Anyone not planning to push a college education on their children? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 83 Old 07-11-2013, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know if "push" is the right word, but I have always assumed my kids would go to college, and I can't imagine them not going, so I imagine there will be some kind of pressure, though maybe just implicit, for them to go.

But I know people who feel the cost of college is not worth it - that you really just end up in debt and you still have trouble finding a job. There are other reasons I've heard for parents not wanting their kids to go to college. I'm trying to think of specific reasons off the top of my head, and I can't remember.

And then of course there is the possibility of being neutral, or having a preference but not wanting it to influence your kids and wanting them to choose independently.

How do you feel about this?
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#2 of 83 Old 07-11-2013, 04:26 PM
 
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I'm not going to "push" one way or the next. I'm focused on being supportive of what my children want for themselves. College is only as useful as what the person pursuing it wishes to apply it to. I don't think going to college for the sake of going is very helpful.

 

I was "pushed" into college. I don't regret going in hindsight -- mostly because I met DH there and had a few really cool professors who I loved hearing talk -- but honestly, it was not a necessary thing for me and aside from the few bright spots, I feel it was a massive waste of time.  I went to college mostly because my parents subtly demeaned my ambitions and basically told me (without saying it directly) that without a college degree, I would be worth less (and worthless). To them, to society, to my future children.

 

So I put my ridiculous, worthless dreams on hold for 3 1/2 years and went. Hated most of it. After college I went into precisely the line of work I had wanted to before college, just 4 years later than I wanted to. My BA in History has done nothing for me except made me hate a subject I once loved by making it boring and making me regurgitate it soullessly and dispassionately on assignment after boring assignment. I didn't pick up a book on history for 5+ years after I graduated.

 

Now, my sister's passion was academically based and she LOVED college. So much that she ended up going for 9 or 10 years and getting a PhD. She loves her job and is doing what she always wanted. But she knew what she wanted and knew college was the only way to get there, so it definitely was NOT a waste of time for her.

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#3 of 83 Old 07-11-2013, 06:26 PM
 
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But I know people who feel the cost of college is not worth it - that you really just end up in debt and you still have trouble finding a job.
And then of course there is the possibility of being neutral, or having a preference but not wanting it to influence your kids and wanting them to choose independently.

How do you feel about this?

 

For any parent concerned about the cost of university, I suggest reading "debt free U."  I borrowed it from the library and it really set my mind at ease. It advocates doing the first 2 years at community college, and makes the case that getting into debt for freshman classes is super silly.

 

Before our kids were really old enough to be basing on views on them as people and were just general "how we think parents oughta handle this," we weren't overly pro college. We felt that young adults do best when they have a plan and a direction, and while that is often college related, it doesn't have to be. And that an actual plan and direction that doesn't include university is preferable to university with no plan and no direction. A skilled trade would be fine with us. A business start up idea with a solid planning is something we would back. Something we hadn't thought of but our kid did would be fine. College would be super too -- both my DH and I have degrees and we are both glad that we do. It's sort of the default, but not the only option by a long shot.

 

To the present -- our oldest is 16 and attends community college. She has no plan or direction. She is working on gen eds and we encourage her to take at least one class a semester that just makes her heart sing. I'm hoping that she stumbles upon her passion this way. We'll see. She is enjoying learning, likes working towards her associates.

 

Our youngest is 15 and very pre-university in high school course choices. We've actually encouraged her to lighten her load instead of taking so many AP and pre-AP classes, but she is a very driven young woman. 

 

As far as not influencing, I think it is part of our JOB as parents to help our kids figure out what direction they want to go in and then help and support them along the way. I consider this the "launch phase" and just as important as the in arms phase. The goal of good parenting is a emotionally healthy, independent adult, and an education/career path is part of that. What I see with my kids is that they need active listening to help them sort out their own thoughts. One of my kids needs encouragement when she is scared of the next step, and my other kid needs encouragement to find balance and to find her own value in things besides just academic achievement.

 

It's not so much that I think that parents should try to "influence," but rather support and encourage. I'm still APing. I'm still GD. I'm still very respectful of my kids as human beings. It's just translating to talking about different academic and career options.


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#4 of 83 Old 07-11-2013, 09:58 PM
 
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I love college and learning. I don't love the double digits student loan debt.

I don't feel like my college education has done any thing for me other than made me feel better and helped me keep up in certain academic circles. Obviously spelling is not one of them... duck.gif

 

So will I push college? Nah. They definitely know it's an option, and that both of their parents went. They also know that it's not like on TV, and you are often parroting what a professor tells you in order to get a piece of paper and life long debt.

 

I don't know if the $$ in debt was worth the boost in self esteem I got. 

