Is Not Being a College Graduate All that Bad?
You’re told over and over again that you need to go to college if you want to be a success in life. The numbers seem to back that claim up, too. A report from Georgetown University found that “a Bachelor’s degree is worth $2.8 million on average over a life time,” and “Bachelor’s degree holders earn 31 percent more than those with an Associate’s degree and 84 percent more than those with just a high school diploma.”
But what if you don’t know what you want to do for the rest of your life, and you feel like you need a short break from studying? College is super expensive. How can you pay for it if you don’t want to take out massive loans that you’ll be beholden to pay back over several years of your life after graduation? If you don’t think you need a college education to do the work that you want to do, are you necessarily wrong?
The answer to the latter question is no. Rana Foroohar and Edward Luce of the Financial Times report that “with business and labour working together to create new sorts of training and widely-accepted credentials that allow younger workers without a 4-year degree a leg up,” changes are happening in the society that constantly shoves college down young people’s throats. They cite the Credential Engine that tries to bring employers and skilled workers together, not employers and institutions of higher learning. Another is the program Year Up, which is a nonprofit that puts those without college degrees in high level positions by getting companies to offer one-year training internships.
What about all of the technical apprenticeship programs out there that prepare an individual to work in some high-paying positions, positions that pay more in many cases than the run-of-the-mill job someone with a liberal arts Bachelor’s degree might get? Apprenticeships take more than just a couple of months. They are very in-depth and require a commitment to learning and training on the job. Apprentices earn money while they work and train, and they come out with a credential like a job title or certification that demonstrates that they have the necessary skills to do a certain job.
College graduates aren’t just handed a great job with great pay right away. In fact, they are often stuck with an education that does not prepare them to work in their field in that they don’t have the technical and practical skills they need to do their work. Also, Accenture, a consulting firm, found that 84 percent of graduates of the class of 2014 expected to find a job in their chosen field. However, the previous two years of graduates experienced things differently than how they expected their futures to turn out because just 67 percent of them found jobs in their chosen fields, according to Michael Price of HuffPost.
So if you’re worried about whether you’re making the right decision in going to college or not, take a step back, and consider the facts. You can be a success and be happy without a college degree if that is what you feel is right for you. Don’t let societal expectations make you make a decision that you won’t feel comfortable with later on. In a world where there are more college graduates than there are often jobs for them, you might consider becoming an entrepreneur and creating your own job.