Every year as school begins, it is common to hear talk amongst homeschool parents and brick-and-mortar school parents alike about the importance of their high schoolers getting into a good college. Depending upon your child’s chosen future profession, this can certainly be a crucial decision, and it isn’t something to be overlooked.
However, today I’m going to let you in on the five reasons I don’t push college too much with my own children.
Before you get the impression that I am anti-higher education, let me reassure you that my oldest son just started his second year of college a few weeks ago, and my 17 year old daughter plans on attending the same one. On the other hand, my 16 year old has told me repeatedly that he has no interest in getting a degree, and I am just as comfortable with his decision as I am with his two older siblings.
#1- It can be a bit of a money racket.
Has anyone ever wondered why colleges have the right to demand that you take certain core courses…courses that you have to pay for but may never actually have a need for? College students who are confident in their chosen career choices should have the freedom to take those courses they need to prepare them for their intended profession, and those only. There is just no reason that every single student needs to take the same basic classes when everyone’s needs are so different. My son will never, ever need the philosophy course he took last year, and he had absolutely no interest in it, so why was it required? I think you and I both know the answer to that… $$$.
#2- It’s a continuation of the conformity training being instituted in most schools.
Think about it. School students are often being told how to do things with specific instructions on how to carry them out, often leaving no room for spontaneity and thinking on their feet. I’m witnessing the same thing with my college-age son. He had to write paper after paper last year, and each one had to be done exactly as the instructor wanted, leaving no room for creativity and the opportunity to find his own voice. He would often ask me to proofread his papers, and I found them to be informative and engaging, only to find out later that his various instructors would nix these rough drafts and make him rewrite them exactly as they wanted them. When I would read the final instructor-approved papers, they would be boring, and they seemed to drivel on about nothing, simply to meet a length requirement.
I firmly believe that the main reason for this method of teaching is not to hone skills, but to reinforce the idea of always doing what your superiors tell you to.
#3- Degrees are not necessary for a great deal of careers.
I believe that a good many people today don’t even question whether a college education is necessary anymore. They just assume that it is and continue on that path without ever stopping to think why. I’m speaking from experience here. I majored in theater and speech. Now why in the world would I need a degree in that? To be honest, I never really knew why; I just knew that as a gifted student I was expected to go to college, which I did, although I never finished because I soon realized what a waste of time it was for me.
Of course there are professions which absolutely do require extensive training. I, for one, would never want a cardiologist who didn’t have the proper education, but there are far more vocations that could be learned simply through experience, mentoring, and apprenticeships.
Why rack up student loans when you don’t have to? My neighbor is in her 40s and is still paying off loans, and she complains that she doesn’t even earn enough for it all to have been worth it.
#4- Degrees are a dime a dozen.
Since everyone is under the mentality that college is a “no matter what” type deal, almost everyone has a degree of some sort today which really brings down the value of all of them. More and more I’m reading how Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees are pretty much useless because there are so many people who now have them. Now the recommendation is to obtain at least a Master’s degree if you want to stand out from the crowd. But then what happens when everyone starts earning those? Before long, they will eventually be “just a piece of paper”.
#5- Entrepreneurship is where it’s at.
Like school, college teaches you how to do what you’re told and how to someday be a good employee. This world has enough employees. We need innovative thinkers who are motivated and have the creativity to come up with ideas on their own. Did you know that Bill Gates doesn’t have a college degree? How about Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, and Mark Zuckerberg? Did you know that they never got degrees, either? Ingenuity doesn’t require a degree. It requires hard work, resilience, and learning to think outside the box. College isn’t necessary for that.
So if you find yourself having an all out battle with your high schooler over this very subject, take a step back and listen to their reasons for why they don’t want to go. The world is changing, and we need to be willing to change with it.
What are your thoughts on college?