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#5 of 83 Old 07-11-2013, 10:33 PM
 
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The system is a bit different in Australia I think but I won't be pushing them to go to university. I would like them to have some sort of qualification but if they want a trade then an apprenticeship is probably going to be a better option.

That said, DH and I have about 7 degrees between us and enjoyed them all and use them every day in our jobs so they're going to hear mostly positive university stories from us and see the practical applications.
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#6 of 83 Old 07-12-2013, 07:10 AM
 
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We have strongly encouraged post-secondary education.  Even pushed. Definitely influenced. 

 

I have several degrees, including a Master's and professional school degrees. DH did not complete his degree: he's a couple of credits short. Despite our personal circumstances, we both see the merit of a university education. 

 

We started out simply assuming that our dc would go. It wasn't even a question. We set up funds when they were born. We shared with them our own university experiences - and theirs. DS and DD were born before I finished my last couple of degrees. DS was on campus a fair amount with me. DD was a newborn when she attended classes with me for a mandatory month-long course.  I joke that she's already completed that credit toward her professional designation. 

 

At some point, we softened a little. If they are truly dedicated to some other path such as apprenticeship and want to forego college, that would be fine with us.  

 

Both attended a performing arts high school (one was a music major, the other is a drama major). If they had decided that they wanted to pursue that dream after high school, then we would have supported them - in spirit, if not financially.  

 

We encouraged a post-high school gap year for both of them, but DS decided he would rather start at college right after high school rather than travel or work or volunteer. He is now planning a post-grad gap year. DD is very tempted to take a gap year. She graduates from high school next spring, so she needs to figure out soon whether she wants to send off her college applications. One big factor in her mind is the impact on scholarships. We discovered with DS that it often isn't possible to defer a scholarship for a year, so taking a gap year means losing out on a fair amount of tuition support. It is also often not possible to defer entry to competitive, limited admission programs in order to take a gap year. DD is in Africa this summer on a travel/study/volunteer trip. It will be interesting to see whether this experience influences her decision. 

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#7 of 83 Old 07-12-2013, 08:35 AM
 
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But I know people who feel the cost of college is not worth it - that you really just end up in debt and you still have trouble finding a job.

Yeah, I'm not going to give ds the party line that he should go to college and that if he goes to college he'll be able to get a good job. I do see the benefits of college. But I went before the debt thing got insane. I think I graduated with a debt of under 12,000. I didn't graduate with any particular skills that helped in the job market. The jobs I got didn't require a college education. Annoyingly at my first post college job, I had customers telling me I should go to college so I could get a better job. All. The. Time.

 

I'd prefer ds did something more trade schoolish, learned to be an electrician or something. 

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#8 of 83 Old 07-12-2013, 09:27 AM
 
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I don't push one way or the other. I have no idea what life path will be the right ones for my kids.

DS1 has one year left of his college program, which is Acting for Stage and Screen. There's a small part of me that feels as though I should have pushed him into learning something "practical", but...this is what he wants. He's been a performer since he was a toddler, has talent, and a huge passion for his craft. I have no desire to be an obstacle to that.

 

I have no idea what my other kids are going to do with their lives. I do know that ds1 is the first person in three generations of my family to actually have a dream, passion, goal, or whatever you want to call it. The rest of us have just kind of drifted along - sometimes falling into something we love, and sometimes not.

 

DD1 still wants to be an arachnologist when she grows up, so she fully intends to go to university. We'll see what happens with the other two.

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#9 of 83 Old 07-12-2013, 10:41 AM
 
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First of all, the debt thing is crazy.  A lot of these parents and students need to pull their heads out of their butts and get a clue.  I see kids going to $50,000 year private colleges to get a teaching degree when a very highly regarded state university 20 miles down the road costs $6,000 a year for the same degree.  A friend of mine works in financial aid at a super pricey liberal arts school and says so many of the people simply cannot afford to send their kids to school there yet will borrow, borrow, borrow to make it happen.  There are ways to make a college degree happen without the crazy debt load.  I don't actually think $20,000 in student loan debt for a valuable degree that gives someone good earning potential is a bad thing.   On the other hand, that debt for a "fun" degree or a degree that only works for lower paying jobs is a bad idea. 

 

I think there is value in getting through college and graduating.  I went to a liberal arts school and at the time, I hated some of my classes and thought they were stupid.  Years later, I understand that working through Religions of the World, Biology, Sociology and other core classes made me a well-rounded individual and thought me to think about a bigger picture.

 

I want to teach my son to think very hard about what type of life he wants and figure out how college and career choices will enable him to live that life or not. 

 

Because of my involvement with a number of organizations, I am in contact with recent graduates in the 22-30 yo age range that seem to have no clue that they can't be a social worker, or stay at home mom, or preschool teacher when they and their partners have huge student loan bills to pay.

