The idea that every child should go to college is something that you have probably heard for years. While people who go to college will, on average, earn more over their lifetime than a non-college graduate, it may be helpful to look at the entire situation from a less general viewpoint.
If every single child got into college and earned a degree, it would cheapen the value of both their degrees, and degrees that have already been given out. With the rising costs of college, including tuition fees, student loans, housing, and books, college is more expensive now than it ever has been before. If you have young children, chances are it will be a lot more expensive when they are ready for college than it is now. There are a couple of alternatives though, both of them can be done without any college, and usually works for kids straight out of high school. Children today also have the opportunity to attend classes online through an accredited online college.
A trade school is a great way to go straight from high school into a guaranteed high paying career. A trade school can get a child ready for a career as a welder, electrician, plumber, or hundreds of other blue collar jobs. The schools themselves are relatively cheap to go to, especially when it is compared to the cost of college, and they can get people in jobs in as little as 6 months. Skilled craftsmen usually make a good wage which goes up with experience, time, and skill level. The work will probably require you to be fairly active (not sitting behind a desk) but it can also be highly lucrative.
With the internet making new millionaires every day, kids who might be looking to go to college now have a unique opportunity that wasn't even available to them until just last decade. High school students who are exceptionally good at designing games or apps can make a lot of money once they graduate high school by starting their own business. Web developers and app programmers who succeed with a business idea can make very good money. And, as we all know from knowing the software giants, some of the most successful bring in multi-million dollar salaries. By harnessing the power of the internet, an 18 year old can sell their services or their products all over the world.
Entrepreneurship does not have to utilize the internet. Some talented or business-minded youngsters can develop their own businesses offline. These kinds of businesses usually develop from kids who had summer jobs and enjoyed them. It doesn't take much to start up a painting business, lawn care business, or something similar that wouldn't require more than a few thousand dollars in startup capital.
While graduating college is still an admirable goal, these days, there are other ways to get high-paying jobs without having to be saddled with tens of thousands in student loan debt, and 4 years of your life.