Saturday, April 4, 2009



According to Department of Education figures, 30% of students leave college in the first year and 50% never graduate. While some students cite financial reasons as to why they leave school they also list other factors such as distracting interpersonal issues, lack of life preparation, poor study skills and overall feelings of dissatisfaction.

No data that I have been able to find tell us what portion of those students really wanted 4 years of college-level courses anyway. I mention this because when you look at the reasoning of why students attend college most often it is not the love of learning or a passion for a specific vocation that they refer to. Most young adults admit they are in college to improve their chances of making a good living. .Could the dropout problem be connected to a mismatching of students to the type of post-high school training they are receiving?

Large numbers of those who are qualified for college go to college because their parents are paying for it and college is what children are supposed to do after they finish high school. But what if going to a 4-year academic institution is not the best fit for them. While many of those students entering college, have the ability to understand the material presented to them, they just are not interested in it. Maybe some students would be better off getting post-high school vocational training where their career interests could be met directly and swiftly.

For a few occupations, a college degree still certifies a qualification. But a bachelor’s degree in sociology, psychology, economics, history or literature certifies for nothing. The degree itself does not qualify the graduate to do anything in particular and with today’s economy employers can not afford the time to train a candidate for hire. On a positive note, there is an increasing demand for craftsmen. Finding a good painter, electrician, plumber, hairdresser or HVAC technician can be difficult. Also many of their jobs can not be outsourced to India.

My wish for all young people out there is “FIND YOUR PASSION.” Discover who you are. Break free from the stereotyped answers to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My wish for parents is that they place equal value on all kinds of occupations and not show bias. Your child might become a superb cabinetmaker instead of the CPA you dreamed he’d be. College is not meant for everyone and be open to the fact that vocational training is just as valid an option. Get real about your gifts and talents and go from there.
Then hang on for the ride!

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