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#10 of 83 Old 07-12-2013, 11:51 AM
 
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First of all, the debt thing is crazy.  A lot of these parents and students need to pull their heads out of their butts and get a clue.  I see kids going to $50,000 year private colleges to get a teaching degree when a very highly regarded state university 20 miles down the road costs $6,000 a year for the same degree. .....

 

I think there is value in getting through college and graduating.  I went to a liberal arts school and at the time, I hated some of my classes and thought they were stupid.  Years later, I understand that working through Religions of the World, Biology, Sociology and other core classes made me a well-rounded individual and thought me to think about a bigger picture.

 

... I am in contact with recent graduates in the 22-30 yo age range that seem to have no clue that they can't be a social worker, or stay at home mom, or preschool teacher when they and their partners have huge student loan bills to pay.

 

 

agreed. My husband makes more money than most people, but we can't afford 40 - 50 K per year per kid per year for college. Not even close. Yet some parents we know -- even the one's who've spent the last 25 years struggling to pay off triple-digit combined debt, act like we are bad parents for considering the cost and value of education.   (We have friends who had combined debt of over 100K after finishing grad school who find it odd that our DD is at community college)

 

We've told our kids that if they end up with great scholarships to an expensive school we'll be very supportive, but that otherwise, they can learn and prepare for careers at state schools, which we can afford. I honestly think that what one majors in has a bigger impact on income than the school attended. 

 

If I had had school debt, I most likely could not have stayed home with my kids. I don't think staying home is the be all and end all or that all moms *should* stay home, but *for me,* it was only an option because I paid for my education as I went along (at a state school by going part time and working). I want my kids to have real choices when they are grown, and I think that excessive school debt frequently gets in the way of that.

 

I agree about becoming a well-rounded and educated person, and this is where my DD who is community college is. By working on her gen eds, she is working on that part of a university degree. Our state has a very sweet system that the community colleges can stamp transcripts as meeting the state wide requirements, and then our 3 state universities accept it as a package.

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#11 of 83 Old 07-12-2013, 12:11 PM
 
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agreed. My husband makes more money than most people, but we can't afford 40 - 50 K per year per kid per year for college. Not even close. Yet some parents we know -- even the one's who've spent the last 25 years struggling to pay off triple-digit combined debt, act like we are bad parents for considering the cost and value of education.   (We have friends who had combined debt of over 100K after finishing grad school who find it odd that our DD is at community college)

 

 

You know, even if you could, maybe it isn't the best use of that money, know what I mean?   I know the type of parents that you mention. 

 

I got in a debate one time with a friend and mentioned that assuming one could send their kid to a $50,000 a year school, might a better investment in their child's financial future be $10,000 a year for school and put the other $40,000 a year into the child's retirement fund and/or a down payment on a house?  Imagine what $120,000 (assuming four years of undergrad) would be worth by the time that child retires?  Or imagine being able to own your own home outright when you first get married/settle down?  My friend thought I was nuts to think this way, that it short changes a child if they can't go to whatever school they want, for whatever they want.


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#12 of 83 Old 07-12-2013, 01:40 PM
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Colleges that have a "sticker price" of 50k are usually half of that for the "financially average" family, just FYI.  (I know it's still a lot of money.)


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#13 of 83 Old 07-12-2013, 04:09 PM
 
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We will not be pushing a college (or university) education on our children. 

 

I'd like them to be happy and content and driven in whatever they do. I would actually prefer they had trade of some sort first and foremost (whether that be something like electrical or plumbing or something like hair school it doesn't matter). For me trades are those things that people are always going to need. 

I too think high debt for school is over rated for the most part. I have had a couple friends who have gone into major debt for school, but it's also been for a "trade like - degree" (pharmacist/doctor/vet) and it was something they were PASSIONATE about. And because of the earning potential they've been able to pay off the debt in only a few years without affecting their lives. 

 

But then I also don't believe in paying for my adult child's post secondary education. Help them out in various ways? yes totally! But we will not be paying 100% of their schooling and living expenses. 


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#14 of 83 Old 07-12-2013, 04:40 PM
 
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I think trades are underrated. I am a 42 yr old college educated female finding it very hard to get back into the workforce after 10 years at home with my kids. I am seriously contemplating going to get some sort of 2 year degree or certificate.  

 

I got into FIT and another fashion school in Manhattan, but I was 17 when I graduated high school and it was a 2 yr program. The thought of being out in the real world at 19 scared me.

 

I decided to go to community college for a year or so and eventually go away to school. I got a BA in Communication. I dreamt of getting into the music industry after college, and I got my foot in the door by working at a studio for very little pay. I could have pursued it further, but I was young and enjoying the perks of being in the industry (parties, clubbing, etc.).

