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Is College A Must For Your Kids?

By Danielle Sullivan |

Kids college, college education, college classes, college kids, jobs for college kids

Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey is an NYU drop out.

How would you feel if your child didn’t want to go to college?

Jack Dorsey, the inventor of Twitter is pretty lucky his parents didn’t force him to finish his degree. A student at NYU, he dropped out of college to start a web business based on an idea he had since he was 15 years old.

Would you forsake your child’s education if they thought they could make a living from tweets? Before you answer just look at what Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have accomplished without a college degree.

In New York City, statistics show that less than half of its students left high school prepared for college and well-paying careers. While disturbing, these numbers might just show that higher education is just not for everyone.

The question must arise at some point asking if every child was meant to go to college. There are countless creative individuals who never attended college but are successful and happy. There are also many people who finished college and hate their careers, who dream of pursuing the very creative endeavors they dreamed about as children.

Like with most parenting challenges, there is no clear cut answer.

Honestly, it would probably disappoint me if any of my children didn’t get a college degree. However, I’d like to think that if they were really passionate about something, an idea or a job, that I could be understanding enough to let them take some time off as long as they did go back. To me college is not just something you do to get a job. College is about critical thinking and exploring ideas and concepts and I think it’s too good an experience for my kids to miss.

Yet I want my kids to pursue everything they are passionate about because life is about experiences. As a parent I want the best for my child, but I also am not in charge of their life.

And anyone can go back to college later on if their dream doesn’t pan out. Look at James Franco. He can’t stop himself from piling on the degrees and he certainly doesn’t have to do so with all his notoriety and success. I think when you instill a love of learning and creativity, that is the best gift you can give. Then (as scary as the thought may be) you can step back and let them take the reigns.

Would you ever let your child skip college?

Image: Wikipedia

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About Danielle Sullivan

danielle-sullivan

Danielle Sullivan

Danielle Sullivan writes for Babble Pets. She is also an award-winning parenting writer, who authors a monthly column for NY Parenting and ASPCA Parents blog. You can read more of her work at her blog,Some Puppy To Love. Read bio and latest posts → Read Danielle's latest posts →

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8 thoughts on “Is College A Must For Your Kids?

  1. Bec says:

    Ah the hubris of parenting… “let your kid skip college,” haha. While it’s no doubt something that parents think about and certainly something they hope to influence, it’s not really up to them. Most college students are legally adults, so if they drop out or just don’t enroll… that’s their decision, not Mommy’s.

  2. Sara says:

    Kids need to do something after they graduate high school. Sure college isn’t for everyone. Some would be happier in trade school or joining the military.

    Bumming around while working a job that pays minimum wage, that’s not an option.

  3. Angela says:

    I will strongly encourage my kids to finish college. Sure some people have been really successful without it but I think that the chances of becoming the next Bill Gates are probably about as good as winning the lottery- with or without a degree. I also feel that college gave me a lot more than future-earning potential and of those I know who opted not to finish college I know a few who are glad but many more with regrets. Sure you can go back later on to finish but it only gets harder as you get older with more responsibilities. As Bec pointed out though it’s not ultimately my decision. I wouldn’t let them use their college savings for anything other than college but I would try to respect whatever life choices my kids make, as long as it’s legal.

  4. laura says:

    I think the fact that kids in NY aren’t graduating ready for college speaks more to a disparity in educational opportunities rather than the notion that some kids aren’t meant to go to college. If you look at the kids behind those numbers, they are predominantly poor and minority, which makes that idea even more dangerous. College isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t meant that our school system shouldn’t be preparing everyone in case they want to go (and as a former NYC public school teacher, I realize that is a tall order that requires systematic changes). Not to mention, most decent jobs require the same level of education that college requires. If you can’t handle high school math or English, you can’t pull off a lot of respectable jobs that don’t require a degree. If my kids can make a decent argument that the opportunity cost of college isn’t worth the investment, I wouldn’t force them to go/finish a degree as a matter of principal though.

  5. Anon says:

    You can still make good money without a college degree. My husband makes between 55-60k a year depending on his overtime and he never even took the SATs. He’ll also continue to get raises over his lifetime and has excellent company paid health/dental/eye/life insurance. That salary is really good for the area, we live in a high end apartment building and only pay 650 a month. A lot of college degrees will get you less than that, teaching, for example, only averages about 42k. As long as your willing to work hard, you don’t neccasarily need a degree.

  6. Paula/adhocmom says:

    I completely agree with you. I think college is semi-over rated. I admit I would be very disappointed if my daughter didn’t go, and we will steer her in this direction, but it ISN’T for everyone. College isn’t necessarily the answer, and it isn’t a guaranteed ticket to a career or high paying job. My sister hated college. She decided it wasn’t for her after a year. She’s a well payed hair stylist and is very happy doing what she does. While education is incredibly valuable, it isn’t the only way.

  7. michelle says:

    What a huge logic fail. Because a few people got rich without a college degree, you conclude that this applies to everyone? Because a few people (whose numbers are decreasing every day) can still make a middle-class living without a college degree, you conclude that most kids don’t need a decent education (which happens to prepare them for college)? Yikes, how clueless of you. Statistically, the numbers tell a different story. Most kids are not Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey. True, college does not *guarantee* a good income, but it is more *likely* to get you one. The middle class is disappearing in this country for a reason: it is increasingly unlikely that people without a college degree will be able to earn a middle class income as their parents did. In part this is because low-paying service jobs have replaced good-paying unionized industrial jobs, but it is ALSO because high schools do a terrible job of preparing kids for the labor force even when they don’t plan to go college. That’s why it’s dumb to conclude that “college is not for everyone” when you see that less than half of students graduate prepared for college. What you should take away from that is that the schools are failing EVERYONE, college-bound or not.

  8. Danielle Sullivan says:

    What about artists, budding chefs who rather go to culinary school, athletes offered a contract right out of high school? There are so many various career paths out there…why should we say college is a “one size fits all” situation?

    Here is a link to a study done by Harvard saying that some are better suited to vocational training. http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110202/us_yblog_thelookout/study-says-college-isnt-for-everyone

    Why put someone who is a poor student or has a learning disability, a natural talent, or creative endeavor they want to pursue and say they should be in college? People are unique and life is filled with different pathways.

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