College: Everyone’s Ticket to the Middle Class?

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College: Everyone’s Ticket to the Middle Class?

Emily Bute, Staff Writer

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Every high school teenager has faced the difficult question: where are you applying for college? In today’s modern day society, college often seems like the only option that is strongly encouraged. However, college may not be the right choice for every student, and other options besides college should be encouraged.

One of the most prominent arguments in favor of college attendance is the idea of job security. The common idea of being successful usually involves attending college to get a sturdy job. However, according to the Washington Post, ¨Approximately 53% of college graduates are unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree¨. After completing the four year college experience and remaining unemployed or ending up with a job separate from one’s degree makes the cost of tuition and the time commitment seem not even worth it in the long run.

Many individuals don’t want to go to college but feel bound to the choice of college because of societal standards and stereotypes. Because of this, many students may lose their path in  college and take longer than normal to even attempt to earn their degree. According to the New York Times, “In 2016, more than 48% of first-time, full-time students who started at a four-year college six years earlier had not yet earned a degree. For these schools, the four-year completion rate—that is, the share of students who complete a bachelor’s degree in the time the program is expected to take—is just 28%.”

Similarly, it is important to consider money while deciding on a path of choice. Undergraduate students always speak about college loans and tuition costs as college fees skyrocket. In fact, according to The State Press, ¨The cost of college has risen more than 1,100 percent since 1978 and as the prices continue to go up, it becomes more and more difficult to afford the cost.¨ With such extreme costs being associated with college education and no guarantee of a strong salary out of college, the chance of college debt makes the idea of college seem repulsive to students who cannot afford it.

“With the expenses of college rising every year, it’s important for students to explore their options and realize that attending a four year university isn’t absolutely necessary.¨ Says Stanley Zucker, a professor at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU. ¨There are plenty of great paying jobs out there that involve less time, less money and less stress.”

One option to avoid this financial debt is going into fields such as trade school, military, or peace corps. The Simple Dollar reports that the average Bachelor’s Degree will cost $127,000, as compared to the $33,000 average cost for a trade school degree. Similarly, according to the same source, “As of 2012, the average college student carried a debt load of $29,900, not even accounting for interest. The average debt load for students graduating from two-year technical school is closer to $10,000.” Trade schools take less time to complete and leave students with less debt. Options other than college are often way less stressful, and provide a great and sturdy salary.

Certainly, college is not the most ideal path for every high school student, which is why schools and society should stop asking “What colleges are you applying to?” and change the question to “What are your plans after high school?”. Other options such as trade schools should be more thoroughly examined and promoted in high school environments. With this subtle change, students who decide to not attend college will not be looked down upon for choosing other options.