Didn't get in? Didn't get in where you wanted to get in? Just really, really don't want to go?
A small but influential group of economists and educators is pushing another pathway: for some students, no college at all. It’s time, they say, to develop credible alternatives for students unlikely to be successful pursuing a higher degree, or who may not be ready to do so... College degrees are simply not necessary for many jobs.
Like, um, writing for a weekly newspaper.
Of the 30 jobs projected to grow at the fastest rate over the next decade in the United States, only seven typically require a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Among the top 10 growing job categories, two require college degrees: accounting (a bachelor’s) and postsecondary teachers (a doctorate). But this growth is expected to be dwarfed by the need for registered nurses, home health aides, customer service representatives and store clerks. None of those jobs require a bachelor’s degree.
This is good news for people (like me) who want to see college decoupled from anything practical, like earnings potential. College should be a place you attend because you want to learn stuff, not a place you attend just to be financially solvent—and it should be much harder to get into and free for everyone who makes the cut.
If people stop treating college as a matter of course and start treating it as one of many legitimate post-high school options, it'll be good for everybody: good for poor people who can't afford to go; good for non-studious types who don't want to go; good for studious types who want to go but get insufficient financial aid packages because the non-studious types (who don't even want to be there) are clogging up the system and diluting the resources. (Not to mention dragging down the level of discourse and the quality of the education.)
Plus, if Americans stop expecting college to teach its population the fundamentals, it might put pressure on American high schools to step up and deliver the education it's failing to provide.
College: Save it for the people who want it.