Originally Posted by ChetMC
I lived in residence for six years, and I've lectured at three universities. I absolutely agree that there are a lot of students wasting their own time and other people's money in universities across North America. However....
You need to be careful drawing a causal relationship between getting a free ride and increased incidence of crapping out at school though. Many of those parents remortgaging their house and working an extra job to send their kid to school have pushed, or at least enabled, their child to seek a university education when they are just not prepared to work at getting a degree.
The problem isn't generally the free ride, it's usually the lack of motivation and direction. An academically gifted and motivated undergrad will not be ruined by a funded education. An academically weak, unmotivated and immature undergrad however, is in the position to really make a mess when somebody is dumb enough to remortgage their house and send them off to a pricey private school.
The same thing with working part time while you go to school. Part time work may help kids to develop better time management skills to some extent, but most definitely, the relationship between grades and holding a part time job is not purely causal. The kind of kids who are motivated to work part time to make their university education possible are the kinds of kids who want to be there. They are the kind of kids who make things happen. Forcing a particular student to get a job when they are flunking out will not result in that student suddenly finding the drive they need to get off of academic probation.
In Canada, summer jobs are the norm though. I was really surprised when I started meeting American students who were 20, 22, or even 25 and had never held a summer job.
My only point really, is that parents be willing to take their kids on a case by case basis :
1. Parents need to NOT pay for kids to go to university if they really aren't ready to be there. Maybe pay for part time studies at a local college if you have your doubts and your kid really wants to go... but parents need to wake up to the fact that paying for a university degree does not mean that your kid will have the capacity to actually earn one. Just because the university let your kid in, and just because you can pay the fees, does not mean your kid will put in the work. I know after the first six lectures who is going to crap out in my class! I have no idea how it can be a complete surprise to parents when their kid crashes and burns in university.
2. It is very reasonable to expect contributions from your child, but recognize that it is not possible to be top of your class and hold down part time employment in every discipline. I know a lot of overachievers, and many of them were very fortunate to have the opportunity to focus 100% on their studies. It isn't always possible, but be open to the fact that sometimes not having a part time job may mean that a student has the time to put in the extra work necessary to be top of their class in a difficult program, do all the extra reading, or take a research position with lousy pay and that only lasts nine weeks because it will look great on their application to grad school and help them make valuable connections in their field.
ITA w/what you said. I see that for most of the posters on this thread their kids are far away from college so its all theoretical at this point. However as someone who has a kid in college and is assisting in paying what you said hit the mark.
My son's first year and a half in high school I let him know that if he was serious about going to college and planned on my paying something towards it, he needed to get serious. He did, by his junior year he was pulling A's/B', he got involved in school and by senior year was heavy into drama and the senior class president. He also in 08 got involved in the Obama campaign which actually did a lot for him personally and motivated him as far as his future goals.
Based off what he did accomplish in high school and what his future plans are (law school, public interest work) it makes sense to help with college costs. While I wish he had a job this year, he is pulling A's so far in his courses, involved in several extracurricular activties and since he has huge scholarships, a part time job is just not feasible. We send him a small monthly allowance (most of which is spent on food since he is a vegetarian and his campus is not veg friendly) but he understands that the moment he decides to slack off, my support is gone.
I have a friend who worked 2 jobs to get her kid through college and he took 6 years to do it. My son knows he has 4 years and that is it. I put myself through college and while its noble, truth is had I been able to go straight out of high school with help from my folks my life would have been a lot easier. Also from a financial standpoint because I had my son at 19, went to college at 28, grad school at 32 and now have a kid in college I frankly don't want my son saddled with the financial stress carry. Thankfully due to generous scholarships and 1 small loan my son took out my out of pocket cost is reasonable all things considered.