Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012

College isn’t a go for everyone

SCHOOLS | By Katie Murdoch
Herald writer
Brake rotors are checked during an automotive class at Sno-Isle Tech Center.

Purchase Photo Reprint For the Weekly Herald/MARK MULLIGAN

Brake rotors are checked during an automotive class at Sno-Isle Tech Center.

There is more than one path for high school seniors after graduation.
Edmonds School District staff members assure students there is a place for them, whether they choose to enlist in the military, apply to two- or four-year schools or take on apprenticeships.
“We work hard to match students’ skills, interests and aptitudes with the correct post-high school training,” said Deborah McGahan, a counselor at Lynnwood High School.
Pamela Keese, career specialist at Lynnwood High School, reminds students that college is an option but not the only one.
“I know that our staff cares about all of our students and we all do our best to ensure them the best education and the best post-high school opportunity,” Keese said.
Scriber Lake High School is a small, alternative high school where students follow nontraditional paths even before graduation, said Scriber career specialist Liza Behrendt.
“I believe that four-year college is not for everyone, but everyone should consider it,” Behrendt said. “I let students know that college is an option for them, whether they choose that path now, a little later, much later or never.”
Many post-high school careers and opportunities do not require a four-year college degree or course of study. Some students may not be able to afford to attend four-year schools or their family relies on them to stay home to care for relatives.
One post-secondary path is to earn a certificate or associate’s degree at a local community college.
This is a less expensive option with flexible hours that allows students to attend school and work, Keese said.
Apprenticeship programs are available for students wishing to work in the trades. These “earn while you learn degrees,” said Keese, offer the chance to earn money right after high school while learning a skilled trade from a master craftsman.
On-the-job training offers the opportunity to work while an employer trains and educates a high school graduate. And the military remains a choice for some students, who may then move on to post-secondary education using military benefits.
Technical schools are a good fit for students vying for a skill or trade with a hands-on approach, Keese said.
Behrendt refers to the website, which shows offerings at community and technical colleges and their programs across the state. Scriber students have found for-profit colleges were the right fit along with massage therapy and cosmetology programs offered through private programs and community colleges.
A good number of students gain career experience through Workforce Development, Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center and Running Start through Edmonds Community College to take advantage of gaining job skills and earning college credits.
Students itching to earn money to live on their own opt for finding jobs immediately after graduation.
The diversity of reasons why students take non-traditional paths is a reflection of the school’s diverse population, Behrendt said.
“We need people to choose different pathways if we want to live in a productive, dynamic society,” she said.