Ahh the big day. So you made it to the finish line. You graduated from high school. Now, you are moving on to college and the real world. You sent in your deposit and have a seat for the incoming freshmen class. You are doing the right thing and you are going to be somebody. But wait! What if you want to delay college or not go at all? Yikes! Are you suddenly now doomed? Let me be clear here. This is not a “Don’t Go to College” piece. Instead, this is a piece examining reasons why attending college right away is not the best option for some high school graduates.
Lets face it. Some teens are simply not ready for college by the time they graduate form high school. They are neither ready academically nor are they ready mentally. I do believe that it takes a certain level of maturity to make big decisions such as choosing your major. College is full of distractions and temptations such as the frat parties and pretty girls (oh ok, good looking guys too!). Sometimes you may not have a class until 3 or 4 p.m. in the afternoon. This leaves you with the rest of the day to yourself. It is expected that a mature individual knows exactly what he or she wants and can avoid distractions. Can we really expect that from most young 17 or 18 year olds? Think back to when you were that age. Were you as focused on your goals then? Did you even have any set goals?
I would like to think that American high schools are producing well-educated students who are prepared for the academic rigors that come with college. Unfortunately, that is not the case for all high schools. Many high school graduates are simply unprepared for college. Its not always their fault. Underfunded schools with lack of resources or poor quality teachers can result in students being left behind. Exams and assignments designed to have students simply regurgitate what they learned has become commonplace in many high schools across the country. Students are taking high school courses that are far too easy in order to maintain high grades. How can a student develop critical-thinking skills? All of this spells disaster once the student enters college. They may feel overwhelmed and not be able to cope. I remember I had a hard time adjusting to college and I went to a college-preparatory school (yes, you read that right!).
So you are probably asking yourself: If not college after high school, what? Well I am glad you asked. Gaining work experience definitely helps. Even if it is working at cheesy McDonald’s or delivering pizzas, it would give structure to a young person’s life. There is not a lot of structure in college. No one tells you what time to wake up and come to class. If you don’t wake up and go to work, you will not be paid and you could lose your job. This would teach high school grads responsibility. Also, working at lower-end places like fast-food restaurants may help the young person figure what they do want since most of us would prefer not to work at those places!
There is another thing that often gets left behind: not every career path even requires college. Some careers require trade or vocational school. If a high school grad aspires to become a hair stylist, it would be best for them to attend cosmetology school. The beauty and fashion industry, in particular, looks strongly at your previous work experience. You would need to develop an impressive portfolio. There are also plumbers and electricians, who attend trade schools that prepare them for their career.
College is considered an investment in your future. Well, you always research before you invest so you can be sure you get a good return. Why not do the same for college? The return is simply not the same for everyone. Figure out what is the best path for you before investing in college.
P.S. I almost finished a Bachelors degree in Neuroscience, but I always wanted to be a chef. I wonder how the neuron is going to help me become a chef.