The cons of college

Linda Manzo, Writer

The traditional route of a four-year college following graduation is fading as students take alternative pathways such as a gap year or enter their workforce immediately. In just the past few years, enrollments have dropped by 13%. However negative this may seem, alternate routes don’t always mean a decline in future success. 

There are the rare cases of extreme financial success without a college degree, as Apple founder Steve Jobs and co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates were able to establish their corporations without completion of higher education. However, not everyone can copy their route and be greeted with the same drastic results. Each individual’s future depends on their drive for success.

Sure, not every career path requires a level of higher education or collegiate degree for employment. Financial stability without higher education is achievable and employment isn’t always contingent on education, though the jobs that are available are typically more labor intensive. 

Though financial stability may not be a tremendous challenge to accomplish, becoming a member of the upper-class is more difficult. Universal inclusion of a singular social class is unachievable; yet the goal of stability and middle class is attainable, even with the absence of a college degree. The available occupations fade away from being “work” and enter the territory of being “labor”. When searching for availability in the workforce, skills such as physical strength, stamina and mechanical abilities are prioritized rather than educational skills and achievements. 

The post-high school paths are not as black and white as a four-year university versus a job. For some, two years at a community college followed by transferring to a four-year university provide an alternative, yet just as beneficial route. For students within the Ventura Unified School District, the Ventura Promise is provided, granting all first-year students two years of community college, tuition free. Though each financial situation differs, the Ventura College Promise provides financial assistance, as well as college enrollment without the looming dread of student debt. 

These granted two academic years allow for students to cement their plans for the upcoming pivotal years within their educational and career paths. For some, the inevitable change of moving away from home is prolonged, allowing for students to prepare for financial independence. These granted years are a gift of additional preparation for entrance to the “real world”. 

There is no singular path that is “the right path” to follow. Whether students decide to begin their higher education at a community college, immediately enter the workforce or enter a four-year university following a high school diploma, an individual’s life path should be just that, individualized. 

What do you think?