Is studying photography at uni worth it?

There's no beating around the bush here. My opinion is a very strong no. I'll go into a few reasons why in a second but I'll give you guys a quick backstory on how I got started in photography;

I was living at home with parents after getting out of a relationship and always loved the idea of owning a DSLR. Clearly living at parents afforded me a decent amount of disposable income. After a little bit of amateurish shopping around, I bought myself a Nikon D5000. I took a few photos and put it in the bag for around 2 years. I just got into another relationship and I didn't make time for it. So fast forward 2 years. Single again. I made a point to learn how to use my expensive paperweight. Of course, the only way to actually learn photography is through a course or uni... I thought. Anyway, I enrolled in an online course which I didn't feel like I learned anything worth knowing in 3 months. I turned to YouTube to teach myself and the rest is history. I still had to pay for the course but it was worth it because it opened my eyes. Over the coming year, I watched and read so much and absorbed it all in like a sponge. 

That's my story. I tried formal education and hated it. 

Why do I think uni studying isn't worth it?

Firstly, in the real world you are judged on your photos, NOT your degree. A degree sounds all well and good but if your photos suck then that degree was for nothing and you're not going to get jobs. I took a Harvard University course last year and skipped straight to the test to see if I could pass without studying. Humouring myself I guess. I did, and I got a couple of questions wrong. I can't remember exactly what they were but one was something about the cones and rods in your eyes. I don't know about you, but I don't really care about that stuff. Give me techniques and actual shooting experience.

Secondly, it's the ridiculous assignments you get given. A friend recently put up a post online asking if they could visit a random person's home who has a skip in their garden and take photos of it. Then take an item out of the skip and shoot a still life with it... You're paying for that assignment! And getting judged on it too! I know the idea behind it has a purpose but you can set yourself assignments and make them into portfolio-worthy photos.

Thirdly, I don't like the pretentiousness of some people. You'll find that some people think the only pure form of photography is black and white film and anything else is beneath them. Same with digital post-processing etc. I'd much rather not deal with those people.

Fourth, it's very restricting. Say you have a passion for shooting live music. Surely you should focus on shooting your passion as opposed to the skip junk still life or other random assignments..?

Fifth. Cost, This degree is going to cost you alot. Invest that money into a little equipment, one on one training, books, travel etc. If you think the degree is going to cost you £20k, that's a decent amount of all of the above...

Sixth. These keep coming, don't they?! If you're planning to make money and a business out of photography then your degree probably isn't teaching any of that. Don't get me wrong, some do. But the majority don't. Investing in a business degree seems a little more sensible in that regard.

I'll leave it at that.. As you can see, I really don't see formal education as money well spent. As a constantly evolving artist, you should be in the mindset to learn and grow on your own accord. Not only that but tailoring your self-education to your own situation.

I've been very negative so far so I'll give a few positives too;

You'll get to use equipment and be shown how to use it too. You should have a team of other people around to bounce ideas off and pick their brains. You'll learn to work in a team with other people and learn to collaborate with others that aren't photographers. You'll learn how to work to meet assignment requirements too. 

Ultimately the choice is down to you.