In thirteen years of schooling, you’ve always been told what to do. Wake up at 7, eat when we tell you to, do your homework, learn what we prescribe. When you reach the end of high school you start to feel like you’ll break free soon and you’ll finally have some independence but in reality, your choices can be pretty limited to the options that you’ve been told about.

It’s especially the case if you’re doing well at school. Your parents and teachers sort of just assume you’ll be heading on to uni, even if you’re unsure about whether it’s where you want to be. Just because you’re getting the grades doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to follow a particular path, but it can be difficult finding out about your other options when uni seems to be the only thing being talked about. 

In fact, in our research we found that 66% of young people felt their parents had a good understanding of university, compared to only 27% for apprenticeships and traineeships and 16% for vocational education. And it’s their understanding that gets passed on to us. It shows too; we found that only 23% of you guys thought of an apprenticeship as an education pathway (which it is), and instead saw apprenticeships as an employment option or didn’t understand them enough to say.

It’s super normal to be unsure about the whole university thing. In fact, a lot of people end up going to uni with this uncertainty, which could be the reason that only 66% of uni students finish their degrees within six years. The rest either end up going part-time or pfaff around changing their degrees or just drop out altogether. It makes sense too; from the stats above, we can see many of us are making decisions without having a clear picture of all the choices available to them.

If you’re not sure about university then that’s totally fine—it simply means you might just have to do a bit more research to ensure you’re getting all the info about your options. Making a decision about what you want to do when you leave school isn’t the be-all-and-end-all by any means, but it’s still a big decision and chances are you want to be trying to get it right the first time round to save yourself the time, effort and cash.

If you’re unsure about going to uni but don’t really know what else could be suited to you, there are services out there that can help you do the research. Our mates over at VERTO have created a program called CareerGate, which will assess your interests and skills to help you get matched with the type of training course that’s suited to you. From there, they can help you find a placement in that industry if you decide that’s what you want to do, usually through an apprenticeship, traineeship or another vocational training course. You might want to sit down with a cuppa to do it; overall the program takes about 40 minutes to complete, but most of it is answering questions that will help build a picture of what kind of industry you could work in – so think of it like a Buzzfeed quiz that’s actually useful.

At the end of the day, it’s all about knowing what’s out there for you so it’s a good idea to do a bit of research and broaden your horizons about the available options. You never know, you might find something you like much better than the uni courses you’ve heard about. Jump over here to sus out CareerGate and start figuring out what else you could do.