More than 19 million young adults attended college in the fall of 2020, with many regretting the decision to do so. At least one million students will decide to drop out of school and pursue other options, leaving the future of college education up in the air. If you’re a young adult, you’ve probably heard school staff tell you that you need to go to college. They’ve emphasized furthering education because they often believe it’s the only way to succeed, and they’re not as familiar with the world of the internet.
One thing you may have realized is that there are plenty of people surviving and thriving without college degrees, including names that ring bells across the country and around the world, such as Mark Zuckerberg, P. Diddy, and Rachael Ray. These are only some of the people who’ve managed to drop out of college and turn nothing into something, proving that a degree isn’t a requirement for success.
The Driving Force Behind Dropping Out
So, what is the reason that a growing number of students are dropping out of college instead of staying enrolled for the entire four years? The driving force behind college dropouts varies from one person to the next, but there are a few primary reasons people are ditching college and heading out in the workforce.
The Astronomical Cost of College Tuition
While college tuition in the 70s was hundreds of dollars per year, the cost of tuition has drastically increased over the past few decades. Students are now paying nearly $40k per year to attend the college of their choice, and that isn’t even considering the additional costs associated with colleges, such as textbooks and supplies. Most people between the ages of 18 and 25 don’t have $160k to give these universities, so they end up applying for and receiving student loans that they have the responsibility of paying off.
Those who can receive scholarships may think they have the upper hand, but even some scholarships don’t cover the total cost of college tuition, leaving students stuck to pay for the remaining amount out of their own pockets. With such incredibly high tuition rates, people are starting to ask, “Are college degrees worth it?” Is a degree worth getting into some serious debt that you might not be able to pay off for a long time? No one wants to get tied to a loan they’re stuck paying on for the next 20-30 years, but it happens.
No Longer Having a Passion for Their Major
Some high school students have high hopes when graduating and decide to go to college because they’d like to get into a field that requires them to have a degree. However, after they get to college and experience it for themselves, these young adults soon realize it’s not what they thought it would be and then decide that it’s not what they want anymore.
If you don’t have a passion for your major, why stick with it? You might feel like you need to follow through with what you said you would do, but why would you need to do that? If you’re not happy, make a change. You can leave college and get started in a career that doesn’t require a degree instead of staying in school, dealing with more debt, and getting a degree in a major that you don’t plan to use in the real world.
The Internet Era
It’s hard for some to think about the long hours spent in college classes, dealing with boring lectures, and a lack of time with friends and family due to studying and homework when they see other people their age getting rich from social media. When you look at people like Dixie D’Amelio and other TikTok stars making a living from posting content on the social media app and scoring brand deals, it’s hard to think about all the hours of your life you’ll waste in school.
The internet era teaches young adults that they don’t necessarily need to get that college degree to make big moves and succeed. It’s more about learning a specific set of skills and connecting with the right people to see results. Now that billions of people worldwide have access to the internet and can do their own research, they’re starting to realize that college isn’t the only way to get to where they’d like to be in their lives.
The Academic Pressure is Too Much
Not many people speak openly about the academic pressure experienced by students when attending different universities. Colleges expect students to attend these lectures, take exams, and spend hours of their lives studying or completing school-related tasks, such as working on projects, providing them with little to no time to live life and enjoy it. As a young adult, you should have time for your loved ones, whether you’re in a relationship, have a best friend, or want to hang out with your younger siblings. Unfortunately, college makes that nearly impossible.
Not everyone can handle the academic pressure. It’s the reason many have decided to drop out in the first place. The idea of spending the next several years dealing with constant school work isn’t exciting, and it can take a toll on your mental health. If you feel like you have no time for anything, including yourself, rethink staying in college for the long haul. If you drop out, you can protect your mental health.
Understanding the Alternatives to Higher Education
Older generations spent years of their lives in college because they felt like they had no choice. Not only was it pushed on them while in high school, but these older individuals didn’t have access to the internet like we do today, nor did they know about the many alternatives to higher education, including trades schools.
Trade Schools Have a Lot to Offer
Those who want to further their education to get into a trade don’t have to go to college or get a degree to make that happen. Instead, they can attend trade schools to learn the valuable knowledge needed to have a successful, high-paying career. Moreover, it’s easier to find trade schools now than a decade ago.
Trade schools provide a more significant advantage over college universities for several reasons. Not only are they more affordable, but you can also learn the trade in much less time AND get the hands-on experience needed. The average university won’t provide hands-on experience or prepare you for life in the real world, but a trade school can and will do that within a lot less time than you’d expect.
Some trade programs are only six months long. In addition, they offer greater flexibility to those who’d like to have an opportunity to create the perfect balance between school and their personal lives. You could earn a certification that will allow you to make thousands of dollars each month, with the potential to bring in at least six figures or more at some point.
Apprenticeships Are an Option in Some Cases
Not only are trade schools readily available to high school graduates looking to do something different without spending years of their lives in college, but there are also apprenticeships available for those who’d like to earn specific skills. For example, if you want to become a tattoo artist, you wouldn’t need a college degree, but you’d probably want to apprentice under an established artist to gain experience.
The Advantages of Apprenticeships
Taking an apprenticeship is an excellent way to get a head start on your career. It allows you to get the professional support needed to improve your skills and become the best at what you plan to do. In addition, the hands-on training is worth every second spent in an apprenticeship because you can take that training with you, using it for years to come to excel in the industry of your choice.
A College Education is No Longer as Important
The value of a college education has quickly diminished, with more people having access to college while taking out student loans to afford to attend different universities. With more people having college degrees, the idea of exclusivity no longer exists, ultimately making them less important than they were only a few decades ago.
Employers once prioritized employees with a college degree, believing they were the right people to fill roles within their companies because of their educational background. However, they’ve started to realize that a college degree doesn’t mean the job applicant has skills, knowledge, or the willingness to complete specific tasks required in the workplace.
Now that you know a college degree doesn’t have as much value as some would like to make you believe, you may feel better about deciding to drop out of college and save yourself both time and money. You have endless opportunities to make good money without spending years in college to get a degree, whether you’d like to do hair and makeup, provide customer service, or even offer social media services.
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