College? -Not A Fan

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Photos courtesy of jcreationzs by Free Digital Photos

 

Not only am I not a fan of college but I find it to be unnecessary the majority of the time when an 18-year-old graduates from high school. Let me repeat, the majority. I am aware this is not all cases…Yes of course people need degrees to be doctors, lawyers, any kind of specialty etc… My question is, when did going to college simply because that’s what you do, become the norm? When did we start accepting all of the normal debt that comes with having that piece of paper in hand? Like a lot of my post, it’s not meant to pull you on my side or talk others into anything. The purpose, if even for a moment, is to make you say hmmm??? I want people to pause and wonder why we do things just because that’s what they all tell us to do.

 

First I want to look at the typical American scenario. Most 18 year olds who walk across the stage at their high school graduation have no plan of what they want to do with their life and are hoping to figure it out in college all while accruing the average 35,000 dollars worth of debt. They see their entire life in front of them with endless possibilities. Not knowing that they are about to fall into the trap of, “typical.” College has been beat into their heads from the time they hit kindergarten. Their parents spoke about it at supper and it became the focus as thy entered high school. It becomes ingrained that you are nothing until you’re in that building. Let’s face it, as parents we often want to base our success on where are children are attending. The unspoken in the situation is how they or their children are taking steps back financially to be able to say they are going to that certain university. It has become a, “Keep up with the Joneses atmosphere.”

 

The people who benefit from our children being in college is not always intended for the child themselves. Banks, universities, and the government are all benefited way before the person actually going to school. In my opinion, whenever something is so heavily advertised and looked at as a must, then there is someone out there racking up and taking advantage. Why do people think the cost of college increases by roughly 7% every year? This is much higher than the average inflation and they do it because they can. It is easier to get in college these days than ever before and yet harder to find jobs with that piece of paper. Why? They need that money coming in. Heck, today you don’t even have to ever walk in the building because of the multitude of online classes provided.

 

Most people, if not yourself, know of someone who spent money getting a degree (rather going into debt or not) then got a job that is no were related to their degree. 48% of college graduates are not working in their required field, and a four-year degree isn’t even required. This makes no sense what so ever. Like I said in the beginning there are people who need degrees to be in their career field. This post is not about them. I am writing about the typical. How many people can look back on their college days and be proud of their past? College is now looked at as an experience rather than the degree anyway. We no longer need statistics to show us all of the drinking, drugs, and sex that go along with that experience. Kids assume they will figure out their career path when they arrive at college all while having the time of their lives. That’s an awful lot of wasted energy and time to just think about something.

 

For our family we are not saving for college. We do however set aside money in a savings account for each child. This money of course could be used for college if their career depends on a degree, it could be used to jump-start a business, or could be used as a down payment for a home if any of our daughters want to be stay at home mommas. What ever way God leads them, it will be there to help them. We believe in showing them all of their options and potential not just, “You better go to college.” I want to instill in them not only the value of a dollar, but I feel the value of their time is even more important. Our time on earth is so precious and every next move we make should be thought out prayerfully into which way would be most fruitful. I do not believe that going to school for a few years while you figure it out is the best use of ones time. There are internships, volunteer opportunities, and many good paying jobs where hard work will get you far. I want all of my children to be good stewards of the gifts God has given them; rather that be extra money for their family, their time to help others, or their minds to do something to contribute to our society.

 

We all don’t have to be a cookie cutter generation. I want to show them what God can do when you step outside the box and take His leading versus the leading of the world. Any body with me? Opposed? Subscribe and share your thoughts!

 

 

 

 

 

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19 Responses to College? -Not A Fan

  • Deb says:

    As the mom of a recent college graduate, and someone with a master’s degree, I am sickened with your thinking. I am so proud of the choices my son made and the path it has led him to. They may not be your paths, but they will enable him to contribute to the world we live in. Just makes me want to cry that you seem to promote an easy way out for your kids….”hey….don’t go to college and you can have all the money we’ve saved for you”…..reminds me of the prodigal son. Yes, there are many career paths that may not require a college education, but to just make a blanket statement that college is mostly unnecessary is sad (and that is not my first word choice). My heart is breaking for all the children who desire higher education, but are denied it.

