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post #101 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by treegardner View Post

I read yesterday that the 2011 college graduates will have an average of $22,900 in debt upon graduation. greensad.gif


 

That doesn't seem like much for a college education. When you think about how much more money college graduates make, on average, than people without a degree, it's definitely worth it!

post #102 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post




 

That doesn't seem like much for a college education. When you think about how much more money college graduates make, on average, than people without a degree, it's definitely worth it!


I agree - that's far lower than I would have expected for 4 years and a degree.  Student loans are low-interest and the payments aren't a huge burden every month.  I remember I was paying $112/month for I think a $20k loan.  And because I had automatic bill pay, I was never late, and it was great for my credit score, which ended up saving me money in the long run on things like car and home loans.

 

post #103 of 133
A) to learn the things I didn't learn in high school, more well rounded, better depth of subject matter

B) to be able to support myself and my children should something happen to my dh

C) to be the first graduate of college in my extended family (go me!)

D) to be able to tell my kids that "if I could do it, so can you".
post #104 of 133

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Edited by Cascadian - 6/2/11 at 7:34pm
post #105 of 133

Quote:

Originally Posted by NicaG View Post
I think expensive private liberal arts colleges are generally a waste of money and produce graduates who are lacking in life skills and saddled with debt.

I don't agree. I think this can occur, but they also have their benefits. I went to an expensive private liberal arts college with a lot of scholarships, and didn't have a ton of debt when I graduated (and most of those schools do have a lot of scholarships). It was a great experience for me with a great community that really helped me grow as a person. I'd have been swallowed up at a big public school, I am positive--I've done my doctoral degree at a big public school so I know what it's like. I knew when I was 17 that it would make me crazy and I didn't want to do it, and everything that has happened at the big school has confirmed that. The instructional quality at my school was high because an institution that is mostly focused on undergrad teaching gets more professors who are good at that, rather than getting professors who are research leaders but may or may not actually be able to teach and in either case have their grad students doing the majority of the work. I did leave without a few life skills I would have liked to learn, but I was able to pick most of them up fairly readily, and the biggest source of "What am I going to do in the Real World when I graduate?" stress was that I didn't know how to drive, which is really my parents' fault and not the fault of the school. I'm not saying it's for everyone, but it was the right place for me.
 

 

post #106 of 133

 

Quote:
I'm not saying it's for everyone, but it was the right place for me.

 

 

Worth repeating!  

post #107 of 133

 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicaG View Post

\I am very conflicted in my feelings about college. It is expensive and in many ways it can be a waste of time and money, but when you are done you have a recognized societal stamp of approval that allows you to apply for a wide variety of jobs. I think expensive private liberal arts colleges are generally a waste of money and produce graduates who are lacking in life skills and saddled with debt.



I have a liberal arts degree from a very expensive private college.  My stepfather paid for my education, so I am very lucky to have no debt from college.  And it was a fantastic experience.  Someone mentioned literally having their eyes opened and college, and that is what a LAC did for me.  I was exposed to so many different things, and 99% of them had no direct bearing on my future income...but when you put it all together I graduated with great critical thinking, writing, and presentation skills.  And a lot of confidence and social skills that I would not have learned without leaving home, going far away, and living in a situation where I met a ton of people that were very different than myself.

 

Now, all that said--college is prohibitively expensive now.  I just read an article that said students are stressed and depressed about the price--and I suspect that my happy go lucky college experience is a thing of the past.  There are some movements afoot to point out just how unnecessary and overpriced college has become--I'll try to come back with links.  And one of the articles I was reading the other day basically said you could give your kid 200K and there are many other worthwhile things that they could do with that money that might be just as useful.  Like starting a business.  Or starting 10 businesses!   I'm not sure I agree or disagree with that--but I'm still thinking about it! 

 

I also wish that I could go to college now and do it all over again.  I loved college, got a lot out of it, have no regrets...but man, if I went now??  I'd be on fire academically and I would take advantage of EVERYTHING! 


