For A-Level college students who are wishing to attend university, choosing what to study is one of the hardest decisions that they will have to make. Students who have a clear idea of the career path that they wish to take need to think carefully about how their choice of subject could affect their chances of success. For those who have academic careers in their sights, subject choice may be straightforward. But for students who are a little more creative, and excel in less traditional subjects, they run the risk of their choice being considered a ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree.
A ‘Mickey Mouse degree’ is a term used to describe a course that is untraditional, not particularly academic and considered by some to be of less value to a student when they enter the job market after graduation. In 2013, David Cameron spoke out against the snobbery towards vocational and creative subjects, stating that the only way to get rid of the stigma attached to them was to properly assess whether they could realistically lead students to the jobs that they want to do. Mr Cameron believes that the introduction of tuition fees means students put more thought into their subject choices, and think more about the impact that the choices will have on what they want to do later in life. So if a student has sufficiently assessed their options and decided that a degree in Applied Golf Management is what will help them to reach their goals, their decision should be taken seriously.
The key to moving away from using the term could be establishing whether or not a subject is challenging, even if it is not considered to be traditionally academic. For those who choose to study media at an A-Level college and wish to go on to do a degree in this subject, this would be particularly beneficial. Media has long been considered to be a ‘soft’ subject at A Level, and would likely be labelled a ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree by some, but perhaps that comes from its critics not having a full understanding of what the courses entail. Students are taught how to work within a ruthless industry, an industry that has one of the biggest influences on our world today. Learning how to navigate that, in addition to getting to grips with the cultural and social theory, is no mean feat. The pressure that students are faced with on these courses is said to be similar to what they would encounter if they found themselves with a job in media. Elements of media are even taught at leading universities such as Harvard and Stanford at postgraduate level, so could it be that it;s just us Brits who have this attitude towards certain subjects?
The fact remains that without the wide range of non-academic subjects now available at degree level, many students would be reluctant to apply to university at all. So making sure there is a place for students of all interests in higher education can only be beneficial.