As your junior year is coming to an end, it is important to start deciding where you want to steer your life post high school. While many of your peers may be lining up colleges, universities, and prestigious schools to apply to come the fall, it is important to understand the pros and cons of digging yourself into a hole of school debt. Additionally, it is important to know that you do not have to find “the right college” because there are more choices than a four-year university.
Society makes it seem like you’re the oddball out if you don’t have your whole life set and planned before you. Many of us are trying to live up to what our peers pressure us to think is “cool” and acceptable; however, you shouldn’t see a four-year university and twenty years of school loan debt to pay off as your only option. We all know how stressful and nerve-racking college application time is.
Now what if we, as current seniors, told you there was a way to ease that stress during your junior and senior years, by comforting you in your post-high school decisions. And it turns out, non-traditional routes after high school are more popular–and cost efficient. Attending a community college or trade school option doesn’t only give you the classes you need, but it helps the immense financial pressure that college brings on. A lot of times a four-year university is promoted as the only option or the option that will give you the best future. In reality, there are many different routes that could be just as beneficial or even more beneficial than traditional college.
We are all aware of the tradition of picking your classes for the following year. As you get closer to graduation, the types of classes and the grades you earn seem to become more and more important. You have to figure out what degree you want to pursue and organize your high school classes to prepare you for them. Our generation makes it seem like it’s a race to be the first one done–but it’s not. So slow down and look at your options. You don’t have to rush through high school so you’re paying 20 years of student loans off just to work your entire life at a job you don’t really love. Take the time to look at all your options; whether that be the military, trade school, community college, or a four-year university.
Traditional college isn’t for everyone and you shouldn’t feel pressured to do it if it’s not your path. It is OK to take a different route and step outside of the box. Nontraditional college has become more and more popular and the youth is starting to realize that it may actually be the better option. Let us, as seniors, let you know that what others are doing might not actually be what’s best for you. So talk to your parents, talk to your guidance counselors, and reach out to outside resources to get as much information you can. After all, this is your future and your life and should consider all your options before choosing what to do.