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Trade School or College: Is one better than the other?

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I came across an interesting and insightful read from The Atlantic today. Although the majority of students with whom I work opt for college, when interested and curious, I encourage students to seek out the trades. Heading in that direction (working in the trades) leads to as much happiness, satisfaction and success as college does. It is always dependent on the individual; neither college nor trade school is for everyone. I fully and firmly believe that anyone can do and achieve either, but the "right fit" is specific to the unique individual.

I cherish my undergrad and graduate degree studies and experiences, but know many who opted for an alternate route and have found great joy in their lives. To me, the biggest takeaway from this article is that trade school does not automatically equate with intelligence; many (wrongly) think of it in this way. But rather, working in the trades and crafts should be viewed as a respected and valued undertaking within society. What if Michaelangelo had been forced to attend MIT (had it been in existence then)--would we have the Sistine Chapel? What if Steve Jobs had finished college--would we be velcroed to our iPhones as we are today? And what if C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien had not attended Oxford together and become fast friends?

I encourage my students to carefully investigate, tally, and weigh the pros and cons of both options, then stride forth confidently in the direction of their careful choosing.