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This will be one of the most lively arguments that will never be resolved in any discussion. According to (The National Center for Educational Statistics)’s graph (Link Below) 63,100,000 students (out of the 74M-drop outs) were in “Elementary and secondary school” (K-12). It also shows that of those 63M students, only 21M are in “post-secondary school” (college). Therefore, only 33.28% of all High School graduates go on to college. But, 76.34% of High School students are READY to go to college.  Links:

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2006, 66 percent of high school completers, nationally, went directly to college. Some differences in immediate enrollment rates among groups of completers have not changed. The gap in rates of those from high- and low-income families persisted. Likewise, completers whose parents had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher were more likely than those with parents who had less education to enter college immediately after high school graduation (United States Census (2000). URL accessed on June 17, 2005.).  In 2008, 36% of enrolled students graduated from college in four years. 57% completed their undergraduate requirements in six years, at the same college they first enrolled in (Michelle Singletary (2009-10-22). “The Color of Money:Getting through college these days almost requires a degree in thrift”. Washington Post. pp. 20A.). (

Among the country’s adult population, over 85 percent have completed high school and 27 percent have received a bachelor’s degree or higher. The average salary for college or university graduates is greater than $51,000, exceeding the national average of those without a high school diploma by more than $23,000, according to a 2005 study by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Another good panel discussion on this topic is located at

The statement that over 50% will not get an education directly related to job they expect to get needs to be research based, but I do agree that could be a vein of truth.  Many students go into college with dreams of one career, but after they graduate find the career they dreamed of is not attainable, not profitable, or they are unable to find entry to the industry.  I wanted to be an artist all my life, but a BFA was worth as much as spit on a sidewalk when I graduated, so had to aim toward a vocational job as a business owner while I went back to school for a more practical career in another field via a Masters Degree.

The observation about college degrees many don’t make is they allow you to make your money via using your brain, while those without college degrees usually make their money with their physical strength such as HVAC, plumbers, electricians, painters, welders, truck drivers, and other skilled trades.  On the other hand, it’s an expensive proposition for a parent to send a kid to school for the tuition of about $20K the first year as a way to determine what the kid wants to do for the rest of their lives. If the parents push a kid into a college without the student being ready – shame on the parent.

Perhaps all high schools in the US should force students to take some sort of vo-tech class in addition to the academic classes revolving around standards of learning education.  Many high schools are slow on the uptake of forcing each student to have a office automation and computer course – basic computer skills on Microsoft Office, learning about social media for networking, and resume, cover letter, and application (job search) tools everyone needs going to college or out in the world. Every kid who drives a car should be able to change the oil, or swap out a tire to see if auto mechanics is of interest.  Every high-schooler should go through first aid and advanced CPR courses (including infant curriculum) to prepare them for medical emergencies and possibly interest them in a medical career.  Every kid should not only go through the parental preparation class (with the mechanical baby), but also a basic home repair course (change the toilet flapper, fix a leaking pipe, figure out if the fuse has tripped, etc.).  Who knows how many end up starting their own businesses because of a vocational course they may have taken in high school, which steered them into a life with more challenge.  Every student should go through a finance course teaching them about scams eager to take their money; provided a mentor entrepreneur to show them what opportunities there are to starting their own business; how to shop at a grocery store, use coupons, and comparison shop.

As for the argument about going to college at all, or not getting the job after graduation one intended – college does provide a well-rounded education, which opens students’ eyes to a global community, people and cultures to which they would never have been exposed.  They are provided viewpoints to issues, as they are related to basic studies.  It’s not that a student now knows how to perform algebra; the student has been exposed to how to work out a problem, use a formula, apply the synthesized knowledge to a new problem by thinking critically, and can work out an answer with the tools available – now and in the future.  That’s what education, including higher education, is all about.

So to boil it all down, I don’t think the issue is students are not prepared to go to college; I believe the issue is the high schools are not doing enough to prepare them for entering life.