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College vs Work

College

Zac Silver

College

Zac Silver, Lifeguard

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Choosing what to do after high school can lead to a consideration of several options: join the military, join the Peace Corps, go to college, or get a job and enter the workforce. Two very smart options competing head to head to see which is better in the long run.

College loans can be a reason why people opt for work over college. But the increased income college graduates earn when they enter the workforce can make up for this. For most people, the statistics show that college is a better choice economically in the long run.

In addition to the direct benefits of a liberal education, a study of workers aged 25 and up in 2006 showed that the median income of someone who had only completed high school was $27,380, while those with a bachelor’s degree had a median income of $46,440. Increased job flexibility, increased savings, and better consumer decision-making were other, ancillary benefits of a college degree as determined in a 1998 study by the Institute for Higher Education.

This does not necessarily, however, help the person who can’t afford college in the short-run. Some people choose to spend a few years working in order to afford college in the future. A situation in which there is family or personal debt may make paying back money owed more pressing than continuing one’s education.

There are also cases in which college does not serve a high school graduate’s dreams. For example, a person who has already worked in the job out of which he or she wants to make a career may do better working in that industry, possibly apprenticing him or herself to someone skilled in the field.

“Even though you could get a head start on work and begin earning money after high school instead of attending college, you will come out of college with more knowledge and better pay in a job most times.  There are a number of auto mechanics, for example, who have learned the business by working in a garage rather than by getting a degree and official job training,” said Max Hurst, a Junior at A.C. Reynolds High School.

 

There are also people who may be fully qualified in their field by the end of high school, such as students who have taken the opportunity to do vocational training during their high school career. High school vocational education may have provided sufficient training – whether in culinary arts, landscaping, or some other field – that the graduate is prepared to work in his or her chosen field without further education. Artisans, such as weavers and other craftspeople, may also find themselves prepared to turn their attention fully to work after high school.

There are also people for whom “regular work” is just a way to earn a living, while the main focus of their efforts is elsewhere. This situation can arise for people in the performing arts – whether an aspiring rock band or an actor who just needs to keep paying the rent and eat while pursuing a career in another field for which college is not necessary.

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The student news site of A. C. Reynolds High School.
College vs Work