Our View: Career planning

By Herald Editorial Staff
On April 7, 2014

“Stay in school,” chant teachers, parents and classmates alike through the years. In high school, it holds true, as the benefits of a high school diploma justify the investment of time, especially since the education comes at no direct cost to students.

However, what about students whose future doesn’t include college after high school or those who wish to take a break from school before they decide on their future?

Recently, as part of the nation’s push for students to go to college, high schools have implemented different methods, from four-year scheduling plans to aptitude tests and surveys, to prepare students for the future, as long as their future includes going to college or joining the military. This system does work well for many students.

This presents a problem, however, for the few students who are still unsure of what they want to do after high school, and relying on formulated tests to tell them what to do leaves them uneasy.

The fact that students are supposed to decide their future at such a young age is contradictory. Most high school students are not allowed to vote, participate fully in the government process or make other decisions that might classify them adults. Yet schools still think students should plan out their adult lives, even though they have yet to be alive for two decades.

Those who choose not to declare majors right away are encouraged to take a multitude of classes in order to find out what they’re interested in. The main premise is for the student to keep going to school.

However, they are usually not told that only some of the classes they take will count toward their potential degree, mostly through electives. Meanwhile, those who have declared a major can start taking classes specifically required for their major.

While some students find their passion in time, others can be left behind in school, often needing extra time and money to complete their program.

So what happens to college students who decide to take time off from college, or high school graduates who enter the workforce for a few years before continuing their education?

Most are looked down upon, by both society and the job market. Though finding a job may still be possible, many employers are still much more likely to hire an applicant who took the traditional college route over someone who chose a different path. This mindset is reinforced by high schools and colleges who encourage students to stay in school no matter the cost.

College is infiltrated with students who have decided on their future before their brain has finished developing. Those unsure of their future are encouraged to still stay in school, leading some to fall behind and spend more money on school when they could be earning money in the workforce.

However, this is the course that all students should take, so much so that people who do take time off can be automatically hindered in the job market, regardless of whether or not they earned a degree in the end.

Is it really so bad for students to take time off from school, or not jump into more school right after high school graduation? Many older non-traditional students find that they simply weren’t ready for school in their 20’s, and those who still tried college ended up with nothing but wasted money and time.

It is time to change the way we think about education after high school.

The change must not only come from high schools and colleges, but also from employers who look down upon non-traditional students.

A college education is meant to help a person get ahead in their career of choice, but first the student should be allowed time to decide on their career.

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