They were always VERY adamant about us going to college. Everything was in preparation for getting into a good college so we could get a great job.
Well I got into a great college, graduated at the top of my class, racked up $80,000 in debt, and could not find a SINGLE job willing to pay me more than $12/hour...or even a decent full time one for that matter. I doubled majored in psych/criminalistics.
DH went to Penn State, hated school, loved college life, and ended up racking up tons of debt in the 6 years he partied there and never graduated. He now owns a successful tile business making around $100,000/year. He could have never made that much with the degree he was pursuing.
I am a SAHM. After my kids are in school I plan to open up my own business.
So, my point it, unless my kids have a specific career path in mind that they are set on, I am not going to make them think college is the be all end all.
Anyone with me?
My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.
I will not be paying for college. They are welcome to stay at home with us while they go to school so they have no food or rent costs, but I won't be paying their tuition.
There are many ways to get a decent education that do not include partying for 6 years. Also a degree does not guarentee a job waiting at the finish line nor making more money. Finally, this can be done with out running up 6 figures or 5 high figures of debt.
What is it- something no one can ever take away from you. You now are armed w knowledge. Also it should be a learning experience. My father always jokes that people with more formal education know what they dont know. Where as people with out, do not know what they dont know!
We will always make education a priority and make it easier for my girls to pursue furthering their education, just like both of our parents did before us. But yes, I think college is not for everyone.
Neither DH or I have a college degree. I do feel like the oddball in my family, my bro has his MBA, my sister a BA, my mom has two Master degrees, my dad a PHD (in law) but yet we are comfortable and doing fairly well right now.
I know plenty of people with college degrees who are unhappy, have a good amount of student loans and make 1/3 of what my DH earns. SO, it's not like I feel that it's the most important thing to do after highschool.
All that to say, a degree would have been wasted on me by now anyway. I don't see it as a be all end all thing. I want my kids to do what they are happy doing, good at and passionate about. I am not AGAINST college, and may go some day when I am done mothering full time and if what I want to do or be would benifit from the education. DH has a different veiw of this I am sure. He did 6 years of school, worked crappy jobs to pay the bills for a couple years and now has a lovely career which is his dream job. He is an engineer, so school wasn't really optional for him.
Now there are plenty of ways to make a difference without college! I mostly want my kids to be happy, fulfilled and never limited by something they think they can't do.
great question. I love the thought provoking issues on this board.
In high school I worked for an artist, doing production work in his studio for catalog pieces while he made the "real" art pieces, and I loved it. I KNEW that's the kind of work that was for me, but instead of sticking with the mentorship I went to a four-year college at my parents' insistance and ended up with a relatively useless degree for what my life path has been. Oh well about that, but I will certainly not push DS into the same situation.
So, I hope that I'm open to my kids' needs. Ds' greatest desire right now at age 7 is to be a bus driver. I can't say I'm thrilled. I think he'd be bored silly, and he's got a very academic-y kind of mind. But I also don't say "oh no, you want to do something else". We talk about what it would be like to be a bus driver, what kind of training you need to get, how old you have to be, etc.
What I would never advocate is going deep into debt ($80,000 to $100,000) -- it's possible to get a 4 year degree at most state universities for a lot less than that!
If my son knows down to his bones that he wants to be a carpenter or plumber or something else where a degree is definitely not required, sure (although requirements to apprentice are getting stricter, plus apprenticing is further education too).
And if my son wants to take a year or two off between high school and higher education to work and save, I'm all for that too - I think focusing one's interests is a good idea.
But if he's ready for post-secondary education and not sure what he wants to do (like a lot of us), I would definitely encourage a degree. I agree with a PP that the knowledge and work you put in adds to your life. I do think the choice of degree matters.
Also, as far as the actual job market goes, I do think that unlike when your parents were working their ways up, a degree or at least certificate of some kind really is the minimum standard for a lot of things now. Your mum might not be able to make it into into her starting job, or to be promoted, on just a high school diploma under the rules of the road now.
So I think I will make those views clear to my child, and also still contribute to his education fund.
Debt can be crushing but there are ways to get around it. My grandparents helped fund my education and I believe my parents are thinking of something similar, although that is up to them and we don't count on it.
I sort of have a vague plan in mind that we'll put in two dollars for every dollar my son earns and saves during his high school years (summers, etc.) or something like that. Again it depends on him and his interests but I think that's one way to drive home to him that he needs to at least try to make wise choices around programmes, bursaries, working and studying hard, and minimizing debt.
