Now, more than ever, everyone is expected to have a college degree or is expected to be in the process of obtaining one. It is what society expects of you and if you are not planning to go to college, you are considered a failure. The same goes for people who don't finish their college education. There is this negative connotation for people who do not want to take the traditional route of getting a college degree.
The taboo of not going to college is not ill-rooted. It is difficult to obtain a job or career without a college degree. In fact, college degrees are beginning to become the equivalent of high school diplomas, which forces people to get other degrees and certifications.
I am a college student and I love education, but I know that college is not for anyone. And that is okay. It does not mean they are failures. We need to get away from the stereotype that college is the only way you can achieve any success. There other ways people can make something of themselves. In the United States, we have specialized training programs, better known as vocational training programs (where people are trained or specialized in a trade or certain craft.) The common careers that are produced from these programs are technicians, plumbers, and other positions that are needed in the fields of medicine, engineering, accounting, architecture, and law.
There are viable jobs that are secure and have benefits. Other countries have success with their vocational training programs, a prime example being Germany. They have great success with vocational training programs that help build jobs and thus, help their economy.
I believe that we need to stop just emphasizing college, we need to illustrate to students the different paths and options they have. I understand the concern people have about that, but the reality is that not everyone is meant for college. Plus, the great thing about living in this country is that will have the ability to go to college at any age if we end up changing our minds. There are no limits to anyone getting an education at different points in their lives.
This is why I argue we expose students to all their options and stop shaming people who don't go to college. Because not everyone who goes to college is a success and not everyone who doesn't go to college is a failure.