There are a lot of reasons why college is a good move, but what is your reason for going? One of the worst reasons I have heard is, “mom and dad said I had to go to college and this is where my friends were going.” Another popular reason is that you can find yourself while taking all those interesting classes. What if the “you” being searched for is not on a college campus? At a thousand dollars per semester hour, finding yourself in college has gotten way too expensive. There is also a pretty picture painted for high school teens that, “it will be the best four years of your life.” For about half the students that go directly into a four-year college, it is fun socially, but the worst semester or two academically they can imagine. Also, graduating in four years has become the exception and not the rule.
Any of this got you ready to run out and apply to college? Well, it shouldn’t influence you one way or the other. Students who have put in the work to qualify for admission to a competitive college already know that it won’t be a cake walk. By the same token, anyone not already interested in college will take these statements with a grain of salt. But, if you do have designs on a college education, why have you decided to pursue this path?
In my case, I knew that the state would not allow me to teach school without a degree and teacher certification. Also, one of my role models encouraged me to consider his alma mater and that carried a lot of weight at the time. What about your situation? What do you want to do that requires a degree in addition to the high school diploma?
After teaching in high school and college for 15 years, I look at former students who have stayed in contact with me and see little difference in the level of success of those who went to college and those who didn’t. Practically all of them have exceeded me in their earning potential, but the only major difference I see is the type of job they have. The difference is a blue collar or a white-collar job. And now we get back to the question you have been asked all your life. What do you want to be when you grow up? Lock that answer in and you are all set. Understand that it doesn’t have to be locked in forever. Once you achieve that first goal, set another. Get better at what you do or trade it in for something completely different. Just don’t get into the habit of wandering around looking for something to do. Decide what you want to do and pursue that thing with a passion.