Post graduate options must be emphasized


Senior year: deadlines for college applications are quickly approaching, and it seems to be the only thing every senior is talking about. Some students feel the pressure to apply because they think it is their only option. Today, a four-year degree is valuable, but it is not the only path after high school. Students should be given the opportunity to explore more post-graduation alternatives.

Out of 106 North students surveyed, 8.5 percent do not want to attend a four-year university. Though a small number, all students should be aware of all post-graduate paths.

While in high school, the focus seems to be a pressure to go on to a four-year university, District 202’s goal states, “District 202’s mission is to serve the community as the primary source of comprehensive, high quality education in a trusting, supportive environment – to develop, at all levels, responsible, successful citizens by providing an education, in cooperation with home and community, which fosters each individual’s value, uniqueness, and importance and promotes lifelong learning in an ever-changing society.” Nowhere in their statement does it mention strictly promoting a path to a four-year college degree.

A four-year university is a hefty investment, financially and mentally. For those students who may be unsure of a career path, community college is a great option. While the cost of tuition for two years at JJC costs $9,060, cost of attendance, including tuition and room and board, at Illinois State University costs $26,018. Taking two years of the necessary “gen. ed.” classes and exploring various majors allows students to save money and to decide what they want to do, while still progressing and setting themselves up for success.  

For the past few years, North’s college and career counselor, Elania Kalantiz, has done an excellent job of communicating the benefits of community college. When speaking to the junior year English classes, she compares the cost and informs students that there are other  alternatives to a traditional four-year university.

Students also have the option of trade school. According to, “A trade school, sometimes referred to as a vocational school, technical school or vocational college, is a post-secondary institution that’s designed to give students the technical skills to prepare them for a specific occupation.” Trade schools have the shortest programs to earn a diploma or certificate to allow people to get a job almost immediately in their field of interest. 

Some students don’t thrive in a school setting and would be much more successful choosing another path. A career option that does not require any sort of schooling is joining the armed forces. By joining the military, people have the opportunity to learn new skills or trades and gain experience, which can be utilized when joining the workforce. Joining the military could also turn into a life-long career, which ensures job stability. 

Post-graduation can be scary, and students who do not feel drawn to a four-year university struggle with feeling secure in their future. By teaching students about all of the other options, they will feel confident in finding a path for themselves after college. A four-year university is definitely an option, and may be necessary for several careers, but it is not the only option. 

Parents, teachers and counselors should be informing students about all of their options. This would help students who do not want to attend a four-year university feel more secure in their post-graduate plans.