College or career? For a lot of us, this is a tough decision. With this one choice you have the chance to change your life, for better or for worse. And, no matter what you may have heard, college isn't the right choice for everyone. So which is best for you?
The problem with college, not surprisingly, is how much it costs. If you're tight on cash, like most everyone is, it is extra important that you're certain of your decision before you choose to go to college. Why is that? Because if you start college and don't finish, you end up owing a whole lot of money with nothing to show for it. So if you think you want to go to college, you have to be willing to work hard and stick it out for the whole program before you start. If you graduate with your degree (especially the right degree) and manage your money right, you will come out on top. But if you don't, you may dig yourself into a deeper hole that you started with.
Yet again, money is the biggest problem with going straight from college to a job. Why? Because once you choose not to go to college, the amount of money you can make is generally a lot lower than what you could get with a college degree. It can be harder retirement benefits, and you may be working long hours. Taking care of a family on this kind of salary can be rough, too. So even if you don't go to college, if you want access to the better jobs you'll probably still have to get some job training, and it'll still be hard for you to make as much money as those who got college degrees.
A Year Off
How about the best of both worlds - taking a year or so off to work before you head off to college? It might sound like a good choice, since it would give you time to build up some cash before you have to start paying tuition. The problem is, if you take time off you're losing a great chance to get scholarships, which could help you pay off your schooling even faster. Don't write yourself off if you're not exactly a straight A student - as long as you put in a decent amount of effort in high school, there are scholarships out there for everyone. Are you left handed? There's a scholarship for that. Asian, Latino, black, or female? There are scholarships for you, too. Low income family? You guessed it, there are federal scholarships for you. But many of these are just for those who go straight from high school to college. So if you don't go to college right away, you might not be able to get as many scholarships and by the end of that year it may be harder for you to have the college choice open. You can read more about scholarships on the scholarship page.