College Stigma

June 1, seniors head off. Their future choices await: college, military, work, a gap year, or even tech school.

“People do great things with and without college,” senior Ben Hahs said.

According to the U.S. Census report approximately 16 million people enrolled in colleges across the U.S. , and about 66 percent of high school students attend college.

“A lot of people in my family went to college and couldn’t make a careers out of their major. They went back and got their electrician’s license, which doesn’t require college, and make good money now. College is not necessary for success,” Hahs said.

The Washington Post states only 27 percent of college graduates have a job in relation to their major.

“I think going to college is a smart decision,” senior Scott Simon said.

According to The National Center of Education Statistics In 2016, about 78.8 percent people with a bachelor’s degree in the labor force had year-round, full-time jobs, compared with 72.3 percent of those with an associate’s degree, and 60.1 percent of those without a high school diploma or equivalent.

“To achieve what I want to do right now, I would need college, but if I decided to do something else I wouldn’t,” senior Katie Luntz said.

“Everyone has their own dreams and ways to achieve them,” Simon said.

Jobs ranging from a carpenter, to a paralegal, and even a dental hygienist are options for students without a college education.

Northeast University reports those with a bachelor’s degree will add $1 million to their total lifetime earnings compared to someone without a degree. Also stats show high school graduates experience an unemployment rate eight percent higher than college grads.

“I definitely need college, not only to learn, but to open up contacts for me to move forward, and everyone goes to college now, so it’s kind of like a tradition,” Hahs said.  

“Having college education in your background is not necessary, but it puts you ahead of those who don’t,” senior Keagan O’Donnell said.

A 2016 Pew Research report found that 77 percent of workers with a postgraduate degree and 60 percent of workers with a bachelor’s degree believe their job gives them a sense of identity, versus just 38 percent of those with a high school diploma or less.

“I want to go into something biology related, I could probably achieve my goals in life without college, but that makes me too nervous,” senior Amanda Svetina said. “College is like a security blanket for students.”

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, just 2.7 percent of workers with a bachelor’s degree are facing unemployment, compared to 5.2 percent of workers with only a high school diploma.