The Westwind

It’s okay not to go to college

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is a question posed by many and asked of every generation. When children are asked this question, some say: veterinarian, police officer, fireman, and even space cowboy. As those children grow older, occupations and career paths are chosen and taken a little more seriously. It is the social expectation that young adults know what they want to be, to go to college, and start their life and career. It is important to know that it is okay not to go to college, and it’s okay not to know what you want to be when you grow up.

It is not required to go to college like it is required to attend high school. In fact, in Colorado student are only required to attend school until they are seventeen. In some states, students only have to attend school until they are sixteen. College is completely optional. Many believe that in order to be successful you need to go to college, but this is not the case.

In 2016, the United States average of people who graduated high school was 84 percent. The Bureau of Labor statistics says, “Of the 3.1 million people ages 16 to 24 who graduated from high school between January and October 2016, about 2.2 million, or 69.7 percent, were enrolled in college in October 2016. The college enrollment rate of recent high school graduates in October 2016 was little changed from the rate in October 2015.”

The number of people applying to college right out of high school is growing, but what they don’t tell most is that 57 percent of students aren’t done after six years of college and out of that, 33 percent dropout of college completely. According to Sarah Goldy-Brown, a journalist for Student Loan Debt Relief,  60 percent of graduates are in -on average- 37,172 dollars in debt. In the United States, student loan debt is reaching a high of 1.52 trillion dollars. Furthermore, the amount borrowed by college students a year is 106.5 billion. Syan Taylor, a sophomore at Arvada West says, “I feel like [student loans] are helpful for the college, but once you have to pay it back, you’re in a bunch of debt and it takes forever [to pay off].”

Because student debt is so high, a lot of people choose not to go to college or drop out. It is more than okay to do this, even though society disagrees.

It is put in the heads of many that without a college education, you can’t be successful. This is not the case. There are a plethora of jobs ranging from care giving to real-estate agents to police officers that don’t require college degree.  Mone’t King, a Junior at Arvada West says, “After high school, I’m going to the Air Force. [When I’m there] I’m going to study mechanics or repair and rescue.” King says there are options even when she joins the Air Force. Taking this into account, there are many branches of the military that anyone can enlist in. Furthermore, there are many things that veterans will be helped with, including college, clothing allowance, automobile allowance etc..

Society makes people believe that college is required to be successful but it’s not. There are so many more options for people who don’t have the money for college, who don’t want to be in debt and for those who simply don’t want to go. As Confucius once said, “Do what you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

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