Edited by madskye - 5/10/11 at 5:54pm
post #108 of 133

I too did not read all of the replies but I disagree with people who think that college is necessary for "success".  You and your children need to have your own defnition of success.  I do agree with some posts that said it sounds like your daughter may not be ready for college.  And I think that is OK.  Do you want to spend a ton of money for an 18 year old to figure it out?  If she can think of a goal/career she would eventually use her music degree for, why not let her work/intership/volunteer for a year in that area and see if she really likes it or what opportunities there are.  You might still be paying for most or all of her living expenses but you'd be doing that if she were in school anyway and she might honestly learn more this way.  If she can't give you some sense of "what she wants to be when she grows up" (and who the heck can at that age!) then you are still better off saving that money while she matures for another year.

 

I am a college drop out (more than once for a host of reasons).  I am a 38 year old, SMBC to a 2.5 year old.  I just purchased my first home.  I am successful by just about any definition, certainly my own which is what really counts.  I have a good paying, stable, long term job that I enjoy.  I have worked in the same industry for nearly 20 years.  I think that college does not make people successful, people make themselves successful.  Do you think that some super smart got it all together kid who doesn't go to college isn't going to be successful?  Maybe they will start their own business, a non profit or change the world in a way we cannot imagine and college would literally get in the way of.

 

I just don't think it is the end all be all.  Am I saving for my daughter's college education?  Sure, because I think it is one of many choices for which I 'd like to be prepared.

post #109 of 133

A few thoughts on this: 

 

1. She is taking the PSATs. She does not need to have a career picked out at this stage. It is very likely that she will change her mind.

2. If she auditions for a music major at Julliard (or any comparable conservatory) and gets in, that's a huge achievement. Should she become one of the 25% of Julliard graduates seeking employment outside her field, employers are bound to be impressed with the level of focus and discipline required to get into the school and complete the course of study. 

3. If she decides to go to Julliard and doesn't like it, she can transfer, because Julliard has an excellent reputation. 

4. If she sticks with her current, somewhat unrealistic-sounding plan and only applies to Julliard and doesn't get in, but has excellent grades in other subjects, she can reconsider her options and apply to another school.

 

I don't see a good reason to step on her dream right now. 

 

 

The point of college? There are many possible reasons it can be worthwhile. One is to provide another transition to independent adulthood, as you pick your own major and become responsible for doing your own homework without your parents' supervision. Obviously, it's not for everyone, as many people figure out other ways to become independent and accrue necessary skills and credentials for their chosen career. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

With the PSATs in the fall, they have to put down, I think, a selection of colleges to send their scores to. I know they can add more later (for an extra cost) so I wanted the to at least think about colleges and maybe places they might want to look at closer. They have gotten a lot of college materials in the mail this year. My son has a very reasonable college with a variety of majors available. My daughter only wants to apply to Julliard. She is very smart and makes good grades, but Julliard is a hard one to get in to. Plus, if she goes there and decides later she does not want to major in music, she will sort of be out of luck.



 

post #110 of 133

Uuuummm... I could be mistaken (but, having been through it twice quite recently, don't think I am), but PSAT scores aren't generally sent to colleges. Only to the student and their HS. SAT scores are the ones sent to colleges.

post #111 of 133

You can elect to have the psat's sent, and if you're a high achieving student it can put you the path to some substantial merit aid and scholarships. 

post #112 of 133

Really interesting to read through all these responses. Brings up a lot of feelings, for sure. I'm also conflicted about the whole higher education experience. I'm very happily a homemaker at 28, first babe on the way in less than a month .... and I have a Ph.D. in molecular biology. No debts. My husband (who is employed in his Ph.D. field and hopes to continue) and I don't owe anyone a dime. I like that a lot. I did community college -> local univeristy --> Ph.D. school out of state.  Undergrad was awesome. How great to have the freedom to just learn learn learn while being (I felt) respected as an adult. Ph.D. school was less awesome as time went by. I feel like Ph.D. in hard sciences (my experience) is a huge crapshoot, both in what your experience getting the degree will be and what kind of employment prospects you'll have afterward. That's not even talking about the many many issues I learned that I had with the general culture of my subfield and what it can mean (and what you might have to give up) to be respected & "successful."  Can we say 70 hour work weeks & rampant sexism? Well, that's a whole other can of worms. Anywhooo....

