How important is college?

[deleted account] ( 26 moms have responded )

I am curious how other mothers feel about their children's education. Do you think that college is "mandatory" for your kids or would you be happy if they chose to go to trade school or made a totally different choice? Do you think it's a parents responsibility to pay for college or should the child work their way through? A combination of both? Just wondering what other people are thinking since I will have an 11th grader this coming school term and need all the input I can get!

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Erin - posted on 06/22/2011




It really depends on the kid's interest. If they have their heart set on being a diesel mechanic, it is a terrible waste of money and time to try and make them go to a Liberal Arts school. Hey, tradespeople make the world go 'round. Where would we be without plumbers and electricians and countless other tradespeople??? Seriously, I would be in deep trouble. Money is personal. I think that the kids' main job should be getting a good education, but that a part-time job to help off-set their expenses is just building character and responsibility and respect for the $$ they want to spend.. I've got 3, youngest is rising college freshman. Luck!

Carol Cook - posted on 07/18/2009




A college education is essential for students even more now than in the past. A technical school to learn what you have chosen for a career is also a very good idea. I think that if the parents are able to pay for their children's college then good for them. My husband and I are old parents a we adopted 4 of our grandchildren in our mid 40's, we are now 54 & 57, our kids will have to get grants or loans and take care of their own education.

Stina - posted on 07/18/2009




If you have a kid who has a really clear vision of what they want to do in life and it takes a college degree to get there, by all means find a school with a great program for their desired specialty. If they aren't so sure, encourage them to start out at a community college where they can get their 2 year degree. It'll save you/them a lot of money and give them time to discover their interest. I would be inclined to offer free room and board to the community college bound child if their is one they can go to close to home... if they don't want to go to college and you want them to, explain why you value it but let them make the decision and if they choose to enter the real world right after high school, encourage them to be self sufficient (get a job an apartment etc.)

Trade schools are excellent options if it puts them into work they love.

As for parent/child paying. If you can afford to pay for your childs college that is excellent. If you can help, that's nice. In the end, make sure they understand the cost of public vs. private and that any loans they may take to pay for school can be a huge burden after they are finished. I think I valued my time at college much more because I had to work to help pay for tuition... however my mom had told me I could go to whatever school I wanted- resulting in my choosing an expensive private college. Now, I have all the loans to pay off by myself- If I could go back and do it over again, I'd go the public college route like my sister and I will never tell my children to disregard cost.

It's important to apply for scholarships. If your kid hasn't started applying and wants to go to college, they need to start applying NOW. It makes a huge difference. Personally, even if my husband and I found ourselves wealthy enough to pay the entire cost of college when our kids get to that age, I'd still require them to work part time so they can pay for room and board or part of tuition...

[deleted account]

Depends on the individual and what their goals are. I am only now (at 30) going to Uni but am only doingit for fun. My best friend and I both dropped out of highschool in the final year and now run our own business together. My fiance hated long-term study and got a job straight out of highschool and is now one of the highest paid of his friends. We all enjoy learning in a non-formal environment but struggle in formal ones. Some people can only find the motivation or discipline to learn in a formal environment and college would probably work great for them.

The other thing for your children to consider is that some careers require you to have a piece of paper to get any real toehold - lawyers, doctors, nurses etc. If they want to work in an industry requiring college then they needto go to one. For other trades trade school and/or appreniceships work better.

Whatever they choose to do I personally feel it is important that they take on some of the financial responsibility to prepare them for independant living. Even if they only take on the cost of books and stationary. It really is a personal choice as to how much you want to provide for them and how much you can afford to provide for them. I know that (unless they change the student loan situation in Australia) that my girl will be taking on her own study loan because itischeaper than any loan I could get to pay fer her uni fees and the repayment is a predetermined amount directly related to her personal income. I will definately help her out where I can afford to but its WAY to early for me to say how! :)

Leigh - posted on 07/18/2009




For me it's not mandatory, but it is an option. I went through this last year when my son was finishing high school. I wanted him to be aware of the 'options', he was lucky enough to have. He attended a selective high school, which is set up like a university, where they attend lectures & seminars, so he knew what 'college life', would be like, but he also explored other options like sitting the entrance exam for the armed forces, & did a pre apprentiship course, along with work experience in different areas of what he was interested in. So this year he is at college & seems to be enjoying it. He has a partime job, & has to pay for his education, although we have paid for all his text books, & other materials, & are 'helping' him out. Both my husband & I were never encouraged to get further education from our own parents, but obviously I see the doors it opens from having a degree, & I want those doors to be open for my boys. Hairdressing is a great vocation, & can be extremly lucrative if done with passion & flair. I'm in the beauty industry myself, & the one thing I love about it that I can set my own shedule around my life. Everybody's got hair, & quite a few of us spend alot of $$ keeping it maintained. I can only encourage you to help your daughter find her way on her journey, because the path they choose can vary from week to week, which is fine, so long as they do something that they have an interest in, or are passionate about. I also have discussed with some of my son's friends who's parents pushed them into college into courses that they did not want to do, about how much they HATE what they're doing, & are failing. It's important that our kids choose something that sparks them & not the other way around.

