This is not a question just for the junior and senior years of high school, but one that can be considered at numerous points in ones life. One may be finishing a tour of duty in a branch of the military and decide to return to civilian life, or may feel burned out in his or her current career. Either way, there are several factors to consider in debating whether or not college is the right step..
Most important is the question of whether or not one has the right skills to make it in college, even more so than current or anticipated financial status after receiving a college degree. A lot of people consider greater income as a motivating factor in pursuing a college degree, which can quite easily prove to be a mistake. If the motivation and skills to succeed aren’t there, both in advanced studies and in the career to be obtained through it, then the idea of using it to obtain higher income is a fantasy. Even if the motivation IS there, it is no guarantee of success in a new career after graduation. Efforts toward realizing better income could be better spent honing one’s skills in other ways that actually suit the individual.
One could argue that one could always learn to study in college, which may or may not be true in an individual case. However, a lot of universities, and scholarship funding sources, are going to require the applicant to demonstrate possession of such skills when seeking admission and/or consideration.
If someone has great difficulty with textbook learning, it certainly is a factor to consider before taking that step. The student who gets by on C averages or worse is most likely not suited for college – at least not right after high school. One can find some schools with varying levels of admission standards, but in all honesty the lower such admission standards go, the less value a degree from that particular school tends to have. Everyone certainly has interests that can be built upon and developed into a suitable career and plenty of options are there to be considered as a pathway towards success.
By no means is this a certainty, as any young person makes some effort to not be a carbon copy of their father or mother, but some find themselves quite satisfied with a family trade or business where they have learned all the necessary skills from their parents. For some, it has been a significant and enjoyable part of their lives as they grew so they just stick with it when their time in high school is done. Other alternatives include developing skills in a line of work through a part time jobs after school and over summer breaks. There are also more career oriented training schools where emphasis is more on hands on training than textbook learning, that will be better suited towards those who really struggle with lower grade averages throughout high school.
Also they can also be trained for a career during an enlistment in a branch of the military. Two big advantages to this option is that the military has programs to aid with the cost of college should it be desired later and they can sometimes apply what they have learned to obtain college credit should the possibility of a college education be more feasible later in life.
Of course, there are some career paths for which college is an absolute must. If your interests and abilities lead you on one of them, you will simply have to do what you must to make it there. Both academia and hands on training of any form requires one to put a lot of themselves into it. This should be kept in mind whatever one ultimately decides. However, the lack of a college education is anything but the stumbling block some make it out to be.