Did you automatically expect/assume your kids would go to college?

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Posted 1/30/2013 by devildog in NSBR Board
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Pam in CA

PeaNut 249,852
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Posted: 1/30/2013 12:51:20 PM
Neither of us expect that she will go. I do assume she will attend college. We are planning for it in the sense of setting aside money for it. If she starts to think about not going, we will certainly have a talk with her about options, what she wants to do with her life & whether her career choice meshes with that. Thankfully right now she's got a ways to go.


PeaNut 300,444
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Posted: 1/30/2013 1:09:52 PM
No. I don't expect him not to go either. I have looked at his dis-interest in all things academic through middle school, his talents and abilities in general (he's quite smart and applies himself well outside of school) and I've realized that he may be created differently than my DH and I in his approach to life. By the time he is 18 I hope we have raised him well enough that he will make the decision based on well-thought-out information and he'll have goals and ambitions that he is willing to act on. Whether that will include college is just not guaranteed.

I do expect productivity of some kind - he will not be at home on the couch playing video games, but since he doesn't do that now, I'm pretty sure given the right emotional support, he'll be off on some crazy fun adventure.

So, I'm prepared that in the case of my son it may be a creatively different future - and that will be just fine with me. This is after all the boy who only wants ice climbing gear or gift certificates to REI for his 13th birthday, and who has researched the sport himself and is taking true reasonable steps to achieve his goal of learning the sport well. He clearly knows who he is and what it takes to get what he wants.

I want to celebrate who he is, not shove him into something that is miserable because I had preconceived notions of what his life should turn out to be.

And honestly, the things that we as a society generally see as the benefits of college/university experiences are not necessarily what brings my child joy and peace.

Also, we have adult many friends who didn't go to college at all who have made remarkable people of themselves and have wonderful careers. We also have many adult friends whose parents created a plan for their lives, and most of them are miserable failures, not just in their careers, but also in their interpersonal skills. It's gotta come from the kid, or it is going to do some emotional damage that is not easily repaired. At least that is my theory and approach.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 31,617
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Posted: 1/30/2013 1:13:58 PM
Our expectation has always been that our children will go to college. They are now both in high school (one is a senior) and they also have always expected that they will go to college.

Steel City Fan

PeaNut 4,382
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Posted: 1/30/2013 1:28:12 PM
College is not for everyone. I taught high school and knew a good number of students who just did not want to attend college. Sometimes it was because they hated school so much, sometimes because they were interested in other things, and sometimes just because of the lack of the desire.

No matter how much you want it, your child may not. Please, all of you that say it is not an option -- DO NOT MAKE YOUR CHILD GO IF THEY DO NOT WANT TOO!! Not only will you waste money, they will waste their time and may end up resenting you. It must be their choice, not yours.

One of my student's was also on my son's high school swim team, and she did not want to go to college. Her parents both thought they were going to force her. They wanted her to have the experience of college as well as the degree. She hated school and did not want to be tortured for four more years. She wanted to go to cosmotology school. It took many hours of me talking to her mom at swim meets to encourage them to let her make the choice and to not force college on her. They finally relented and let her do what she wanted. I am happy to report that she is very happy in her chosen field.

I now work at a university and can't tell you the number of kids who drop or flunk out after the first semester or two because they do not really want to be here.

College is about them, not you!

Typical Liberal Pea

PeaNut 55,230
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Posted: 1/30/2013 1:41:50 PM
DH and I do expect our son to go to college, but it's really not our choice. Neither of us went to college right out of high school and did it later in life. We have been encouraging our DS to attend our local community college (stellar school...great reputation) so that he can live at home, work part time while attending and at the minimum get his AS or AA. At that point, if he wants to continue on for his BA, he can or if he decides he's had enough he can stop, but at least he'll have a Associates degree.

No, not really.

Although we both have advanced degrees and loved college, we are the only people in both of our families to go to college and we can readily see how other choices can lead to lives as good or better than our own in terms of happiness and tangible rewards. We see that our relatives who didn't go to a 4 year college have perfectly happy lives, are often more satisfied in their careers, and in quite a few cases, make far more money than we do (which has enabled them to live in nicer houses, go on nicer vacations, retire far earlier, etc).

