In 1973, a young Lakeside High School student scored a near perfect score on the Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) and continued his career at the prestigious Harvard University. Much to his parents dismay however, he dropped out in 1975 after just two years to focus on his company he believed was more important. This company, now called Microsoft, is now one of the most successful companies in the world and its creator, Bill Gates, is known as the world’s richest college dropout.
Although this is a very specific and unlikely case for a normal college dropout, it still serves as an example that college is not necessary for a successful career. Dozens of options are available for people who chose not to further their educations and many of which will make you a decent living without the crushing weight of student debt on your shoulders. The best part is, many of these career choices don’t require high GPA’s and SAT scores but instead focus on hands on ability and honing in on your skills.
Statistics show that by completing a 4-year degree at a college will earn you on average $16,900 more per year then someone without one would, but this doesn’t necessarily paint the whole picture. A good example of this is the trades. The average median salary of a trade school or vocational school graduate is $42,000. On top of this, over a 40-year period comparing the cost of school and average earnings, a college graduate will only earn $90,000 more than a trade school graduate. Options in the workforce are numerous and plenty as well. There are electricians, plumbers, welders, construction workers, the list goes on.
One student from Escanaba High school, Zach Lancour, traveled to Green Bay for vocational school three days after graduation in 2018. When he finishes, he will be making $68,900 a year with $20,000 of debt that could be paid off in a few short years. Not only that, but his job, heavy equipment operator, has many opportunities for advancement and cannot be easily exported to other countries creating considerable job security.
Another career often overlooked when graduating high school is the military. Not only is there no debt involved, but the benefits and bonuses are overwhelming. Members of the military are given full medical coverage for themselves and any family they have, a 20-year pension, and retirement reaching 50-75% of the average of your final three years base salary. If that wasn’t enough, members who live off base are given monthly allowances of $3,000 a month while they train and develop advanced technical skills that set them up for life after retiring from military service.
The military isn’t all shooting guns and going on tours either. Typically, you choose your own job and are work during the week as a normal civilian would. One mari...