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Tokyomarie

Bright young women w/o a 4 year degree?

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How do you think bright young women are perceived today by other women, by men (esp. potential mates), and potential employers when they choose to drop out of college midway and do not complete their degree?

 

My experience seems to be that women who have a 4 year degree are given more respect by other bright women- whether or not they have actually worked in the field in which they majored. I also have developed a belief that whether or not they start out feeling this way, that many men who are college educated come to the place where they have greater respect for their wives when the wives also have a degree. These beliefs are mostly based on my own anecdotal experience- I've read no studies.

 

How do you & your own friends and acquaintances feel? How would you feel about a young woman leaving a 4 year degree program halfway though to take up a certificate program or possibly an Associate's degree at a trade school or community college? How would you feel if this young woman left school with only a nebulous plan to do such a program possibly in a year from now? How would you feel if at least part of the motivation for doing so involved moving several states away to be with a young man whom she is dating (and has been for a year)?

 

I'm trying to process a situation that is unfolding in my house and want to be able to speak calmly the next time I have a conversation, yet to be able walk her through the potential consequences of any given path.

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A friend of mine is in her late 50s. She was old enough that she went to college, but then dropped out to get married. She is one of the sharpest, most intellectually curious people I know. But she still carries a bit of a feeling of being less than others, of being less than she could be because she dropped out.

 

I am myself a college grad, and even have a graduate degree. I think that while I'm frequently surprised by just how well educated some of the other military wives are, I also look down a little on women who gave up on college in order to follow some guy around. I'm not saying that career is superior to family life (I've certainly chosen otherwise). But leaving one's own education in order to be with a guy (especially if there is no ring and date involved) seems to say to me that they didn't think very highly of themselves.

 

As an employer, I think that I would wonder if she had not been bright enough or tenacious enough to finish college. I might wonder if she were going to give up on my company when the job lost its luster.

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How do you think bright young women are perceived today by other women, by men (esp. potential mates), and potential employers when they choose to drop out of college midway and do not complete their degree?

 

My experience seems to be that women who have a 4 year degree are given more respect by other bright women- whether or not they have actually worked in the field in which they majored. I also have developed a belief that whether or not they start out feeling this way, that many men who are college educated come to the place where they have greater respect for their wives when the wives also have a degree. These beliefs are mostly based on my own anecdotal experience- I've read no studies.

 

How do you & your own friends and acquaintances feel? How would you feel about a young woman leaving a 4 year degree program halfway though to take up a certificate program or possibly an Associate's degree at a trade school or community college? How would you feel if this young woman left school with only a nebulous plan to do such a program possibly in a year from now? How would you feel if at least part of the motivation for doing so involved moving several states away to be with a young man whom she is dating (and has been for a year)?

 

I'm trying to process a situation that is unfolding in my house and want to be able to speak calmly the next time I have a conversation, yet to be able walk her through the potential consequences of any given path.

 

I left college after 2 years to marry my dh. He was an officer in the military and was getting stationed overseas so off we went. I did finish my degree, and it was hard, but I was stubborn. This was over 25 years ago, so it could be different now, but most of my friends thought I should finish college, and so did my parents. My experience with other military wives back then was that many of them had done the same thing, and some did finish, but others didn't.

My concern about your particular situation would be that she doesn't have solid plans at this point. I really see nothing wrong with going to get an associates, going to a vocational or trade school, etc. It could very well be later she will return to get a 4 year degree, but she needs to figure out how she will support herself, and understand that mom's check will not be in the mail. Though both my dh and myself are college educated and we have always encouraged education, we want both our children to learn some kind of a trade also. That way they will always have a fallback. My ds is going for a degree in industrial controls and electronic technology. It will also allow him to apprentice to be a journeyman electrician if he wants to but he can also transfer to a 4 year college. My dd has 1 more year of high school, but she is looking to apprentice as a beautician so she can get her license. She will be starting college in the spring, but having something like that under her belt will give her a good backup and allow her to earn money while in college.

