Hope you guys love today’s guest post from my friend Chelsy as much as I do! Enjoy!
A college education used to be the next logical step for students after high school. Kids turning 18 all over the world would scramble to get applications into their dream colleges before graduation. And for many students, this really is the best next step for them. Some students are ready to further their education, know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives, and need at least a bachelor’s degree to achieve it. For others, though, a 4-year university isn’t the best idea and it’s important for more young people to understand all of the options available to them.
Following Your Passion
When deciding on your next course of action after high school, money doesn’t have to be your deciding factor on what type of schooling you should be searching for. Deciding on what your passion is is a much better course of action in order to decide what you’d like to do with the rest of your life. There are many different positions available within a field that may not require a degree, so spending some time doing some research is the smartest course of action. If animals are you passion, you don’t need to jump into veterinary medicine. You can go to business school to open your own kennel or start a non-profit. You can also take certification courses to be a groomer or animal trainer. The point is that your passion can take you on a few different paths, not just the most obvious one.
Other Degree Options
If your passion requires a bachelor’s degree or higher, by all means it’s important to gain the education needed to fulfill it. However, the options are endless and a 4-year education might not be the best option or even necessary for certain career paths. There are many more affordable educational opportunities in certain fields that don’t involve the giant piles of debt that many 4-year options do. Medical assisting courses offer opportunities for the future and competitive wages, and vocational jobs like welding or plumbing are some of the highest paying positions and require minimal schooling or on the job training.
Student Debt Issues
The issues with student debt have been called a “crisis” for good reason. American’s owe nearly $1.3 trillion in educational debt with each student owing an average of about $30,000 – while that number continues to grow. By choosing a career that doesn’t require a college degree, or by choosing a career that only requires a 2-year degree, a certification, or an apprenticeship program, students are able to explore educational opportunities that won’t drown them in debt.
Creating Your Own Path
Aside from 4-year colleges, training programs, and vocational schools, everyone has the freedom to choose the path that’s right for them. Many high school graduates choose to travel, seek out volunteer opportunities, or decide to spend some time in the workforce. And while many adults feel that recent high school graduate shouldn’t take time off between seeking higher education, for many students, taking time off is a choice that makes sense for them.
Exploring independence, finding their passion before attending a school they may not need, or gaining experience that can help as a resume builder later on are all acceptable alternatives to jumping into a FAFSA application.
Long story short, students have a slew of options available to them, and it’s important that the option they choose is filled with mobility, opportunities, and success. Students should focus on finding their passion, researching other degree options, understanding the dangers of student debt, and creating a path that’s right for them.
Chelsy Renard is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. She spent time working in Alaska, enjoys trying new beer, and can be found throwing a Frisbee for her dog, Titan. Follow her on Twitter!
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