The Reality of College
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The Reality of College

Bill Gates, an extremely successful business man, net worth is $43 billion and he didn't make it through university.
(Product of

Bill Gates, an extremely successful business man, net worth is $43 billion and he didn't make it through university. (Product of

Bill Gates, an extremely successful business man, net worth is $43 billion and he didn't make it through university. (Product of

Bill Gates, an extremely successful business man, net worth is $43 billion and he didn't make it through university. (Product of


College: it is the idea we work our whole school careers towards. We check if we have the good grades, the high scores, the outstanding recommendations, extracurriculars, and anything else you could dream up that colleges and universities want. With these qualifications, you also must consider whether or not college is going to make you successful or influential in your career choice and life. How can going into and completing college help further you in your career and life?

“College opens your eyes to realize what you want to do with life. You want to get the full college experience. You can realize what you really want after taking certain classes for something you thought you wanted to do,” says senior Joseph Orlandino.

However, the meaning of success after or without college in your career and life choice is different for everyone.

“In certain situations, college isn’t necessarily needed to be successful. Yes, it is beneficial and expected more in today’s society, but I know people with a good house, good income, and support for their family and that is their success, even without going to college or completing their degree,” says senior Lauren Martin.

Speaking of qualifications, colleges want a lot from upcoming students in their applications. It is extensive to gather up all the information they need. While researching, seniors, juniors, and even counselors run across qualifications and requirements that surprise them.

“Colleges and universities can always ask for a final transcript in senior year so if you decided to slack off a bit by taking easy classes when your last three years have contained harder classes, your acceptance can be pulled, and this really surprises students,” says junior-senior guidance counselor Mrs. Greene.

Students worry about scores because they are told what they score on the ACT, SAT, and their grades throughout high school are the most important requirements to college. Researching requirements tell us what colleges really want and if high grades should be put on such a glorified pedestal. Do they really mean everything?

“For some universities, like Ivy Leagues, grades are important or at least they play a bigger role. If they see that you have good scores, they will then look at how you are as a person, and, finally, how you can help benefit the college. However, colleges, like USC and College of Charleston, look at you more as a complete person. Your scores do not define you. College of Charleston, I have found, understands that the ACT and SAT are 8:00 a.m. tests and that everyone has their bad days. They understand the realness of being a student,” says senior Justice Collins.

However, after all this work for college, the biggest decision to make is whether or not that is the path you want to take to start your future. There are other alternatives besides universities, like a community college, the military, a gap year, trade school, or starting up a job (like a family business) right after high school. Trade school allows you to focus on your specific career choice and a gap year gives you a break to think out a plan for your success in life.

“Trade schools are starting to become the ‘in’ thing. You can make more money compared to a four year college. It is also less money to go into a trade school for things people are successful in like auto mechanics and the culinary arts. The military is about the best way to go after high school because they pay for schooling and guaranteed job security and medical benefits. Less people choose this option because they think they will have to go to war, but there are other positions where you can honorably serve your country without going into war. If I had to do it all over again, I would go into trade school or the military. Overall, some people go out of high school to get a job and end up making more money than someone with a Ph.D.,” say Mrs. Greene.

On the other hand, alternatives have their setbacks. Setbacks that, completing college does not have.

“You miss out on the whole college experience and college privileges if you go to trade school or take a gap year. Privileges like international branching, athletic opportunities, and a job right out of college like from interning,” says senior Lauren Beasley.

Not all alternatives are applicable to all career paths, either.

“For my profession that I want to go into, I will need a college as base to my knowledge. Some things you can’t learn in a trade school compared to a four year college,” says Collins.

Senioritis sets in when researching for colleges, and the question comes up of whether college will help your success in life and if it is as important as everyone makes it out to be. Do you have to complete college to get to a successful point in life? It is a lot of work, and money, to research and plan your future, and not everyone is up for it. Or they change their mind and career midway. We stress about high school assignments and studying, so why would we want to stress more about college?

“Do not let the stress get to you. It is the same thing over again in college, so it not worth it to put more pressure on yourself. However, it is worth it to get that final verification to be great in life. You have worked all through elementary, middle and high school to show off what you learned to the world to be great in life,” says Beasley.

Strive for your success and what it means to you, don’t worry about the stress. Go for college or don’t. Graduate college or don’t. The struggle and the risks are part of getting to where you want to be in life.


“It is about your motivation, drive, and determination. Make steps, make goals, and build on them. What do you want to do with your life and will you enjoy doing it? College or a degree is not always necessary to get there,” says Mrs. Greene.

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