When College isn’t for Everyone – Smart Options for Smart Kids

October 21, 2015
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When College isn’t for Everyone – Smart Options for Smart Kids

Choosing your route

We are right to question the value of a college education. Certainly, it is the correct route for a large chunk of students; certainly, it is not the correct route for another large chunk of students. Here’s why:

  1. College costs have now reached the point of being absurd. When family resources cannot pay the price, students graduate with debt that will stay with them for almost their entire career lifetimes.
  2. The traditional 4-year degree has almost become meaningless in many fields. Student spend their first two years completing general education requirements so as to be more well-rounded, and really only get into their major fields of study their final two years. Two years in many fields today is inadequate, and students must then incur more debt for graduate school.

What are the Alternatives?

Forecasters are currently predicting those career fields in which there will be large opportunity in the future. Obvious, technology is huge, but so is health care, hotel and restaurant management, e-commerce, construction, green energy, and a host of other service industries, like college essay writing service. These career fields will by no means require a knowledge of Shakespeare, the ability to write a comparison/contrast essay, or an understanding of benzene rings. What’s more, we no longer have the luxury of providing expensive liberal arts backgrounds, so that students may be “well-rounded” – other countries are leaving us in the dust. So, what choices do students have if traditional college is not for them?

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Community College-Industry Collaborative Programs

Many jobs go unfulfilled because certain industries cannot find qualified candidates. This has led to community college-industry partnerships that specifically train students for careers that are in high demand and for which there is not a sufficient labor supply. Students should check these out – two year of training and into a career – boom!

Vocational-Technical Schools

There are “good guys” and “bad guys” in this business. But state departments of education publish those schools that are reputable and that prepare students well of current and future careers. Highly technical training, such as water treatment, digital design, and medical technology will serve any graduate of these programs quite well.

Online Educational Programs

There are huge opportunities, including free college coursework, for students who are highly motivated and self-disciplined. Students may not get formal college credit but they do get certificates of course completion with a grade. Many employers re considering these MOOC’s to be every bit as valuable as the credit-bearing courses, especially when they come from institutions such as Purdue, Princeton, and Stanford. If you are the one who says "I hate writing essays" there is also a great option of help with writing papers being available online.

A High School Diploma Won’t “Cut it”

There are no career jobs available for high school graduates today. Part of the reason is that high schools are also steeped in the traditional, general education curricular requirements, and do not offer programs that allow immediate employment in fields with career potential.

The Takeaway

Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg decided that a college education was not for them. They have not done too badly. There are many other options for careers, and the required training is far less expensive and far more focused than in a 4-year college. If you think college is not for you, you have good company and lots of options.