Months before graduating from high school, teens can face a flurry of questions from parents, guidance counselors and friends about what do they plan to do with their life after high school. Teens do tend to avoid these questions because even they haven’t got a clue of what to do next. This can seem like a lot of pressure to them, because they don’t want to let their loved ones down. Of course, some teens already have their whole life planned out for them. Usually, after high school, they further their education by attending the same college and fraternity their parents and grandparents attended, so that they can pass this tradition down to their children and so on. However, certain people are not able to attend college due to financial or family-related circumstances. So what does this mean? Should a person just write themselves off as having an unsuccessful future just because they didn’t attend college?
No matter what college advisors would say otherwise, attending college is not a guarantee of success in the field you endeavor. Everywhere you look; there are advertisements that bombard people to attend college in order to have a successful life. Teens are lured into thinking that after graduating from college they’ll make lots of money, drive a sports car and own a luxurious dream house. So they jump on the bandwagon with dollar signs in their eyes, hoping that their diploma will be their golden ticket to help them get everything they’ve always wanted. But during their freshman year, their expectations change rather quickly as college is not as easy as it seems. After graduating, some have difficulty getting hired due to lack of work experience and/or being over qualified. In some cases, people won’t even get an interview if they did not graduate from a “well-known” school. In the end, most graduates are stuck with a mounting debt, and have no choice but to find any job that is available, even if it is not what they had majored in, and not to mention getting paid much less than what they'd hoped for.
This is not to say that everyone that attends college won’t make any money and never pursue the field they’d studied, but rather the point is in some fields, colleges are turning out more graduates than there are available jobs. Some might say, “Well, if having a degree is not that important than why do so many jobs require one?” According to an article titled, “Are Too Many People Going to College?” written by Charles Murray, brings up a point as to why employers require a degree. He states, “Employers value the B.A. because it is a no-cost (for them) screening device for academic ability and perseverance. The more people who go to college, the more sense it makes for employers to require a B.A. Knowing this, large numbers of students are in college to buy their admission ticket—the B.A.” In some cases, employers feel that people with a college degree are more likely to have better social skills, communicate more effectively, and better at presenting themselves professionally. Whereas a person without a college degree, or didn’t graduate from high school, lack in social skills, tend to be more abrasive and more likely to commit crimes, which I don’t agree with. Personally, it’s unfair to judge a person’s capability based on what area they grew up in.
Just for clarification, in no way is this article encouraging a person not to attend college, but rather to be more informed of what other options there are besides college. For some teens is it difficult to explain to their parents that they don’t want to attend college. But parents feel that college is the only way their kid(s) can have a successful future. Though your parents mean well and want what is best for you, in the end it is your life. So, talk with your parents and try to compromise by meeting them halfway. Maybe by taking a short-term college course, or an apprenticeship program, or even getting a trade so you can obtain a license in a particular field. If you already know what you want to do in life, do research on what requirements are necessary for a particular job. If you are looking for a job solely based on making lots of money, it's best to find a job that is in high demand, but with limited competition. Murray also mentions that, “The income for the top people in a wide variety of occupations that do not require a college degree is higher than the average income for many occupations that require a B.A.” But if you want a job that is based on what you have a passion for, regardless of how much money you make, than choose a field that best fits your interests.
Sometimes, right after people graduate from high school they start working by taking the lowest position within a company and in time work their way up to becoming a manager of their own dept., or even obtaining a much higher position. The key to success in the work force is having tenacity, being a hard worker, and setting realistic goals. Having book smarts and being business savvy are completely different. Even if a person is not able to attend college it doesn’t make them any less of a human being. But that doesn’t mean a person has to stop learning new things. As corny as it sounds “Knowledge is power.” You don’t need a four-year degree to read a book. The more a person is informed of their rights, the less likely they’ll be taken advantage of.
Written by: Bridget Campos
Originally posted on December 22, 2009