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How to Defend Your Reasons for Not Going to College
The common mantra heard by guidance counselors all over the country is that just about every student should go to college after high school because a college degree is a sure way to get ahead and make more money over the course of a career. There are some studies that argue that a college degree will lead to about $1 million in additional lifetime earnings for those who hold it. A recent article by US News and World Report indicated that this estimate may be a bit off, and that college graduates will wind up making about $300,000 more over the course of a working career. This is substantial money, but are the risks worth it?
There is no doubt that a college degree will pay off for most people in the long run, but there can be very good reasons for people not to go to college, especially right out of high school. Here are a few reasons that can be easily used to justify skipping out on higher ed.
The Cost of Higher Education
One of the leading reasons why a student may not need to go to college is the cost of higher education. In many markets, the sticker price of a college degree can come close to $250,000. Of course, the Obamas or the Romneys can afford such a price, but it is well outside the range of affordability for most Americans, even those who are very hard-working and frugal.
Community colleges can cut the cost of attending college greatly, as can scholarships, but there is also the opportunity cost of lost income. A student who can get a reasonably good-paying job right out of high school can bank much of that money for a rainy day and get ahead of their cohort when it comes to finances.
Some Students Do not Like School
How many people sit through high school idly, just doing enough to get by so that they can get their diploma and then get out into the real world? How many people make the lives of their teachers and serious students problematic because of their incessant goofing off? These people may not do well in college.
Maturity is important for those who are about to embark upon a college degree program. Those who are immature and do not like school are likely to goof off and waste a large portion of the funds that they expend on a college education. These students may be well-served to go to work and then come back for additional education at a later date.
Trades Do Not Need a Degree
There will always be a demand for certain types of laborers. Those who can paint, fix plumbing, or weld will always be a needed segment of society because they have skills that are not held by much of the population. These skills can provide a solid income for many people. They also require a certification, not a degree.
People who go to vocational schools can usually get their certification in a matter of months, not the four years that are required for earning a standard bachelor's degree. These additional years of working in a trade can add up when it comes to a retirement at the end of life. They also provide experience for those who are able to be successful and build up a good reputation.
Some Students Do Not Do Well in School
The idea behind "No Child Left Behind" was that just about all children could achieve at a high level. This is not necessarily the case. Some students are more apt to learn in a scholarly environment, while others have learning disabilities.
A learning disability does not necessarily mean that a student cannot achieve at a high level in college, but it should cause some people to pause when thinking about going to college. There are jobs that people who have difficulty in school can do, and some of them can pay quite well. Being successful is a matter of finding a niche and then striving to achieve in that niche.
There is some serious pressure for most high school students to go to college. Higher education can be an extremely rewarding endeavor, but not everyone is cut out for college. There are several good reasons for not going to school right after high school graduation. There are also opportunities available to earn a living and gain experience that are not related to a classroom. Pointing out these options and reasons for not going to school to friends and family can alleviate some of the pressure that may be evident.