March 7, 2018
The multiple-choice concept is well-ingrained into every student’s mind. Standardized tests make the world seem orderly, straightforward, “C” your way out. Yet when we look beyond our K-12 careers into what lies beyond, the choices seem to narrow into a laser focus with one “respectable” choice: college.
What if I told you there are any number of post-secondary possibilities? Would you reconsider what you’ve been told by well-meaning adults?
From kindergarten through senior year, students are told that college is the best and only option. Students feel forced to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their lives, but really there are other options. Trade schools and gap years have always been an option, but they are routinely pushed aside or painted as options for only the underachieving students. About 80% of college students end up changing their major at least once, proving that students don’t really know what they want to do, or which is the best way for them.
Trade schools have been given a negative stigma, with high schools either cutting out their programs or just not pushing them as much as normal colleges. There are many jobs that students can earn that don’t require a 4-year bachelor degree such as welding and most mechanic work. You can earn associate’s degrees at trade schools, and gain some experience while you are there. Most jobs in these fields require experience over degrees, mainly to ensure the quality of your work is to their standards.
Gap years have become less and less popular as college continues to be pushed. Some students have forgotten that they don’t have to know exactly what they want to do just yet, which is why gap years are so helpful. Students can take a few months or a year off to work or get an internship in the field they want to go into, figuring out if they actually enjoy doing that job. This will not only help students make their decisions, but also help them save money. Those going to college will have to pay for classes, whether they need them for that degree or not. Most degrees require the same basic classes; if your degree is in science, you can take more science classes, but if you decide to change your degree to one in English, the funds for those science classes were wasted, which could have gone to your new degree. Taking a gap year would help students save money and learn what they are called to do.