Do You Have to Go to College to Be Successful?

Carolina Jacobs

Jan 20, 2021

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If you’re a high school student, you’re probably examining what’s next for you. The biggest question might be whether you should attend college. After all, 66% of high school graduates enrolled in universities last year. 

That’s a significant amount of young adults — but do you have to go to college to be successful? Take a look.

Why Do People Pursue Post-Secondary Education?

It’s important to note that today’s job landscape often requires you to have a bachelor’s degree. In the future, 36% of job openings won’t require that education. That leaves the majority available only for those who attended college. If you consider those figures by themselves, you might want to give post-secondary education more thought.

There’ll always be careers that require specialized learning. Take attorneys and doctors as examples. They have to go to law and medical school to practice their professions. That’s something you should consider as you think about your future. Do you want to pursue a career that requires further education?

The other benefits of college are more experience-based. You have a chance to break away from your comfort zone to explore something new. It’s an excellent opportunity to meet people and form connections. These possibilities are the best part of attending a university for some.

These are the main reasons why students enroll in college after high school. They think they need a degree to get a job — and that’s true for the most part. It’s also a sort of coming-of-age experience to go through these four or more years as a young adult.

Paths You Can Take Besides Attending College

However, you might not benefit from college at all. These days, you can pursue various careers without additional schooling whatsoever. It’s possible to teach yourself everything from video editing to writing code to land yourself a job. There are ways to find a role you love outside of college. 

You could find college to be a waste of time and money when you can pursue other routes. It’s common to go to trade school as an alternative. If you’re inclined to be an electrician or plumber, you should skip attending a four-year university so that you can achieve those goals.

It’s also possible to get into the workforce immediately after high school. You can always try to obtain an entry-level job while you figure out what’s on the horizon. There’s a chance you’ll come to love that career path and want to rise in the ranks. If anything, you have an opportunity to make money in the meantime.

Things to Consider Before Graduating High School

You probably don’t have a clear plan outlining your future. That’s OK. If you know what you want to pursue, you’re already ahead of the game. In any case, it’s essential to have some idea of what you’d like to do career-wise as you get older.

Try asking yourself questions like:

  • What’s my personality type?
  • Is there a hobby I enjoy that could be lucrative?
  • Do I want to work in an office or at home?
  • Are there any careers that look interesting to me?
  • What skills do I have?

As a result, you should have a more distinct idea of what looks appealing to you. That’s when you can decide how you want to get there. For example, you might decide that zoology sounds interesting because you’ve always loved animals and nature. The next step would be to find which positions are available for zoologists and what experience those roles require.

Tuition will be another consideration. If you can easily afford to get a bachelor’s degree, you have more options. The average student loan debt for someone in their 20s amounts to over $20,000, so it’s not an easy choice to attend college. That’s something worst thinking about before you decide to apply to universities.

In any case, you don’t necessarily have to decide before you graduate. It makes sense to attend college immediately following high school when you want to get your degree quickly. But if you can wait, you might want to use that time to figure things out more thoroughly.

The Verdict: It’s Depends on Your Situation

Do you have to go to college to be successful? It depends on how you want your future to look. Various careers require additional education after high school. But you can also attend a two-year trade school program or find a job at a restaurant if you’d prefer to take those routes. You have the power to ensure your success one way or another.

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