Is College As Important As We Make It Out to Be?

5 Reasons I Do Not Push College on My Kids

Is College Important?

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.

Here’s why:

#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?

Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

46 thoughts on “Is College As Important As We Make It Out to Be?”

  1. I will disagree with you on the general basis of your argument. Doing your research is VERY important. For me, a degree has made a strong impact on my employment. However, there were other ways to get to where I am and I could have done it with several certifications that would have cost just as much if not more than my degree. Also, it would’ve pigeonholed me – but having a degree allowed me to grow in my career without boundaries. However, friends that had degrees in Business, Psychology, Communications, Journalism or various other majors – had problems getting jobs that met what they paid per year for their degree. I have my kids research and map their path to three chosen careers. There are also ways to do college cheaply, also, getting an Associates degree in a major that will guarantee a job, or that you can’t qualify for without a certification AND degree is a good start. Also, after you are certified and working, companies will pay for you to finish your degree. There are great jobs that pay really well. My mother is a dog groomer and makes about $70,000 a year after working in the field for 15 yrs. Government workers don’t necessarily need a degree either. I will say this, if you are going to go to college – do it when you are young. Then realize you have to pay it back in 5 years, working a part-time and full-time job until it is paid. If you attack it in that manner then it’s worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, and generally I agree with what you said, but most people today make the assumption that you have to have a degree in order to be successful. In light of all of the start-ups and others entrepreneurial ventures in the world today, I think the idea that you’re doomed without a degree has been proven to be false.

      Like

      1. Oh, with anything, it depends on the person’s personal motivation. Also, you can’t start a business if you don’t have anything to sell. I am an Engineer and I sell my time and skills as a contractor who’s business is my skills. I wouldn’t have those skills without a degree or a certification (that cost just as much as a degree).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re right- it does depend on the person. I think that Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates are all great examples of people who were motivated enough to learn how to create and sell products without needing a degree.

          Like

  2. Once again, get out of my head, Shelly! 😀 (Said while completely laughing in hysterics, because seriously, HOW is it that we are always saying the same things like this??) G is constantly having discussions like this with his AP Calc students – because pretty much they’re all “going to be engineers, because they’re good at math and that’s what you do.” Luckily, we have New College fairly close by, so he’s able to introduce many of them to the concept of a college where all that giftedness can be applied in a unique way and where they’ll emerge actually on their way to creating a career they’ll be interested in long-term and that they can really make a difference with. As usual, I loved this post of yours!😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lisa! I always appreciate your comments because, as I’ve said before, you and your husband have either been in or are still in the trenches. I consider your opinion an “expert opinion”. And maybe we have some sort of mental telepathy between us that we never even knew about lol!

      Like

    1. Yes, I think it is so important that we use discernment when helping our kids make this decision and don’t automatically jump into things because that’s how it’s “supposed” to happen.🙂

      Like

  3. I agree that college is nowhere as important as it was when we were growing up. I personally have a degree that I never even got to use it as a profession. I am making more money following my passions than I would have to try to use my degree. This is a great argument.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I currently have two graduates in college and one becoming a makeup artist. Like you, I have no problem with either path. A huge problem I do see is that homeschool graduates that do not go to college tend to be looked down upon by others. My daughter struggles with this. She is incredible at makeup and gets paid a lot of money for bridal parties, proms, etc. I see homeschooling as preparing for college for if they go, but also to give them freedom to investigate non-college interests and ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since our school district is so bad, homeschooling is considered a huge advantage by most people here. My daughter just started her first job, and she told me today that the woman who was training her told her that she is so much smarter than any of the school kids- or even adults- that she’s trained.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As someone who has both a Bachelor and Master degree, I can and test to benefits and drawbacks of the entire system. I value my education and my worth as an employee as a result. Yet, today I’m andttestmds SAHM and am happier in many ways. I took the definitive path of education from an early age and I’m happy I did, as it served a purpose for me for some time. In fact, it still could, if I choose. I was also quite “good” at education/school because I followed the rules, I’m an overachiever by nature, and it came relatively easily to me. But, somewhere along the way I began to recognize it for the ways in which it stifles a person, creativity, free thinking, and actual problem solving. Even with all my training and education, I know that most of what I really know all MD have learned came through experiences – life and employment.

