Royal Navy Vs University

Discussion in 'Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting' started by Tomahawk, Jul 15, 2009.

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  1. Right, I need people's advice. I am currently in year 12, going into year 13 at my 6th form. I am taking Maths, Physics, History (and dropping Politics.) I have passed my RN medical and awaiting my final interview before the AIB. My choice is do I go to Uni and study History or go straight into the Navy as a Warfare Officer. If I did go to Uni, then I would go straight in after as a Warfare Officer anyway.


  2. I'd go to uni, you only really get that one chance to experience it at that age, you can go back as a mature student, but I don't think it's the same.

    You start off on a decent wage at BRNC with a degree, and with the average AIB age being 23.5 you'll probably fit in with more people at Dartmouth.
  3. A degree would possibly stand you in better stead for after your career in the RN. Also, I know that normally your AIB will only last for 12 months, will they allow it to carry over for you if you went to uni and joined up afterwards?

    P.S. my ex studied history at uni and he's not ended up using it specifically now he's in work so depends how much you love the subject. However, time at uni is awesome and something I'd recommend everyone to do!! :D And no, not just on about the partying...honest! :p
  4. A history degree is not really going to be that much use if you want a career as a Warfare Officer. Why go to uni for 3 years and then come out with a mountain of debt if you can join The Andrew as an occifer straight from school and get paid now to do what you'll otherwise do in 3 years time?
  5. This is exactly my son's argument for not going to Uni and going into the RN straight from 6th form. I know his teachers would like him to go to Uni but there again they don't have to worry about how the dickens its going to be funded.

    Not sure how true this is but isn't it the case that the RN would like to see more people join up straight from school? Also I thought you could do a degree whilst training to be an Officer that the RN will pay for?

    OP what advice have you had from your school / parents?
  6. Get yourself in, there are very few cons with regard to going in early. There are opportunities to study whilst you serve so just go for it.
  7. I would go to university, however my advice would be forget the History degree and concentrate on using your Maths and Physics to attain a GOOD degree, one which will give you the best chance of employment once you graduate.
  8. Slim makes a good point (and that comes from someone who loves History).

    OP can I also ask what the thought process is about droping Politics which to me is more compatible with History and continuing with two, what I would consider, science subjects.

    (Not saying you are wrong to do this btw its just I'm curious about the thought process thats all!)
  9. Well I really enjoy History, which is why I would be studying it at University. As to why I dropped politics, although I like and enjoy it, I really wanted to keep History and Maths and Physics are two other subjects that I enjoy but not as much.

    Cadetsmum, that was in the June edition of Navy News from Commodore BRNC.
  10. Many people love History, Geography and Media Studies.
    However there is no reason why you should not continue your History education after gaining a degree.
    In these times of unemployed (and unemployable) graduates who have finished university with debts and no chance of finding employment relevant to their degree it is more important than ever to choose your degree wisely.
  11. I agree with Jimmy Green, why study a subject if the job you intend going for dont require it, i know uni life is good, but to be honest Naval life is far better and minus the debt, in a starange way its pretty much the same except you are getting paid to learn a subject that will help you in life.
    But its each to their own.
  12. A good degree is a passport to jobs for life. RN training is good but in many cases is only useful while in the RN. The management and planning aspects of course can be utilised in later life (if the civie employer recognises these transferable skills)
  13. Against the trend, but that's what a debate is about, right?

    I degree in History will set you in good stead for post-graduate employment, whatever your chosen occupation. History grads often find employment in various sectors, particularly legal, political, educational, media and retail, to name but a few. Take a look at for info on what your degree can show about YOU and the skills you have learned.

    If you enjoy History more than your subject AND you choose to go to university, choose to study History. If you go to university studying something you don't enjoy, BUT something you feel will set you in good stead for your future career, you won't enjoy it as much. University is all about experience, freedom and a bit of learning...

    Christ I sound like a bloomin' travel agent trying to flog a holiday.

    By the way, in case anyone wondered, I'm studying History and Politcs.
  14. I made my comment based on the OP wanting to study history then join the mob as a Warfare Officer. If however he was to study a subject related to his role in the Navy I would then say go to university first.

    I am interested in history, but I don't see the relevance of a history degree unless one is going into employment in that field. Doing a history degree for it's own sake might be enjoyable but pointless. Politics might be more relevant for a military career and with a politics degree and a military background there could be plenty of scope for post RN employment.
  15. No offence mate but that's a load of crap.

    I know people unemployed at the moment with good Maths and Physics degrees. I know Oxbridge engineers who can't get a sniff of work.

    On the other hand I know history graduates of the same age who are doing really well in Whitehall, TV production, corporate communications, teaching in the independent sector - and God forbid the Armed Forces - and any other number of jobs calling for qualitiative analysis and good communications skills.

    This is purely anecdotal, the point being - much as I hate the fact it's the case - the premium your degree earns is only partly governed by your subject. It's often governed simply by where you've done it. There's no denying your general point that science degrees often are more vocational in a narrow sense. It's also true that humanities degrees are more adaptable in a broader sense, and far better for fields like comms (which are still hiring). Given that firms across the board are engaging in hiring freezes arts degrees often give you more posts to aim for. It may be the case things will have loosened up considerably in three years anyway - it can hardly be worse one hopes.

    The irony being the idea that something like history is 'flannel' was what a friend of mine's father preached to him. He did microbiology and at 30 is now earning less than 20K as a lab tester (effectively).

    One of his peers at school did history (not at Oxbridge) and at the same age is now earning over £50K in corporate communications.

