No College for You?

Study hard, get good grades, get into a prestigious university, get an impressive degree, and get your dream job!  Does this general “plan” sound familiar?

However, have you ever thought about not going to college, or simply going to community college?

I know, I know – I might have well just said that pigs could fly.  According to Mrs. Mary Sue Walker, Assistant College Counselor at Providence Academy, “Over the last three years there have been one or two students who have not enrolled directly in a four year college. As far as vocational schools I am not sure we have had a student pursue that path. There are a variety of reasons student pursue other options but for the most part our student body is one that plans to pursue a bachelors degree.”

However, what if I told you that by not going to a university, you might make more money than if you never even went in the first place?  According to the United States Department of Labor, “Of the nearly 3 million youth age 16 to 24 who graduated from high school between

January and October 2013, about 2.0 million (65.9%) were enrolled in college

in October.”  Of those young adults, about 6 out of 10 attended a 4 year university.  That means that only about 40 percent of recent high school graduates have gone to a 4 year university.  Clearly, going to college is not for everybody.  And not being among the 40% who choose to take on four more years of higher education does not mean that your success is limited.  Take Justin Friend, for example.

Coming from a background of intellectuals, Justin Friend’s parents both have doctoral degrees and have worked as university lecturers and researchers.  Although expected to attend a university, Justin decided to take another path: he attended Texas State Technical College in Waco, and received a two-year degree in welding.  Stupid, right?  Wrong.

During his first year as a welder, Justin made $130,000.  The next year, his income rose to a whopping $140,000.  With this comfortable salary, Justin has bought a $53,000 Ford F-250 pickup truck, and has been able to trifle in his hobbies, such as making jet engines.  Plus, he saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in college debt!  Your career path does not have to be all about money, but even if you do not attend a four year university, you can still have financial security along with a job you are passionate about.

If going to community college (or never going to college at all) is somehow against everything you believe in, there are still other options for you to take a small break from school after graduation.  Have you ever considered taking a gap year?

According to, a gap year is, “the year after secondary education in which the graduate takes time off for travel, work or public service before making a decision whether to go on to higher education.”  Taking a gap year is a beneficial way to gain life experiences living away from your family and taking on responsibilities before you commence into a university.

There are many routes to take from high school graduation into your early adulthood, and there’s no need for everyone to rush off to college.  Going in a different direction is a viable option that is worthwhile for everyone to consider.