College For Everyone?

I spotted a New York Times article last week titled, “Should Everyone Go to College?” My immediate thought was no. After reading the article my response was still no. If you have a different opinion, please keep reading. My opinions come from participating in our education system since the age of six.

As early as first grade, I could see that some of my classmates understood what the teachers told us with relative ease while others behaved as if the teacher was speaking a different language. As the years passed it became more and more apparent that not all my classmates were created equal (intellectually). Those who struggled to make high grades excelled in other areas. With three recesses during the day at my tiny country school, superior athletic ability was regularly on display. The academically gifted students typically didn’t stand a chance in kickball, dodge ball or in jump rope competitions. Having only seven other students in my grade made it easy to figure out what each of them could do.

In high school, the size of my graduating class ballooned to 72 individuals. Still, I was able to become at least close acquaintances with everyone in my class. A number of my classmates paced the halls of the school like caged wolves. They wanted to be anywhere else most of the time. Others took advantage of elective coursework to find something they enjoyed about getting an education and honed skills that had nothing to do with making A’s on exams.

Were it not for intense browbeating I took from teachers as a senior, college would not have been a part of my life story. My plans were originally to enlist in the Navy. The teachers who taught me for four years went to great lengths to change my mind. Looking back, I think they were right.

Many of my friends were not encouraged to attend college and with good reason. It wasn’t something that would enhance their lives. Even while in college, I met peers who were wasting their time and their parent’s money. We all have a variety of talents and a formal education does not enhance every talent. So no, I don’t think everyone should go to college. But those who should need to have a clear path laid out for them.

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