A bachelor's degree isn't the be all end all as many PP have said but I want the funding there for what could potentially be thousands of dollars in tests and certifications. I joined the military so that I could go to college without racking up major student loan debt. My parents pushed college but made it very clear they wouldn't pay for it. I don't want my son to be stuck between a rock and a hard place like that.
If he decides he doesn't want to use it, then DH and I will roll it over into a different type of account for us.
My mother insisted I go to college, paid for with scholarships and working nearly full time. I didn't finish and for the most part, wasted alot of time half-assing it. If I were to start now, I would definitely do much better. Of course, I still haven't decided what I want to be.
My fil and I have gone rounds about the boys going to college. I say they don't "have to" but we'll definitely encourage them to and help with the costs. He says they have to go, everyone in his family has all these degrees and so on (he's kind of forgotten dh never finished either). My fil also has a master's degree and is now driving a city bus, so I'm not sure what argument he thinks he has, unless its just the education factor.
I also ended up "falling in love" with an anti-college, stick it to the man, live off the grid, type of boy. He helped me see what a waste college would've been. Ahhhh, to be 18 again. lol.
I'm going to support my kids in whatever they want. I just want them to be happy. Hopefully they stay true to themselves and do what they feel is right for them.
Of course, we'll let our kids follow whatever career path they choose, but we will make sure that they consider all possibilities. I don't want our kids to go to university because they think that's what people have to do to be smart or successful or whatever.
I've lectured at several universities, and worked with a lot of first year students. Universities are full of kids who, for various reasons, don't belong there. Also, taking on massive student loan debt while you putter around trying to find your direction in life is unwise.
There are serious labour shortages in the trades, and there is a lot of money to be made in those careers. Our electrician bought his house for cash.
My DH earned a 4 yr degree and has been working full-time corporate jobs ever since. He is glad he has some job security and earns good money, but does not enjoy what he does and I think wishes he had been more creative about different ideas for careers when he was younger and it was easier to make changes and explore different options.
We both want to be able to help our kids with the opportunity to earn a degree if they want it, but don't want them to feel pushed into it or that it is something they should start just because they are 18 or some other random reason. If they choose a degree program it should be because there is a field they want to work in and the degree will help them reach their goals. If they choose to work in a field that does not require a degree, or have their own business that they don't need a degree for, that's fine. We want them to feel more freedom than we felt at that age, and see that there are many ways to earn a living. A degree is not a guarantee of a secure, well paying job with health and retirement benefits and a happy life. In fact neither of us was happy with the corporate 9-5 cubicle life and we will probably be very honest with them about that. I will probably encourage them to find a career that will not involve sitting in a cubicle 40-50 hrs a week.
and 3 , in our happy secular
I don't think college has to be this big four year affair, pulling in tons of debt. My degree takes 18 months to complete, and after all is said and done (with three semesters of "experimentation" and an expensive foray into a private 4-year) I'll owe just under $6000. DP is going to school (the same one, its a tech college) for CNC operations. He'll also be done in 18 months, and he'll have the opportunity to get a pay raise from $9 an hour degreeless to $22 an hour.
The thing is, in my own experience, everyone I know that DOESN'T have some sort of degree are the ones that can't find jobs anywhere, or can't advance anywhere. These days, you need at least two years of college to pick up garbage (at least around here). My mother would love to go from essentially grunt to supervisor, but can't because she doesn't have a degree in anything.
So, no matter what, I'll try to prepare my kids for college or learning a trade as much as I can. Because those entry-level jobs that don't require a degree are extremely few and far between these days. I understand not "forcing" them into anything, but in order to survive these days, some sort of higher learning is required. At least in my experience and in my area. It could be different elsewhere.
I wish I could afford to send her to an out of state college (She wants to go to Seattle) but, I can't.
I don't know why.. I just feel like she should go, and deserves to go to college. So, I have never given her the option.
Both of us knew we'd NEVER work for anyone else other than ourselves. I figured out in college that since I'm my own boss, I don't need a college degree, lol.
Anyway, we're both debt free and absolutely love what we do.
We're going to encourage our child to pursue their passion. To find something they love, and to do that without settling. We'll let them know that earning money is something everyone has to do, and you spend a lot of time relatively speaking at this. So, if you're going to spend a lot of time doing something to earn money, it should be something that you love, and are passionate about. This way, you never actually "work." It's how it is for my partner and I - we don't work. We have fun, and earn money doing it.