 

OP, it's interesting to me how you are noticing that your daughter might be infatuated with music because of the positive attention she gets from it. Looking back, I think that is a huge reason why I went into (& stayed too long in) science! What an ego boost it all was for me.  It is hard, as a young person, to honestly figure yourself out when lots of people around you are showering down admiration. I think you are right on in your gut feelings on that. I have no clue how one can share this wisdom with a teenager .... it might be one of those things that only one's own experience can teach. 

 

By the way, some one was talking about education expenses when going into the sciences .... you should know that it is standard, at least in math & science, to get a tuition waiver and stipend for Ph.D. programs. The best programs also do not require teaching to support yourself, although this is not always true (for example, many mathematics programs, environmental science programs, and others ... even the best ones). But any program without a tuition waiver and livable stipend is not a program worth considering. For many schools, tuition waiver/stipend is the norm for all Ph.D. programs (where I went to grad school, this was normal even for English Ph.Ds, although they were required to teach throughout). And for hard sciences, at least, you go right from undergrad --> Ph.D., no Master's required.  (p.s. This is just a heads-up on how it works, not an endorsement! Indeed, I think some of these things are not in the students' best interest and are how you can get sucked in to something that might be not be your cup of tea!)

post #113 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by homestyle View Post

Really interesting to read through all these responses. Brings up a lot of feelings, for sure. I'm also conflicted about the whole higher education experience. I'm very happily a homemaker at 28, first babe on the way in less than a month .... and I have a Ph.D. in molecular biology. No debts. My husband (who is employed in his Ph.D. field and hopes to continue) and I don't owe anyone a dime. I like that a lot. I did community college -> local univeristy --> Ph.D. school out of state.  Undergrad was awesome. How great to have the freedom to just learn learn learn while being (I felt) respected as an adult. Ph.D. school was less awesome as time went by. I feel like Ph.D. in hard sciences (my experience) is a huge crapshoot, both in what your experience getting the degree will be and what kind of employment prospects you'll have afterward. That's not even talking about the many many issues I learned that I had with the general culture of my subfield and what it can mean (and what you might have to give up) to be respected & "successful."  Can we say 70 hour work weeks & rampant sexism? Well, that's a whole other can of worms. Anywhooo....

 

hug2.gifI'm a postdoc in a "hard science" I totally hear you.  I really lucked out with my advisor and now boss for many reasons but I have a number of friends who were not as lucky.  I've known a handful who have overcome the whole "bad advisor" thing (and actually seem that much stronger because of it) but I have to say it's not an experience I personally want. winky.gifI think one of the biggest problems is that many undergrads choose a school for its name and don't necessarily think about what type of an advisor they'll have in whatever field they're interested in.  You could be utterly fascinated with the field but the only person available at your university could be a horrible advisor. 

 

OP, it's interesting to me how you are noticing that your daughter might be infatuated with music because of the positive attention she gets from it. Looking back, I think that is a huge reason why I went into (& stayed too long in) science! What an ego boost it all was for me.  It is hard, as a young person, to honestly figure yourself out when lots of people around you are showering down admiration. I think you are right on in your gut feelings on that. I have no clue how one can share this wisdom with a teenager .... it might be one of those things that only one's own experience can teach. 

 

Ditto.  I picked my field because it was "hard".  eyesroll.gifI actually really wanted to do law but everyone discouraged me from it for various reasons (mostly because they thought I'd be selling out or be too stressed out, sigh...).  I like what I do but I don't feel that love that I felt for other things in the past. 

 

By the way, some one was talking about education expenses when going into the sciences .... you should know that it is standard, at least in math & science, to get a tuition waiver and stipend for Ph.D. programs. The best programs also do not require teaching to support yourself, although this is not always true (for example, many mathematics programs, environmental science programs, and others ... even the best ones). But any program without a tuition waiver and livable stipend is not a program worth considering. For many schools, tuition waiver/stipend is the norm for all Ph.D. programs (where I went to grad school, this was normal even for English Ph.Ds, although they were required to teach throughout). And for hard sciences, at least, you go right from undergrad --> Ph.D., no Master's required.  (p.s. This is just a heads-up on how it works, not an endorsement! Indeed, I think some of these things are not in the students' best interest and are how you can get sucked in to something that might be not be your cup of tea!)

