The student news site of Hopkins High School

Is college the best possible option?

November 12, 2019

Today, students are fixed on going to the best universities in order to become doctors, engineers, and lawyers, but who’s gonna fix the toilet?

More and more students are enrolling in college, as the percentage of students who enrolled in college after highschool was around 66 percent in 2013 according to the New York Times. And this number is 6 percent greater than it was in the early 2000s and 16 percent higher than it was in the 1980s.

Schools and society in general are emphasizing the idea that college equals success in life, leading to more stressed students, as they think that more is required of them. 

With the increasing number of students going to school for four year degrees, the number of students going to technical and trade schools is declining. HHS and other schools are really only preparing kids for college, and not for life after high school.

One option to consider after highschool is two-year trade school or community college.

A benefit of going to trade school is how there is always a market for trades degrees. Articles from Edsmart.com and vistacollege.edu list that in 2018, more common trades like carpenters, electricians and plumbers had an average salary around $55,000 annually, with plumbers having an above average job outlook at 16 percent. 

Some more successful trades were elevator mechanics with an average annual salary of $80,000. Air traffic controllers made around $120,000 in 2018. And construction contractors/managers can make anywhere from $90,000 to $150,000 annually, with just work experience. 

With no more than two years of schooling, trade school or community college graduates could get a job two years before most college students even finish school. 

Andy Cornelius, 28, graduated from HHS in 2010 and from Moody Bible Institute Spokane in 2013 with an associates degree in Biblical studies. In 2019, he also graduated from Normanadale’s Community College with an associates degree in business.

“When I went to Normandale, I worked full time in a landscaping and lawn care business as I was trying to earn a five percent stake in the company while taking 4-8 credits a semester. I never took out a loan because I had no intention of gaining debt in college, especially for two small degrees. The whole dorm and campus life was never a motivator for me, so I lived with 11 other guys and shared rent in a house of campus,” Cornelius said. 

Cornelius believes the most important thing a high school graduate should worry about is to stay out of debt, and gaining experience by working part time in a job that relates to your desired profession.

“I am now a 40% owner of Hospitality Management Systems (H.M.S), a small business in Minnetonka that does landscaping and lawn care. To be honest, 95% of what I needed to learn for my job came from actual work experience. I’m glad I went, but there are kids who go to college even though it doesn’t fit them or they go for the experience and they end up having thousands of dollars in loans for no reason,” Cornelius said.

However, college can be a great place to find yourself and explore new opportunities. Josie Berman, 21, graduated from HHS in 2016 and is graduating from Ithaca College in Spring 2020.

She is currently majoring in integrated marketing communications with minors in management, design, website programming and the honors program. By going to college, she has been able to participate in NCAA Division III athletics, gain work experience from on-campus clubs, and meet people from around the world.

“I was extremely lucky to have an internship with NBCUniversal in their digital advertising sales department through a program at Ithaca College Los Angeles. As I got to know my supervisor and team, they trusted me enough to present to clients and assist in making multimillion-dollar sales. I even got the opportunity to meet Bob Iger, CEO of Disney,” Berman said.

Berman believes that students shouldn’t stress so much about what they are doing after highschool. There are many people who didn’t go to college and are successful.

It’s more important to find a profession you feel you would be successful in, than to waste money on a degree or get stuck in something you don’t like. 

“College can open up so many opportunities to grow professionally and socially, but it isn’t for everyone. My advice is to do you research after highschool and create a plan for what you want to do with your life. I am a strong believer that it doesn’t matter where you go, but more importantly, what you do,” Berman said. 

And if tech school, college, or work doesn’t suit you, then save up for a camera and a plane ticket to Los Angeles. Youtubers and tik tok stars are becoming quite successful these days. 

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