  • Marissa says:

    I, unlike Deb, agree wholeheartedly with you. I would challenge Deb to examine herself a little. Why does someone who has a different idea about higher education “sicken” you? You can be proud of yourself and your son because it worked for your family. It doesn’t work for every family, and quite honestly shouldn’t because we are all unique individuals.

    • Deb says:

      I think you need to read my post…..and try to understand that the reason it sickens me is that it seemed to me that there was a jab at people who plan for their children to go to college and a skewer aimed at those children. No it doesn’t work for every family, but there are MANY it does work for…..I had to work for my college education – and it didn’t hurt me – but I don’t think the fact that we prepared for my son’s education hurt him either. But to PURPOSELY plan and encourage your child to forgo an college education, if that is what they want, is sickening. To PURPOSELY insure they will graduate with years of debt, is sickening. I believe I made it clear that college is NOT for everyone (and thank goodness for all of those in professions who do not require one!) but to not plan or encourage a child to reach for their dreams if it includes a college education does make me ill. You may homeschool your children, but there are millions who do not…..and where would they be without educators?

      • Brittany says:

        This seems a little harsh. I thought my post covered the exceptions. “I stated that there are cases where a college degree is required and that is not what this post is about.” No where in my post did I write that I was going to discourage my children from college. We simply plan on opening their eyes to all of their options. When I wrote of saving money for them I believe my first reason was for it to be there in case they wanted to go to college. If this is the plan they choose then we 100% support them, however they will not go waste money to just figure it out. They must have a plan no matter what they choose to do. In your previous comment you said this was the “easy way out.” I am sure that all of the entrepreneurs and stay at home mothers without degrees would disagree with you on that point. All families are not the same and that is what I was hoping to point out in this post. Looks like I did just that.

    • Brittany says:

      Marissa, You are right. We need all kinds of people and families to make this crazy world work somehow. Thanks for sharing!

    • I think Marissa’s reply is a good one. I attended university and loved it – as a new Christian, God used it as a time to refine me and my views of Him and helped me grow a critical mind as well as being challenged to “always be prepared to have an answer” {1 Peter 3:1516}. I won’t push university as my country is one of the rare ones when it is common not to go and still be able to get a good job, start your own business etc. We call it “good Kiwi ingenuity”!

      The reason why I like Marissa’s reply is because each family can decided what they want for each family, according to God’s leading in their life. We must find balance in our Christian community, grace for each other as we seek God’s will individually.

      Many of your points are very valid, that it is the assumed thing to do after university – just as it is in NZ to do “the Big OE {overseas experience}”. I think it’s healthy and biblical to use our minds to question our culture’s assumptions and make decisions for our own families based upon this and prayer and guidance.

  • Cory says:

    I have to agree with Deb. While you certainly have the choice to not attend college yourself, it seems short-sighted and naive to think that all of your children will want to make that same choice themselves. There are certainly career paths that don’t require degrees, but I think you’ve missed the point on what college is about. College teaches you how to THINK, not just additional facts and figures. This isn’t something you can get out of a high school education, and it’s a different kind of education that one would fine marrying at 18. I would encourage you to think a little bigger than your own small worldview and what else is out there that your children might benefit from. Certainly, your choice… but I would imagine at least one of your children (probably the smartest one) will be of the opinion that you’ve done them a disservice when they become adults.

    — from a happily married new mother with an undergraduate degree, master’s degree, great career, and no debt.

    • Brittany says:

      Cory, Like I said I am in no way discouraging my children from college. They must simply have a plan before they go. As for myself I did go to college. In fact, I dropped out of high school, got my GED, and went to nursing school a year earlier. I HAD A PLAN. My goal is to teach my children you don’t have to follow what every one else is doing. It is true, the majority that enter college have no idea what they want to do and waste time and money. I want better than that for my children and my money. Our views on education are very different as well, so its hard to even begin to debate. I do home school and work hard every day to teach them how to think. I don’t believe any professor could do a better job for my children than me. This is my opinion. I have a very large view of options around me and plan on passing those down to my children.

    • Matt says:

      I have to take exception to your suggestion that college teaches you how to think. I am training two new people to do my job (as part of a team). I’ve been having trouble getting them to understand what we do. I stepped back from the situation for a few days and realized that these two college-educated employees don’t understand critical thinking. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks training them how to THINK and have seen some amazing results. Most colleges no longer want students to think. Instead they want to indoctrinate students to the way of thinking of the professor. Critical thinking and allowing dissension is rare on today’s college campuses.

