Why It’s Okay Not To Go To College

Most kids growing up have a conditioned list of future “to-dos”, elementary, middle school, high school, college then career. We grew up believing that college was included as a major milestone to your pathway to success. As the years have gone on we can see that there are more options and different ways to succeed without college. We want to let students know why it’s okay not to go to college. We want to show students that without college students actually gain a lot of benefits, such as saving money while earning it, standing out, creating a diverse personal network and increased confidence. 

“Public college can set you back $22,577 per year on average for out-of-state and $10,116 in-state.” When your career path does not require you to go to college, why waste the money? Some careers do not require a college degree. Students must be aware that you don’t need to spend all this money for school to have a bright future. When interviewing Marshall Lang, a student seeing no interest in college, he tells us that “The debt is certainly a factor in not going to college, but if it was a required means to what I wanted to do with my life, it would be worth it.” 

When we got the chance to interview our school counselor, Ms. May, she shared some of her helpful insight based off of all of her years of sending kids to school. When asked if she thinks debt defers seniors from going to college she says, “yes, and I think it should. I think people should really look at the debt. Or if it is a good idea, you can always go to community college for the first year or two to save some money.” Given this information, we want to demonstrate to students that even guidance counselors believe saving money by not going to college is a good option. Mrs. May also shows students another option of community college, which immensely lowers the debt in the future. Along with saving money, you also can be earning it by working after high school. Without going to college you are gaining money while benefiting your career. You not only save money and avoid debt, but you also have four years to earn money instead. There are different options such as getting a job, starting a business, and learning a trade. Not attending college gives students a four-year “headstart” on your peers that went to college.

A study by the Harvard Business Review found that 37% of employers feel that experience is the most important factor in a job applicant. Not going to college and getting a degree may land you more jobs. Not attending college can actually cause you to stand out to employers. Most students believe that to do anything successful you must have a degree, but because of “degree inflation” (the fact that more people have a degree, the less a degree is worth as a distinguishing signal) a degree carries less weight now than at any other point in American history. When we asked Mrs.May what type of student should not attend college, she shared with us that “a student that is interested in a trade or a student that is not sure of what they want to do and a student that doesn’t want to go.” Mrs. May believes that it really should be a “personalized decision and looking at what your goals are at the time and determining from there.”

As we hope to now show students, there are many benefits if college is not for you. Being a part of the student body, we have also felt persuaded by the trend of the importance of college.  Now, after being able to interview Mrs. May and Marshall Lang, we can see that it’s okay not to go to college.