College is not the only post-graduation option

Is college necessary? That’s the big question for this generation and many to come.
Students always hear how college can be so important and necessary to be successful, but people tend to dismiss ones who made it without it. Pressuring and pushing people to go to college when it’s not a true desire or passion is a problem people won’t talk about mainly because there are many opportunities for those who don’t wish to attend college but want to be successful.

Some students might have wanted to be a teacher when they were a kid and then they wanted to be a doctor when they were a teen, but once it was time to make the big step to decide where they wanted to be, they realized college is not the place they want to go or maybe just not yet.

At Parkdale, many seniors are choosing to take a variety of paths.

“I don’t plan on going to college because I feel like it’s not for everyone and I feel like it’s a waste of money honestly,” said senior Eduardo Hernandez. “I just want my CDL [Commercial Drivers’ License for operating large vehicles] because it’s something I truly enjoy.”

Hernandez continued, saying that a college degree will not determine success “[…] you don’t need a degree to succeed in investing, professional businesses, or even getting licensed in different specialties.”

However, other students aren’t like Hernandez who want to go straight to work, and instead, want to go to college and go through the four years.

Senior Cecia Marquez plans on going to Montgomery College in August. Although she plans on getting a college degree, she does not think that’s the only way to success.

“I think it depends,” Marquez explained. “Not all high paying jobs require a college degree and not all college degrees automatically start making you a lot of money.”

To many, it can all depend on their happiness and mentality. Both Hernandez and Marquez are happy with their decision even though they have two completely different goal, and both will be successful in their own way.

Even though it is up to people themselves to make post graduation decisions, a large group of people are pressured and pushed into going to college.

As expected, the school system believes in furthering your education and going to college but tends to talk very little of other careers to look into. Not only the school system but also family can be very pressuring.

On a personal view, I’m a senior and had many decisions to make this year for my future and had to include my family’s thoughts and beliefs, which in a hispanic household can be very intimidating or even frightening sometimes.

I decided to get a personal perspective on my parents, Edgar Diaz and Elsa Cruz, on how they felt about college and their child’s future.

They were asked if they encouraged their children to go to college since I’m a senior and my brother is 21.

“We do encourage our children to go to college because they can be someone who is systematically worthy in the professional world especially as a person of color, specifically as a hispanic where we are looked down upon,” my parents explained. “You should take advantage of opportunities given to you.”

I further asked if they feel as if they pressure their children to go college either in a negative or positive way.

“I don’t feel like I pressure you nor force you into it but as a parent my job is to encourage you because you have many opportunities and I want you to consider them seriously,” my father said.

Other parents, however, can be more demanding and more intimidating, especially when the post-high school plan does not include college.

“Pressure depends on how your loved ones are,” said Hernandez. He went on to explain that fortunately for him, his mother “is fully supportive of [his CDL] plan after graduation.”

Check out the list below for some alternatives if you think college isn’t necessarily in your path to success.

Specified programs

Programs are a great alternative to turn to from college. They tend to be a couple months of schooling and training depending on what you choose to do. Some programs include certification to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA), dental hygienist and much more.

Trade Schools

Trade schools have a wide-range catalog, auto technology to electrical engineering. You can have the opportunity to earn even more money.

Getting licensed

There are many other careers out there people don’t talk about especially in the beauty world where the money is amazing. You can be licensed nowadays in lashes, nails, hair, tattooing, piercing, and much more. Getting licensed could also apply to other careers such as long-range truck driving (CDL license required) and more.

Community college

There is still a large number of people who want to go to college and experience/study the four years but can’t afford it. Community college is a great alternative for big universities. They are cheaper and closer to you. At Prince George’s County Community College, all students within a household income range can attend for free.


A very important and serious option is the military. There are different branches one can join like the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Space Force. Serving our country is something serious but helpful, and it carries many benefits for you and your family.


If any kind of learning is not your thing, working a regular job is great, especially if you’re passionate about it. There are many opportunities for after highschool graduates, even at the corporate level, including Administrative Assistants.

There’s something for everyone. But no one can choose for you, only you can. No pressure but be mindful and responsible.