College isn’t a mandatory step in every student’s life. In fact, a lot of people would benefit from not going to a university.
Almost every college student can remember the teachers and counselors in high school who pushed for every student to graduate and move onto a secondary-education institution. Contrary to popular belief, mostly among older generations, this influence by public-education professionals is not warranted and is hardly beneficial.
College is not for everyone, One reason is cost. Originally college was for the economically elite — and it’s almost impossible to say anything has changed. In Utah alone 41 percent of students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2015 had student loans, and the total average was over $18,000. In other states, such as Idaho, 71 percent of students who graduated from a four-year college in 2015 had student loans, which totaled over $27,000. The total student-loan debt hit $1.3 trillion in 2017, becoming the second highest consumer debt in the nation. Credit card debt and auto loans rank just below student-loan debt. Mortgage loans remain the top consumer debt as of 2017.
Without considering the rising costs of college, not everyone should attend a four-year institution. There are other options for students besides college. For certain degrees, like cosmetology and culinary, it is more practical to go to vocational school than it is to get a bachelor’s degree. In most careers where a master’s or doctorate degree is not required, it seems almost silly to choose a non-mandated degree over an apprenticeship or internship. Internships offer networking and possible growth, or paid positions, within the company when the time comes to fill an empty role.
Then there’s the fact that not all people are cut out for college. For many people, school is not their strong suit. There are many intelligent people in the world who cannot thrive confined to the limitations schools and universities create. For example, Steve Jobs was not the ideal student while attending Homestead High School. Before Jobs was co-founding Microsoft and inventing Apple products, he received a 2.65 GPA on the typical 4.0 scale. Universities are difficult to say the least. The work loads are almost impossible and subject matter can be a bit two-dimensional. Not everyone has the aptitude to succeed in such a competitive and demanding environment; their strong suits are better highlighted in a different setting.
College was never a question for me because my career choice demands higher education and advanced degrees. After all, no one wants their doctor to be confused about which is the brain and which is the kidney. Despite the need for a degree, I enjoy learning. I’m willing to bury myself in student loans to access more information and a greater understanding than I could get from a simple Google search.
Although I don’t believe a four-year university is the best choice for everyone, I do maintain that every person should continue to strive for knowledge after high school. Whether it is through vocational schools, internships or even universities, no one person could gain all of the necessary information through the four short years provided in a public high school.
With that said, this isn’t meant to push interested students away, but it is meant to have them think critically about their situations. Each individual needs to make choices that best pertain to their life goals.