 

yeahthat.gif. I also have no debt (got a full-scholarship for undergrad) and actually made a decent amount to do my Ph.D.  Another thing I found was that as a female science major there were a LOT of scholarships available.  I was able to travel abroad extensively because people were practically trying to give away all the money they had to a female scientist. 



 

post #114 of 133
Another science PhD here - (my degree is in neurobiology and behavior). I decided not to stay in academia and went to work for a startup instead.
I got out of school with minimal education debt (less than 5K of loans from my undergrad) and my PhD had a decent stipend for a single person to live on (buying a house and starting a family - not so much).
I found that my training and my credentials got me into a position I have now (I went straight from school into a lead scientist position) and with my work experience added I should many highly prestigious career opportunities. I'm really glad I got my education even though the PhD was hard and very trying, (in retrospect - my advisor was not only sexist but also verbally abusive) I am a stronger, more capable person for it.
Undergrad was wonderful for me. I knew I wanted to learn as much as I could though, so I made the most of my time taking classes rather than socializing or floundering. I met a lot of amazing people too.
I would encourage my children to learn as much as they can/aim high, but set goals and not wander aimlessly too much (because I'm not sure I'll be able to afford it)
post #115 of 133

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Edited by Cascadian - 6/2/11 at 7:32pm
post #116 of 133

I just saw an article that was totally pertinent to this older thread: 

 

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2011/06/06/110606crat_atlarge_menand

 

It's from the most recent New Yorker,  discussing the value of college with an open mind and some historical perspective on how different thinkers approach the question. It's perhaps a little long, but it's shorter than this thread! 

post #117 of 133

thank you so much capn. that was indeed a good read. and it shows realistically what student philosophy is.

 

esp. those who are into medicine, engineering or science/math related subjects or even courses like EMT. they ALL protest 'why do we have to take GE classes'. its a waste of their time. they are so focused on their subjects (and rightly so having taken chemistry myself dizzy.gif) that most of them have closed minds going into GE requirements. they learn very little from it - only concerned about getting an A in the class. 

 

however the whole article was from a have to go to college perspective. pretty much saying you have to have the training. 

 

i would love to see an article from truly the other side. without college degrees. 

 

 

post #118 of 133

I've been working overnights at Walmart to pay for my tuition at the National Midwifery Institute, a CPM program. There are lots of people working there who have college degrees, complete with student loans, but are making $8 an hour.

post #119 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

however the whole article was from a have to go to college perspective. pretty much saying you have to have the training. 

 

i would love to see an article from truly the other side. without college degrees. 

 

 

So would I! I would love to see the face of the writer of the article, a professor of literature and the winner of a Pulitzer Prize, who has been publishing in the New Yorker for the last decade, when the New Yorker finds a person who can write as well as he can who doesn't have a BA. But the thing is, he was basically arguing that a lot of people who graduate from college don't learn the things he thinks they should be learning. He is deploring the use of college as a vocational school. So he and the hypothetical anti-college writer might have a meeting of the minds on some issues. 

 

(He also needs to update his author bio at the New Yorker. I cannot believe a man with that many publications and a freakin' Pulitzer got turned down for tenure. Harvard is such a weird place. I guess that's part of his argument, too.) 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post

I've been working overnights at Walmart to pay for my tuition at the National Midwifery Institute, a CPM program. There are lots of people working there who have college degrees, complete with student loans, but are making $8 an hour.


Is that a problem with college, or a problem with this economy? The unemployment rate is 8.7%.  To me, seeing college graduates working nights at Wal-mart proves that people in the US work hard to make ends meet, not that college is a waste of time. 

 

post #120 of 133

The thing that irritates me about college is that a college degree is becoming meaningless. Graduate school is what college used to be. Lots of other things bother me about college, but I don't want to write an essay. I was actually talking to my brother, and he said that some companies are starting to recruit kids right out of high school so they can train them, and get them working right away without wasting the time/resources/etc. for college.

 

Just one more thing: the price for college is going up, and the quality is going down. People should go to college for a reason. When everyone goes just because it's the thing to do, then you have a lot of people there who could care less about scolarship and thinking and learning, and who care more about partying, drinking, etc. Not that parties are all bad, but it's pretty sad when the stereotype of the college years is partying.

 

For full disclosure, I graduated with a four year degree in journalism and creative writing.

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