The Decision of a Lifetime


Brooklyn Branstiter, Staff Writer

Today’s society has imprinted on young people’s minds that you have to go to college to be successful. While some people may agree with this, many others disagree. There are numerous alternatives to the collegiate mindset of a successful life. Some of these include trade schools, military programs or going straight into the workforce. Two Alliance High School students have already chosen the path they are taking. 

One student who is following the well-traveled and advocated path is Courtney Cox, a senior at AHS. She is planning on attending UNL or UNK to major in finance. She believes that going to college is important for where she wants to get in life. Cox is a student who takes pride in her education and schooling. She stated, “…in my case, I believe [college] will open many doors for me in the world of business.” One well-known person who attended college that has had a huge impact on the world is J.K. Rowling. She attended college for different languages and ended up writing the extremely popular series, Harry Potter.

Many students of today are afraid of letting people down by taking a different route, so they feel they need to attend a college. Jaxon Bair, a senior at AHS, is one of the exceptions. When asked if he thought going to college was important for the future, he said “It can be, but it is not the only option.” After he graduates, he is planning on attending a trade school to be an Apprentice Electrician. Morgan Freeman is someone who attended a trade school and is now one of the most recognizable faces (and voices).

Education beyond high school is critical to advancing beyond low-wage jobs, as reams of data and experience have shown. Those with only a high school diploma have higher unemployment rates and lower earnings than those who have advanced to higher education. However, while college can offer several opportunities, the path is not always smooth and millions of young adults rather head straight into the workforce. Many jobs require having a strong knowledge and application of real-world scenarios. Research suggests people can land high paying jobs as welders, electricians, plumbers or air-conditioning technicians. Others may land jobs in retail, fast food or even family businesses. Ellen DeGeneres is an example of someone who was able to have a successful future without college. She attended one semester of college then dropped out. After dropping out she worked jobs here and there then found herself doing stand-up comedy. She was then spotted by Johnny Carson, lighting the way to the life that she lives today. 

One other alternative to college is joining the military. There are six branches for a young adult to choose from: The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force and Coast Guard. People have the option of joining in high school and leaving right after graduation or joining after graduation and flying out a few months into the summer. Joining the military offers several benefits. Those benefits include: learning valuable skills, earning scholarships in case they decide to go to college, free dental care and free health care. Ice-T was even a member of the U.S. Army for four years then found himself in the rapping industry. 

College might seem like the most common path to success, only because society has pushed it upon the younger generations. College comes with many experiences, but it is not the only option. There are many other roads you can take to find yourself living a full and happy life. Attending trade schools, military programs or heading straight to work can all lead to being just as successful as attending a 4-year college or University. You should explore your options and do what you feel is right for YOU!