VIEWPOINT: College Isn’t For Everyone and That’s Not a Bad Thing

By on November 22, 2013

Going to college has become a benchmark that our society wants everyone to reach.  Earning a degree seems to define success for us, even if the degree is in something that will not necessarily help find us a job.  For example, a degree in philosophy may not be very helpful for someone looking to find a job straight out of college.  Earning a PhD in philosophy would make it much easier to find a job, but that would also mean going to school for four more years and accumulating debt.  The scary truth is that because more people are going to college and coming out with degrees, the value of having a degree has gone down.  Employers are looking for masters and graduate degrees, which is once again making it harder to find a job.  However, many of us tend to overlook one small detail: not everyone needs or wants to pursue a higher education.

Some people drop out of high school, while others graduate but never apply or are accepted into college or any institute of higher education.  Not going to college does not have to be a bad thing.  Many people make decent money with no degree.  The list includes plumbers, mechanics, some computer programmers, sales workers, local police officers and firefighters, real estate brokers, and air traffic controllers.  Others professions require vocational school or technical training which can be achieved much faster than a bachelor’s degree.  The point is that it is not necessary to go to college to live a comfortable life.  Just because societal trends show that more people are going to college does not mean that college or even graduate school guarantees a job.  In fact, many disgruntled unemployed people can tell you that having a degree does not promise anything.  Ironically, these people are considered overqualified for jobs that don’t require a degree and are not hired by these people either.

I am in no way trying to dissuade anyone from pursuing his or her dreams by saying that a college degree is worth less now versus a decade ago.  Rather, I am arguing that some people have no reason to go to college because they cannot or do not want to study or work a job that requires higher education.  Plus, there are always going to be a demand for workers in these fields.  If everyone goes to college, there won’t be anyone to work these jobs because they are overqualified.  Supply and demand plays an important role in every society, which means the balance must be maintained.  We need people for the various jobs across the spectrum.  If everyone wants to become a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, competition is going to increase because the demand for these professionals would not have increased enough to accommodate these peoples’ dreams.   So if you don’t think college is right for you, you still have several options for a successful career.

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About Natasha Mehra

  • gnosticmike

    It would help to have federal aid go to apprenticeships or On-The-Job training instead of just college and that employers (and to a lessor extent, universities) use OJT or incorporate internships as early as the second semester.

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