 9% of your earnings above £21,000 after you leave university as well, so I didn’t fancy the idea of an extra deduction from my income in addition to tax and social security!


2) I didn’t know what I wanted to do exactly – but this helped me to realise that I shouldn’t waste 3-4 years doing something that I ‘sort-of’ wanted to do. I told myself that I wouldn’t pay hundreds of pounds to go on a holiday that I sort-of wanted to go on, so why do the same with my career / education prospects?

On top of that, I told myself that actually, it was okay to not have a clue about what I wanted to do. The best things in life, I find, are the unexpected things that you don’t plan on happening. I didn’t plan on starting a blog until I fell into it one day, and now I am in love!

It is easy to feel uncomfortable if you haven’t got a sure set plan on what you are doing with your life but if I have learnt anything, it is that as long as you are always striving to improve yourself and do better, you WILL get to where you are supposed to be.


3) I didn’t like following the crowd – I applied to go to university to study Physics (why in the world I did that I still don’t know), and got conditional offers from UCL, KCL, Bath, Bristol & Surrey. All my teachers told me I would be, and I quote, “stupid” not to go to uni, because I was “good enough” and shouldn’t “waste my potential” by not going.

That really ticked me off. It was like they were saying people who didn’t go to uni were stupid, or not good enough – rather than recognising that people consciously decide not to go.

All my school cared about were their statistics, so the more people that went on to university, the better their results were for “students who went on to higher education”. To me that was complete nonsense, as the school should have supported me with whatever decision I was facing.


4) I knew I could be successful without university – I had done my research into apprenticeships and realised that loads of them actually A) existed and B) had great starting wages.

I knew that once I got my foot in the door and showed them what I could do and how hard I was willing to work, the rest would follow. It does sound cliché, but it is true that some of the most successful entrepreneurs didn’t go to university – and look at them now! University is not the be all and end all on whether you will make it in life, so try to relax as you think about exactly what it is you want to do.


5) It really is NOT the only option – Nowadays, you stand out more for deciding not to go to university I think. When I told people I was doing an apprenticeship, they were automatically more intrigued as to how I arrived at the decision to do that instead of the ‘norm’.

You can easily search for apprenticeships on the GOV.UK website, and I found Get In, Go Far helpful too! I always get asked how I found what I do now, and it quite simply was just through research on the internet. I found my job on Reed.co.uk!

Look at what you think you would be interested in, look at whether it is possible to get into that without a degree and if so, just go for it! Don’t worry about whether it will be the right or the wrong decision – better to get it wrong now and not when you have a massive amount of university debt!

I also reminded myself that doing an apprenticeship did not mean I was stupid or incapable of doing a degree – I was just taking a different path to get to the same destination as everyone else who wanted to do well.

6) Earn whilst you learn – This was the biggest thing for me. If I could earn money whilst gaining crucial work experience and learning a profession rather than a subject, then I was going to be all over that. Having a profession gives you the option of starting up your own business once you are ready, and allows you to basically work for any company that has a need or department for your profession!


7) Real life & work experience – The biggest issue for graduates is that they cannot get hired because they don’t have enough experience. Couple that with the fact that there are SO many graduates, it is insanely hard to get noticed because the competition is so fierce.

The advantage of going straight into work is that you develop crucial work experience that just cannot be taught or learnt. You are treated as an adult from day one and are given so many opportunities to do th

I work with people who are at least 5 years older than me, but that helped me develop undeniable social skills which would assist my life in general.


8) I was so done with education and was ready for practical learning – I think we can all relate to this one! Obviously, I was so tired of doing exams for things that I knew would never help me in the real world. I wasn’t willing to then pay someone to teach me about something that again, I probably wouldn’t use.

I have sat 9 professional exams in 3 years, so I have done my fair share of studying! But it is so much more rewarding and interesting to do exams that directly help you to do your job better, in order to earn promotions and pay increases. If that isn’t motivation to do well, then I don’t know what is!


9) I wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries – ever heard the saying, if you don’t ask you don’t get?  I was willing to contact as many companies as possible asking for jobs or work experience, on the basis that eventually, somebody would take me on.

So, I applied to roles that maybe required a degree, or some more experience, on the off chance a company may decide to interview me anyway! I rocked into my interview with only 3 A-Levels to my name, but used the time to personally tell them why I was interested in the role and how I would be the best person to hire for the job. Somewhere along the line, that worked out for me and before I knew it, I had landed a professional role in a beautiful office in Central London!



The best bit that leaves me slightly smug? 2 university graduate students who are older than me have joined my team and I am the one training them! They have to do the 3 years worth of exams & training on top of their degrees, whilst I will be done in a couple of months and looking to move up to manager level.

I am aware that all of the above sounds very conceited, and by no means am I trying to show-off. I am actually trying to emphasise just how successful you can be without going to university. And lets face it – if I can do it, anyone can!

I will point out that university is definitely the right decision for some people, and I have the utmost respect for those that go and absolutely run with it. If you are certain uni is what you want to do next, then you should 100% go! If you want to become a doctor for example, there really isn’t any other way other than going to uni, so in that case – this post is pretty pointless!


So is university for you? No-one really knows the answer to that question, but I always think you have to go for your gut and do what you think is best for you! Do not let anyone dictate what that is because at the end of the day, it’s your life, and it’s now or never. (cue the Bon Jovi song).


Please leave me a comment if this helped you in any way – I really hope it does! As always, feel free to ask me any questions and I will get back to you as soon as possible!


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  1. 17/10/2016 / 8:51 PM

    Loved this post! I did a foundation course purely on the fact it was free but I didn’t feel university was for me. The other half is currently doing his placement year for uni and he’s happy but so I am and we’re just as successful as each other tbh. It’s all down to personal preference, loved this. Thanks for sharing and well done!


  2. 17/10/2016 / 9:33 PM

    This is brilliant! I’m like proud of you from afar! I didn’t go to uni either and the whole buying your own car/earning your own achievements/no debt thing really is great. (I had no idea you could earn that much from apprenticeships btw) when you first make that decision it can feel so isolating and like you’re doing the wrong thing because it’s different, but look at you, you’ve done so well! Thanks for sharing, loved it!
    lizziearkell.com xo

  3. 18/10/2016 / 7:12 AM

    There’s many people out there who feel pressured to go to university not realising they have other options, so I’m glad you’ve approached this! Personally, I can’t wait to start Uni and for what I’m studying is impossible to work in the industry without a degree. It’s always a good thing to know your options, thank you for sharing! Xx

  4. 18/10/2016 / 8:55 AM

    Absolutely loved reading this! I did not go to University, instead I spent those years living and working abroad! My life is so different now than I ever could have imagined!
    When I was doing my AS I thought I wanted to go to Keele to study Psychology. The idea still intrigues me, but I don’t think I love it ENOUGH to study it for 3-5 years and have all that debt behind me!
    You go girl! You’re kicking life in butt!

  5. 19/10/2016 / 9:12 AM

    I don’t think your post reads conceited at all Charlie, you’ve done very well out of your decision and obviously been very successful thanks to some hard grafting, so well done! This was a really interesting post and it’s nice to see somebody who didn’t go to University share their experiences; I did go and it was absolutely right for me, even though I don’t really apply any of the theories that were taught, but I certainly did a lot of growing up over those couple of years.

    Great post and thanks for sharing!

    • charliefriend
      26/10/2016 / 8:50 AM

      Hey! Thanks for your comment – I find it very interesting to read other peoples experiences and their opinions! I know you are doing very well for yourself and it is clear uni was definitely the best option for you! I am glad it doesn’t sound conceited haha! x

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