CON: Success is not entirely determined by college

Grace Harris, Commentary Editor

“When I was in college…” the story so many students hear from their parents during high school. The standard of attending college is impressed upon students as soon as elementary school, narrowing the way they view their future. Many students stride through high school with the underlying perception that getting admitted to college is the only option. Despite the impression we receive from adults and authority figures throughout our lives, college is not the best option available to everyone.

College has significantly increased its admission requirements regarding academics, personal values and philanthropy. The system of admissions has been majorly reformed. What makes an applicant attractive to the admissions office has become significantly stricter and centralized around GPA, class rank and various other academic rankings.

Obsessively monitoring our GPAs, enduring the intense preparation for standardized tests, we subject ourselves to the enormous process of getting admitted to our dream college.

With parental and societal pressure, college feels inevitable, as if it is already decided. This overwhelming pressure leads students to feel as though these numbers define them. The degradation of self-worth through the application process discredits students of their natural talents and presence both in their school and in the world.

Furthermore, college has become unaffordable. To attend the University of Texas at Austin; tuition, living expenses and other essential amenities land above $30,000 yearly. Even the application fees range from $50-100. This is unmanageable for many families and presents unfair advantages to those born into financially stable households.

Since the 1980’s tuition to public universities has risen an astounding 213%. With the assistance of financial aid and scholarships students can get the price reduced to just above $13,000 a year. These total’s are still unreasonable for students of low-income. The investment required to receive an education in America is unjust and for many is not worth the money.

Although college is definitely a valuable experience with many positive opportunities for education and future success, you can find the same success without a college degree.

For those who choose to not attend college, there are plenty of opportunities for success. Society often represses our recognition of alternate options. The standard tells us that graduating college is the only way to achieve success and stability. This is completely untrue and it is important to explore alternate options as closely as you examine different universities.

Although college is definitely a valuable experience with many positive opportunities for education and future success, you can find the same success without a college degree. Some of the most common paths those who intend not to earn a four-year degree pursue are; cosmetology school, earning a real estate license, welding school, enrolling in nursing school, applying for internships that interest them, apprenticeship, and going to a community college first.

By pursuing their interests after high school, many find passion and financial stability without the increasing costs and stress of college courses. Although college is the best option for those who aspire to pursue careers such as a doctor, or engineering, for those unsure in the financial and life changing commitment to college, more appealing alternatives can be considered.

Societal pressures and expectations surrounding college should not influence the personal decision if college is the most valuable option after high school. There are so many benefits of investigating the advantages of other opportunities. With the unreasonable financial commitment as well as mental degradation of college, everyone should explore other options as thoroughly as they research universities. The decision rests on the goals and an individual’s situation, but college is not always the best available option.