College – Always the Path Towards Achieving the American Dream?

“…I took the road less travelled by/And that has made all the difference…” – Robert Frost

vocationalFor many people, the ideal pathway to success looks something like this: High School ==> College ==> High-paying career. But more often than not, the path is more convoluted, and life does not always turn out as planned. This is not always a bad thing of course, and we eventually learn that the paths we take through life are as different as the people walking them. One way does not fit all. So, we are left to ask ourselves if every graduating student’s goal should be college.

The college track tends to work well for students who did well in school and enjoyed academics. But for the more hands-on types, this track will not necessarily lead them to happiness and success. The reality is that there are different types of knowledge that are all of equal import. That kind of diversity is what is needed in the career world.

Unfortunately, one reason many students do not choose a trade-based path is because of the stigma that many associate with it. This stigma is present even though these are the types of jobs that make our day-to-day lives possible. However, as fewer students choose this path, the demand for people in these types of positions increases. That means that pay for vocational jobs will increase as the over-saturated jobs in academic fields will decrease, which brings us to our next point.

Diversity in skills and occupations keeps the career world balanced.

Allowing students to follow their natural path rather than forcing them into an academic track better ensures a higher quality of life. How many of usvocational know people who majored in business or engineering even though it’s not what they wanted to do because of the idea that everyone has to follow the same path? Students generally like to do the things at which they naturally excel. That is not to say students should not be challenged, but not all people are destined to the same path.

If schools make vocational classes a priority, perhaps more students would find that they are suited for that kind of work.

What do you think about vocational jobs? Should everyone go to college? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Carolina Fransen is the EdTech Apps and Tools Editor at She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms. If you have an app, tool, website, or service that you think we should know about, please send your information or tip to