At first when I read this article from Bloomberg Businessweek about how college isn’t for all high school graduates, I immediately disagreed with what I was reading. It wasn’t until reading all of it (and after some reflection) when I realized that the writer could have a valid argument there.
Let’s face it: Some of us are more academically-driven than others. While some could argue in defense of the value of a liberal arts education and just how vital it is to pursue higher education, this doesn’t take into account the students out there who just don’t have the motivation to go through school for four (or more) years. While we’ve all been told the same PR dribble for years and years about the value of a four-year degree (and I’m not disputing that my time in school was not valuable), there is no “one-fits-all” solution for every single 18-year-old with a high school diploma in hand. There are plenty of suitable careers out there that require either associates degrees or a few certification classes. You can sign up for classes where you can take online ECI degree classes that will get your foot in the door to help prevent fraud or you can get your teaching certificate which you can use at almost any school.
For example: If you want to be a dental hygienist, you only need an associate’s degree, which if you complete as a full-time student, you might only need to go to school for about two years. While I’m not saying this degree is easy to attain (it isn’t – there are a lot of hard sciences classes involved), this is a career that is not only well paid but also is a stable profession.
While this is only one example, there are many others out there that could make sense for teenagers about to embark into the real world. I firmly believe more efforts need to be made to explain all of the options available out there to high school students. Too much emphasis is put on four-year colleges, while the reality is that there are some students who would be better suited to pursue alternative methods to find careers. Instead of wasting their money and time in the classroom, these students should be out their pursing careers that will make them happy. If you want proof, check out this graphic from TIME.
There are plenty of other options out there, including owning/working at a small business. While having a business management degree will probably help you out, there’s that hands-on experience that you can get from working in retail that could have the same value. If you understand how running a business works because you’ve seen the ins and outs firsthand, you’ll understand it all — you don’t need to have a professor break it down for you.
There is not just one way to succeed in your professional career. While I’m not saying college isn’t worth it (for the most part, it is), a college degree or say an online associate degree in business does not always guarantee success and happiness with one’s profession. If you have the drive and ambition to teach yourself and to find opportunities, you will be able to find a profession that suits you.
After all, should a piece of paper really dictate our happiness and self-worth?
Thoughts on this? Would love to hear your opinions in the comments!