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How to Defend Your Reasons for Not Going to College

Updated on March 17, 2013

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.

Higher Ed can open up a world of possibilities, but it is not for everyone.
Higher Ed can open up a world of possibilities, but it is not for everyone. | Source

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.

Conclusions

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.

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    • cprice75 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Price 

      6 years ago from USA

      Thanks. Now...getting a job. That's the next goal. :)

    • profile image

      alwaysamber 

      6 years ago

      Good luck to you on finishing up with your doctorate degree! That's truly an accomplishment!

    • cprice75 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Price 

      6 years ago from USA

      Thanks for visiting, Amber. I like college, too. I've spent about 10 years of my life in higher ed--more if you count part-time study. I enjoy learning, and am currently finishing up a doctorate. I just wrote the hub because some people are just not cut out for college, and they should not be looked down upon. They can still be successful as you noted.

    • profile image

      alwaysamber 

      6 years ago

      I actually went to college and have a B.A. in Mass Communications. It took me about a year and a half to actually find the career that I'm in now, however, I did land a job in a different industry a month after I'd graduated. I know that college is not for everyone, but it can be beneficial. My last employer told me that he noticed that I have a degree and that's what attracted him to my resume. Employers do notice those things. I do also think that if someone doesn't go to college, they can also be very successful. I have family members who chose not to go to college, but they had great jobs and now a great retirement. I think that it just depends on the person and what their preference is. I enjoyed college.

    • cprice75 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Price 

      6 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the share. I've had these students who don't care before. They are wasting their money and both their and my time. Of course, as a teacher, I love teaching those who are ready and willing to engage.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      You have made excellent points. There are people who are not ready for college -they need to mature. There are people who are miserable in college, but would do very well and enjoy a trade. Both of these types are in my classroom and racking up debt when they probably shouldn't be. Excellent hub. Sharing.

    • cprice75 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Price 

      6 years ago from USA

      Hello Kat. Thanks for visiting. I agree that many people can benefit from college. I've been in college for about 12 years overall--7 of those full-time. There are people who should wait to go for a few years until they can benefit. There are also those citizens who cannot achieve at the necessary level to successfully complete college. For those who are going to goof off or who cannot do the workload, college would be a bad investment, IMHO.

    • KatSanger profile image

      Katherine Sanger 

      6 years ago from Texas

      I agree that not everyone wants to go to college, but I really think that so many people can benefit from it. I hated school while I was in high school, but I was able to find that some colleges are different. Personally, I think that community college is worth it for everyone, even if it's just for some fun classes to learn about something you love, like a continuing education class.

    • cprice75 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Price 

      6 years ago from USA

      I am one of those college nerds, and I've done alright with it. I do, however, understand that not everyone needs or can achieve a college education.

    • Johnkadu123 profile image

      Johnkadu123 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      This is a very important issue. Not everyone that goes to college is a useful member of the community. In fact many of them are just educated fools with no practical skills. If you select a course that you like and make use of the skills you have learnt then life becomes easier. Otherwise you can become a nerd with so many degrees that serve no purpose. I have seen far too many people go down this route and they end up doing something that does not require a college education at all.

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