Is College The Right Choice?

For high school graduates in the USA, the question is always, “What’s your next step?” The question behind the question is, “What university are you going to attend?”

It’s assumed that students will get a student loan, go to university and then graduate with tons of debt with a degree that may or may not have any practical application in the workplace.

In the words of Mike Rowe, “America is lending money it doesn’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That’s nuts.

The cost of university has risen much faster than standard rates of inflation, and in my humble opinion, this is because it’s so easy to get student loans (predatory lending?). The colleges are colluding with the loan companies to squeeze as much money from students or their parents as possible.

The fact is, there is a TON of pressure on young adults to go to university. But in addition to a huge debt load, universities are increasingly indoctrination centers, they don’t necessarily prepare people for the real world and a degree does not necessarily mean higher income or better job security. I think that much of this pressure is fear-based. Parents want the best for their children, and young adults have been sold a bill of goods that college equals good money and job security.

The fact is, university is not right for everyone.

It’s important for the youth to look at all the options available to them, and as a society, we need to stop elevating college degrees as the only respectable choice. There are many respectable choices, such as becoming a tradesperson or becoming an entrepreneur.

California has a new effort right now to improve the reputation and respectability of being a tradesperson. There is a huge demand for tradespersons all across the country because not enough people are choosing this route. This high demand equates to higher job security. Tradespersons can make really good money, and they don’t have to go into debt to learn their trade.

Here’s an interesting video on this…

Also, Mike Rowe is providing scholarships for people choosing this route.

Another option is to be an entrepreneur. This is also not an option for everyone, but for some it’s incredibly rewarding. I will go into this option in a future article.

Please tell me your comments!

Get the latest articles in your inbox

Want more golden wisdom like this?

Each week I share insightful articles on life, health, internet security and happiness. Please join our community of truth seekers!


  1. Yes, I went to college and got a degree that didn’t help me at all at getting jobs. Every job I ever got was one that high school graduates could get. I recommend that you read some of John Taylor Gatto’s books. They’re about how the school system is set up to dumb kids down.

  2. If California is getting into an apprentice program it is doomed to failure. The failure rate of California’s “programs” is surpassed only by the federal government’s failed programs. The only successful programs seem to be run by smaller states where the bureaucracy is not so high. Our city recently hired two more chiefs. We have a city manager. He recently hired a deputy city manager and an assistant city manager. Of course those two functionaries will have to have assistant and secretaries and file clerks and general factotums. That’s why such programs will fail in California. Too many chiefs and none of the indians are really working anyway.

    One bright side however, it does keep the unemployment roles down although it is taking money from the back pocket instead of the front pocket.

    1. Yes, the idea is good, whether they can execute is another thing. I’d rather the government get out of it totally and stop pushing the student loans, etc.

  3. I can’t really believe you didn’t mention a really great opportunity for those just leaving high school – the military! Nothing wrong with those skills at all – and they are not all fighting. Only about 15% of military are in combat roles, which leaves a whole lot of jobs needed to support that 15%. And those jobs translate into working roles in the civilian population! Not only does it help our country, but it provides a way to understand the role of discipline in making you a better person and worker.

  4. Trade school (just beware the for-profit model), apprenticeships, and the military, as mentioned above, are all great options. Community college vs. 4 yr. Even some college degrees in ‘demand’ fields are no guarantee one can remain employed. For example, nursing. An Associate Degree gets you in the door, but anymore, everyone wants a Bachelor Degree. And for older nurses, that is not necessarily a viable option. At 50+, why would want to take on 25K+ in debt when it isn’t going to raise your pay level because one is already maxed out due to years of experience? Teaching is another great example of debt to pay ratio. I won’t get into my thoughts on colleges and universities overall anymore…

    1. Thakns for the comment. I don’t agree with your point demonizing for-profit models, I would rather examine each school on it’s merits. Fundamentally, I think our public school system should change to give people better options.

      1. I agree, Glenn. More vocational schools like when I was in HS, half day in regular classes, half day at the vocational school and you graduated with not only a diploma but a certificate in your chosen program, and some even graduated with licenses for their chosen profession. Bring back wood shop and home ec, too. Basic accounting skills. Teach our kids how to be prepared for the ‘real world’ rather than grooming them for further ‘indoctrination’ by telling them the only way to get ahead is college.

  5. Hi Glenn — Great article! Here’s another option you might find interesting…
    I recently attended an event where the new graduates were invited to state their name and high school and where they were headed next, and I was surprised and impressed when some of them said they would be spending the next several months serving with a missions team in another country. Apparently there are many teams which already have seasoned adults with construction, medical, or other professional experience and so the young people provide much-needed help for these teams to accomplish what they’re there to do.
    The humility and compassion and grit needed for such an endeavor may be just the qualities our country (and employers) would find valuable when they make their way back home.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *