College Isn’t for Everyone. Here’s Why

The idea that a college bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma is widespread in today’s society. From a young age, students are told that they need a college degree to obtain any kind of meaningful employment. Although 88% of employed 20-24-year-olds have taken that idea to heart, that doesn’t mean that college is vital, or helpful, for everyone. Let’s look at a few facts:

  • As of 2015, 9% of traditionally aged college students fail to persist to degree completion annually. The cost of tuition and the difficulties associated with going to school while working at the same time are top reasons why students abandon their studies. If students are struggling financially, it may be best for them to wait until they are confident in their ability to finance a complete education before beginning one.
  • In a similar vein, college loan default rates are declining (10.7% in FY 2017), but that isn’t reassuring to those who are still unable to pay their debts. Students who default on their college loan repayments suffer a low credit score as a consequence. This low credit score may go on to affect their ability to get loans in the future, inhibiting their abilities to be independent.
  • Simply put, not all students are suited to the classroom learning that occurs on college campuses. Rather than attend a vocational training program as has occurred in the past, these students are attempting, and, unfortunately, often failing, to pursue traditional 4-year degree programs. Because of the stigma associated with attending vocational training programs, less students are entering into them. Instead, they are attending 4 year college programs and finding that they are unable to complete them. After only having earned a few college credits, they are ineligible for the more lucrative positions that a vocational training program might have prepared them for.

In light of these facts, perhaps it is time to emphasize career paths that are accessible outside of university halls. When a student has the potential to earn more and contribute more meaningfully to a vocational position, it would seem to make more sense to destigmatize the industrial sector. Let’s start looking at all types of degrees and certifications as having the potential for growth and success instead of merely those with a $100,000 price tag.



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