It is that time of year again—for kids straight out of high school (whether homeschool or institutional) to prepare to go off to college. They have their acceptance letters, dorms lined up, loans ready to pay out for classes…
College loans have become a staple for most who attend college, whether it is a 2- or 4-year program. This wasn’t always the case, but we can get into that another time.
Now, my daughter Lizzie is in college to become a pharmacist. She figures that her debt will be close to $100,000 by the time she graduates.
I feel for her, but I am also proud, because she has a plan to pay it off. Every red cent. She was raised to understand that you pay your debts, and you don’t go into debt without a solid plan for getting out.
Lizzie’s prospects after college are excellent—but other students may not be so lucky.
What makes her chances better than others? A couple of things, really—but the biggest is this: She is currently working as a pharmacy tech, and has several years already under her belt in that industry. She chose a field that she loves, but also one in which she was able to begin working prior to getting into pharmacist college.
The degree she pursues is part of a well-orchestrated plan to get where she wants to go.
The school she attends charges a flat tuition every year, and specializes in training pharmacists. This gives her the specific education she seeks, and a predictable amount to pay at the end. She is also frugal, and lives within her means.
In contrast, many students go to college because they, “Must in order to get a well-paying job.” Some choose majors in which they have interest, only to find they hate the work and change mid-stream; while still others pursue a degree with no real idea what the actual job prospects are after college—they only heard the income is great. The truth is, that unless you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, most fields don’t actually need the degree—they need to know you can do the work.
As a result, many young men and women are getting bamboozled into believing that they have to go into debt in order to make it in the world.
In what world does this make any logical sense? Some of the greatest minds and wealthiest entrepreneurs in the world never completed a degree at all. Instead, they learned to think outside the box—I think some may even have had a bonfire using that box as kindling.
I am not saying that college is awful and should be avoided. It is not—in fact, if you have a strong interest in a degree field, and can afford it (or have a real plan), why not go? What I am saying is that before you push your daughter or your son into the mindset of “college or nothing,” sit down together, listen to their hopes and dreams, and help them discover for themselves if college is the right avenue. You may be surprised at what you learn.
At the end of the day, the goal in these raising future adults is not to dictate to them how to live, get ahead, etc. It is to help our sons and daughters become their best self. Sometimes that is through college, other times a trade school, apprenticeship, or life experience. None is better or worse, more or less valuable.
Remember—that mechanic working on your car is making $40-plus per hour, and he may not have even finished community college, but he is out-earning that fresh-faced college grad who *might earn $20,000 per year. Not bad for someone who “only” learned a trade.
So what about college? It is great, just not for everyone.
College and Trade School resources:
College matching: www.mycollegeoptions.org/
Mike Row Works Foundation: www.mikeroweworks.org/
All Within My Hands Foundation (Started by the band Metallica): www.allwithinmyhands.org/
Trade schools: www.trade-schools.net/
Lists of college scholarships and grants: www.scholarshipsgrants.us/a-list-of-scholarships-for-college-students/
Learning Tangent is Gail’s brainchild. When it all goes down, she has to get the magazine out the door and on its way to subscribers. She has four kids, of whom she and her husband David homeschool two. She enjoys a wide range of activities including weaving, photography, writing, is a musician (both a teacher & performer), calligrapher, and is an avid sci-fi- & fantasy reader. You’ll generally find her busy doing whatever it is she wants to on a given day.