Traditional College Path is not the Answer for All

Traditional College Path is not the Answer for All

McKenna Wright, Junior Staff Writer

For many teens all around the world, what they are planning to do after high school is constantly on their minds. From the time a student enter high school,  everything he or she does is centered around what comes next. Teachers are constantly talking about college, everything from one’s major to his/her resume. Many teens begin to feel as though the only way to become successful is to get into a good college and begin a career after graduation, as this is what has been preached to them for the good majority of their lives. However college just isn’t right for everyone, and there are other alternatives.

Many students in high schools all around the world would describe themselves as not “school oriented” people. They might not have the best grades, and thinking about four more years of studying and tests isn’t always appealing. However,  what many students don’t realize is there are other ways to be successful. A good alternative to college is entering the field of skilled trades. As a whole, skilled trades sound very difficult, and kind of intimidating, but when broken down, it’s not as threatening as one thinks. Skilled trades, or an apprenticeships, encompass many different jobs, anything from construction to manufacturing. All jobs are in high demand for workers and don’t require any higher education like college, making them a good next step after high school. After being accepted into the job field that most interests an applicant, the student is trained in the skill on site. While someone is being trained in his or her chosen area, the candidate earns a steady income, helping one to begin an independent life.  “If I were to not go to college, I would do an apprenticeship. I’d be earning money, learning how to do my job of choice, and I’d come out of it with a stable career,” says senior Natalie Horvath.  If a student is more “handy” than book skilled, these trades are an excellent choice. 

Some students only try to avoid college because of the monstrous student fees that come along with it. While trying to think about alternatives to a typical four- year education, many people jump straight to the military.  This can be a great option. Enlisting in the armed forces not only allows one to serve his or her country, but it also gives one  the opportunity to receive a college education without the crushing debt. Additionally,  enlisting provides benefits should one decide to attend college. As stated in “Joining the Military After High School- Benefits and Risks”, Specifically, all military service members are eligible for tuition assistance while on active duty or in the Reserves.”  This can be a great way for a reserve member to still attend college while serving his or her country.

Lastly, if the idea of a boss, and a 9-5 job are just not ideal, another good option to consider is starting an entrepreneurial journey. If someone has big ideas or ways to help service others and make life easier, becoming his or her own boss is slightly more achievable than one thinks. All someone needs is the knowledge of what he or she wants to do, and the will to make it happen. In an article titled “7 Ways to Become and Entrepreneur,” the author itemizes the following: 1) Find or Create the Right Business; 2)Determine if you should get an Education;  3)Plan your Business; 4) Find your Target Group or Audience;  5)Network; 6) Sell your Idea; and 7) Market. For many the uncertainty sounds terrifying. While it may be hard to start out, if one is truly dedicated, then he or she can push through to make it happen. 

Maybe being one’s own boss isn’t the right fit either; however if someone has a good skill set in a particular area and just wants to enter the workforce, there is nothing wrong with that. “If I decided that college wasn’t the best option for me I would use the skills and knowledge that I have and pursue cosmetology,” says Junior Angelina Russ. This is a great option as well if someone has a passion for an area and wants to go far with it. 

Deciding what to do after high school is a demanding task, but never impossible. College is an amazing option to kickstart one’s life; however, it is not the only one. It might be scary to eliminate college and abandon the expected, but what’s more important than that sense of familiarity and comfort is what makes someone happy. College might not be the best option for a student, but these and many more alternatives, may help someone find the career path that best suits him or her