It is common knowledge that college educated persons are more likely to earn greater incomes during their careers than those without a degree. And there are certainly many lucrative careers that don’t require higher education. Plumbers, electricians, construction workers, and similar often don’t attend college, but rather have degrees or certifications from specialized vocational schools. For these workers, they have achieved the necessary higher level of education beyond high school to meet their career aspirations.
But what about high school graduates that, for various reasons, do not pursue college or other advanced education? The reasons for not continuing education are many:
- Financial constraints – though there are many low and no cost options, including community college and public universities, low interest loans, scholarships and grants, military service, work-study programs, etc.
- Family constraints – such as the burden of caring for small children, aged or sick parents, or other issues that bind the potential student to home – and night school may not be feasible.
- Poor or underperforming students – for instance scholastic underachievers who may require additional tutoring or other private services in order to qualify for minimum college acceptance standards.
- Language issues – foreign language speaking students lacking proper English Language Arts skills.
- Opportunities that don’t require college – such as entering into a family business.
- Lack of motivation or belief that one is not “college material”.
The last bullet is key to potential employers. When presented with a potential hire that appears to have the necessary skills, but lacks a college degree, employers are likely to dig into the candidates reasons for not pursuing (or not finishing) a degree program. Likely it will be some combination of the above reasons. The problem for the candidate is to not make excuses, but rather prepare reasonable and legitimate explanations, while firmly demonstrating the equivalency of their “life experiences”.