  • Sharon says:

    Brittany, I agree wholeheartedly with your beliefs. I have two children who graduated from High School within the past two years. While there were funds set aside for them to continue to further their education, I by no means told them that they had to go to college or a trade school. They were both unsure as to the direction that they wanted to go with their life at the time of their graduation from High School, so instead of jumping in feet first with no direction, they have decided to give it more thought. Too many times I see young High School Graduates who are unsure as to their path in life and wind up with an enormous college debt and unhappy with their (or their parents) choices and wind up not pursuing their intended career path. This makes me sad. Just because children (and yes I realize most are 18 and legally an adult when they graduate) are unsure about their continuing education choices, doesn’t necessarily mean that they have written college off totally. Some need that extra year or two to mature so that they can make the correct choice.

    I don’t believe college should be pushed down their throat. However, there are many out their, like my friends daughter that went to college and is following her dream that she has had since the 5th grade. Not all of the world fits in that mold and I must say it would be a very boring world if we did. Some diversity is needed.

    Also, your readers seem to be blind to the fact that you clearly state that you are not trying to steer your children away from college. Perhaps they should calmly read your entire article before ranting about it. It clearly says that they can use their savings for higher education if they so choose.

    This Homesteading Mom agrees with you. College is NOT for everyone. I hope you have a great day and continue writing your blog for those of us who share your views. 🙂

  • Jill says:

    As someone who graduated debt free with a BA and is now a married mom working on an MBA, here’s some advice I’d offer:

    * Don’t make the mistake of thinking you MUST choose a “top school”.Colleges are great at marketing themselves, but really, local colleges can give you same education for far less money. Trust me!

    * Separate the college education from the college experience. You do not need to live on campus in a dorm which can add tens of thousands to your bills. I lived in a small apartment and took the bus to school and I didn’t miss out on a thing except drinking parties and sexual promiscuity. Big loss….not!

    * THINK before you choose your degree. Fields like sociology, psychology, philosophy are certainly interesting. But I know a lot of waitresses, telemarketers, and retail clerks that have these degrees so are they really worth it?

    * Similarly if you like a field, how long will it take before you can actually work in it. Some fields require advanced degrees. Do you really want to spend more than 5 years in school and on tuition just to be employed?

    * THINK before you choose your school, too. Do you really need a liberal arts degree with all kinds of classes that you’ll never use on the job? Or will a 1-2 year technical degree give you all the training you’d need? Why pay for classes that’ll never apply to your life?

    * And if you don’t know what you want – stop letting other people pressure you or guilt you! After highschool is the perfect time to travel, do ministry work, serve the military, or work to save up money. Take advantage of these years if you’re not entirely sure about college!

    Hope these help.

  • Jen says:

    Brittany, I totally agree with you. People start acting like you are INSANE when they find out you are not a big fan of college. How dare you go against the norm! Why are people so scared when we say we think there are other ways of doing things? I love your idea of setting aside money for your kids to possibly start a business or to help buying a home. What an idea! Imagine if more people encouraged that! Great thinking!

  • Matt says:

    My daughter graduates from HS in May. She’s been talking about opening her own coffee shop for about 10 years. But first she wants to go to college. My wife and I have been encouraging her to find a situation where she can earn a 2-year entrepreneurial degree, or just pick and choose certain business classes to give her the knowledge she needs to run a business. So far she’s planning on going to a 4-year college. She wants the whole “college experience.” Thankfully we have convinced her to not take on any debt while getting this experience.

    I believe education is more important than college.

  • Adriana says:

    First of all, I do not disagree with the general theme of this article. College is certainly not for everyone, and it’s an excellent idea to make sure kids (a) have a plan and (b) know what they’re getting into, both financially and spiritually, before they head off to pursue higher education.

    That said, I’d caution against the thinking that the “piece of paper” is completely useless, even for industries in which you don’t “need” a degree. Obviously, for the industries that require the education, discipline, and regulation of a college degree — say law, medicine, engineering, etc. — this is not even a question. But for the industries that don’t require degrees, having a degree can still give you a major competitive advantage.

