Who Needs College?

Khaled Kahla, Staff Writer

I truly wonder. Who needs college? Who will actually benefit from it? Who are those who will use it as a stepping stone for their goals? Who?

As a senior in high school, this question recently came to mind as I thought about my near future. Personally, college is a route I must take to accomplish my passionate goal of becoming a surgeon. But how about my friends who haven’t set career goals for themselves yet? Students are constantly pushed by our school system to pursue a college education, even when it isn’t the best option.

Schools push students to pursue college because of the belief that it will serve as a “ticket to the middle class”(Cass,2018). Yet, the reality of it is that some college graduates earn below-average earnings, taking home $28,000 to $58,000, while high school graduates with above-average earnings make $34,000 to $70,000 annually (Cass,2018). Although there is a comparison between two greatly different successes, the argument is still relevant as unprepared students pushed to pursue a college degree are typically those who fit into the below-average earner category. As of 2020, the average student debt is $30,000, which isn’t taking into account the annual interest placed on this debt (Kerr,2020). It isn’t an easy task to pay off $30,000 on a salary of $28,000 to $58,000 a year. That leaves a percentage of graduates in debt for a large period of time, which is not acceptable.

High schools must tend more to individual students’ needs rather than pushing everyone towards an overplayed college route. There are many alternatives to college that school systems can introduce to their students, and it should be the school’s responsibility to introduce these alternatives to students. Overlooking students who aren’t sure about their future because college isn’t the path they are looking for shouldn’t be an option. And if such a student does attend college, they only have about two years to decide what it is they want to pursue before they spend the last two years of their college education pursuing their major. The issue with that is that two years isn’t much time for many people, as seen with many college students actively changing their major. A better option would be for these students to put off going to college for the meantime, and work as they begin to understand what career they want to pursue with confidence.

Supporting all students, whether considered to be advanced or average, shouldn’t be optional. Every student faces different circumstances, has different skills, and has a different path in life. More options need to be in store for these students.