In the middle of college application season, students shouldn’t frantically apply and dive into things without necessarily considering the other options. Students, especially Gunn students, are under the notion that college is the only responsible option when it comes to post-high school life. This, however, is a completely false concept. There are many distinct alternatives that may even be more promising than setting out for a college degree.
[pullquote]Students, especially Gunn students, are under the notion that college is the only responsible option when it comes to post-high school life. This, however, is a completely false concept.[/pullquote]
Simply said, a decent living necessitates at least some form of post-high school know-how. However, attending a school that charges tens of thousands of dollars a year is not the only option. In 2007, a survey taken by Time Magazine showed that 40 percent of students in state universities do not graduate in four years and instead earn their degree within six years. Using this rough estimate, that amounts to around $256,000 (including things like housing, food and tuition) out of pocket.
With the presumption that most students don’t have that kind of money lying around, students start their careers with accumulated debt from student loans. Yes, a degree earned gives one a competitive edge in the job market and gives an advantage in the long run. However, it also triggers potential long term student debt. According to FinAid.org, a resource that specializes in student financial aid, it takes 10 years, 120 payments at about $3,000 per month and over $100,000 in interest to repay the loan. Unless one can comfortably make $65,000 a year coming fresh out of college, this repayment can be simply impossible.
Career and technical opportunities simplify this process by eliminating heavy education fees and providing a better basis for getting jobs that pay well. One such opportunity is Universal Technical Institute (UTI). UTI offers courses where four out of five alumni walk out with a job within a year of completion of the subject. The more flexible hours even allow many students to work part-time while studying. Therefore, debt is generally not accumulated and leaves graduates with promising careers in the technology industry.
In addition to technical training, other forms of direct career training suffice with minimal financial commitment. For example, internships (sometimes paid) can work better for jobs than a degree does, since the training is direct and only includes the necessary content. Similar to technical education, this retains the fiscal advantage.
Despite the apparent lack of academic education, probably the most neglected calling is the call of duty. No, not the best-selling video game franchise, but the line of military service. While this may sound like a radical pitch, it can really be the first step to living the picture-perfect American Dream. Not only that, it’s also a huge financial opportunity that many students overlook. The overwhelming number of benefits make it a very worthwhile practice. Considering the many perks, including medical care, welfare and special tax advan- tages, military work pays off. The work itself may include some of the most brutal and terrifying occurrences, but with that comes getting “an edge on life,” and unsurpassed pride and admiration.
Overall, students need to consider the many other options when it comes to life after high school. While college is the general go-to plan, there are many other possibilities that may yield better results.
—Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the staff (assenting: 24; dissenting: 9)