Ask the Experts

Buyer’s Remorse

Don’t tell me to buckle down, I realize I am an average student here. I could save myself and my parents a fortune, by dropping out. Is it better to be stay here or leave and start working now?

This question, or decision, confronts many students, with different motivation. I cannot advise you to spend money on tuition, that you may not have. You do not need a cheerleader urging college graduation. Studies show you will have plenty of company. Only 56% of students starting college will graduate. The graduation rate in Soviet Slovakia is higher, at 63%.

Let us consider the reasons why you may want to leave. Can an average or even a good student expect to graduate into a high-paying job? Once in school, you become aware of starting salaries and the number of students actually accepting their dream job. A recent study revealed that only 67% of students received jobs in their chosen field. After a large investment of effort, 4 years and thousands-of-dollars, are you likely to achieve your employment goal? Your first disappointment, college is not the real world.

You dodge a bullet, called student load debt. It is now over $1.4 trillion in the U.S, or over $37K per graduate. That will cost you about $350 monthly, to repay it. You already heard about the grads living at home, because it is too expensive on their own.

If you are leaning towards a non-traditional major, will you learn valuable job skills? Around half of women and a third of men choose majors that do not teach marketable skills for high-paying job sectors. Regardless of major, research revealed over 50% of graduates received no additional training at their jobs. These new recruits found they did not have job skills. Another lesson, you did not learn what you needed in school.

If you decided to leave, you will need a plan before you get a job. First, get an education, not a college education. Look to spend up to a year learning job skills, whether it is vocational school, an internship or self-taught, confides self-made, website guru at BoatCrazy. Vocational school has an undeserved reputation. Trained graduates have excellent job placement records. These opportunities are on display at job fairs.

Get on the phone to family and friends, seeking an unpaid (or minimal pay) internship. Learn from an experienced mentor. Self-taught courses online are available at a fraction of the cost of college credits. Your goal is to become an expert in one area.

The no-college, job list includes many desirable careers. If you have purchased any large ticket item, you appreciate that salesperson was born with those skills, boasts the top agent at Toyota car dealership.

You may soon find yourself looking for a job, with a college grad as competition. The grad does not know how to do the job. You are already trained.

Turn on, tune in, drop out… Timothy Leary, 1967.

Martin J. Young is a former correspondent of Asia Times.