Two-year college, gap year, trade school, internship, vocational programs, the military, paths in a work field- there are so many alternate options for students to take after they’ve graduated high school, but are they talked about enough?
Many students, especially here at Duxbury High School, are unaware of what they can do if they feel that college isn’t the route for them.
One student, who has decided to take a gap year then proceed to join the National Guard for a five-year service, feels the school has not prepared him nearly enough.
Ryan D., a senior, said “[The school] has not taught me about anything financially, like setting myself up for retirement. Even if I did choose to go to college or something like that, they haven’t told me anything about taxes, except for one elective that briefly covers that.”
Many students feel that the school needs to do a better job of post-high school preparation.
Another senior at DHS, Mike D., plans to attend a regular four year university, as the majority of students do, but he is still supportive of the students who choose not to.
“I think they should teach more about gap years and technical schools and trade schools, but I feel like I am prepared for what I’m doing personally” Mike continues, “I do feel like they need to prepare others for their other options besides college.”
While many schools do focus on more academic routes for students, there are countless pathways for graduating students to take. They’re becoming far more popular.
Sarah E., a senior, plans to take a gap year to work in Israel. Here, she will join a program in the military for a few weeks.
When asked how the school prepared her for this path, Sarah said, “I think [the school] doesn’t really think, especially here, about things other than college and immediately continuing your education. Everyone just tries to fit the mold, which right now is just go to school. I think teachers are just trying to appeal to that demographic. There’s so much pressure to go to college.”
Some would argue that credit for life fair for seniors helped prepare them for real life.
Sarah said, “There was a classroom where other options besides college were discussed during credit for life, but that’s the only time it was ever talked about from my knowledge, so a better job of touching upon these things should be done.
Ryan continued, “Being an academic school, they don’t cover any sort of trade things, like South Shore Vocational Tech or Norfolk Aggie, or any of those other schools. I’m sure some people do, but not everyone knows those technical things. Everything is just looked at through the lens of mathematics, science, and english, so while everyone is prepared for that the real world and anything revolving a non four-year college plan, people are going to struggle.”
Even many juniors at DHS feel unprepared for anything other than college.
Lily M., a junior, said “As of right now I don’t really want to go to college, so I often think about a gap year as an option for me. I definitely don’t feel that our school keeps students aware of these other possible paths. The thought is that if you don’t go to college you fail, but that’s not true at all. What if you’re not happy in college? I think Dxubury is very focused on getting people into name brand schools, and if you’re not going to them you’re almost told you can’t succeed, which is so false.”
“The job of the school is to prepare students for the future, whatever that may be,” said Maya Z., a junior, who does expect to go to college but still thinks this topic should be discussed more.
Whether it’s a fear of not succeeding, general pressure to immediately continue your education, or the lack of knowledge many students have, a four-year university is definitely the common path for those graduating from Duxbury High School.
While it is important for students to consider other possible options, they have the right to choose where they go from here.