 

I was there a couple of years before settling down with a man in FL. I thought I would find a music industry related job in Miami, but I didn't. I worked in advertising, sales, banking, etc. from then on. I moved a lot and didn't keep a job longer than 3 years.

 

Now I am doing marketing part-time for a large franchise and I don't really enjoy it. I don't enjoy social situations and I have to be the local face of this company and ask people for their business which makes me uncomfortable. I only took the job because it was flexible and required very few hours. I am horrible with time management and I still need to be around for the kids...and their school is so far away, I spend 3 hours in the car every day getting them to and from school.

 

Most of the older people in my family were blue-collar type workers with no college education. They were smart with money and had great pensions and they did OK. It's not such a bad thing to just "work for a paycheck". You make the best of it and try to do something that fits your abilities so you can at least enjoy it a bit...and you can usually retire in 20-30 years...today people live so long, that if you start working around 20 and retire at 45, you can start a second career and do pretty well!

 

Both of my children have 4 years of state college paid for, and another small fund set up for college expenses. My husband is very straightforward with them when they ask about school "your going to college!". I feel the same way, but I don't like to put that kind of pressure on them yet...they are so young (6 and 10). 

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#15 of 83 Old 07-12-2013, 05:17 PM
 
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Most of the older people in my family were blue-collar type workers with no college education. They were smart with money and had great pensions and they did OK.

 

 

 

My dad was a furniture mover. My mom was a waitress (and single mom) when they met, and then a stay-at-home mom for quite a few years. By the time I was 18, they owned three properties. Even after a separation (where my mom had to buy my dad out), mom held on to two of them. She did, admittedly, get a degree when I was in my late teens, but she started out entry level (and nearly 40, in the mid-80s) and wasn't making a huge amount of money, yk? They bought the third house just shortly after she started work, which means they'd managed to acquire two houses on a mover's income. That's harder now, as single incomes don't cut it as well, but they mostly did it on financial management. (That wouldn't work for them, now, I have to admit. A "starter" home where I live, and grew up, is now somewhere around $600,000...but a lot of people with degrees can't buy them, either.)


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#16 of 83 Old 07-13-2013, 08:24 AM
 
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Short answer, No.

 

My dad went on to have a very nice career with a Bachelor in Business degree.  I'm no longer sure that a BB today would carry the weight it did circa 1970.  Kids today are amounting huge amounts of debt, and I know many that have no job to show for it.  The trades are being ignored, downgraded, even though entry level positions start at $25/hr.  Meanwhile, it seems like I'm competing with those with a college education for a cashier's job during the holiday season.  Most farming work on organic farms in my area is going to college graduates from farming programs.  

 

Well, OK.

 

It's like inflation: a bachelor's degree is the new high school diploma.  

 

I read an article in Newsweek a while back, calling my niece's and nephew's generation "Generation Screwed".  One featured article talked about the the role of the Baby Boomers in this debacle, in their positions as advisors for today's college students, encouraging them to pick up more degrees (and debt) because of the benefits they saw in their day (which increasingly don't apply today).  I'm not sure we can rest this on their shoulders entirely, but it made for a good argument.

 

My girls might very well go to college, and I will be there to support them in some way if they do.  But it will simply be an option, and for some things and excellent option.  Certainly not the only one, though.

 

ETA:

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/07/15/are-millennials-the-screwed-generation.html

 

Who knows what things will be like in 10 years when college becomes an option for my oldest?  So much seems like a rat race that I want no part of for my daughters.  When they find their calling, college will be there for them.

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#17 of 83 Old 07-13-2013, 09:42 AM
 
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We will not be pushing a college (or university) education on our children. 

 

I'd like them to be happy and content and driven in whatever they do. I would actually prefer they had trade of some sort first and foremost (whether that be something like electrical or plumbing or something like hair school it doesn't matter). For me trades are those things that people are always going to need. 

I too think high debt for school is over rated for the most part. I have had a couple friends who have gone into major debt for school, but it's also been for a "trade like - degree" (pharmacist/doctor/vet) and it was something they were PASSIONATE about. And because of the earning potential they've been able to pay off the debt in only a few years without affecting their lives. 

 

But then I also don't believe in paying for my adult child's post secondary education. Help them out in various ways? yes totally! But we will not be paying 100% of their schooling and living expenses. 

 

 

I agree on both points. 

 

Skilled and reliable trades are in demand.  I know several men in their 20s that are highly talented in plumbing, electrical, etc and they will always be able to earn a decent living because their skills are in demand AND they are willing to work. 

 

DH and I agreed that if DS has a passion for a high earning field like medicine or engineering, we would not discourage him for going to a school that specializes in that field even if the school is very expensive.  I do think there are some career paths where a degree from a top tier school may matter down the road for grad school, med school, etc.


