A 2013 study by McKinsey Consulting (detailed here* in Forbes magazine by Susan Adams) reported that a staggering one-half of surveyed college graduates would go back and either study something completely different, and /or choose a different school, if given the chance.
More than ever, high school graduates face a complicated crossroads: Higher education has traditionally been seen as a sure ticket to higher-paying, more secure and more satisfying employment; and, for more and more people, the next logical step after high school. However, a combination of several factors (the Recession, skyrocketing tuition & fees, education inflation) have made continued education a risky, expensive investment; an expectation unfairly laid on teenagers who perhaps aren’t ready to make such big decisions, but who don’t want to stay at home without job prospects or training either.
Short-term certification programs, trade schools and specialty training institutions like Cameo Beauty Academy are becoming a more viable first step for those looking to enter the job market sooner and with less debt but more skills than a diploma or GED brings. For high school grads who are still on the fence about whether or not you’re ready to commit to another 4 years (and thousands of dollars) to the classroom, here are 3-4 reasons why you should consider deferring, or hold off on applying to college altogether (at least for the next couple of years) :
- The job you will get right out of college probably won’t pay much more than a job you could get now.
- According to the McKinsey report, which cites a data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of job openings in the current economy do not require higher education (though it can make your resume look more favorable.) While there are other benefits to attending college besides job training, many university graduates feel they are underemployed because their entry-level job pays either a low salary or an hourly wage that isn’t enough to offset the time and money spent on their education. While this isn’t unusual for people who are just entering the job market, the Recession and the skyrocketing rate of college costs and student debt make college degrees a less-worthwhile option for many. If chances are that you’d have to work in retail, food service or hospitality with or without college, why not set yourself up with a different, more-specialized skill set now?
You will completely change your mind about what you want to do for a living within the next five years or less, so don’t rush to pick a major.
- Remember how different you were during your freshman year of high school? Twice as many things will change in your life in the next four years as have changed in the previous four, so maybe now isn’t the best time to set your career choice in stone & lock yourself into a career program based on that choice.
- Give yourself some time to learn more about different types of work, work environments, and what it’s really like to work 8 hours a day (or more, probably) every day, week after week, month after month. Consider waiting until your mid-twenties to decide what’s really important to you in terms of work/life balance before you go into debt training for that career. How much money do you need to get by? How frugally or indulgently do you want to live? Is a higher salary worth the extra stress? How do you maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle (quality time with family & friends, time for exercise, time for mental and physical rest & relaxation) while also being a dedicated, focused employee? Do you intend for your job to be your #1 priority, or is work more of a means to an end so you can afford to pursue other interests (hobbies, travel, etc.) with your time off? Do you truly enjoy working with a variety of personalities, or would you rather deal with straight-forward labor, machines or computers day-to-day? Do you dread the prospect of being confined to a desk, or do you crave the space and privacy of a cubicle in order to focus and get things done? If you train for a more prestigious, image-conscious career, will you be ready to wear a suit, or at least iron a shirt and wear the shoes that pinch, every single day while your friends work in more casual environments where jeans are accepted?
- The answers to these questions are things that colleges are not necessarily equipped to teach you, because they are questions about yourself; and your adult self is still in the long process of being formed.
- Rather than spending money you don't have right now on expensive college tuition, invest in a Backup Trade – especially if you plan to study fine arts later.
- The Forbes piece also states that there are steadier and better-paying jobs in technology, engineering and other science-related fields. However, money and stability aren't always enough to lure the more left-brained social science and creative students into STEM, despite the low rate of financial return on a psychology or fine arts degree. So if you're passionate about studying an art form but also want to be able to support yourself once you finish school, why not have a backup trade? Better yet, a backup trade in a field that combines business science and artistry.
- Get the business skills now that you’re college-bound friends won’t learn for years.
- If you’re casting an envious eye at your friends who are business-school-bound in the fall, know that they won’t cover things like “How to Ace a Job Interview” or “How to Command Respect at Work” or “How to Reach New Clients” for at least 2 years, if at all. (Remember, Gen Ed requirements.) Schools like Cameo are designed to teach you how to enter the world of business immediately. Within a year, you could be out in the workforce earning money and building your resume, while your friends are still stuck in a lecture hall taking an algebra test and going into debt.
For those who have recently graduated from high school: Congratulations. This is the beginning of your adult life, which will be full of many more exciting but challenging decisions. Consider your options carefully, and take time to think about what YOU really want, rather than simply doing what others around you are doing. Remember that the staff and administrators at Cameo Beauty Academy would love to meet you, and to see you succeed.
* -- http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/05/28/half-of-college-grads-are-working-jobs-that-dont-require-a-degree/