By Pauline Phan
Many students, particularly high-schoolers, feel pressured to go to college. For many, college is essential part of a student’s success in their career. However, is the pressure of going to college worth the emotional stress?
“A college degree definitely offers students more options in the future: greater potential earning power, and a better understanding about the world and how students can participate in their community”, Mr.Shinn states.
Nevertheless, college is not the only way to success.To be successful, it is necessary understand the meaning of success. Is it gaining a high salary? To accomplish many things? Or is it also fulfillment? People are too focused on the idea of college itself, including SATS, affordability, and what college to go to, rather than the career itself and the student’s confidence in their career choice.
Some teachers say that pressure to go to college is not always bad, because it prompts students to think about their future, and leaves them open to careers that they may want to have.
“I believe many students are being pressured to attend college - though that is not a bad thing. Personally, I think many parents and teachers just want the best for their students, and without this information, many students would not know about or even consider college”, says Mr.Shinn.
Mr.Striplin says, “Should they be pressured? I think so, since a young person just may not see exactly what going to college can actually help him or her accomplish. To use a common cliche, they cannot always see the bigger picture. Not pressuring them could result in them NOT getting something they actually want.”
While this is true, it is also not a bad thing to be open to other ways of making a living as well.
“As much as I kind of agree with this I feel like there are other options too. You don’t just have to go to college, there are alternatives like junior college or trade school. College isn’t for everybody and there are other choices so it’s somewhat forced but only to a certain extent because the decision is the student’s”, says Nathalie Roque, a senior.
“There are many good schools and vocational training programs in our area that can get someone ready for a well-paying career, depending on what the student's interest may be”, Mr. Shinn suggests.”
Furthermore, do parents really know what is best for their children? Some students spend years in college without a direction, only to realize that it is not something they want to pursue. Usually, when parents or teachers pressure students to go to college they are disregarding the student’s desires, by assuming that they want to go to college without question.
“Yeah I think they’re really pressured, not by just their parents but people around them, like whether it’s their teachers, or other students, or family. I think they’re under immense pressure which is why some of them fail, because they feel they have to do one thing that doesn’t necessarily fit them”, says Alan Arap, a 12th grader”
Many parents and teachers want students to go to college to get a well-paying occupation, but what is the purpose of pursuing that type of success if it puts one into despair? Students are being pressured to go to college, while stressing on their high school work, yet they are expected to know what they want to do with their life in a few years.
Elijah Chew comments,“I just don’t think it’s fair to have like everyone competing you know? We get put under pressure by like our teachers and coaches and high school is stressful enough and then everyone starts talking about college too.”
“I do think some parents and others can at times put undue stress upon students in well-intentioned efforts to make students competitive when applying to top schools. Students taking multiple AP classes concurrently can often feel overwhelmed, which can impact other areas of their lives”, Mr.Shinn explains.
Moreover, they may find themselves not knowing what they truly want to do in college because they were pressured to come up with a major in high school, while they are still impressionable. This restricts them, because they have not had time and equanimity to contemplate other opportunities in and outside of school.
“Students should not be pressured to go to college. Students are made aware of their options and should carefully decide about the future”, says Mrs. Zausch.
Motivation is more effective than pressure; it is apparent that people perform better when they are motivated. When it comes to something they want they will have more of a resolve to achieve it. For some, it is better to make risks for the things you desire rather than having to live with something that you do not approve of.
Thus, students should be encouraged to go to college. In other words, it should be considered an option, and not something students should be pressured to do; While it is important to finding a good career, there are many more career options that pay just as well, and may even be more suitable towards a student’s preferences.
Mr.Shinn says, “ I would strongly encourage students to find out more about available options -- either related to college or career training -- by talking with their academic counselors. There's a wealth of information out there if students are willing to explore.”