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#18 of 83 Old 07-13-2013, 10:40 AM
 
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We won't push it at all. If they wanna go, fine. If not, fine. I just want them to do whatever makes their hearts sing. And if they spend twenty years trying to find that out (like I did) then that's okay too. No pressure, just support. The only thing I won't agree with is doing nothing but playing video games LOL. Unless video games becomes a passion that they can do something with!!

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#19 of 83 Old 07-15-2013, 08:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

I think I graduated with a debt of under 12,000. I didn't graduate with any particular skills that helped in the job market. The jobs I got didn't require a college education. Annoyingly at my first post college job, I had customers telling me I should go to college so I could get a better job. All. The. Time.

 

about 50% of college graduates under 25 are working in jobs that do not require a college degree. I feel like college is marketed to teens as this thing that if they do, then everything will be easy for them, and that just isn't the case (especially if the major in liberal arts)

 

My first job post college didn't require a degree. However, I got promotions that wouldn't have been available to me without the degree, so in the end, it did pay off for me.

 

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Originally Posted by Caneel View Post

 

You know, even if you could, maybe it isn't the best use of that money, know what I mean?   I know the type of parents that you mention. 

 

I got in a debate one time with a friend and mentioned that assuming one could send their kid to a $50,000 a year school, might a better investment in their child's financial future be $10,000 a year for school and put the other $40,000 a year into the child's retirement fund and/or a down payment on a house?  Imagine what $120,000 (assuming four years of undergrad) would be worth by the time that child retires?  Or imagine being able to own your own home outright when you first get married/settle down?  My friend thought I was nuts to think this way, that it short changes a child if they can't go to whatever school they want, for whatever they want.

 

I'm totally with you, and I find the other line of reasoning more common -- even though it makes no sense to me. But I wouldn't buy my kid a Mercedes just because they wanted one, I'd get them something more like a used Ford Fusion. I don't understand not looking at the sticker price for things, and I think that parents that PUSH their kids to go to expensive college when it means that the kid must take on tens of thousands of dollars of debt are doing their kids a huge disservice.

 

There are other things in life we hope to help our children with -- study abroad programs, down payments on houses, possible graduate school, and I can't see spending 50K a year for the first two years of college. It just seems like throwing money away.

 

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Originally Posted by A&A View Post

Colleges that have a "sticker price" of 50k are usually half of that for the "financially average" family, just FYI.  (I know it's still a lot of money.)

 

yes, but the formulas are set up such that *unless you can just pay for the school,*  your kid will end up with debt. If that weren't the case, the percentage of grads with debt would be lower (currently 67% of college grads have debt, and both the percentage and the amount of debt rise every year)

 

Also, a lot of kids end up not finishing college. The US leads the world in college drop outs. Many young people end up with no degree, but with lots of school debt.

 

A year a community college cost about $2,000. So for the first two years of college, a total of $4,000 vs $50,000 or $100,000. Its a very simple math problem.

 

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Originally Posted by delightedbutterfly View Post

I too think high debt for school is over rated for the most part. I have had a couple friends who have gone into major debt for school, but it's also been for a "trade like - degree" (pharmacist/doctor/vet) and it was something they were PASSIONATE about. And because of the earning potential they've been able to pay off the debt in only a few years without affecting their lives. 

 

But then I also don't believe in paying for my adult child's post secondary education. Help them out in various ways? yes totally! But we will not be paying 100% of their schooling and living expenses. 

 

I know people in their 40's still paying off professional degrees. They fall into 2 very different groups.

 

Group 1 is very passionate about what they do and about service and meaning, and therefor have used their education to make a difference in the world, but not make a lot of money.

 

Group 2 got the degrees because the wanted a lifestyle, which they started when they graduated. Some of them are seriously overextended. On top of school debt, they added all sorts of other debt.

 

I do believe in helping kids get started in life, but I can see that being very different things for different kids.

 

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Originally Posted by Caneel View Post

DH and I agreed that if DS has a passion for a high earning field like medicine or engineering, we would not discourage him for going to a school that specializes in that field even if the school is very expensive.  I do think there are some career paths where a degree from a top tier school may matter down the road for grad school, med school, etc.

 

I see your point, and agree that debt for medical school (or other professional schools) isn't like debt for a BA in philosophy, but I wouldn't group engineering in the same cluster. In most states, land grant universities (i.e. state universities) are required to contribute to industry and the economy, and therefore end up with at least one campus with an excellent engineering program. In most states, it is quite possible to get an excellent engineering education for in-state tuition. And because you have to be really smart to get through engineering school, many engineering majors qualify for merit scholarships for at least part of their expenses.

