Is college the best option after high school graduation?

May 12, 2022

Two Smoke Signals seniors go head to head on the issue…

Breaking News: Academics aren’t everything!

Cameron Anderson

Four years of high school gets you a diploma, but what does four, or more years of college get you? DEBT.

In the U.S. student loans have amounted to more than $1.61 trillion as of January 2nd, 2022. Many of these students go into debt for nothing, as they never need to use their degree because of the abundant amount of jobs available that do not require a college degree.

College is not needed by every student to have a successful life; therefore, schools and adults must acknowledge the need to equally stress careers instead of pressuring students and making them feel obligated to go to college.

Despite popular belief, a college degree is not necessary to be successful or get a good job.

By the last business day of December 2021, there were about 10.93 million job openings in the United States, 36 percent of which do not require a college degree.

Yes, college is a good thing and a degree can be necessary for certain careers, like the medical field, but many students find themselves not ever using that degree after college.

The wide variety of jobs that are available to students after high school should be an encouragement to administration to want to implement more classes to prepare students for those types of jobs, instead of strictly pushing academics after high school.

A few of those jobs that do not require a 4-year college degree include an EMT, a dental hygienist, a commercial air pilot, an auto mechanic, a firefighter, an electrician, a massage therapist, a business owner, and the list goes on.

Not all students are suited for college, yet they feel they have to because they have been told over and over their whole life that college is necessary. So students find themselves going to college just because that’s what everyone is doing but they either end up dropping out or getting a degree and never using it.

The Federal Reserve Bank backs this up with the statistic that “46 percent of recent college graduates were in jobs that don’t even require a college degree.” That is almost HALF of all college students.

Society needs to take a big shift and realize that academics aren’t everything. There are so many other routes for students to take after college where they can be successful and actually enjoy what they do.

So students, despite what your teachers, administrators, counselors, and the adults around you may be saying, college is not a necessity. College does not define you and it does not determine the outcome of your future.



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The power of college: It’s about more than attending school

Sarah Johnson

Around 66% of all students in the US chose to enroll directly in college after graduating high school. That’s approximately 20 million students.

There’s a reason so many students choose college: it is simply the best option.

With 5,300 colleges and universities in the US, there is a place for everyone to belong.

College is not just an extension of high school, it is an opportunity to delve further into your goals and passions. For many, college is the first door opened in a step to a successful life.

Most jobs require college degrees. People who graduate college tend to earn higher salaries than those who do not.

Those who hold a Bachelor’s degree have a 3.5 times lower poverty rate compared to high school degree holders.

Moreover, college just doesn’t prepare you for a job, it sets the foundation for a future career. Through college you are able to make connections with those who are experienced in your desired career field.

There are over 80 different types of college degrees, and a multitude of opportunities in college to get involved. Through study abroad programs, organizations, research
initiatives and internships, there is something for everyone to become immersed in.

Besides furthering your education, college teaches you how to adapt to new environments; the non-academic experiences you gain from college can be just as impactful.

College is the first experience for most when it comes to independence.

Whether you move out of state or choose to commute from home, you become fully in charge of your own schedule.

Living with roommates teaches you how to handle situations and conflicts you’ve never dealt with before. You figure out how to manage your time wisely, and learn about your own living habits to prepare you for your future as a growing adult. The interpersonal skills you learn are just as important as the academic ones.

That isn’t to say you can’t become successful without college. Success is not found within a place.  However,  college offers opportunities you can’t attain anywhere else by preparing you both intellectually and socially. By 2040, it’s predicted that there will be 600 million college students worldwide.

College isn’t just attending a school; it’s an experience.



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