I totally agree that college isn’t a necessity for everyone, especially since so many people don’t have a clear idea of what they want to do until long after college.
That said, choosing a non-college route to more money relies on already having a pretty solid base of resources. It may cost less to get a specialized degree, but it still costs money. And many students don’t have access to the information and mentorship needed to find the resources they’d need in order to choose a different path.
Have you read The New Global Student by Maya Frost? She explores many ways high school students can begin finding out what they want earlier and then tailor their high school and beyond choices in ways that allow them to understand what they want and then craft education options that shape and guide their choices. (And fwiw, when I say education and learning, I mean it in the broadest of terms. The way I see it, anything that opens options is education.)
I’m glad to see education paradigms moving toward wider and less costly ways of making a living, but it many ways it only shifts what we consider “of value.” Making more money is good up to a point, but after that, it adds little to our lives.
I bounced between jobs (possible careers) for years, feeling like they had no relation to each other, including many things that felt at the time like underwater basket weaving. Yet 20 years later, I see how they connect and support what I do now.
At base, it’s the ability to see beyond what others think is valuable and find a path that works, but it’s hard to do this when you live in a world that demands specific value and immediate outcome.