Trading Trades for College

Weighing college against alternatives

Sam Hoops, Staff Writer

With the Coronavirus drastically changing our present, many of us are thinking ahead to the future. For high school juniors and seniors, that includes the consideration of college against other alternatives.

While there are plenty of other options in place of college, none are as useful as college overall.

College degrees can be used for a large number of careers, compared to trade school where students are specialized in only one thing. Once one is in, they’re in, and they don’t have options.

One benefit of trade school, however, is the time spent in school compared to college. Most trade schools are two years instead of the traditional college four, which helps bring down cost as well.

Trade schools can be beneficial for those who don’t want to sit in classes for four years and pay tons of money and just want to get into the workforce. It’s also a good option for students who might struggle with academic learning but are great at working with their hands.

A New York Federal Reserve Bank study in 2019 reported that only 27% of college graduates ended up working in their major. That means 73% of graduates were prepared enough through college to work in other fields.

College is specifically designed to strengthen students in many areas to prepare them for the real world. For example, gen eds such as English or Speech will help graduates become a better speaker for future interactions with coworkers or bosses.

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce reported that more than 95% of positions in 2008 opened since the Great Recession chose people with college backgrounds.

Another positive to college is the connections one makes while they’re there. Through professors or internships, they’re set on a strong path to future employers and will have a stronger resume coming out the other end of their education.

College is useful not just for future jobs; the social side of college can lead to lasting friendships, or even something more. 

Facebook did a study on people marrying spouses from the same college, and 28% of married couples went to the same college. That’s around 17 million couples in the US.

Money is also a large incentive for future jobs, and college pulls out on top in terms of salary.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2019, people with college degrees earned a median of $1,173 weekly. Workers with only a GED made a median of $712 per week.

Job security is also just as important as salary, which is another area where college comes out on top.

In 2018, college graduates had an unemployment rate of 2.3%. The national average of 2018 overall was 4.6%, double the rate for college grads. 

Overall, college may be more expensive than either not going at all or going to a trade school, but is undoubtedly the safer and smarter option when thinking about one’s future.