 

My DD who is still in highschool is planning on majoring in engineering, and the university in our state with the best program for her specific interest is one that *if she continues on her current trajectory,* she will have a full tuition scholarship for. It's not even a competitive scholarship -- you just met the requirements, and you get full tuition.  The university happens to be in our city, so she'll live at home (which is her preference, having done camps where she said in college dorms!).

 

but back to medical school and other professional graduate degrees, seeing how things are playing out for my super bright DD, I seriously wonder if anyone who has what it takes to get into and complete professional school, NEEDS to get into debt for their undergraduate degree. If they aren't getting full rides, then why do the think they will get into professional school at the end?

 

Debt to complete professional schools -- sure.

Debt to take freshmen level classes when you plan on attending those schools -- doesn't add up to me.


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#20 of 83 Old 07-15-2013, 08:33 AM
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I am totally pushing college. I am surprised to see so many people aren't. My mom pushed college on me, and I was not really inclined to go but did. It was one of the best decisions she made. I can't imagine where my life would be without college (I am a college professor now). I think that you go to college to open up more choices in life - not for a "job" or career, but to have more choices. We started saving for college the month that DS was born. I know it is expensive, but it is a sacrifice that we are willing to take.

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#21 of 83 Old 07-15-2013, 08:46 AM
 
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I am not going to push college. Both DH and I went to college and I went all the way to my PhD. Good experiences, however neither of us are doing a thing with our degrees. I don't have nearly as much student debt compared to most people but it is still going to take awhile to pay off. My parents really pushed college, it was the holy grail of their generation. My sister ended up in a career she hated but made money. She still regrets giving up her original path for the sake of job stability and higher pay. My brother did a short stint at community college and was miserable. He quit, and made his own path and is pretty successful in what he does without even an associates degree. I am the "doctor" but lol, I stay at home and homeschool my growing family. I tried a career in my degree and realized it was really something I just enjoyed learning about it, having it as a job held no interest for me after having a family.

 

On the other hand, I have friends that went, paid their own way, worked their tails off and achieved their goals (one a vet , the other an ESL teacher, and another an PhD scientist)

 

One thing I did learn from college is how many were there completely wasting their time and money. They had no clue what they wanted to do, got very little from the experience, and weren't much better off after than before. They were just their because mom and dad told them too and were paying for it.

 

If my children go to college, I want them to have a definitive goal, something that they are truly passionate about. If it's dance or pre-med or whatever that is fine, but I want them to go because they a goal to reach and a plan. I don't want them to go just to go. BUT they have to help pay for it. Scholarship, ROTC, going part time and working part-time, something. Who knows if it will even be financially feasible for us to help them when they are ready but we'll see. Even if we can miraculously pay for all of it for them I don't want to. I want them to invest in their own education and goals.

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#22 of 83 Old 07-15-2013, 08:52 AM
 
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I am totally pushing college. I am surprised to see so many people aren't. My mom pushed college on me, and I was not really inclined to go but did. It was one of the best decisions she made. I can't imagine where my life would be without college (I am a college professor now). I think that you go to college to open up more choices in life - not for a "job" or career, but to have more choices. We started saving for college the month that DS was born. I know it is expensive, but it is a sacrifice that we are willing to take.

 

 

Talking with kids about the choices that college can open up for them is not the same as "pushing" college.  And pushing college does not always lead to mismanagement of debt or unused degrees or other wastes of time and cash.  Sometimes, the results are positive, but I think they are that way not because pushing college is a good thing, just that the particular path a student takes was a good fit in the first place.

 

My attitudes come from 2 things: First, our own education.  I didn't finish college.  DH never found a degree path that fit what he wanted to do--neither landscape architecture nor horticulture quite fit, so he left to pursue it how he wished.  We are both self-employed, and quite happy about where we are.  However, we don't make a lot of money, so that's #2: we can't afford to fund our girls' education, though we can support it.  I refuse to encourage my kids that taking on massive debt is the best thing for them when so many other options are available.  I think it can be a good thing that kids have to wait a bit (perhaps to make some money to pay their way) before embarking on a college degree: they are more focussed, they are better students, they know why they are there.  So many students I have met are there just because it is the next thing after high school.


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#23 of 83 Old 07-15-2013, 08:55 AM
 
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this is a hard question for me. 

 

dd knows she can do whatever she wants. 

 

but i do encourage college. because i think its only then will she enjoy education. right now she is only going to school because she has to, not because she wants to. i want her to take a couple of semesters of classes at our local community college and see how she feels. 

 

i expect her to do what she likes. not keep a job just to pay her bills. 

 

that is why i think its important to have many different skills that she can use to be in different professions. 

