Hordes of Americans graduate high school every year. What’s the next step? Some high school graduates jump straight into the job market. Others attend trade or technical schools and begin working after they attain their sought after degrees or certifications. Yet other high school graduates begin traditional college. This last option is especially tempting in context of a tumultuous economic recovery. Political deadlock in Washington, D.C., due to partisan politics might delay full recovery even longer. Pursuing a four-year degree allows students to put off the real world for a short time, make contacts in their field, and earn a valuable bachelor’s degree.
An immediate transition from high school to work can be shocking to individuals. Although many high school students work part time while they finish school, the sort of part-time jobs they work would be unlikely to be sufficient as a sole source of support. Working one part-time retail job will not support a satisfactory lifestyle. Some jobs in sales and industry do not require education after high school. However, the possibility of living a life full of luxury and comfort on these wages is very unlikely without external support.
Two-year community colleges offering associate or technical degrees, on the other hand, can help people with high school degrees get better jobs. Only two years are required for most of these associate’s degrees. They offer a direct route to high paying jobs, unlike conventional four year degrees in the humanities, social sciences, or business.
The four-year baccalaureate degree is usually more intellectually fulfilling than associate’s degrees, even if the BA or BS does not pay the bills. The career path for someone with a four-year degree is rarely straight forward. To be a biologist requires more than a BS in Biology. Graduate schools loom in the future. To be a lawyer requires more than a pre-law degree. To be a medical doctor requires more than a pre-med degree. In fact, people with pre-law or pre-med degrees are not necessarily ahead on the race to a law firm or medical practice compared to those with degrees in other fields. People can get undergraduate degrees in anything and successfully apply to professional schools.
College is a major part of people’s lives. Not only do students learn at college, but they also network. Furthermore, people often meet their fiances at college. This is an important part of the experience as well. The expense, however, is considerable. People who are dedicated to a profession like medicine or law should go ahead and start in undergraduate. People who want to pursue a subject purely for the love of it should go to college. Majoring in dance will not bring home the bucks. However, it will be very fulfilling for people with the right mindset. On the other hand, people that want to start work soon might be better off if they avoid traditional four-year programs. A good technical two-year degree can put students in great positions for jobs like being an office assistant or a power technician.
If you can afford it, the best reason to pursue the baccalaureate degree is for the love of it. If you do not enjoy anatomy class, chances are you will not like reading x-rays. On the other hand, a degree in choral music might be right up your alley, but finding a career in that field might be difficult. Whether or not to attend college is a major decision and high school graduates should carefully consider all possibilities at all possible schools. Your early twenties, whether in or outside of the academy, are incredible years. While you weigh the financial wisdom of particular plans, make sure that you like what plan you settle on.