With college costs on the rise, many young people and their parents are taking a hard look at the value of higher education. This article provides some valid reasons why postponing college could be the right move for some people.
For many years now, the idea that every high school student should immediately go on to college has been held almost sacred. Parents from all walks of life and all income levels have struggled to send their kids to college, often putting their own futures at risk in the process.
Those parents hope their children will enjoy a better career and better standard of living than they did, and they feel a college education will provide that opportunity. While that may be true for some college graduates, a degree alone is no longer a ticket to the middle class.
Many newly-minted graduates are finding that out the hard way as they toil away at low-wage jobs they could have gotten with just a high school diploma. Worse yet, many college graduates stuck in low-paying entry-level jobs are saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt – loans that seem nearly impossible to pay at such low wages.
Why Postponing College Can Be a Smart Move
With such stark realities facing their peers, it is no wonder so many high school students are taking a second look at their future college careers. Some teenagers and their parents feel that postponing college for a few years provides a host of benefits, from lower college loan debt to invaluable real-world experience.
Moving directly from high school to the workplace is not always a bad move, and it is certainly not a sign of failure. Working in the real world can actually give teenagers a leg up on their fellow college students by exposing them to ideas they may not have been aware of. While their fellow high school graduates are learning about theories and business philosophy in college, young workers are spending every day immersed in the real thing.
Tuition Reimbursement – The Ultimate Fringe Benefit
Going to work directly from high school can provide another valuable benefit – one that many students and their parents overlook. Most large companies and a growing number of smaller firms offer some sort of tuition reimbursement for their workers. For workers who want a college education but not huge student loan debts, tuition reimbursement can be the ultimate fringe benefit.
Tuition reimbursement can be particularly valuable for workers who live close to a good college. Employees who qualify can attend college part-time and still keep their day jobs.
The availability of tuition reimbursement can greatly reduce, or even eliminate, the need for expensive college loans. Many students will be able to cover any additional costs, like books and lab fees, out of their paychecks while the boss picks up the rest of the tab.
Apprenticeship Programs – An Overlooked Alternative to College
Getting a job straight out of high school also gives students a chance to think about whether or not college is right for them. While many parents might think otherwise, college is not the right choice for every student.
Some young people may prefer to work with their hands, and they can earn a very good living doing that. Better still, such jobs are often harder to outsource, meaning they could be much more secure in future years. Companies can move their computer programmers offshore with the touch of a button, but moving mechanics, electricians, plumbers and tractor trailer drivers overseas would be problematic to say the least.
No one is saying that college is not a good investment or that every student should hit the workplace straight out of high school. The statistics still show that the lifetime earnings of a college graduate are far higher than those of a high school graduate, but the timing of that college education can make a big difference. Putting college off a few years, saving some money and exploring other options can be very good for the new high school graduate.