As we approach a new school year, the high school senior class will have decisions to make about their futures. For decades, the default advice was to go to college, earn your degree, and find your place in the professional workforce. However, college costs have skyrocketed and can put students in deep debt, even if they don’t finish their degree.
This student debt increase, along with a shortage of skilled tradespeople, has led to the question of “Should I go to college or a trade school?” We will look at this choice using DISC personality styles as each relates to making this choice.
Students can take the StudentKeys: Student Strengths assessment, which provides them with their DISC Personality Style, Perceptual Learning Style, and Cognitive Thinking Style. They may also benefit from taking the Behavioral Attitudes Index (BAI). The BAI gives additional insight into what motivates us and can lead to a choice more in-line with their personality and desires.
DISC personality considerations for college and trade school:
The “Dominant” style wants to be in charge. They also don’t want useless information; just the bottom line. These students are driven to seek high-performing situations and be the best in their roles. They should choose to pursue a college degree if their desired position requires it. For example, they can’t practice law or medicine without a college education. When “D” styles choose a college, they will have to flex their patience and put up with taking (and passing) seemingly useless classes such as “Western Civilization.”
If “D” style students want to skip unnecessary information and get started on a career as quickly as possible, then a trade school is the way to go. As “Ds” naturally want to be in charge, then career paths such as construction contractor, executive chef, or business owner can benefit from trade school certification.
As someone who wants to have a good time, the “Influencial” style would enjoy the college experience. Their natural enthusiasm would make them famous on campus. They should choose college if they want to be a teacher, pediatric nurse, or marketing professional. Jobs such as these require a college degree to do them. Other roles may also benefit from having a college degree to lend credence to the job seeker.
One of the challenges of the “I” style is they may not always follow through on their commitments. Missing such details may turn into a problem if they take out loans and don’t complete their college degree. Alternatively, through a trade school or industry-specific training, they can get the education needed to join the workforce quickly. Positions to consider would be a guide for tours or resorts, salesperson, broadcaster, or flight attendant. Once on the job, the “I” style will be popular among their peers and could advance into better-paying management positions.
The “Steady” personality student is patient, listens well, and sees things through to completion. These traits make them a good fit for attending college and finishing on-time. Careers such as judge, psychologist, or human resources professional utilize the “Ss” listening skills and require a college degree. Some of these jobs require advanced degrees, so the patience of the “S” bodes well for success at completing those additional years.
Trade school would also be a good fit for this style. They enjoy working as part of a team and are supportive to others. Jobs such as web developer, customer support, massage therapist, or personal assistant fit well with the “S” style, and preparation and certification can take two years or less. For the “S” style, it comes down to a desirable job type and financial considerations.
The “Compliant” style is highly detail-oriented, accurate, and analytic. For those who want to attend college, their study habits are fed by their desire for information. Careers may include accountant, scientist, quality assurance engineer, or surgeon. Many of these will require advanced degrees.
If 4+ years at a university doesn’t appeal to the “C” style, trade or vocational schools can prepare them for jobs such as paralegal, architectural drafter, research assistant, and medical equipment repair technician. These all require a level of knowledge and accuracy on which “Cs” will thrive.
Written by: Michael Dattilio
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