Why an Honors Student Wants to Skip College and Go to Trade School

The friction around the best path forward after high school is popping up around the country as anxious students and families try to figure out how to pay for four years of college. At the same time, business groups and state governments make the case for a free or much cheaper vocational education.

The conversation is being fueled by questions about the declining value of a college degree as well as the rising cost of tuition and student debt. Low unemployment and a strong job market are exacerbating an already growing skills gap, raising prospects for tradespeople like welders who are in high demand.

Still, the decision to forgo a four-year degree runs counter to 30 years of conventional wisdom.

Even as more students enroll in college, “40% to 50% of kids never get a college certificate or degree,”

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