For quite some time now, it has been understood that a college degree was the key to getting a good job, and ultimately living a good life. But what if we told you that in the year 2020, a bachelor’s degree doesn’t mean nearly as much as it once did. Now, more than ever, it is possible to get a good-paying job with benefits…without spending four years in college and possibly taking on untold amounts of debt. We would never be so foolish as to say that furthering your education is necessarily a bad thing; college can broaden your horizons, uncover skills you never knew you had, and open up social networks that otherwise would have remained closed. However, there are a lot of other avenues one can walk down to find financial independence and meaningful work.
Drawbacks to the traditional college degree
Getting a degree is an impressive achievement, no doubt. It is a life milestone that anyone who has achieved it should be proud of. But, with the rise of the idea that a college degree is a completely necessary part of life, also came the oversaturation of the job market with qualified candidates. We have come to a point where there are too many college grads looking for not enough entry-level positions. This oversaturation of the job market has led to a great number of unemployed people with degrees who cannot find a job in their chosen field. Add in the financial undertaking that a typical college experience can produce, and all of a sudden a college degree is starting to look a lot more like a burden, and a lot less like a tool.
The college industrial complex
Major universities and colleges are a business just like anything else, so realizing they have a huge stake in overemphasizing their importance is integral to understanding why a degree may not be as important as you think. Universities have huge amounts of money and vast marketing departments, so using those resources to overhype the importance of having a degree directly helps fill their cashbox. None of this is to say a college education is not a good thing, it’s just important to keep a clear perspective on the business within the education field while pursuing your own. Knowing all the angles will help you to make an informed decision regarding your next level of education. College can definitely be the right decision for some, but for others, it only leads to a lifetime of debt that severely hampers future plans like owning a home or starting a family. Signing on for those student loans can be a springboard to a bright future or a stumbling block that hinders your personal growth and education.
Do what’s right for you
When it comes to higher education, everyone is going to have an opinion, but all you can really do is what you think is best. Your parents, your teachers, your friends, and your family will all know exactly what you should do. At the end of the day, the only thing that makes sense is if you do what you know to be right for you. Getting a degree to please your parents, going to trade school to appease your favorite shop teacher, or running away and joining the circus will never feel right if you aren’t ultimately doing it for yourself. College is a huge undertaking, but forgoing it can have huge ramifications that will echo out for the rest of your life. Taking ownership of your final decision is the only sure-fire way to be able to live with it no matter what.
A bachelor’s degree is a fine thing to have, but there are vast amounts of other options when it comes to job training and education. Attending a trade school is a perfectly fine alternative to a traditional four-year college, and coming out of trade school with a tangible skill can benefit your life in innumerable ways. There are also unions with on-the-job training. Becoming a union apprentice, for instance, can lead to a well paying career complete with job security and benefits. No one is trying to say that taking those roads will be easy, but they are certainly more than worthy alternatives to the traditional four-year college experience.