ADULT life is all about choices. It’s the first thing we learn when we leave childhood behind and prepare to join the bewildering world beyond the school gates. And one of the first choices we are compelled to make is whether to go on, if we are able, to university.

University isn’t for everyone, even when qualified for it. Some people, of a more practical bent, want to get their hands dirty right away. They want to build or repair. They don’t want to learn the philosophical principles of building management. Others are would-be entrepreneurs, keen to get started and build a business empire.

Some people simply want to start earning, with a view to acquiring a car, or getting on the property ladder early, or possibly just enjoying life (which – second thing you learn in adulthood – can involve a fair bit of expenditure).

READ MORE: Schools 'shun jobs and apprenticeships' in drive to get more pupils to university

However, a survey for the Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee suggests that such people – across the board – are being pushed into going to university. One reason for this might be that schools are under pressure to send as many pupils as possible to this singularly “positive destination”. The more the merrier for the school’s status.

It’s also the case that widening access to university is a key aim of the Scottish Government, and rightly so. No-one is saying university is a bad thing. Far from it. But it might not be right for everybody, including some of the brightest.

Some evidence suggests a blanket approach is taken to advising pupils about the first big choice they have to make in life. In many instances, according to the pupils themselves, they are told little or nothing about alternatives. The advice or encouragement they receive is not tailored to them as individuals, except in so much as they are bright – and, therefore, have little choice but university.

Another choice our young people have is the armed services. But, here again, according to a submission by the Quakers in Scotland and ForcesWatch to the petitions committee, they’re not being told everything.

In particular, it is claimed, the Army is distinctly coy about discussing the risks, both from physical injury and post-traumatic stress syndrome. The services are accused of taking advantage, as the jargon has it, of “adolescent cognitive and psychosocial vulnerabilities”.

READ MORE: Schools 'shun jobs and apprenticeships' in drive to get more pupils to university

In view of this, Petitions Committee convener Johann Lamont has advised that armed forces visits should reflect “both the opportunities and the risks”. That is only sensible.

For, whether it is to be university, the armed services, a trade, a job or a business, making that all-important choice is dependent on having as much information as possible. And it is incumbent on schools and forces alike to provide this.