    I live in an area of the country in which most people do not technically need degrees for their jobs. In fact, some of the richest people in this area never went to college, or dropped out of college, and just capitalized on their inborn genius. But unless your child is literally a genius, he/she would be putting themselves at a serious disadvantage by not getting a degree.

    Basically, because everyone and their brother has a degree these days, many companies use this criterion to weed out half the applying population. In other words, if a company gets 5,000 applications for 20 jobs, the absolute first thing they do is toss out the applications of people who don’t have a degree. Easy way to separate. It’s unfortunate, and it’s not necessarily the right way to go about it, but it’s the way overworked hiring managers work. It depends on how competitive the industry is, of course. I happen to live in an area with a very, very competitive (though not degree-required) industry, and I see tons and tons of qualified, hard-working people who can’t even get their foot in the door because they don’t have a degree. There are certainly a few who rise above the crowd and make it without a degree…but only a few. Very, very few.

    Around here, a degree is worth about $70K/year, give or take. That’s about how much more you make with a degree, not how much you make total.

  • Carson says:

    I seem to be a bit late to the party, but I would like to share some personal experience.
    I am currently finishing up my freshman year of college, even though I theoretically could be a junior. After high school, I chose to wait, which is one of the best choices I could have made. I saved up money working at a job that helped reveal more about myself and what I wanted to do with my life. Let it be known that gap years are a providential cup of inspiration for the clueless or just plain confused!
    Eventually, I chose to pursue a degree through CollegePlus, an amazing God-focused program that helps students follow their calling as quickly and efficiently as possible while fostering critical thinking and real world work. CollegePlus is about education, not the college experience, and is extremely flexible. While in school earning a bachelor’s degree, there is still time to work and intern, a definite foot ahead in today’s work market where experience is a coveted qualification and debt is a hindrance.
    The decision to pursue a degree was hard for me, since my true desire is to be a wife and mother. However, not knowing the time frame on my single-hood and wanting to serve to my fullest in this time, I determined to go to college. There would have been nothing wrong in choosing not to go, it is simply that I felt called in that direction.
    I believe the most important fact is that college is not the only form of education and does not have a monopoly on financial gains in this world. It is the person, not the paper, who does the work.

    • Brittany says:

      I LOVE your perspective! Thank you so much for sharing this! That is so awesome that you did what was right for YOUR life and not just because of the general norm. I am very happy it is all working out so great for you!

  • Lucy says:

    By way of some context, I am about two months away from earning my bachelor’s degree in environmental biology. I was homeschooled K-12, and thus able to start taking college courses when I was 14 and graduate from high school at 16. At that time, my parents and I decided that I was too young to go to a four year college, so I would commute to a local Bible college… where I subsequently lost all desire to continue my college education. I thought I was going to settle down to a ministry somewhere (at 18) and live happily ever after. There were many arguments and many tears shed on both sides, because my parents were determined that I was going to get my four year degree somewhere and I was equally determined not to budge until I had the Lord’s calling to a particular field. Many things have occurred since then to get me where I am today. I am not going to say either myself or my parents were wrong, and of course, here I am called to take up the battle of being a young earth creation scientist in a secular world.

    Conversely, my boyfriend of four years (soon to be fiance!) has received no such calling to academia. He is, however, called to and working very hard at the job in which God has placed him. In his free time, he practices a variety of trades that he’s teaching himself at home because he has an aptitude for that sort of thing. (Carpentry, welding, fixing cars, building instruments, messing with circuitry… you name it, he does it and usually pretty well.) He’s often using these skills to bless family or friends, and has served at a few different churches in his area as the Lord leads.

    All this to say–and I hope I don’t come across as rude–but I don’t think it really matters if you are a fan of college or not. I think it all comes down to where the Lord has called you (or your child) personally. You’re absolutely right that we shouldn’t blindly accept the cultural norm–but we shouldn’t blindly reject it on those grounds, either. I have spoken to persons of both extremes, been on either extreme myself, and come full circle with the overall thought that God does not call me to what is convenient or even what makes sense, but to fulfill His will. And when He shows me His will, He will provide a way if I am obedient to it.


Hey Y'all! My name is Brittany Styron. Sweet Country Roots is a place I hope to encourage, inspire, and bring a chuckle. Grab yourself a cup of coffee and join conversations about marriage, babies, homeschooling, frugal living, good food, and an old fashioned way of thinking.

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