College: Is it the best option for you?

Angelo Neto

Currently, the idea of going to college is the most common expectation. We are raised being taught that attending college is the key to succeed in life. However, this idea sparks the question: Is college really necessary for everyone? 

I agree that college can definitely provide many benefits such as job security and higher earning potential, but is it the right choice for everyone? Professional sports career, entrepreneurship or starting your own business may be the best option for many individuals who don’t want to pursue a college degree. There are many examples of people who didn’t go to college or didn’t graduate from college who are successful in life. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and the swimmer Michael Phelps are three great examples of people who didn’t graduate from college, but had successful careers.

On the other hand, Stephanie Owen and Isabel Sawhillit, writers of the essay“Should everyone go to college?” mention that it is important to consider that people who have a college degree earn 98% more than those who only have a high school diploma. The potential earnings is definitely something to consider before deciding whether to go to college or choose an alternative path. 

It’s also important to consider that the cost of attending college has significantly increased in the past years, and student loan debt has become a major problem. Many students leave college with a huge amount of dollars in debt. According to a research, made by Lyss Welding, analyst and data writer for BestColleges, the time average to pay these loans is 10 years but there are cases that it takes a lifetime to be paid. These debts are sometimes the biggest factor that impedes students’ desire to follow a certain path after college because these debts can last for the rest of their lives.

Chad Rockwell, San Domenico’s boarding program residential faculty member and a person who has a college degree but doesn’t work in the area he graduated in, claimed that the amount of money people have to invest to go to college may not be worth it. “If you have that much money, you can do something else with that. You can start a business or have a place to live,” Rockwell said.

Therefore, instead of urging students to enroll in college as the only path, high school counselors  should shift the conversation and focus on analyzing all the possible options including alternatives to  college to determine which option is the best for each individual. Students should be encouraged to explore their interests and passions and that’s why it’s extremely important to have information about alternative pathways.  That being said, our society would be more equitable if everyone had the opportunity to succeed and contribute, regardless of attending college or not. 

Ultimately, although it can be a great opportunity and experience for many individuals, college is not the right fit for everyone. In my opinion, we should disregard the idea that college is the only way to have success in life and instead encourage students to explore new routes, this may include taking a gap year and working before attending college. With this mindset, we can diversify our society and create an environment where everyone has the opportunity to follow their passions. A small change, such as giving freedom of choice to a student about going to college or not, could certainly optimize the development of new professionals in the job market.