Pollsters like to point out that people will sometimes voice an opinion about an activity, a product or a political candidate — but what they say doesn’t match the reality.
If that’s the case, it makes the recent revelation that ~42% of ~500 Austrians surveyed in a Market Institut poll believe that Adolf Hitler’s rule “wasn’t all bad” even more scary than it sounds at first blush.
Bringing things back closer to home, a report issued in August 2012 by the National Center for Education Statistics states that ~96% of female high school seniors want to go to college … and that among male seniors, it’s only a tad lower at ~90%.
But here’s the actual reality: The U.S. Census Bureau reports that fewer than 60% of 18-24 year olds are actually enrolled in college or have earned their higher education degree.
Enrolling in college doesn’t necessarily mean graduating, either. Only one-third of 25-34 year olds held a college degree as of 2011 (36% of women and 28% of men).
Why aren’t kids going to college even though the vast majority of high school seniors say they want to attend? There are the predictable reasons:
- Can’t afford college tuition
- Entered the workplace instead
- Didn’t graduate from high school (~16% of 18-24 year olds haven’t actually earned their high school diplomas)
But perhaps we’re beginning to see bit of a shift in thinking, too.
Most parents – and many school systems as well – hold up college prep as the primary objective of high school curricula and learning-related activities. But some may be looking at the less-than-lucrative job prospects of graduating college seniors and realizing that the traditional four-year college course of study isn’t the clear ticket to a gainful career that it once was.
Online learning, distance learning, technical training and hands-on mentoring are other post secondary education options that may looking more viable to some — particularly males.
In fact, fewer than 50% of males are enrolling in four-year educational institutions following high school, while for females, it’s closer to 75%.
It’ll be interesting to see how all of this plays out over the coming decade. Perhaps then we’ll have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight to see if these trends were a potent of bad things society … or not.