Also the job I enjoyed the most in my life was not the ones in my field that required college plus an advanced degree. It was a job I got -- in desperation -- when my dh was transferred and there were no jobs in my field. That job required nothing more than a high school diploma and a specific skill I'd learned from my grandmother. To my surprise, I loved it and it taught me that I personally could have been perfectly happy without 6 years of college.

Given the cost of college today, I do not consider it viable for us to send our kids to college just for love of learning. Sad, but true. So we looked at college as a means to an end -- will college enable our kids to lead the kind of life they want to lead? If so, then we will do anything in our power to help them go to and succeed at college. If not, then we will do everything in our power to help them on their perfectly valid alternate path.

Very well said! I completely agree.

I come from a long line of tradesman who all made great livings for their families. College is not for everyone.

Ursula Schneider

PeaNut 97,497
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Posted: 1/30/2013 1:43:31 PM
No, it was not expected. We have encouraged our children to take advantage of educational opportunities, however, because of the unique makeup of our family, several of our children aren't really college material. It's not that they couldn't, but they aren't the least bit interested in it and I don't think it is useful to them to push them in a direction they really don't want to go. I think it would set them up for failure unless they decide it is important to them personally.

My oldest always wanted to be married and have children. She would have done very well in college but had no passion for it. She may still go one day, but for now, is pursuing other interests and preparing for children with her husband.

My youngest is now expressing interest in college and we are encouraging her. My son, hates the very thought of school of any kind. We've tried and tried to demonstrate to him the importance of an education beyond high school in the current economy but he's not having it. He is currently pursuing construction techonolgy in high school and really enjoys it. If that is what he wants to do, I will support him. (however, I think he'd be better served with further education)

My ward who is twenty has zero ambition. We've encouraged her toward further education and she has the aptitude but she's not interested. I suspect she'll have a very hard time but it is her decision.

All that said, each child is different. Of my four children, only one is mine by birth. The others all came out of the system at advanced ages and had so much to overcome emotionally that school was at the bottom of their lists. I have some hope that in the future when they've gained emotional strength and confidence, they may change their attitude toward education but I've never felt it's good to insist on what I think is best. If they aren't invested in it I don't think there is much benefit.


PeaNut 142,266
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Posted: 1/30/2013 1:50:52 PM
We always assumed our two kids would go to college. Both of them turned out to be good students. My son is in his sophomore year of college and my daughter will begin college next year.

However, if they weren't good students and wanted to learn a trade instead, I would encourage them to get as much training as possible in their chosen tade. I would encourage them to aspire to own their own business someday.

My soul is fed with needle and thread

PeaNut 25,620
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Posted: 1/30/2013 2:01:45 PM
No. We planned, as in saving money, hoped they would choose to go, but never assumed and certainly never had the mindset that it was not optional. It is optional. College is not for everyone. No matter how you feel about it you can't force them to go to college if they don't want to.

Ours both went and both have their Master's degrees.

Proudly Canadian

PeaNut 43,061
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Posted: 1/30/2013 2:07:56 PM
In our family it is a requirement. There is no choice, but every child will attend post-secondary school. I didn't have a choice, my cousins don't have a choice, my nieces and nephews don't have a choice and if I ever have kids they will not have a choice. Post-secondary education will happen. Anything other than that is not acceptable and it was presented as such.

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PeaNut 151,172
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Posted: 1/30/2013 2:12:23 PM
Yes, we do expect it. He attends a college prep school now for just that reason! He knows what he wants to do and he knows he needs college to accomplish that goal.

Thrift Whisperer

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Posted: 1/30/2013 2:19:31 PM
Love the "they will go they have no choice" insistence. College age is adult right? I'm not sure anyone can or should be forced into college.

I'm also not sure it's for everyone. I would like to think my kids will go but they will be adults living their own dreams - not living out mine or DHs.

