Pressure of Going to College

Elia Capobianco and Kiera O'Keefe, Journalist

Young people in our world today have a very difficult time trying to choose their path in life after high school – especially if it doesn’t involve college. There are thousands of kids in every graduating class that feel like college might not be for them, but they are pushed toward higher education anyways. They are pressured by their peers, parents, teachers, and the media around them. There seems to be a lot of negative stigma surrounding the idea of high school seniors getting into trades after they leave high school unless they attended a technical school. The pressure is exerted in many different ways.

One main reason kids feel the pressure to go to college is because of the media and social media aspect of college. So many outlets, news stations, and content creators talk about how incredible college can be. They push the idea that college is a necessity in every person’s life when in reality, it isn’t. Young kids who aren’t sure about what they want to do can be persuaded fairly easily when it comes to these situations. They feel like if they don’t go to college right after high school, they will never be able to go in the future, but they also know that they might not be ready or they might think that it isn’t what they want to do with their life. Every student should be helped and guided toward what they want to do, not what the media and the people around them tell them they should do. 

We asked some of our fellow seniors about their path after graduation Another thing that comes up often is the idea of what a parent thinks their child should be doing. A lot of parents who went to college themselves think that if their child doesn’t go, it will look bad for them. They think that their child didn’t do well enough in school or put forth their best effort, which leads to the student not wanting to go to college. Kids can be labeled as lazy or unorganized by their own parents strictly because the students aren’t sure what they want to do and they don’t think college is for them.

On the other hand, there are tons of students who grew up in families where the parents didn’t go to college and are hard working blue-collar workers. When that is the case, a lot of non-collegiate parents will tell their kids that they don’t want to do hard work for their whole life, and that college is the only option so they “don’t end up like them.” Kids want to believe their parents, so they will listen to this idea that working in skilled trades or something that doesn’t require college isn’t good enough and college is the only answer for a successful future.

Lastly, lots of kids believe that there aren’t many ways to earn money without a college degree. Students are led to believe that the only way to work a job that provides for their future family and life is to go to college and get a degree and work as a doctor or a lawyer or some other white collar job when that isn’t true. They feel pressure from the idea that if they are not working a suit-and-tie job, they will never become successful. There are thousands of hard working, very successful human beings that didn’t go to college at all or may have dropped out early in their collegiate career. There is no requirement to go to college to earn money. If a student’s path is college and they believe that is what is best for them, that is an amazing option and opportunity, but there are also countless opportunities for students who don’t think college is the answer for them. These other opportunities need to be highlighted and pushed more so more people can see the possibilities of a life without college. 

In conclusion, there should be more light shed on future opportunities other than college for highschool students. Many young people in this dilemma think that they are basically choosing between college, a trade that they will be stuck in for the rest of their life, or the military. There is so much more out there in this world, and students shouldn’t feel this kind of pressure. Society as a whole should be better for the students and no longer make them feel like they are always under a microscope when it comes to decision making after high school.