Graduate Blog

Can you put a price on a qualification?


I am nearly at the end of my Creative Writing degree now and as I look back I ask myself the following question, was it all worth it? After university, I will get a job and be dumped with probably £10,000 worth of debt. Something that has been annoying me for a while is that my course is not a full three years but that is what I will end up paying for. It wasn’t too bad in first year but I just found out that third year lessons finish in March and I carry on handing in assignments until the first week of May and that’s it, done. But hang on a minute. Am I or am I not paying for three full years of education? October until May is the full university year that I have experienced on my course with at least eight weeks off due to holidays. If I actually included the number of cancelled lectures and lessons cut short that I have experienced over the past there years, I would get a hell of a lot of money knocked off my final total that I owe to student finance.

I also feel like my tutors could have taught me more. I understand that single honours Creative Writing is a relatively new course but I think they missed out opportunities to connect the students with the writing and publishing industry. I am scared to graduate and know nothing about the business that I am trying to get into, so I have been researching and working hard in my spare time to get as much information as possible. But why did they not teach me all of that on my Creative Writing course? They briefly mentioned it in first year but that was it. Surely, if we had less time off there would be room for another module to teach us about the business side of writing.

Now it isn’t all bad. I have improved my craft dramatically over the past three years and I have made friends for life but I can’t help but wish I had learnt more. Does anyone else feel the same way about their degrees or is it just me? Are students actually getting their money’s worth? Can you put a price on a qualification? I think that the course I have done would be better as a two year short course rather than three. The final year has just been assignment based and I have been spending more time at home doing my coursework than actually being taught by the tutors.

I know that in one of my previous posts I encouraged people to do a Creative Writing degree and it is great to improve your writing skills but don’t expect to learn too much about the industry or ways to publish your writing. There are many ways they can improve Creative Writing degrees for future students and I really hope they do. I do not regret my degree choice but I do feel like £10,000 is a lot of money to pay for a course that I am not fully satisfied with.

About the Author

Emma-Jane Barlow Emma-Jane Barlow

My name is Emma-Jane Barlow and I am currently in my last year at Edge Hill University where I am studying Creative Writing. During the past three years I have found my voice as a writer and I am now looking to find my place in the industry. One day I hope to be a novelist and see my book sitting on a Waterstones shelf. In the meantime, I am working as a freelance writer alongside my studies. In my spare time I make my way through the unread section of my bookshelf, drink lots of coffee and try to stay sane as I write two novels. My brain never stops spinning and my fingers never stop typing. Some may say I am crazy, but I’m a writer, I live for the insanity.

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