There is no shame in trade or technical school. If they find a passion they can live well on I'm thrilled

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PeaNut 211,963
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Posted: 1/30/2013 2:27:47 PM
Honestly, yes. But that is because he showed a huge interest in school all the way through high school. If he had not, I would not have forced it on him, though I would have encouraged it.

As it is, he is a Jr. in college and I couldn't be more thrilled!

Peaing under the Radar

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Posted: 1/30/2013 2:33:10 PM
I always expected/assumed my kids would go to college. DH and I both went to college and professional school, FWIW. D1 is a freshman in college now, and loving every minute of it. D2 is a HS junior, and I'm no longer convinced she will be attending college. She certainly will not go immediately after high school, and it's highly unlikely she will go away to a 4 year school as her older sister has. She hates school and has been a terrible student in the last few years. At some point she might grow up and decide to go back to school (probably our local community college that has open admissions), but it's hard to know now. D3 is in 7th grade and I expect that she will attend a 4 year college.

do justice, love mercy

PeaNut 265,707
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Posted: 1/30/2013 2:36:53 PM
Trade school would be quite acceptable to me - college is not the only option for post-HS education, and some young people are not ready for, interested in, or emotionally/academically prepared for college.

For my kid to learn a marketable skill and begin a career path is good enough for me.


PeaNut 89,251
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Posted: 1/30/2013 2:44:05 PM
Three daughters with three different mindsets - of course we wanted them to succeed, offered to them what we could do for each year of their school if they chose to go. Oldest started, changed course got married then to cosmo school. Middle daughter went to Community College and paid her own way as she had a decent job and lived at home. Youngest chose a 4 year Private college and loved it - is actually working in her field but is struggling everyday with the loans she had to take out over and above what we helped with because the field she chose is long hours and low pay.

My dad used to tell me "Raise your children to have a strong mind and they will chose their own path".


PeaNut 4
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Posted: 1/30/2013 3:10:28 PM
I have not read beyond the OP yet, but wanted to respond because this post struck such a chord in me.

I definitely always assumed my daughter would go to college, just like my husband and I did. Between the two of us, we have a zillion degrees. I assumed she would do the same. I even assumed she would chose a STEM type career. That is so not happening.

She absolutely has no plans for college in the traditional sense. None at all. She has no desire to attend high school nor college at this point in time. She is homeschooled, so it's not an issue for high school. That said, she will turn 16 later this year and is enrolled in her first college class. What's different is that it is an on-line course. Her 15 classmates are literally ALL over the planet. She does plan to get a degree some day, but she has no idea what else she'd like to do or major in. She just wants to dance. So, for the meantime, she will continue her dance training and she will transition from homeschooling to on-line college courses until she is at the point where she is only taking college courses. I suspect that will occur in a little over a year.

So, yes, I do still assume my daughter will attend college, but her college education will be a completely different experience. Oh, and I firmly believe in leaving all doors open. She will still have all the necessary requirements to enter a traditional college if she takes a different fork in the road.

7 Sweetpeas for me

PeaNut 20,301
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Posted: 1/30/2013 3:11:41 PM
Yes we expected it for our 3 kids. We told all 3 we would pay for a 4 year in state school as long as they kept their grades up.

DD got accepted to UGA. And loved it, also got the Hope Grant that is offered in Ga. She worked in her field until she became a SAHM.

DS1. A whole different story. He hated school. Went to a community college, flunked out several times. Mom/dad bank closed for him. He finally got his act together and is now a Nurse Practitioner but he had to pay for school.

DS2 always knew he wanted to coach High School baseball if he didn't play professional baseball. After his shoulder injury that dashed his hopes of college ball, went to Ga Southern and is now coaching/teaching.

I know college may not be for everyone but I think all kids should have the opportunity to go and give it a shot even if they don't think they want to go.

