Like many average Americans, I went straight to college after graduating from high school. I always enjoyed school so I thought college was fun but I don’t think it really prepared me well to enter the workforce. College is a an important and potentially expensive decision so it’s not one to take lightly.
Here are some reasons for you to consider when deciding if skipping or delaying college is right for you.
There are good paying jobs that don’t require a degree.
Professionals such as plumbers and electricians make very good livings because they’re highly skilled. While you can attend a 4-year college and pursue those trades, it’s not required.
Realtors can also do very well for themselves. A college degree is required but you do need a realtor’s license.
Automotive repair is another profitable profession. As with plumbers and electricians, mechanics can command a lot of money for their time because they’re so highly skilled.
Another career path that doesn’t require a 4-year degree is dental hygiene. Some dental offices may even provide on the job training.
You end up studying a major that offers no practical skills.
I’m all for broadening your mind. But, I strongly believe that pursuing a major that offers no real life applications is not a good use of your time and money. Realistically, what are you going to do with a degree in philosophy or sociology?
If you have a clear path in mind such as pursuing a Ph.D. in those fields and then teach, that’s one thing. But to study something simply because it sounds fun or because you don’t know what else to do is a waste of money.
I believe that a person should go to college to learn a skill. College is way too expensive to pursue something that won’t help you get a job.
If you truly don’t know what you want to do with the rest of your life, it’s okay!!! It’s asking a lot for an 18 year-old to decide on his future. This is not common in the U.S. but I think it’s beneficial to take time off between high school and college.
Trade/Vocation schools might be more suitable.
European countries focus on vocational training for students who aren’t academically inclined. That may seem controversial here in the states because many parents tend to encourage their kids to go to college.
But, what if you just aren’t into classes that emphasize memorization and regurgitation? Perhaps you learn better by working with your hands instead of taking in lectures in the classroom.
It can be hard to figure out exactly what you want to do with your life but you know yourself best. You can at least figure out the type of things you like to do and how you learn best. If you know that you’ll likely be bored by college classes or that you’d rather learn a trade, it makes sense to skip college.
It’s going to take you years to pay off your student loans.
You can skip this section if your college is all paid for, you lucky duck. If you’re taking out loans, then it’s worth evaluating how long it’ll take to pay off those loans.
Sure, you can pursue public interest jobs and possibly have your loans forgiven after a set amount of time. But, you still have to make payments until the loan’s forgiven and there’s the risk that the program might go way.
Taking out $100k in student loans for a degree that gets you a $30k job doesn’t seem like a fair trade. Student loans accrue interest so you’re gonna have to pay back more than what you borrowed.
You can still make things work though. I think this is a situation where delaying college is a good idea. It gives you time to save up money for tuition and also time to focus and drill down on what career path you want to take.
You know what you want to do and you don’t need a degree to do it.
Do you have dreams of opening a business or developing an artistic talent? You don’t necessarily have to go to college. A lot of parents tell their kids to go to college so they have something to fall back on.
That may be true. But, it doesn’t hurt to delay going to college and focus your energies on your dreams.
Being young is a great time to take chances. Should your dreams not work out, you still have time to pursue something else.
It’s much harder to take chances after you receive your college degree because you feel like you have to use it. Say you spend 4 years getting a degree in accounting. What are you gonna do after graduation? Find an accounting job because you just spent a ton of time and money getting your degree!
You’re not likely to want to take chances and be adventurous because you’ll feel pressured to make a return on the time and money you’ve put in.
You want to go travel.
I’m biased but I think this is one of the best reasons for delaying college. Traveling while you’re young is so great. You likely don’t yet have kids, a house, or a job where you need to ask for time off.
It can be scary to travel when you’re not making money. Use your judgment. If you have no savings, it might not be wise to go travel the world for 12 months and charge everything. You can work and save money during the summer after graduation and use that to fund your travels.
You can always apply for college admissions and ask to defer your enrollment by a semester, giving you time to travel.
What the overarching lesson here?
Keep an open mind. College is fun and you’ll meet so many interest people but don’t feel like it’s your only path in life.
If you do go to college, make the best of your experience. Go to class, don’t sleep through them. And make sure to visit your professors during office hours. They’re smart, knowledgeable, and can offer you great life advice. They are also valuable resources when it comes time to look for jobs.
I’m not trying to talk anyone out of going to college. I just want people to see that it’s okay to question conventional wisdom.
Did you go to college? Why or why not? Do you regret the decision you made?