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Why College?

What are you going to do after high school? You probably assume college is the only option. However, have you ever considered an alternative?

Catherine Dunning graduated from Hackett in 2022 and attended Western Michigan University for a year. Now Catherine has a $74,136 yearly scholarship to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. For context, the chances of even getting into Georgetown are 12%, so out of 100 people Catherine was one of 12 picked, and that doesn't even count her huge scholarship that covers almost all of her school tuition.

How did Catherine get accepted into Georgetown after being rejected from her choice schools during her senior year of high school? Catherine says “I have a 4.0 from Western… [a] good professor recommendation but what got me in was probably the interview.”

Catherine was devastated after not getting into her choice school so she resorted to going to WMU and building her resume and applied to a more choice college after a year at college she was not very interested in.

College is not the only choice, however. Some students from Hackett have gone straight into the workforce. Abby Butkiewicz, a graduate of 2024, works at Red Lobster which allows her the stability to save up for a college education. While she currently works at Red Lobster she does have plans to get experience for her education.

“Red Lobster is stable for me for now, but I do plan on looking for an entry-level part-time job in either of the

fields I'm interested in to get experience,” says Abby. “I rent an apartment with two others. I don’t find it hard to buy what I want and need, my current income more than doubles my current expenses, which enables me to save for my future wants and needs as well.”

Abby would like to get a degree in psychology and pharmacology. Abby has a pretty fool-proof plan to get this degree without breaking the bank.

“It will definitely take a few years altogether, but I also want to go into a field that requires years of school anyway. I’m planning on spacing everything out to pay for it year by year with gap years; so I would pay for a 2-year degree with 2-ish years of savings.”

Abby is very happy with her decision, and her economic choices allow her to live comfortably. This leaves her unable to pursue her dreams without living with student loans for her whole life.

Another student who took an alternative route is Andrew Kovacs from the graduating class of 2023. Working on going into the trades, Andrew plans to get certification in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, more commonly known as HVAC.

Andrew told me a little about why he chose KVCC, saying “I decided to go to community college for HVAC trade because it was close to home, a lot cheaper than a university, and since my dad works there I get half off tuition. I also heard a lot of good things about it… and I have the opportunity to take more general education classes if I want at KVCC.”

Andrew only needs about a year of school to get certified and start an apprenticeship in HVAC. “A certificate allows me to look a lot better to more companies, especially because it requires classes to be taken that could also be used [by] an electrician or plumber. I will be the jack of all trades."

So why all this? Why get a job instead of taking a loan and paying it later? Andrew is a great example of why, as he has no debt, has a scholarship, and plans to pay his tuition in full.

Andrew also has a lot of lucrative opportunities in his trade. In regards to a salary after his certification, Andrew says “I will make around $24 an hour… after experience and a certificate I could earn more than $30 an hour.”

Andrew is going into a demanding field with opportunities right after his education, this opportunity is less common for those pursuing degrees that require a great deal of schooling. Andrew is doing hands-on education in a field that will not be going away anytime soon.

Hackett students have found alternatives to the common path of formal education. With these students' plans in mind, What will you do after high school?


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