31 January 2013

College vs Vocational Training

I've thought about this many times over the decades, ever since going to college, myself, in fact.  I have in front of me an article on the subject with which, for the most part, I agree.

It's often tossed about that everyone has a right to go to college, but there are many who are simply unsuited for college or simply do not wish to go on to further formal education, possibly even dropping out of high school, rendering moot the possibility of attending college unless one first obtains a GED.  Some may have a learning disability, are anxious to begin making money or are simply bored with the learning process.  There are also those who do not feel that they can afford college, but, if they are otherwise suited for college in regard to their grades and temperament, there are many scholarships available, as well as student loans (as a last resort).

I've run into many people whose employment is vocational in nature.  Many are quite intelligent and some make more money than the typical college graduate.  They were unable or unwilling to go to college, but instead took the training involved in their chosen vocation and doing quite well.

The rising costs of going to college, far outpacing inflation and the cost of living, are becoming prohibitive for many and place a tremendous burden on parents and students alike, particularly when repaying any student loans begin soon after graduation.  What if they have not yet found employment and cannot yet pay back the loans? 

Vocational schools cost a great deal less and take far less time to complete, so that the students can begin their careers that much earlier and without the burden of repaying outrageous student loans.  There are, in fact, some scholarships geared toward vocational studies, as well.

All should quit trying to exert undue influence on those in high school to continue studies of any given type.  Let students decide in which direction their intelligence, grades, temperament and/or finances leads, whether it be college or vocational school, the military or none of the above.   Perhaps consult with and guide them a bit, but support them in whatever decision is made.

It's their lives and, should a mistaken choice be made, a change of direction is always possible at a later date.

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