Malinda - posted on 07/18/2009




Tammy also remember that your daughter is young. I've been in my profession for 11 years now and still don't really know "what I want to be when I grow up." Learning should never stop - success in college should not be the litmus test for a successful happy life that many of us see it as. I know just as many people who have no degree and love what they do (and make a good living doing it) as people who have a degree and either hate their job or don't do anything related to their studies. I think the key is allowing your children to try things out and encouraging them to *always* be open to learning more. I graduated with a 65 year old woman who finally figured out what she wanted to do - it's truly never too late to change your path. In short, don't expect her to be able to answer one of life's most complex questions at her age - it's highly unlikely that where she points herself will be the place she ends up in 10, 20, 30 years.

[deleted account]

Thanks for all the great responses. It is looking like my oldest wants to go to beauty school. If that is what she wants (and not just a cop-out because she is lazy about schoolwork) then I will support her. There's nothing wrong with being a hairdresser but I know that she is capable of something more "academic" and probably more LUCRATIVE if she was willing to put forth the effort. Maybe she'll come back to it later. I appreciate all of your input and I will keep it in mind.

Amanda - posted on 07/17/2009




I'm only 23 but I hope I can help. I'm going through college right now. I'm doing it online since I live in a small town and I'm a stay at home mom. I think having an education is very important. Especially now with the job market the way it is. If you have a degree in something you have a better chance at getting a job and getting paid better. Plus, no matter what happens you always have something to fall back on. My parents aren't helping with college. Even if I were younger not married and not a mother and still with them they wouldn't help. I think that's totally up to you and how much you want to help your child. If you have the money or want to help then you can. If you think they should do it on their own then they can do it on their own. However, don't be to pushy. My dad told me I need my education and pushed and pushed and I put it off and now I wish I would have gone to school sooner. I hope this helps!

User - posted on 07/17/2009




This is a really good question...I think that education is very important (I'm finishing up my PhD myself). However, I think that there are many students who simply do not belong in college...their talents lie in other areas. We are truly doing them a disservice if we press them into a traditional 4-year college where they may not fit and could pile up a bunch of debt for something they don't use. Plus, we are keeping them from pursuing whatever it is that they are truly passionate about.

In my case, I just want my son to seek the education that he needs to make him happy. If that's a college degree, then I'm thrilled. But if he feels that becoming a chef (for example), is what really excites him...then I want him to go to the best culinary school he can. I just don't want him to be unhappy or to be lazy.

In terms of paying, we'll help out as much as we can with whatever he decides to do. I think there's benefit in doing some of it yourself (scholarships, work/study, etc.), but I do want to help so that he can focus on whatever he's decided to do.

LaCi - posted on 07/17/2009




Who cares? I hope my son travels. I wish I had travelled. College is NOT an entirely different world. College is a really expensive starbucks. But in the end it has to do with what makes him happy. I'll be in college the rest of my life, because I enjoy it. But that doesn't mean thats right for him.

[deleted account]

College is VERY important. I can't stress that enough. It allows your child to experience another world, and accomplish soo much more in life. If they don't know what they want to do, have them go to a Community College until they decide so you don't waste money on a 4-year degree that they will not use, or decide to change majors and turn it into a 7-year degree.
Having higher education, is so important now a days.
I think it is up to the parents on whether or not they help with college. If they can, they should because it is looking out for the best of your child. If they can't you should help the child find funds to send them to college. Also, Community colleges aren't that expensive.
You want the your child to have an advantage in this world, and getting an education is one of the best things you can give/help give a child.

Samantha - posted on 07/17/2009




I think college is very important for children although I feel it is not mandatory. When my daughter was born I started a college fund for her. I live in Canada so The government puts money in her college fund as well. They take $50.00 out of my account every month (you can choose how much you want to give) and the government will put money in for me every month as well. When she is old enough to go to college she will have enough money so that she will not have to put any money in it.

If she chose not to go to college then she doesn't have to. I just want her to have the opportunity to go to school if she chooses to. When I have another child I will do he exact same thing. I had to pay for my own schooling and I really wish my parents would have had a college fund for me because I think it would have been an easier choice to go back to school then having to think about it for a year like I did.

