Parents, schools, and other authority figures often pressure high school students into going to college. College may be very beneficial to a person, if it encourages personal growth and offers options for an enjoyable, high-paying career. However, many students are not suited for college and do not benefit from attending institutions of higher education.
One problem is that students leave college without any usuable skills, whether or not they graduate. Another problem is that some students choose courses of study that are basically closed off to new entrants unless they have some kind of special contacts or experience (usually not gained through going to college). Often college graduates take entry-level jobs that do not require a degree in the first place. Unless a young person knows what they want out of a degree and what they want to do after college, and have given a realistic assessment of what might happen after they earn their degrees, at least holding off on going to college may be warranted.
Many options exist for people who do not attend college. Bill Gates dropped out of college and he’s one of the most successful people in the world. Starting a business can be much more beneficial for certain individuals and society than going straight to college after high school. Many other young people would do better working for companies, becoming homemakers, traveling, or gaining other kinds of life experiences instead of simply earning a degree.
College requires a certain kind of discipline and innate ability to succeed in that type of environment. The prospective student must find a way to use this in a job or career after they graduate, however, and many graduates end up in fields that have nothing to do with their degrees and college becomes a series of faded memories. College also tends to focus on coursework, and people skills may not be developed as well in college. A lot of time and energy that could have been used learning and building a resume can be spent earning a degree that ultimately will not be used.
The best argument against college seems to be how many of the subjects colleges require students to take has almost nothing to do with what they need to earn a living after earning a degree. Doubtlessly workers need to use good grammar, accept criticism, speak intelligently, and write cogently, but how many people use Calculus or Latin in their jobs? Or even algebra?
A trade or technical school may be of use to someone who really wants to enter a certain field, but Liberal Arts colleges do not seem to support trades or even some types of white-collar work. We need people to become college professors, but the competition to become a tenured professor is intensely competitive and most people wind up exiting the education system at some point, whether they drop out of high school or stop going to school because they have earned their PhD. Can the system shift to meet the needs of the post-year 2000 era?
College can be of benefit to many people, but it is undeniably expensive and does not pay off for everyone in the end. People have plenty of career options without earning a college degree and the competition for good jobs often makes earning a degree, in large part, an unfortunate waste of time. Not everyone should go to college.