What that passion will be for my child will be totally dependant on them. If they need college to do it - they'll go. If not, they won't. Neither of us will push any particular direction, other than going for the passion.
However, we're NOT going to support them financially indefinitely. If they skip college, then they'll need to get a job and either pay us rent or move out with a roommate. We're big believers in making your own way, and achieving one's passion independently.
Having spent my early 20's as a single Mom working crap jobs with no degree, my life was changed for the good when I went to school. I now do work that is meaningful that I enjoy that while low paying (director of a non-profit) would not have been open to me without a degree. I admit the student loans do suck but if I had stayed stuck in dead end jobs that would have been worse.
That said, in my family education has been the tool that has allowed us to move up and I value it very much. However I would not be opposed or devastated if my son told me he wanted to learn a trade. Though as a member of the debate team who loves politics and is not too handy, I don't see trade school in the cards especially since he is prepping to take the SAT and ACT.
Sadly in today's world good paying jobs without some sort of schooling are harder to find, its not like 30 years ago when you could work at a plant and work your way up.
If my kids express interest in a particular area that college would benifit then yes, I'd encourage it. If my child showed true passion for something better persued outside of school then I would encourage that. Basically I plan to encourage whatever it is that I think is a good balance between what I think will be most benifical and productive on a personal level for them and what THEY think will be most benifical or personally fofilling them.
I know waaaaaaaaaaaay too many young people around my age who were basically forced into college and have made expensive changes in majors more than once and still don't know what they want to do, wasted their education and money (or parents money)by flunking out, dropped out and re-entered college more than once (and loosing class fees, book fees, and such in the process), getting a degree only to find out they hate the field once they finally start working in it (then end up working at a job or career they could have started 4-8 years prior if their parents hadn't forced them to pick something to go to college for at age 17), and dropping out early and having no way to pay back the financial aid.
My mom was also very insistent that I go. BUT...she said if I wanted to not use the degree afterwards, that would be fine too. She just wanted me to always ( especially as a woman) have a degree. I find it empowering to have a degree under my belt. I could lose everything- my husband, my house, my material things, but NO ONE can take my education and degree away from me. I'll always have it...if I need it.
I won't be paying for school either. THey can live with us, for free, but they will have to pay for school. THey'll figure it out.
And am I using my degree today? To an extent, yes. I'm a sahm, but I learned a lot of life lessons in college. I use them everyday. I was a teacher before ds, and it was a great experience and helped me prepare for motherhood in so many ways. I think I will return to the classroom, one day.
Heather , momma to ' Parker- 10, Carlee- 7 and our baby Genevieve Faith - 8-27-10
Now I have two kids and dh is on the verge of a promotion that will allow us to be a much more comfortable 1 income family, I'm hesitant to go back to school. I do not *want* to be a WOHM, but in this economy and *very* tight budget, I would like to return work. It would take me 4 years to graduate, at minimum, and by then I will hopefully not need to work. So we're kinda stuck. In 4 years they'll also be in school full time making working a job without a degree much more profitable since I won't have to pay for 2 FT daycare tuitions. If I could go back in time, I would have taken 2 or so years off to get tired of working a lower paying job, really determine what I love and could aslo make enough money to be worth it with a reasonable amt of debt and then get my masters. As a friend of mine says "You need a bachelor's to get a job, and masters to make any money". I'd work full time til we decided to have kids, take a year or two off after each one of them and return to part time work and eventually 3/4 time work after they're all in school.
I hope to not push my kids in any one direction and hope that I've raised them well enough to make such important decisions on their own. If they're the school-y type that wants to ladder climb, I'd encourage college. If they turn out to be the ones that are satisfied with a median income with not a lot of extras, and don't want to go the school route, I'd encourage trade school or working their way up in an interesting field.
If they'd rather go into a trade or something I would be fine with that, but I would encourage some sort of further education beyond high school. I think even if you don't work in the field you study, it opens more doors than it closes.
Carlin - loving life with DH and 2 amazing daughters
My college years weren't useless...I did learn a lot, and that BA hanging on my wall has no expiration date. I think a lot also depends on your major.
I actually loved school and miss it, and sometimes think of getting my masters...then I think that I could probably just be as successful doing somehting that doesn't require me to go back to school and pay even more student loans...