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Nov 02, 2016 09:26 AM EDT

Is College Education for Everyone? Other Options May Just Be Available

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With all the presidential debates going on involving education and how college tuition fees should be free, or nearly free, what our aspiring leaders fail to address s the overarching problem that has been plaguing the entire system of higher education: college is not for everyone.

While Hillary Clinton has great intention of pardoning student debt loans and would rather have the government choke up the money to finance tuition-free college education for everyone, it still does not address the fact that not everyone is built to obtain a 4-year university degree.

In the past, and even now, we are being sold the idea that having a college education would mean having a better life. Having a degree would mean getting better jobs and companies to choose from, and better salaries and compensation packages. It is still holds true but in some professions like technology, employers prefer experienced developers over college-educated ones.

This idea have propelled the dramatic increase in college enrollment since the 1950s. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last year (2015) about 69% of high school graduates are attending a higher education institution.

In terms of attendance, all is well and good. The majority wants to pursue higher learning. However, graduation statistics tells us a rather grim story.

The National Center for Education Statistics tells us that only 61% of students who enrolled for 4-year college degrees end up graduating. There are a number of reasons behind the drop in the numbers. For some, the main problem are financial in nature - a college degree is just too expensive. For others, it was social and emotional reasons. Some students find adjusting to their new environment difficult while some, well, let's just say they just had too much fun partying, they neglected their studies.

For whatever reasons they might have, these young men and women and their families as well are finding out they have wasted time and money and maybe asking if going college had been a mistake to begin with.

This is not to encourage students not to attend college anymore but to reflect on what they really want in their future and perhaps, together with their parents, explore options on practical technical or vocational courses and other job training opportunities out there. Keep in mind that colleges and universities aren't going anywhere and learning some skills and getting some work experience might even work to a student's advantage when he or she wants to get that college diploma.

So what are these options? High schools and community colleges are now working to make job training classes available to everyone. Trade unions, the Labor Department and other government agencies have also taken part in apprenticeships and workplace shadowing programs that train young workers to be skilled and employable.

These programs are designed to train workers and give them skills they can use to make a comfortable living even without a college degree. It offers them the opportunity to learn practical and employable skills that will lead them to the workforce without spending too much time and money on college.

However, before you decide that college is not for you, consider the benefits a formal university training can give you and how it can help advance your career.

College offers you a chance to develop your understanding of the business environment and at the same time allow you to develop you own concepts - for you business model or the product you'd want to create. The academe is the best place to experiment and test your concepts before launching it out in the real world.

In school, you'll have a pool of talented and trained peers and professors to help you enhance and smoothen the bumps in your concept or model, test it again and gain better traction this time.

Working with peers and professors also build and enlarge your network of mentors and advisers. Anyone who has succeeded in business utilized their network of connections for their advices and ideas, problem-solving skills, referrals and valuable introductions.

The university is one of the best places to cultivate such relationships because the connection brought about by working together grow and mature as tasks get completed and the project progresses.

Finally, universities offer material resources you can use to bring your concept to fruition. From publications, statistics and other essential reading to licensed software and computer hardware and other equipment you need from designing logos and forms up to writing your business plans and pitch to building the actual product, resources are within your reach while you're in the university.

College education may not be for everyone and it is the job of high school counsellors and other accredited institutions to inform students that there are other options apart from attending a university and obtaining a college degree that will teach them the skills and knowledge needed to make a living and find decent work. It's also the responsibility of parents to help young adults determine their priorities and guide their plans.

At the end of the day it the student who will decide and let's make sure they are fully informed when they decide for their future.

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