Stephanie - posted on 07/17/2009




I'm a senior in college right now and I think the experience and all of the knowledge I've gained is priceless. It was a nice transition between having my parents support in high school to now where my fiance & I support ourselves. I would hope our son chooses to go to college too, but some other type of school would also be fine with me. I plan on saving to help him through. I will support him as long as he is making an effort to support himself too. My dad helped me financially (the 1st year was the most expensive) and I am immensely grateful, but at the same time I was working hard and had a job since I came here too. Now with my good grades & everything, I have grants & scholarships to cover my entire tuition + some. I also have to throw in that it depends on the teens responsibility level. I don't drink at all, but I have seen all too many students get sucked into that scene and basically destroy the opportunity.

[deleted account]

I expect my children to go to college. Not only for the education, which is important, but for the experience. It's a wonderful place to network and get to meet people with all kinds of opinions and ideas, some which they would never hear of/consider otherwise. They have the rest of their lives to get jobs and pay bills. As far as paying for college, I will help as much as I can, all of it if I can, as long as acceptable grades are kept up. I'm not paying for a 4 year party. But I want them to go, and will do all I can to help get them there.

User - posted on 07/17/2009




It completely depends on the child - for example, I have a cousin on each side of my family, who struggled in school to maintain passing grades - clearly, college is not for them!

However, my husband and I both went to college and believe very strongly in SOME form of further education. I don't think that a standard 4-year college is for everyone, but I do think that everyone needs SOME form of further training after high school.

Even though our daughter is currently just 10 months old, we have been discussing this for some time. We have also realized that not everyone is ready for college right after high school (I personally think I would have done better had I taken a year off, taken 1 class a semester, and worked a job for the year to give my brain a "break" after high school), but we have talked about how we would like to handle that as well. Currently, our thought is this: if our children want to take a year off between high school and college/trade school, they can live at home (for free) IF: they have a job and volunteer as well (church, community, etc) for a total of at least 40 hours a week. This way, they can get a "break" and decide on what they want to do, but they aren't just sitting at home watching TV and doing nothing for an entire year.

As for who pays: My parents carried my loans through college, then I got the payment books when I graduated. My husband was responsible for his payments through college as well as now. While I do feel that it is important for a student to contribute toward his education, when we got married, we had $50,000 in school debt on top of vehicle loans and credit cards (which were our stupid fault). We have managed to pay off $20,000 in debt in the last 3 years, but have a LONG way to go before we feel as though we are ready to purchase a home or anything else. If you can bless your child so that they are not saddled with a HUGE college debt when they graduate, it frees up their future so much!

Neither of my parents went to college, so they did not have to face the college debt that we have - and they are constantly encouraging up to purchase a home - I'm like "HOW?????" We CANNOT purchase a home with how far in debt we are at this point in time - it just isn't financially responsible!

[deleted account]

I went to college (my own decision) and I paid for it all on my own...student loans, scholarships, some financial aid...from my experience as a college student and now working on campus i tend to see that the students who have their parents pay for EVERYTHING dont have as much as a drive as those who pay for it themselves because they dont know the value of it...failing a class or two could cost me $1200 and i wasnt going to let that happen...but to other students it was a big deal if they did or did not because mommy and daddy would pay for it :/ If my child wants to go to school i would give her my full support and encourage her to work while in school...its a time of growing and responsibilty in my opinion.

Barbara - posted on 07/17/2009




I would say it depends on your child intrest what type of schooling he/she wants to attend. I am going through the same thing. We want our son to go onto college to better his education and hopefully get a better job. With the wat the economy is now, college is the way to go. As for who pays for it. That is up to you. We are willing to pay for his first 4 yrs. and hopes he will also get a good scholarship to help. If he wants to go on after that, then that will be his choice.

Emily - posted on 07/17/2009




Gosh, it just really depends on the young person. I kind of think it's good to gear them toward understanding that they should never stop learning. There seems to be a growing trend of families who are having their children that are fresh out of high school start basics at home. I think this is wise for financial and stability reasons. They are getting more education (which is NEVER a bad thing) and they have the stability of home to encourage them to take their time to find something they are interested in. My younger brother started going to a community college in his home town right after high school. He kept it up, but his heart just really wasn't in it. My parents were very adamant that he choose to do "something" any kind of further education. He is now at WyoTech and very happy. It's not Ivy League, but so what. He has ALWAYS loved hot rods and cars and now is learning to repair and fabricate them. The point here is that he's learning about something he has a PASSION for. How many of us envy those who just LOVE their occupation even if it's not the most glamorous (i.e. Makes tons of money) in the eyes of society? My other brother is a tattoo artist. I know that freaks some people out, but he is very happy and loves it. This has also opened many doors for him to showcase his talent as an amazing artist. I think my greatest single hope for my two girls (as far as a future occupation goes) would be to find something they have a passion for, something they will love getting up and going to, something they feel matters. I would hope it also be whatever the Lord has for them as well. So I guess my answer would be no I don’t think the traditional four year college is important as much as I feel being open to always furthering your knowledge and having a love for learning is. Hope this helps.

