Home / Education / A Better Path to Success Than College
Print Friendly and PDF

A Better Path to Success Than College

Written by Gary North on March 6, 2012

Most Americans should not attend college.

About half who do never graduate.

Of those who graduate, most face a terrible job market.

They major in “soft” subjects for which there is little demand.

They graduate with $22,000 in college-related debt.

Their parents lose a small fortune.

The way to go is apprenticeship.

Of course, with distance learning, a student can get a degree from an accredited college for under $16,000, and also apprentice with someone. The job as an apprentice will pay for college.

Science and technology graduates can get jobs, but there are not many students majoring in these fields.

In 2009, American universities graduated fewer than 2,500 students in microbiology. That has not changed in 25 years.

Consider those offered in Europe. In Germany, 97 percent of students graduate from high school, but only a third of these students go on to college. In the United States, we graduate fewer students from high school, but nearly two-thirds of those we graduate go to college. So are German students poorly educated? Not at all.

Instead of college, German students enter training and apprenticeship programs—many of which begin during high school. By the time they finish, they have had a far better practical education than most American students—equivalent to an American technical degree—and, as a result, they have an easier time entering the work force. Similarly, in Austria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland, between 40 to 70 percent of students opt for an educational program that combines classroom and workplace learning.

There is no good reason why parents should pay for a liberal arts degree outside engineering or other natural sciences. Any part-time job will pay a student enough to earn a degree at home.

I have hired a student who earned his B.A. degree the month he turned 18. That’s the way to do it.

Continue Reading on chronicle.com

Print Friendly and PDF

Posting Policy:
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.

One thought on “A Better Path to Success Than College

  1. Jonathan says:

    I have told people many times that in the coming 20 years those who are proficient in welding, pipe fitting, vehicle repair, electrical work, and other trades will do very well. I grew up in the Louisiana where my father and many others worked in the petroleum and chemical refining business. Many in these fields are now aging and will need to be replaced by younger workers. I am 28 years old and majored in finance. If I had it to do again I would consider taking on a trade instead of college.

    I had a coworker while working during college who was 31 years who got a conversation started with a customer who was an electrician. He offered the guy an apprenticeship position on the spot. He would work as an apprentice making $15 an hour and would study his craft at home and attend a couple of night classes a week. All for next to nothing in cost!