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Rick Springfield Junkie

PeaNut 78,429
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Posted: 1/30/2013 3:14:26 PM
No it is not automatic my kids are going to college.. but it's not an option to be flipping burgers at McDonald's for a living either. My two older kids are 17 and 16. My 17 year old is enlisting into the Air Force (and will get college education as a bonus).. my 16 year old wants to be a anesthesiologist (gwad is that even close in spelling). Now on that one, I don't know how we are going to handle it if she really wants to do that...but if it does happen guess she will be in college for a lonnnnngg time.

We never pressured college but we did insist on doing something worthwhile. Not every kid is college bound.


PeaNut 191,815
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Posted: 1/30/2013 3:26:05 PM
I went to a private, college-prep Jr/Sr. High School, so I always knew I would go to college. My parents never pushed me, and they never even really talked about it (they didn't get 4-year degrees), but it was something that I and my friends always talked about. In my mind, it was just a given that I would go to college.

I know that DS (14) will go to a 4-year university, but I'm not so sure about DD (10). DS is very intellectual/academic, and traditional college just makes sense for him. DD, on the other hand, is very creative and the exact opposite of DS, so I'm not so sure. I could picture her going to art, clothing design or music school (those are the areas in which she shines), or something along those lines, but not necessarily a traditional, academic-type school. We shall see!


Living life on the left

PeaNut 69,081
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Posted: 1/30/2013 3:39:15 PM
I assumed my kids would go to college. Oldest went and dropped all his classes. Since then he has been taking one or two classes at a time with no real direction. He says college is not for him.

He grew up with a mom and dad who have master's degrees. Each person is unique, aren't they?


PeaNut 137,841
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Posted: 1/30/2013 3:41:25 PM
I absolutely expected that mine would go to college, and the 3 years that he didn't go, I knew they were just a break and he would eventually go back. He just started back full time again this semester, and he is much more focused and committed than he was the first time.

I also expected my extremely intelligent younger brother to go to college, but he didn't. He is very successful with a really cool job that he loves, so it worked out fine for him, but it wasn't what I expected.


PeaNut 48,795
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Posted: 1/30/2013 4:04:20 PM
nope I figure they are adults and its their decision to make..

however. I have always encouraged college and have told them all their lives how I wish I had gone right after HS, instead Im in classes part time now(its my 4th semester but I stopped for a year so now am going bac again again LOL). they realize things may be easier financially,but we dont place our lives on money or on stuff..

that said. my dd is a junior in college.she's a spanish major and a portuguese minor and is a very missions led person. she totally wants to do ESL classes or something in a mission sense in another country or doing translation work--she'd really love to do translation type work say at a missions funded medical center or something in another country. point is she may not make a lot of money doing that,but its what she wants to do ya know..

my 18 yr old is in the Navy. not traditional college,but he is in the nuclear program and is in nuclear school.. he loves it.

my 14 year old is learning disabled,but his love is this farm. we live on a dairy. he already can run circles around anyone else running this place, drives tractors from one farm to another(different counties) drives combines, rakes hay, mows, plows, bushhogs etc. and helps work on the tractors and other machinery he's got tons of skills related to this farm. you name it he can probably do it.I am doing my best to get him to stay in school and graduate HS, he hates school. would quit tomorrow if he could and simply work on the farm. he's going to be a worker, with trades in doing anything/everything on the farm. I really dont see him going to college. he even does stuff for other farmers--and yes gets paid..

at the end of the day I want my kids happy. and no I dont think that requires college.. maybe college makes things easier.but happy doesnt always come from a degree.

Getting blonder every day

PeaNut 162,956
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Posted: 1/30/2013 4:09:08 PM
YES, definitely. I came from a family of doctors and lawyers, so it was assumed you'd aim high. Shockingly, both my children haven't committed to finishing any degrees. They keep changing their minds.


PeaNut 399,301
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Posted: 1/30/2013 4:12:25 PM
My answer now is very different than it would have been had I not married my husband. I followed a very traditional path to success. I got good grades in high school, earned the scholarships that afforded me the opportunity to attend a very good school and then obtained a really great job after a few years in the workforce. I was very successful in the corporate world.

