4-year degree isn’t the only path to success

Too many Americans believe a young person who doesn’t earn a bachelor’s degree is a “second-class citizen,” says Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican. “Let’s quit preaching to them that their only path to success is a four-year degree.”

Vocational certificates are growing in popularity, especially those that require a semester or two of community college. “The certificate is a good choice for the low-middle of the high-school graduation class,” said Stephen Rose, a Georgetown professor.

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  1. The “college-only” message is endlessly preached in the k-12 schools, even to kids who are definitely not capable of, prepared for &/or interested in college. When a relative started teaching HS, in an affluent suburb, she was warned by other teachers that hinting to any student that they might consider something other than a 4-year college would likely cost her a chance for tenure. Sigh. Of course, the guidance departments with which I have been familiar were useless (at best and sometimes a hindrance) at college guidance, so I’m sure they were completely oblivious to vocational options. I never encountered a counselor who had much interest in anything other than the social/emotional side. Double sigh

  2. This is good news. We have got to get away from the poisonous idea that a bachelor’s degree is the only way to be a worthy adult. The way American society disparages vocational education is a disgrace.

  3. Many students however graduate from high schools all
    over the U.S. of A. without the needed skills in order to
    succeed in a vocational or certification track, and need
    remediation just so they can get into many of these
    programs (some of which are limited entry due to demand
    or academic requirements).


  4. Florida resident says:

    1. All the symptoms for success are valid only as statistical average.
    2. Elevated intelligence (IQ) is correlated with, and is the cause of, both:
    a) ability to go through 4-year college, and
    b) success in life.
    Rare counter-examples of success without 4-year college:
    Bill Gates, Michael Dell; probably you can name lots of others yourself.
    Look among your acquaintances for counter-examples of opposite kind.
    But “those are rare exceptions, which only confirm the validity of general rule.”