The Pacific Index

Alternative schooling poses different options for students

Shelby Cokeley

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Not every high school student boasts a 4.3 grade point average on graduation night. Nor does every student possess a desire to spend the next four years of their lives doing more schooling, while shelling out major amounts of money. This is where vocational and trade schools lend their hand to graduates.

With a specific focus on trade, a shorter time commitment and a significantly lower price, these institutions draw in those that are looking for something different. Sometimes the traditional four-year university does not suit everyone and trade schools understand this narrative. It does not make these schools obsolete or lesser than big universities, in fact, they may be a much better option for some.

It is understandable for students to look towards alternative schooling with the rising competitive nature of universities, as well as their sky rocketing prices. Trade schools are more open to students who may have had underwhelming high school performances. While top universities are busy seeking out scholars or athletes, trade schools are simply looking for students who have a desire to pick up a new practice.

More often than not, these specialized schools require little to no prior training in their selected field and are open to all that apply. This is not to say everyone can get into a trade school, it is to say that trade schools, while still competitive in their own right, can be easier to get into than a top ranking university. Because most specialized schools only require two years of study, their costs are much easier to manage. According to CollegeBoard.com, the average cost of an in state university over the course of four years adds up to just over $38,000 while a private university costs just under $134,000.

Student loans are almost guaranteed for these students, the same is not necessarily true for trade students, whose grand total for tuition costs is closer to $30,000 in or out of state. After studying such a specialized skill, these students are essentially the only ones new to the job market in their respective fields, making it easier for them to get a beginners job straight out of school.

By graduating at an accelerated pace these individuals also shave some years off of their career, an opportunity cost for experiencing the “real world” hands on instead of being in a classroom. Instead of spending time taking a course like “theatrical improvisation” to gain a biology major, trade school students are able to take classes specific to their needs, get their degree and enter the workforce immediately.

While the stigma of not attending a four-year university straight out of high school is strong, the pros of attending a vocational or trade school can outweigh the cons. It may be time for our society to accept these schools as equally viable options for new graduates.

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Alternative schooling poses different options for students