My husband, on the other hand, comes from a family of entrepreneurs, all of whom have done very well for themselves. He hated school and graduated by the skin of his teeth. He is an incredibly intelligent man, but was never dedicated to school. He took a semester or two of community college, all the while working full time and saving money with the hopes of opening his own business while still young. He opened a small retail store when he was 21 (on his own - no help from his parents), and is still doing business many years later. He has since opened several other successful businesses and encouraged me when I chose to leave the corporate world and explore entrepreneurship for myself.

Which is a very long winded way of saying: I think it depends on the child, and on their interests and aptitudes.


PeaNut 166,561
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Posted: 1/30/2013 4:35:18 PM
I don't. College is not for everyone. It was a terrible fit for two of my siblings, who both now one their own businesses. It was a horrible choice for me at 18, but it was so expected that it was all laid out for me. And I naturally dropped out. I went back and got a totally different set of degrees years later, and went back again just this last year. The market is always changing and evolving.

I expect my kids to find out their options, and to make the decision that is best for them. I assume one of them will go. The other two... not so sure. One is looking at very different options. The other is probably going to go, but I can never tell with her.


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Posted: 1/30/2013 5:05:31 PM
No, because we had a child with learning disabilities we knew would probably not attend college.

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Posted: 1/30/2013 5:27:23 PM
DD was very driven and was never told she HAD to go. It was just something she always knew she would do.

DS is even more driven than she was and had even more ambition. He has always wanted to be a doctor.

While success is important, we don't push. We just want our kids happy.

I did not have the same drive and ambition my kids do. I wish I did.
We would be much better off if I did

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PeaNut 58,157
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Posted: 1/30/2013 5:49:23 PM
No, I do not. As homeschoolers we do not equate education with schooling. So it is completely up to them and it will depend on the path they choose for their life.

However, our whole lifestyle is different than the typical American family. Americans value independence and autonomy, but we our raising our children to remain interdependent.



PeaNut 52,226
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Posted: 1/30/2013 6:02:58 PM

I expected my son to get whatever education he needed to be able to make a living where he could live a comfortable life. If that meant college, then great, go to college. If that meant a trade school, then great, go to trade school. If there is some other education required to do what you want to do, then you need to do it.

This. Right now, DS has no interest in school. We've made it clear that trade schools and training are a completely viable option.

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PeaNut 69,081
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Posted: 1/30/2013 6:29:35 PM

Americans value independence and autonomy, but we our raising our children to remain interdependent.

This struck a cord with me. I grew up with very little family support; always kind of on my own. I looked at my DH's family where they had several generations living together. He lived at home. I saw as having no ambition. I resented his mom for not making him grow up.

Then I had my own kids. I changed my mind. I love the idea of having an intergenerational home. I don't care if my kids live here or move out; whatever suits them. I like the idea of interdependence, even though I'm not sure what it is for your family. It's just an interesting sort of it takes a village kind of idea. Why should I set my kids out in the world to struggle when they can be safe and loved and cared for? Just some thoughts I have.


PeaNut 217,769
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Posted: 1/30/2013 6:30:53 PM
I hope my kids choose college, I don't assume anything.

My cousin went to beauty school and is an aesthetician, works in a spa and makes really good money.


PeaNut 247,320
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Posted: 1/30/2013 6:54:26 PM
Yep. That's what comes after high school. When I was growing up, that was just something that came next. We are raising our son the same way. DH didn't go, so I'm sure one day I'll hear, "But Daddy didn't go."


PeaNut 70,995
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Posted: 1/30/2013 6:55:45 PM
I currently have a junior and a sophomore in high school. The junior has plans for junior college. We shall see. My sophomore wants to go to culinary school. She will probably change her mind though.
I also have an 8th grader and a 7th grader. My 8th grader has no clue what she plans on doing.
My 7th grader says he plans on joining either the army or marines. He has not decided yet.
I am almost positive they will all change their minds a million more times before the time comes.

ETA: We have always told them to do what makes them happy. If that is college, great. If not, so be it.


