LTE: Degrees not necessary for economic success

In the past twenty years, we have seen a shift in cultural expectations about the necessity of obtaining a college degree. Although this option is not feasible for every individual, many high school seniors are led to believe this is the only pathway to success.

As current college students, we firmly believe that college provides a greater chance for success, but there are other methods to achieve economic stability.

The harsh reality remains that college is a substantial financial commitment that not all students should be encouraged to take on. Most high school counselors urge students to make this commitment with little understanding of the preparedness of each individual.

The Pathways to Prosperity study by the Harvard Graduate School of Education states that just 56% of college students complete four-year degrees within six years.

At our own school, only 59% of students graduate with a degree within six years, according to College Simply. These statistics point to a dangerous trend — many high school students enter college without even considering other options.

There are many career paths that do not require a college degree and are more suitable for lesser-financially prepared high school students. Trade schools, technical training and associates degrees are viable options for those who may not be best suited attending college.

This broader approach to education reform would allow for many students to avoid financial distress and develop skills that will help them obtain a respectable job.

College is a great option for many students, but it should not be something forced on every individual. High schools should place a higher level of importance on understanding individual student’s capabilities before advising them on post-graduation plans.

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