I am proud to say that I am the first person in my family to earn a college degree. My mother was a single parent raising me and my brother. She had a high school education and a one-year diploma from a local business school. With that education, she was hired by a large corporation that provided her with additional on-the-job training.
Today, a high school diploma is not enough. While employees with a high school education might be lucky enough to secure jobs with good benefits, college graduates typically do better in professional careers with higher salaries. For college students, coursework provides them with not only professional skills, but also reasoning skills to tackle future decisions in their own lives. Their future financial independence, as well as secure living situations, will depend on how well prepared they are for the demands of the complex world of tomorrow.
Some students have the opportunity for job training during high school that allows them to acquire certification for entry jobs in healthcare, computer repair, and mechanical skills. It is an excellent start, but the future will require much more education than even the best high school programs can offer.
The reality is, the future for students will be increasingly difficult without a college education. In a recent poll, “Ninety percent of those who pursued higher education immediately after high school said they would do so again—while a majority of those who moved from high school directly into the workforce said that if they could reconsider their choice today, they would instead seek more education.”
More ideas to consider:
Ellen Mooney is a retired principal and teacher with more than 45 years of experience in K-12 education.