Career or College

The pros and cons of high school, and CTE school.


Lorianne Servignat

An infographic picturing the different paths a student can take. Both of these options are good paths.

High schools/colleges and CTE/trade schools prepare students for later life in vastly different ways. CTE schools help students explore different careers, while high schools like Wilsonville prepare students for college, and they structure their curriculum assuming that every student attends college. There are pros and cons to both of these options but they prepare students for different things post-high school.

Both CTE and trade schools help students jump straight into careers including plumbing, electricians, and things like that. They are jobs that give you a lot of money because they are usually jobs that are in high demand.

But these schools put students in a position where they have to decide their futures at a young age. Where many students don’t know what they want to do with their lives. Things that inspire you to change with you as you discover who you are. When Kenley Whittakerwas asked what she wanted to be as an adult has changed she said, “yes!” She isn’t completely sure what she wants to do now. 

It can also make it difficult to switch careers when going to a trade school because you only have learned how to do one job. 

Although it doesn’t allow a lot of wiggle room, going to a CTE school can help you jump into what you are passionate about. It is also an option for students that aren’t enthusiastic about school, and students who struggle to learn in the school environment. CTE coordinator Laura Nappi says, “The skills that you gain can transfer to anything.” which is completely true, at Wilsonville High School, “some students might want to go straight to a career.” So, not only do CTE programs help with that, but they also help find your path in college. And can actually help save you money instead of floating around at college.

On the other hand, traditional high schools like Wilsonville strongly encourage going to college, and they give you all the information you need before going on to college or a future career. They have classes in the four core subjects (English, math, social studies, science), and AP classes that appeal to colleges. 

You are constantly in an environment where people are talking about college, asking about college, and saying college is the only way to secure a future. When there are many ways to have a great future without college. 

Anymore college doesn’t guarantee a job like it used to, and going to a trade school might bring more benefits depending on what you want to do. It is a very changeling environment and doesn’t always work with every student’s needs. 

Traditional high schools can be great if you are serious about your academic career and think more with a critical lens. But all of this comes down to what works best for you and your needs.