Amy - posted on 07/17/2009




I believe that college is important. I have not had a college education, and am now planning to go (I have a 2yr old and a baby due in Jan) it is difficult to find a job just to make ends meet without a diploma. I feel that education is key. I would like for my children to go, but, by the time they are ready for college they are adults and can make their own decisions. We are saving for it, but times are hard and there is not much to save, so they will be contributing as well.

Sean - posted on 07/17/2009




i think that univeristy is so so so important for our children. I also think it is a parents reasponsibility to put a little money aside each month into an RESP. here in canada the government adds up to $7200 in free grant money for parents who start RESP for their children. in addition to that you can get special grants depending on what province you live in and your income level. My oldest is 5 and already has $8000 saved and half of that is free money from various grants. every time we find out about a new one we apply for it so by the time she is 17 her schooling will be paid for with such a little effort from us.
It really bothers me when people say they dont have enough money to start saving for their kids because I was living on $10,000 a year when we started hers. just by cutting out simple things like soda, smokes, lottery tickets and fast food anyone can save for their kids future. We cut out our weekly trip for pizza or fast food and went one only once a month instead. its nice to see the money going to a better cause than say a cheese burger or bottle of coke.

Michelle - posted on 07/17/2009




I don't intend to make my child do anything she doesn't want to. I went to college and it was paid for by my parents. My husband on the other hand did not do any form of schooling and even dropped out of highschool. That was his choice and he is doing well for himself in his life. I would love it if my daughter went to school and did whatever she wanted, but I will not force anything on her. It's her life and she'll have to be the one that lives it!

Jessica - posted on 07/17/2009




Hey Tammy! I think this is a great question! First let me share with you I had my daughter at age 21. I was attending a small community college and well that had took a back seat for awhile when I became pregnant with my daughter. Three months after I had I gave birth to her, I got back in the saddle and went to a trade school for medical assisting. I love my daughter dearly and because of her I matured in so many ways. I have no regrets, but I do wish I would have went to "real" college. I think every kid deserves a chance to experience that "college experience". Yes I know I have a long way until my daughter goes off to college she is only 2 but I think its still something to think about! That would be my dream if my daughter went to a great college and get a an awesome education. But as far as the parents responsibility to pay for college, I didnt get any scholarships so I took the good ol sally mae route. The way my parents and I went about it was they paid for the loans but when I was stable enough to pay for them on my on I would take over. Best of luck to you =)

Carrie - posted on 07/17/2009




As our first child is getting ready to head to high school, this thought is very prominent in our household. As my husband I do not have a college degree, we have been able to hold great paying jobs, however, it has not been easy, I have had to take courses in childcare for my CDA and directors credential. I have also found people put a lot of stock in a degree weather it is in the field or not. We have decided that we would like our children to attend a college, our first child has great grades and we are pushing for him to keep them so that when he becomes a junior we want him to dual enroll with his high school in college courses. It is free to do this program, but you have to have a certian gpa, and it's a lot of work, I believe they also have a reduced rate then to continue your education after you graduate. In this economy it seems the best way to pay for college, since it's free. It may be an option you can look into wear you live. I hope this helps.

[deleted account]

I think college is extremely important, but by no means is it mandatory. Some children don't need a college degree for their chosen career path, and others simply aren't ready to devote themselves college at age 18. My BIL was one who was not ready - he wandered through for 3 years before getting himself into some academic trouble and had to leave school. My husband and I took him in and had him find a full-time job, pay rent, etc for the last 18 months, and he's now feeling ready to give college another chance. For some kids, I think experience out in the real world makes the appreciate college a bit more. I also think working to pay a least part of the tuition bills is important - I think they are more likely to take it seriously and work hard if they're investing in education themselves.

Heather - posted on 07/17/2009




It is totally up to them. And now trade schools are becoming more popular to go to rather than the typical 4 year college. And with trade schools you also get a more focused education, without taking all "unnecessary" classes. My husband and I both went to trade schools. Both with the help of his family (I didn't get help from mine, I wish I would've, but they don't think school is important) I plan to help my son if he needs it, to do what he wants. I wish I would've had that help and support from my family.

But most people still think that trade schools aren't "colleges" My husband has his bachelors degree in computer science...and is currently a lead supervisor at a visual effect house in los angeles. And he completed his schooling in 22 months.

Hope this helps...and good luck! :)

Candyce - posted on 07/17/2009




That depends on the kid and your financial situation. Personally, I don't believe anyone should have a free ride through college. It'd be great if parents were able to help out financially, but the student should also work toward scholarships, loans, and a job to cover the rest. I'm not going to force my son to go to college, simply because I know that it's not for everyone. But if he doesn't want to go, he's definitely going to need some kind of vocational training, like a trade school or apprenticeship. Ultimately, that's up to you and them.

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