Good News Is – There Are Other Options

Lance+Corporal+Teagan+Fransen+in+Iwakuni%2C+Japan

Maya Campbell

Lance Corporal Teagan Fransen in Iwakuni, Japan

Jameson Carnes, Michael Barnett, and Harrison Margolis

The Hall High administration provides tons of useful information about the application and preparation process for 4-year colleges. It seems we have unlimited resources, and even a required course to prepare us students for our only option after high school– college. Though it is important to not take this for granted, as many students at Hall have the means and motivation to attend a 4-year college, an underlying question our administrators haven’t answered is: “What if 4-year college isn’t for me?” With a shocking number of nearly 44.7 million Americans who have student loan debt, according to an NBC article by Nigel Chiwaya, 4-year college suddenly turns from a dream to a nightmare for some students at Hall. Funneled into the college pipeline from the day we took our first PSAT, the ominous pit of debt grows closer for juniors and seniors at Hall, with no other paths available.

Kelly Fransen
Lance Corporal Teagan Fransen at her Parris Island Graduation

The first route and perhaps the least discussed by counselors is the military. Though a military career may seem impractical or scary for some, many benefits offered can lighten the financial load many young people face today. These benefits include Free tuition up to a bachelor’s degree and in some cases a Master’s, education centers on base with reps from local colleges, post 9-11 GI bill for veterans which provides up to $84,000 to use towards college, and the Air Force even has automatic enrollment into community college upon enlistment. With such great benefits, some may wonder why there was no mention in junior planning. When asked to compare the number of recruits he gets from Hall compared to other schools, Hartford Air Force recruiter TSgt. Tereyama responded, “I would say a decent amount but still less. Most Hall recruits are individuals who had been out of HS for a bit already.” So why wait? Why do more students end up pausing before they join the military? The answer is plain and simple, they just didn’t know. By providing students with more options, Hall can give students more alternatives which prevents them from leaving high school with no plan, and no options.

One of the options that is not talked that much about is a community college. At Hall high school we steered in a very specific path, one that points us towards a 4-year school instead of all of the other options that are available. According to an NCES article, 6 million people attend a 2-year institution. That is a large number of people, but we are driven to a 4-year institution. Junior college is still a very valid option. You can still get a four-year degree you would just have to transfer but on the plus side, you don’t have as much debt as a regular 4-year school.

Another very visible option that is not very publicized by high schools is tech schools. Tech schools cover a variety of jobs such as Electrician, Dental hygienist, Plumber, Paralegal, Nurse, Graphic Designer, Welder and Computer technician. This is a good option for kids because it usually takes two years as opposed to the four-year traditional college. Another appealing part of tech school is that the average cost is significantly less than the traditional 4-year college. The average tech school degree costs 33,000. When the average cost for a four-year college is upwards of 127,000. The main benefit of tech school is learning a trade that can directly benefit towards a field that you can get a job in, and that you don’t leave it in crippling student debt.

Brianna Castillo
Hall Graduate Brianna Castillo Joined the National Guard and Has Attended Tunxis Communit College