Here’s a common scenario: go to college straight from high school, graduate, get a good job, get married, have a family and retire somewhere down South. But is college, in particular, a necessary path for everyone?
According to a 2018 WGBH News/Abt Associates poll, 68% of Americans said they feel college is still worth attending. But, when asked if attending college is necessary to get ahead in life, 55% of participants ranging from 18 to 65 said they believed college was not.
Jake Napolitano, a 19-year-old liberal arts major, agrees with the people who say it isn’t worth it.
“I don’t think [college is] necessary for two reasons,” he said. “It’s very possible to find your own success separate from school and education seriously isn’t for everyone.”
In the age of technology, many people find success online through social media platforms, such as Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter. The accessibility and reach that a person can get through self-promotion is nothing compared to what has been seen and/or done in years before.
Mauricio Narvaez, a 20-year-old graphic design major said, “College is a decision. In order to become successful, you must be willing to put that time and effort to be where you want to be.”
There are many benefits to not going to college, such as “more time for leisure activities and/or work,” said Napolitano. “You also feel a sense of freedom and less stress.”
Narvaez adding that going to college doesn’t ensure that any graduate gets an automatic job, “especially when your major is one with a lot of competition.”
However, that doesn’t mean we should completely ditch the idea of college altogether. There is a reason why 77% of people believe that college is worth attending.
According to an article on collegecovered.com, there are many benefits to attending college. The article stated that the attendance of classes can add to your resume and can be a life-changing experience.
“I’ve taken classes that I feel like I get something out of other than credits towards graduating,” said Napolitano. “It’s also an easy way to meet people.”
The ‘college experience’ is usually a big selling point for a lot of high school graduates when it’s time to choose their life path. The idea that you’re missing out on life if you choose to follow your dreams straight out of high school rather than spend another four plus years in the same environment.
There are also many career paths that require a degree, such as a nurse, doctor, lawyer, and other high figure jobs. They require a plethora of knowledge that you cannot learn anywhere else.
To be able to really answer this question, however, was to get to the route of what ‘success’ really meant. According to Webster’s dictionary, success means a favorable or desirable outcome, which could be attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence.
To Napolitano, however, “success is finding a balance between personal acceptance and monetary gain.”
Many students struggle with the concept of success, thinking it means solely monetary when it really means whatever they choose to have it mean. When a person completes a task or goal they had set for themselves, that is success.
If obtaining an associate’s, bachelor’s, or even a Ph.D. is your ultimate goal, then yes, college is necessary to be successful because there’s no way to gain that without going through the process. However, if your end goal is to be happy and debt-free, then maybe college is not necessary.
“There’s no true path to becoming successful, especially in a country like this country, where the opportunities are almost limitless,” said Narvaez.
For Napolitano, “Success to me is being happy with where you are in life.”