Should high school graduates delay college?
When you first graduate from high school, it might be tempting to work right away for several reasons:
1. You found a decent paying job and like making money.
2. You didn’t like high school and want to be done with classes.
3. You can’t wait to get away from your parents.
4. You need to work to help support your parents.
5. Why commit to all that time and possible debt when there are no guarantees of a payoff?
There is also proof that a few people are successful without it. Here are just a few names of people who didn't finish college.
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Dave Thomas, billionaire founder of Wendy’s dropped out of high school at 15.
Bill Gates, dropped out of Harvard University in 1975 to co-found Microsoft.
Sean Connery never got a degree. He grew up poor and dropped out of school to help support his family.
Oprah Winfrey had a scholarship, but gave it up to work in the media.
However, these are exceptions. Delaying or not going to college at all is a careful decision because more jobs are requiring four year degrees. If you don’t have one, it can make the job search more difficult.
I have to admit that after I got my associate’s degree the job hunt was so difficult that I started to think a degree of any kind was useless. Everyone wanted experience. But over the years, I have found that I’m better off not giving up on a college education. Yes, getting that first job is tough, but if you work hard it will happen and the key is to continue to work hard once you’re employed.
Even if you obtain a job that isn't what you want, you still have a better chance of promotion with a degree. I've seen it happen where I used to work. An employee who was there only a year was promoted over many others who had a lot of years of seniority. Unfortunately, a lot of people were bitter. They didn’t see why a piece of paper meant so much, but it was a requirement of the job. So if you don’t qualify, it doesn’t matter how many years you put in. I had an associate’s degree in computer information systems at the time, and this motivated me to go back and get my bachelors. Although, it was a hard choice because I kept thinking I was too old and that it would take forever. (I was only around 30 at the time.)
Which brings me to the point...it’s harder to get the degree once you’re married with children and/or working full time. I went to evening/weekend college and studied while taking care of my toddler son. I remember waiting until he was asleep to study. It takes longer too if you can only take one or two classes per semester.
You’re only fresh out of high school once in your life. This is a time when one doesn't have a lot of responsibilities, so make a careful decision if you want to give up this ideal time to go to college. Yes, college students don’t have a lot of money, but if you get it over with young you will be grateful.
I’m glad I stuck it out and got the degree. Not only that, but there is some satisfaction in being the only one in my family with a bachelor’s degree.
Lastly, I want to emphasize that college isn’t like high school. In college, you get to take things you’re interested in and therefore you might be more motivated.
If you’re older and never got your degree, don’t think it’s too late or dwell on how long it will take. Nola Ochs was born in 1911 and got her degree in 2007. She is the Guinness World Record holder for the oldest college graduate.