Preparing for What’s Next: College or Straight to a Career?


Kristina Carter and Jayden Glass

Whether it’s our first year or fourth year of high school, plans for what’s next weighs on students’ minds. One of the new debates of our time, especially now after the economic hardship of the pandemic, is whether the cost of college is worth it.

College tuition can cost up to thousands and thousands of dollars a year which is a lot of money, but many would argue in today’s world a college degree is critical to your success in the workforce. Studies show that college graduates have more money earning potential than people who only have their high school diploma.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “on average, workers who hold at least a bachelor’s degree earn more than $932 in weekly earnings” which converts to almost making $50,000 more a year.

However, a new push that’s been gaining momentum the past few years is the value of trades. An education after high school does not always mean college; there are many other paths a student can take that can lead to the same if not better money and benefits than the path of college.

A perfect example is trade school. Some trade jobs pay really well and trade school can lead to more guaranteed money than some college majors can. The military is also another great pathway after high school that pays well without the burden of college debt.

Trades can often be obtained through high school and community colleges or through internships in the workforce. Then students don’t have the debt but make a livable income, sometimes averaging as much as someone with a college degree.

If students are interested in trades if they are just starting high school BCPS and Kenwood offer many CTE trade programs to begin their career training and some of those can be continued or started just down the street at CCBC.

Though the transition from high school to what’s next may have been a little bumpy for our 2020 and 2021 graduates, Kenwood’s College and Career counselor Ms. Franklin reminds them, “The Baltimore County College Promise scholarship remains available to all BCPS graduates several years after graduation though eligibility requirements do apply.” There are also several local businesses still looking for recent grads to fill positions. Ms. Franklin adds for this opportunity, “Graduates can learn new trades/skills at the expense of some of these employers.”

Ms. Franklin is Kenwood’s college and career counselor and students and graduates can consult her Tuesday-Thursday from 7:30am-2:30pm for information and guidance on what’s next.

For students interested in pursuing college, college visits are back this year! There are currently 21 schools scheduled to visit, starting last Wed Sept 15 throughout the year on every Wed and Thur that school is in session.

Students can sign up to attend college visits when their interested schools are coming here to Kenwood. Students must sign up through their Naviance to attend. To better understand the expense and how to manage the expense of college Kenwood will be hosting it’s annual College and Planning Financial Aid night Wednesday, Oct 20. BCPS’ Parent University is also hosting a Family College Night this Wed, Sept 22. Baltimore County’s annual BCPS HBCU College Fair, traditionally held at Milford Mill, will be virtually this Fall on November 11. This is the fair where students can sign college acceptances right at the event!

The cost of college is something we all have thought about as weigh our options for after graduation. There is no one right path but there are many ways to become informed during our time in high school to make the best decision for ourselves. Like anything else no matter what path we each choose, it’s important to respect everybody’s individual choice.


Akhtar, Allana and Andy Kiersz. “College grads still earn more than workers with no university degree.” Business Insider. 15 July 2019. Web.