    So, I’m with you in many ways. Education/school isn’t necessary, but listening and allowing space for discovery regarding life goals is highly important.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, certainly. This is why I think it’s so important to value either path…college or no college. I think what matters more than how our kids (or anyone) achieves their goals is the fact that they have goals in the first place.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with you – it is an assumption people make. It is so ingrained in people’s thinking – I’ve had to spend a lot of time with my teen kids helping them see the big picture of further education and work and passions and skills etc. I read a quote once that helped my husband and I clarify our thinking (my husband is a Uni graduate as a Vet. so he has changed his thinking over the years). The quote was: You don’t go to university to learn – you go there to be qualified.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree that college can be a giant money racket. But I’ve also seen people at my husband’s workplace who have great knowledge, but can’t advance due to not having a college degree. So I do think it can be important to have that piece of paper.

    Truthfully, I think trades can be the way to go. Many blue collar workers earn as much or more than college grads. But they don’t have student loans holding them down! I want my kids to carefully consider their path. College isn’t the automatic next step it was when I graduated high school.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s one of the major hurdles- when employers require degrees for certain positions. I have read several articles lately, though, which discuss how many employers are actually starting to be more inclined to promote people who show true ingenuity, whether they have a degree or not. I think that’s a step in the right direction!

      Like

  8. Oh boy, could you hear the impassioned accusations of Christian anti-intellectualism being thrown from the ivory towers of college campuses as you wrote this?🙂

    I am not with her, I swear — college is good. college is necessary no matter how much it costs — follow and obey. (whispering — college is often just a huge beer soaked waste of time — just ask about my BA in History).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post and comments! Totally agree. I have a senior this year and while she’s done a college prep route for the most part, has felt called to missions since age 8-9. So while, most missions organizations require a college degree for full-time missions, she struggles with the “why”. She’s been my student that needs to know why the subject is relevant so being forced into English 101 because it’s needed for a degree with no real application isn’t going to work for her. Yet, it’s the “expected” route. Now, my son, wants to pursue meteorology, so that will likely require a more “standard” college education with math and sciences.
    So like with the decision to homeschool, public school, or private school, each family needs to evaluate what is the needed “track” after college for their specific student.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. As a working mom that has never used her degree or certificates obtained you know where I stand. lol Or can guess. My children however will choose what they want to do but I hate how everyone assumes a higher education will automatically get you THE JOB! Riiiight. It will get you THE DEBT.😛

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Love your summary! Both my husband and I have degrees that we never used. Look before you leap is always a good motto to remember. I was especially struck by your point about taking courses that have nothing to do with your chosen field. Two of our graduated children have gone the unconventional route and educated themselves. They are thriving in their work.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think every kid is different and needs to assess the need/want to go and study or go right out into the work force. I do think college educated people get better paying jobs. Fair? Nothing in life seems fair these days. Thanks for your opinion! #FridayFrivolity

    Liked by 1 person

  13. One of the problems is that a lot of schools use it a marketing tool. Case example, I went to a “hood” high school, if you take out the BART tracks, we are across the street from an expensive Catholic high school that promotes that 98% of their students go to college. Well, basically 30 years after graduation the most of the “hood rats” I graduated with have college degrees (including myself) (It took some years upon years but they were not unsuccessful in that time) but the school can not market “Our students get college degrees but they will do other things in their life and may not get a college degree until they are 40 but they are productive.” The parents and the school board will not allow it.

    A lot of school districts in the SF Bay Area have gone to what they call “A-G” requirements for high school graduation. Basically, it means that you have met the requirements for both the UC and CSU college systems. I have argued against it because they have eliminated shop classes that paved a way for a career for many. Again, it is not cool to say “50% of our students are involved in the trades after graduation” even though they make more money and have less debt than college grads.

    As the great college basketball coach Al McGuire said, “I think everyone should go to college and get a degree and then spend six months as a bartender and six months as a cabdriver. Then they would really be educated.”

    Sorry to be so long.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t be sorry. This was a great comment, and so true. The trades are often looked down upon, but we all rely on people with these skills because they are absolutely necessary. I love that quote. I’m going to keep it in mind!

      Like

  14. I really dislike the way university is presented as the ‘best’ way, while vocational training, etc, is somehow less valued. I went to one of the top unis here in the UK and, though it was great in the sense that it widened my horizons, taught me lifeskills, etc, the actual worth of the degree is so much less than it would have been even ten years before. The job market has shifted and there just aren’t enough graduate jobs to go around. I mean, I like my job and everything, but my brother earns more stacking supermarket shelves on a night shift. Whenever I get asked to talk about higher ed now, I point that out and say you have to get a degree because it’s something you *want* or else it’s not really worth it. #FridayFrivolity

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s