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LYL #019 – Is College Worth It? An Honest Conversation about Gap Years and Beyond

It seems that the trend in the US is to tell kids college is a waste of time and money. That they should travel the world and figure it out. In this episode of The Live Your List Show your hosts Jerrod and Ryan tell you why this is ridiculous and the only reason you should take a gap year is if you are Prince Harry. 

The Live Your List Show with Jerrod Murr and Ryan Eller

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Reasons Not to Take a Gap Year After High School

1. Because you are burned out from your education or tired of school. This is typically a response from people who are taking the easy way out due to laziness.

2. You are young and want to have fun & travel. If you are British Royalty or a millionaire and have a good back up plan, by all means take a year off. If you are an average student and just want to take a year off to have fun you will have a hard time coming back to school.

3. I don’t know what I want to do for my career and want to take a year to figure that out. There is no better place to figure out what you want to do for a career than in college. Every student has to take basic level courses to graduate, don’t feel like you have to have it figured it out.

Truths and Misconceptions about Higher Education

1. College is the correct term for schooling after high school. Not everyone should go to college, but everyone should go to some sort of post-secondary education or training. Vo-techs, trade schools, or the military is a great fit for a large group of high school graduates.

2. It is OK to take out student loans. Student loans are an epidemic in the United States, but it is foolish to think that there is no reason to take out a student loan. If you are fiscally responsible with your student loans they can be the best investment you make.

3. A college degree does not guarantee you a job. A college degree gives you options and opportunities in the future, but not necessarily a job. You still have to have people skills, determination, work ethic, etc. to be successful in life.

4. When you graduate college you make more money than your peers without a degree. Chances are great that when you graduate from college you will still have to get an entry level position and make the same amount of money as your friends you did not go to college. However, that is short-term thinking. After 20 years, many of your peers will have the same or similar job while you will have many opportunities for promotion due to your degree.

5. You have to have a college degree to be successful. There are many, many people who have succeeded without a college degree. It goes back to the idea that a college degree gives you more opportunities to open doors long-term.

Jeff Kahlden, President of Southwest Association of Student Assistance Programs and Director of Upward Bound

jeff kahlden

Jeff Kahlden is the Director of Upward Bound, a federally-funded TRiO Program and President of the Southwest Association of Student Assistance Programs. He sits on the executive board for the Council of Opportunity in Education and also has the largest collection of belt buckles of anyone I know. You can follow Jeff on Twitter @jkkahlden.

This Episode’s Nick Collison Picks of the Day

1. TRiO – TRiO is a set of federally-funded college opportunity programs that motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree. 790,000 low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities — from sixth grade through college graduation — are served by over 2,800 programs nationally.

TRIO programs provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance, and other supports necessary for educational access and retention. TRIO programs provide direct support services for students, and relevant training for directors and staff.

This Episode’s Fired Up Quotes

“Real men don’t play video games.” – Ryan Eller (Tweet That)

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela (Tweet That) 

“Intelligence plus character…that is the goal of true education.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. (Tweet That)

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford (Tweet That)

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Question of the Day Responses

Question: Should a student go to college after high school?

“I think high schools need to do a better job of pre-college assessments.” – Ricky Shade

“I feel like all of the options should be equally endorsed. Not all students will be able to afford college, nor do all students want to go to college so if they are equipped with alternate routes of success perhaps they will thrive as productive members of society instead of feeling like they have nothing to offer as uneducated individuals.” – Kortni Brannon

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