PeaNut 155,670
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Posted: 1/30/2013 7:09:00 PM
No. We actually assumed our youngest would be going to a trade school. Unfortunately, the local vocational/technical school faced budget cuts and the program he wanted was eliminated. He started college last fall but did not do well at all the first semester. He has this semester to show us he's got what it takes. He's trying really hard, but I often feel he would have been better off in the vo-tech.

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PeaNut 5,735
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Posted: 1/30/2013 7:21:34 PM
Yes! It's been part of our conversations from the time they were babies.


PeaNut 62,725
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Posted: 1/30/2013 7:37:00 PM
Perhaps it is a sign of the economic times, but I am astounded how many responses seem to be equating college education with a market value by commenting that college is not necessary to "make a good living". Or that the reason to go to college is to get a good paying job.

I guess I am in the minority with the idea that college is a time to expand your education, learn to think, become exposed to all kinds of different ideas etc. It will make you a better educated person by expanding the breadth and depth of your knowledge, thinking and understanding of the world around you. That would be reason I would want my kids to go to college.


PeaNut 218,303
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Posted: 1/30/2013 7:50:37 PM
When we have kids, no, college will not be assumed. I don't think everyone is cut out for college. I would of course expect something, whether it be a trade school, college or a military type career, but I honestly don't think a college degree is the ultimate goal for every person in life.

My husband and I have several degrees between us and I don't use mine due to a lack of jobs in my field in this area. I am making about twice the salary I would if I were using my degree. However, the four years I spent away taught me so much about myself and I would not trade that for anything.

My husband teaches at a technical school and it has really opened my eyes to the importance of those kinds of schools and how beneficial they are to the students who aren't necessarily "college material".

Chubby old groundhog

PeaNut 113,457
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Posted: 1/30/2013 7:52:51 PM

I guess I am in the minority with the idea that college is a time to expand your education, learn to think, become exposed to all kinds of different ideas etc. It will make you a better educated person by expanding the breadth and depth of your knowledge, thinking and understanding of the world around you. That would be reason I would want my kids to go to college.
I agree with this too. My daughter is only five, so who knows what the future holds (right now she says she wants to go to my alma mater and become a knight ). College comes up in conversation and we will certainly encourage that path for her. But in the end, even though we would like her to go to college for a variety of reasons, she has to want to go or it will be a waste of time and money. I do expect her to pursue some form of education after high school (four year college, CC, trade school, whatever) or else be on her own with a job and paying her own expenses.

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PeaNut 114,407
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Posted: 1/30/2013 7:53:44 PM

I guess I am in the minority with the idea that college is a time to expand your education, learn to think, become exposed to all kinds of different ideas etc. It will make you a better educated person by expanding the breadth and depth of your knowledge, thinking and understanding of the world around you. That would be reason I would want my kids to go to college.

I consider it like any other job or technical training as an investment in future income potential.

Learning about the world around you is possible without college. Learning to think starts in childhood and, one hopes, never stops.
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PeaNut 555,986
May 2012
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Posted: 1/30/2013 9:06:31 PM
I just had this conversation the other night with a friend of my Mom's who said he was the first kid in his family to graduate from high school. I told him graduating from high school or college, for that matter, wasn't even an option at my house growing up. It was expected!
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PeaNut 18,334
July 2001
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Posted: 1/30/2013 9:25:22 PM
For my kids, no. We talked about expectations they find a way to be self supporting and the role a college education played in that. To date, one has two bachelors, one graduates this May and has been accepted into a graduate program for the following fall and one has started his degree.

They were extremely burned out on school when they graduated from high school. Forcing college at that point in time would have been an exercise in insanity for them and us.

I work at a university and daily see students who do NOT want to be there but it is expected of them. Parents are angry they are spending thousands of dollars and can't control what they kid is doing but the parents are driven that kid will be in college. Kid has no drive what so ever other than to find the next party. Lots of parents would do well for themselves and their kid to let go of the expectation of college. Put the money aside for when jr is self motivated to go.


PeaNut 570,639
October 2012
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Posted: 1/30/2013 10:10:29 PM

Did you automatically expect/assume your kids would go to college?

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