    Oh and equating history - a degree which dates back to the nineteenth century at the ancient universities - with media studies proves you know very little about the subject of post-university career trajectories.

    If you go into the service without a degree you start at a lower rank and earn less from the beginning. You lose an unrivalled opportunity to broaden your horizons and also to reflect at length on whether the Navy is the right career for you. A degree is not an optional extra - it is something that will give you extra confidence and a more developed skillset from the moment you arrive at Dartmouth. There is a good solid *reason* why the average Dartmouth entrant is in their early 20s.

    Tomahawk, if you do join the service now I respect your choice and good luck - I hope it's a fabulous career for you. If you choose to go to university study the subject you love, have a great time and when push comes to shove put the hard graft in to get a good classification. That WILL matter later on. And jimmy_green, a history degree won't do you much good as a warfare officer? Apart from enabling you to see current events in long-term perspective, enabling you to see the pros and cons of the conflicts you become involved in, teaching you historical lessons about leadership, and enabling you to communicate in a sophisticated and succinct fashion - you are right it's absolutely useless.

    Tomahawk, good luck whatever you choose.
  16. Tomahawk

    When I said about the RN prefering getting their hands on recruits straight after school, it was following a conversation I had with someone at an Open Day last year.

    What he told me (and how true this and whether the RN would ever admit it is another story!) is that the RN preferred this as they found that people who had been to university were already part-moulded, personality wise whereas people straight from sixth form were more pliable so to speak. I know of the interview that you refer to but I think the BRNC Commodore gave a different slant on it didn't he.........tbh his reasoning sounds alot less scary than the reason I was given, lol!

    Have you looked at the degree programme I mentioned? I did a quick search on the RN website and found this*/changeNav/3533/noRedirect/1
    which may give you more food for thought. Just becasue the OU isn't a bricks and mortar university don't think that the degrees from there are not recognised or are worth less - it is a widely respected institution to get a degree from.

    Have you decided to give up Politics regardless of your AS results ? I know my son is waiting for his GSCE results and although he has sort of decided what to do for A Levels, as I told him wait for the results to come out before making a final decision - there's always that rouge result (both good and bad) that throws a spanner in the works!

    I dont' envy your decision at all - what ever you do, you'll be told you're doing the wrong thing. What we have found is that the school system seems to be set up for automatic progression to Uni after 6th form and anyone who considers anything else is considered to be wasting an opportunity. Just make sure that your decision is the right one for YOU.
  17. Absolute Bullshit!

    I don't know of any Oxbridge Engineering graduands/graduates who cannot get a job. There are some that are not looking for jobs though.

    The only good reason to study History at uni is for all of the free time you will have. You will have say 6 hours of lectures per week (if you attend). You will find that many history students get involved in loads of extracurricular stuff, gain life experience and develop into highly employable people. It is not so much which degree you study that will land you a job (there are lots of jobs in every sector), but it is more to do with you as an individual and how you can stand out over other candidates.

    Going to university offers the potential for you to develop as an individual and help you to pass the RN officer selection process, but conversely, if you want to join the RN at a younger age this will be taken into account, and if you show enough potential you are just as likely to pass.

    Not an easy decision, but good luck!
  18. I've just re-read my post and I was right when I thought that I never said that a history degree is absolutely useless.

    Mind you, if it is that important to a Warfare Officer, as you seem to suggest, why isn't it a requirement?

    I'm not attacking the value of a history degree per se, but you seem to be rather defensive of it. I still maintain that a politics degree is of more relevance to a Warfare Officer. You don't have to have a degree to have an understanding and an appreciation of the need to learn from past events.

    I too struggle to believe this. Exactly HOW MANY Oxbridge engineers do you actually know that can't get a job? One? Two? Dozens? Take a look at Monster's website and have a look at the amount of engineering jobs that are constantly coming up, and in all parts of the country. If you do know someone then they are being too choosey about the work they are going for. Admittedly, a lot of those jobs are asking for particular levels of relevant experience, so no matter what qualifications you have, if you don't have that experience you will struggle to compete against someone who does have it. But that's the same across all areas of employment.

    Anyway, this is all thread drift, comparing values of particular degrees. They might be a nice to have, but if they are not asked for in the first place for a particular naval role, then they're unnecessary.
  19. Thanks shipsnthat, thats really good advice and I will take that onboard :)

    To all those people saying why take history instead of politics:
    1. I enjoy History
    2. History is a subject I am passionate about and would enjoy doing at Uni.
    3. A degree is not needed to be a Warfare Officer, therefore how much better is Politics compared to History
    when becoming one.

    Cadetsmum, I decided to drop politics before I got my results as it is my least useful subject and the one I enjoy the least. (I do enjoy it but not as much as the other ones.)
  20. A politics degree is no more necessary than a history degree if you want to be a Warfare Officer, so why go for a degree in the first place if you don't need it? If you intend to do your history degree anyway, why come on here and ask? 3 years at uni will, unless you've got a wedge stashed away, land you in a fair bit of student debt, or you could join the navy and earn a reasonable salary over the same period. Now if your degree gives you enough seniority and makes up for the salary that you've not earned and pays for your debt, then do your degree.

    If you are a high flyer in your naval career and achieve high rank, say 1 star and upwards, you may quite probably end up dealing with politicians or need to have a good appreciation of the political ramifications that any decisions you make will have. You only have to look at how what the commanders on the ground in Afghanistan say affects political decisions in parliament. The latest being today in PMQs regarding insufficient helicopters.

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