There’s one subject that drives me crazy – college and the wide-spread expectation that all high school graduates must go on to college, even though most of the time this involves a tremendous expense for the parents of the student and occasionally the student his or herself.
I don’t think anyone should go to college just because they graduated from high school. Also no one should go to college just to move away from Mom and Dad, join a sorority or fraternity, and party a lot. It should be to get a degree, when a degree is necessary. For example – in order to be a doctor – you need a degree in medicine, or – to be a teacher – you need a degree in education. And, so that no one goes broke in the long run, I think if you need a degree, starting at the local two-year college would be a very good idea.
In my opinion, most high school graduates don’t have any idea what type of job they would like to hold for the rest of their lives. Very few of them have had the job experiences to know what actual skills many careers require. Picking a major is like a fantasy game for these high school grads. After a couple of years of taking required courses not related to any career and having spent a considerable amount of money doing so, they hopefully will finally begin studies related to their initially chosen major, which by this time may no longer interest them. A new major may then be chosen, but again without any actual career knowledge or related work history.
Without parental assistance, any student who makes it through to graduation – even if they started out at a local two-year college and followed up at their home state university – would most likely have accumulated a large debt. An even greater debt would be in place if a four-year, out-of-state college had given the degree. Many students take out government loans to help cover these incredible costs. Sadly, I just heard on the radio the other day that there are people in their 60s who are still paying off their college student loans and that a growing number of graduates are just simply defaulting on their college debts.
For the parents of college graduates who have given a large amount of money to finance their son or daughter’s education, there can be the problem of not having enough savings to live on as they get older. The costs involved with health issues can also enter the picture.
Many of those who graduate with a specific degrees end up in careers that are no way related to the degree or degrees they received.
Today there are plenty of jobs that pay a good salary but do not require a college degree. Many of these jobs do require some additional education or on-the-job training, but you don’t end up with huge debt.
That’s what I’ve been thinking.
Carol Kloskowski is a resident of Elburn. Feedback on this column can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.