 

even more than college i think its far more important that she know a music instrument, she knows how to cook, how to fix cars, how to fix houses, to stand up in front of people and talk. 

 

right now money is not even anything i think of as that is not a choice. 

 

but i dont want dd to go to college just coz its the right thing to do. i want her to go because she is curious and wants to. 

 

seeing her personality i really do think college will do her good - esp. if my profs are around and dd could take a class from them. 


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#24 of 83 Old 07-16-2013, 06:47 AM
 
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I've been thinking about this some more after reading some posts. It's true, there are a lot of people at college who are just there because they knew they had to go to college, but they have no idea what their passion is or how to pursue it. That was me. I had lots of ideas of what I wanted to do, but didn't have a clue about how to get into it, or once I saw how hard it was, I decided I hated it. Overall, I think the college experience (getting out of my small town, living on my own, being around people who actually had dreams of becoming something, getting the college experience, meeting my husband) was a positive one. I was mainly there for the experience and the fun times with friends, and most of my friends were the same way...not particularly driven as far as I could tell. Some of them used their degrees to get into specific industries, some of them didn't.

 

My sister had a lot more drive, but my parents didn't know much about college and told her to just get some sort of business degree, since that would be versatile. They also put limits on where we could go to school, so that squashed my sisters dreams of going to the best schools. She was at the top of her class in HS and many of her friends went to the best schools like Brown. I think she applied for the heck of it and got into Wesleyan. Her guidance counselors didn't help much either. She got a business degree and landed a good job, since she was so bright. She hated it after a while and at 28, went into a lot of debt to go to Boston to pursue a law degree. I know some feel that limiting where a child can go to school for money purposes is a good idea, but in my sister's case, she was pretty ticked off that my parents limited where she could study and told her to get a vague degree. I think she feels that she would have found her passion a lot sooner had she been allowed to go to school with her friends. She only practiced law for a short time before deciding to stay home and raise her children. Her youngest is 10 and she has no immediate plans to get back into law.

 

My husband's experience was similar. His father told him his dreams of becoming a vet were silly and he needed to go into law, business, or "real" medicine. My husband got an economics degree and another degree (criminal justice?)...see? I can't even remember! He went to online school for his Masters in business also. Again, parents got in the way. I know he was not happy that his dad made career decisions for him. His dad seems like he might be controlling and manipulative (they don't have a good relationship), so my guess is that the school that had the vet program was a lot more expensive. Rather than being honest and saying "one day you can pursue that on your own, but I can not afford to send you there", he had to make up some lie about better careers. 

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#25 of 83 Old 07-16-2013, 07:00 AM
 
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I've been thinking about this some more after reading some posts. It's true, there are a lot of people at college who are just there because they knew they had to go to college, but they have no idea what their passion is or how to pursue it. That was me. I had lots of ideas of what I wanted to do, but didn't have a clue about how to get into it, or once I saw how hard it was, I decided I hated it.

 

Overall, I think the college experience (getting out of my small town, living on my own, being around people who actually had dreams of becoming something, getting the college experience, meeting my husband) was a positive one. I was mainly there for the experience and the fun times with friends, and most of my friends were the same way...not particularly driven. Some of them used their degrees to get into specific industries, some of them didn't.

 

My parents didn't know much about college and told my sister to just get some sort of business degree, since that would be versatile. They also put limits on where we could go to school, so that squashed my sisters dreams of going to the best schools. She was at the top of her class in HS and many of her friends went to the best schools like Brown. I think she got into Wesleyan and I remember her going to visit the campus. Her guidance counselors didn't help much either, as she once told me she was pretty disappointed by them. She got a business degree and landed a good job, since she was so bright. She hated it after a while and at 28, went into a lot of debt to go to Boston to pursue a law degree. My sister was not happy that my parents limited where she could study and told her to get a vague degree. I think she feels that she would have found her passion a lot sooner had she been allowed to go to school with her friends. She only practiced law for a short time before deciding to stay home and raise her children. Her youngest is 10 and she has no immediate plans to get back into law.

 

My husband's father told him his dreams of becoming a vet were silly and he needed to go into law, business, or "real" medicine if he wanted to make "real" money. My husband got an economics degree and another degree (criminal justice?)...see? I can't even remember, so it was pretty pointless! He later went to online school for his Masters in business. I know he was not happy that his dad squashed his dreams. My guess is that the school that had the vet program was a lot more expensive. Rather than being honest and understanding and supportive and saying "one day you can pursue that on your own, but I can not afford to send you there", he had to make up some lie about better careers and push him in another direction (they never had a good relationship, and I could see him being controlling and manipulative like this).

