It has long been said that there’s a link between college and success. It’s true in some regards. There are many high-level positions which necessitate a college degree. However, not everyone needs to go to college in order to have a satisfying career. While college is beneficial to many, it also comes with a number of drawbacks that should also be considered.
A degree does not equal a career
Once upon a time, the secret to success in life seemed to be getting a college diploma and then seemingly walking right into a well-paying job. Unfortunately, that’s no longer a feasible reality for college graduates around the world. With more and more people getting their degrees, the market has become saturated to the point of the degree losing value. While employers might have previously seen having a diploma as being a bonus, it’s now seen as more of a requirement. If someone’s most significant accomplishment is getting their college diploma, they might as well get in line with thousands of other candidates who can say the same thing.
It seems what’s more much more important than having a degree is having desirable skills.
Despite their association with employment success, colleges are primarily about education, not job training. Unless you’re majoring in a field such as pre-med or physical therapy, with a readily-identifiable career track, it can be challenging to find work after college without a solid list of skills.
Student debt in America is now at $1.5 trillion. If you know anyone who has graduated with loan debt, you might hear about how they have tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay back. Even if someone can get a well-paying job out of college, their debt can be so enormous that an unsettling amount of their paycheck needs to go into paying it off. Scholarships and paying in-state tuition help to some extent, but not everyone has those options.
One option that’s worth considering is not going to college. Saving money is an essential skill for everyone to develop, and it can be made a lot easier if you more money to your name. When you opt for a non-college career path, you can make it easier to save for emergencies and pay your bills. The scary state of student debt in America might get even worse before it gets better. If you go to college and aren’t able to pay off your loans, it could significantly damage your credit score, making it difficult to find housing or purchase a car.
Jobs that don’t require a career
Some people would have you believe that you need to go to college or you’re going to be stuck in a dead-end, low-paying job. However, that’s simply not true. All kinds of high-paying careers don’t require a college diploma. Many of these are essential for our society to function properly and require specific abilities.
Some of the highest-paying, non-college jobs include dental hygienist, postal carriers, web developers, and pilots. Think about how much trouble we would get into if those positions weren’t filled by qualified individuals. You might have suspected that at least a couple of those would require a college degree. Even without a bachelor’s, you can still find success in the workforce.
Many people go to and leave college not feeling like they have any sort of understanding as to why they’re doing it. To them, it can seem like going to college is something done out of obligation. This can cause many people to drop out (still with plenty of debt), because they aren’t emotionally mature enough to handle the life changes associated with college or find the proper motivation. Even those who get their degree might leave college wishing they had been better prepared for the transition.
However, going to college can indeed be worthwhile. If you think that you might look to go to college, but don’t think you would be ready at this time, don’t feel pressured to apply. Instead, you can figure out what you want out of life. You can try out different jobs and save money along the way. You can also try volunteering or traveling to expose yourself to how different people live. When the time is right, you can decide to enroll in your college. Alternatively, you can decide that college isn’t the best choice for you.
Getting the most out of college
People who have a specific reason for going to college to are already a step ahead of the people who go for the sole purpose of getting a degree. If you’re planning to go to college, you shouldn’t let anyone discourage you. However, you need to make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons.
You should have an interest in a career that will require a college diploma. Some things are wonderful to study, but they don’t lend themselves easily to post-college success. If you like the idea of education for education’s sake, that’s great. However, you shouldn’t feel like you’re entitled to the job of your dreams because you went to college.
It’s almost crucial that you consider the financial burden of college. There might be a school that you’ve wanted to attend for years, but if it’s out-of-state and you don’t have a scholarship, it can become almost unfathomably expensive. Apply for as many scholarships and financial aid packages as you can. It’s also worthwhile to narrow your search down to schools that are in-state.
While at college, you need to hold yourself accountable. It’s crucial that you go to class, pay attention, and complete all assignments in a timely fashion. If you find yourself falling behind, speak with your professors and advisor. Just about everyone experiences stress in college, but it only gets worse if you don’t speak up.
The value of networking
People can have trouble after leaving college because they didn’t make any valuable professional contacts while in school. With so much competition in the workforce, networking should be a priority in college. You should sign up for internships for course credit that give you a taste of work experience. You should also consider going to networking events hosted by your school.
Networking is your chance to show employers that you are worthwhile when there’s much less pressure. You can cite recent accomplishments in class, such as projects you received high grades on or skills you’ve obtained, such as learning a new language. When it comes time to leave college, you can have multiple contacts who would love to work with you.
If your college offers any job fairs, you should absolutely attend. Even if you don’t think you’ll get anything out of it, it can still be a worthwhile experience. Look at the various booths and take notes on what each company offers. You might be surprised by which companies stand out to you the most. Take the time to really get to know each business. You should also do your best to stand out. Come prepared with an updated resumé and wear your best business attire.
Not going to college shouldn’t be seen as limiting yourself. It can actually be a matter of freeing yourself from things like student debt or deciding on a career path before you’re ready. When you take the time to consider your priorities, you might find that while college sounds nice, it’s not something that you need to do, either at this time or ever.