College alternatives

There are many alternatives to college that students can participate in after high school. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

There are many alternatives to college that students can participate in after high school. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

For as long as I can remember, MCPS has pushed college onto its students. In Kindergarten, I remember wanting to go to Harvard because, well, it was the best, and my five-year-old self wanted the best. It wasn’t because I knew I wanted to go to college, rather, I knew I was expected to pursue a higher education after high school. For some students, there isn’t even a question whether they’re going to pursue college, but other students are forced to go to college even when it isn’t the best choice for them.  

There are options after college that many students don’t get the chance to consider because they are pushed into attending a four-year college. Students could enter the military, join the Peace Corps, join the workforce or attend a technical college. These options simply aren’t explored in America’s public schools today, and there are so many cultural pressures that push students into a traditional four-year college. Students are expected to pay thousands of dollars towards a college education because in our society, college equals success. In some cases it does, but in other cases, it really does not. Ellen Degeneres, Steve Jobs and John Rockefeller are all highly successful people who didn’t attend or college.

We need to stop teaching kids that the only way they can get a good job is by paying tons of money and being in debt for years after they graduate. Instead, we should teach students to rely on their own merits and use what they already know to pursue careers for the future.

I’m not putting students down who want to go college because they want to learn in an environment dedicated to research and higher learning. In fact, I’m planning on attending a four-year university myself. I just believe that there should be more information in schools about other options students can explore. There are different post-high school options out there for students to look into that go unexplained because schools don’t put in the time or money to show students what else they could be doing. We go to the college fair, we learn about the Naviance tool, but where’s the information about other options for students? I realize resources geared towards these options are available in the College and Career Center at WJ, but what about the schools that aren’t as lucky to have the resources we have?

We as students, especially juniors and seniors, hear about college everyday. Equal time should be given to learning about other options we have.