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#26 of 83 Old 07-16-2013, 07:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

 

 I refuse to encourage my kids that taking on massive debt is the best thing for them when so many other options are available.  I think it can be a good thing that kids have to wait a bit (perhaps to make some money to pay their way) before embarking on a college degree: they are more focussed, they are better students, they know why they are there.  So many students I have met are there just because it is the next thing after high school.

 

This. In my experience as a TA in grad school, my best students were the ones who were older and were pursuing a second career or who had simply taken some time off to figure out what they REALLY wanted. They were motivated and interested in actually learning the material rather than just passing or getting a certain grade. I really think so many would benefit in taking a year off after high school, to travel, and pursue things that interest them before jumping into college right away. I wish I had done that.

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#27 of 83 Old 07-16-2013, 07:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jmarroq View Post

 

They also put limits on where we could go to school, so that squashed my sisters dreams of going to the best schools. ...

My husband's father told him his dreams of becoming a vet were silly and he needed to go into law, business, or "real" medicine if he wanted to make "real" money. .

 

 

Isn't the take away from your family that parents should be supportive of what teens want for themselves rather than pushing their own agenda?

 

We aren't putting limits on where on kids can apply or go to school, but we have made a decision to stay away from the "Race to Nowhere."  There is INSANE pressure on kids in middle class suburbs to get straight A's and collect accomplishments that look good on an application so they can go to a "good" college, all the while going to school year round (you can't take the toughest classes at our highschool without going to summer school to get the prerequisites out of the way). The pressure that my 15 year old feels -- from heaven knows where -- is enough to make her crazy.

 

So as parents, we've decided not to play. Our standard is a 3.5 GPA and taking the classes she needs to be considered to not have any deficiencies at our state university system. Her own standards are higher than that, and include a very solid prep plan for what she intends to major in, based on what she's learned by attending engineering camp, and a 3.75 unweighted GPA.

 

While her standards and achievements are enough to get her a free ride at the big state U (and be set to finish an engineering degree in 4 years), it most likely wouldn't even get her admitted to competitive private college. And I would rather her have a SANE highschool experience than push her to be the kind of student that sometimes gets in, but more often gets rejected, by top schools.

 

from: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2012/09/25/focus-on-7-strategies-to-get-into-college

Quote:
of the 26,664 students who applied to Princeton University for fall 2012, fully 10,225 had a 4.0 GPA, and 13,945 scored at least a 2100 on the SAT.

 

The subtle difference between what she does and what she would need to be doing? Letting the occasional B slide. Taking 3 years of foreign language, rather than 4. Taking *only* 5 academic class (AP and pre AP) classes at a time. Getting focused on what she needs to do in highschool at the end of her freshmen year, rather than 8th grade. Spending time hanging out with friends playing games and watching movies, rather than making every single minute about Getting Into Good College. (She still spends a tremendous amount of time, year round, on school).

 

When it is time for her to apply for schools, we will be supportive of her choices, though we will still try to steer her away from the craziness. If she wants to apply to competitive programs, we will try to be sane and supportive of her as a human beings, because at this point in time, teens are not getting that from any other part of our society.

 

My other DD doesn't do well with stress and pressure, which is part of why community college is perfect for her for now. She'll most likely do a state U for the last 2 years, partly because that way her first 60 hours will count and "fit"! 

 

But with both my kids, I feel I like I need to protect them from the Race To Nowhere.


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#28 of 83 Old 07-16-2013, 08:13 AM
 
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I actually hope my kids will go to a trade/vocational school instead of high School. Then they can go to the university while working minimally within their trade fields. All this is, of course, if they are interested in pursuing this path and it is a possible route.
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#29 of 83 Old 07-18-2013, 11:33 AM
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I am curious of anybody knows the realities of the trades nowadays? I ask because I don't really know the facts, but my guess is that they aren't the great option that they once were. Things are made so cheaply and everything is disposable. When our washing maching broke it was cheaper to get a new one than repair it, same with our cell phones and my mom's TV. I know there are still painters and plumbers, etc. (DH does construction), but there is so much anti-union sentiment today, I am wondering if the trades are really the option that they once were.

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#30 of 83 Old 07-18-2013, 11:55 AM
 
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I guess it depends on where you are but yes trades still are a great job. The pay is decent and they will always be in demand. Comparing buying a new washing machine to a plumbers job is kinda like apples and oranges. And there are times when an appliance repair man is still cheaper than a new machine.

Where we live trades are in high demand. Not only is there a shortage, but there are people working in the trades that would like to retire and can't (because they don't feel there is someone who is able to take their place).

DH has worked in residential trades and we've gotten by, he now works in Industrial and for the amount of school vs benefits, I have no qualms about directing my children to the trades.

I prefer to look at it as "if the world went kaput tomorrow what skills would really be needed in this world." Trades are huge on that list, they will just always be needed.

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