So I think I would encourage your dd to concentrate on what is she going to do to support herself and what her education plans are for the future.

 

Veronica

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Can she transfer to be near her friend? That's what I did.

 

I'm doing a little investigation myself to see what the options would be. One of the biggest challenges is that she is a music major in an audition-based university program. Because music programs are structured in such a way that most of the classes in the 1st two years are major core classes, trying to get them transfered would be difficult, I fear. So far the most promising college would be a liberal arts college where she would earn a BA, rather than a professional music degree, but the price tag is way too steep for us- a family that qualifies for $0 of need-based aid, but purposely lives debt-free except for a mortgage. Nonetheless, I may ask her to take another look at it- she did visit last fall when she was out there, and kind of liked it I think but was turned off by the price tag. If it's truly God's choice for her, the school will grant her the funds we need to make it a viable option.

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Can she transfer to be near her friend? That's what I did.

 

At what point in your program did you transfer? How many credits did you lose in the transfer process?

 

I transfered from one state school to another- the transfer was planned from the outset for financial reasons. I wanted to go to the only school in my state that offered my major but because I was paying for my own education as I went (no eligibility for financial aid; no help from parents), I couldn't afford to leave home right away. I meticulously planned my program but still got stuck taking 2 or 3 gen ed classes I hadn't planned on because the 2nd university allocated the classes I had taken to different categories than did the first university.

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As a performance major, it may be difficult to transfer period. You get into the Jr & Sr recitals and have to have worked w/your prof. to get those together.

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From my experience the attitudes you site are true. As a woman who left college to marry I occasionally feel them. Most of the time it doesn't come up though and For whatever reason most of the time when it has come up people assume I have a degree.

 

More important than the degree is your relationship with your dd. If she is determined to move and marry this young man then take a deep breath, and let it all go. She may or may not make the decision you would want her to, but she is still your dd and you want her to feel you love and acceptance even if you don't agree with her choices. My in-laws are wonderful at this and we have maintained a very positive relationship with them even when, looking back, they must have thought we were nuts!

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That tightrope between maintaining relationship & making sure she makes a clear-headed assessment of all the pros & cons of any choice is the hardest part of parenting through this. And I thought sleepless newborn nights were hard!

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Many people are shocked to hear that I never finished college. When asked why I simply let them know that (according to my understanding of scripture) there is no greater calling in ones life than to be a wife and mother. I will be that much longer than I will ever be "employed" but that is just my personal opinion of course.

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Ugh...tough situation. I'm glad mine are little. Little people have little problems.

 

Just my .02

 

I did the traditional college thing and then earned my masters while working full-time. Finishing school later is tough, especially on one's own and without the support (financial, emotional, etc) of parents may make it impossible.

 

You asked about perception: I believe in finishing what you start. You may change course along the way, but you should finish. I don't believe that God blesses children with debt-free families and an ability for performance only to have them wander after a boy without any type of concrete plan of achieving a dream.

 

You certainly want to preserve the relationship with her, so FWIW, I would help her come up with a realistic financial and educational plan for the next 6-12 months and give her some wings. If it doesn't work out, let her know that she can come home and finish what she started. But before she goes, she should make sure that she will be able to come back to school to finish her performance degree should things not work out.

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How do you think bright young women are perceived today by other women, by men (esp. potential mates), and potential employers when they choose to drop out of college midway and do not complete their degree?

 

I think only a person very prejudiced against the un-degreed (not uneducated, because they aren't the same thing) would really care if a potential mate has a degree or not. If my mother were bringing this argument up to me, I would feel it was unjust and silly.

 

How do you & your own friends and acquaintances feel?

 

I attended college 5 years but don't have a degree (burned out and missing one course). Sometimes I feel it was ridiculous to do all that and not finish. Most of the time it hasn't bothered me. It certainly has not affected whom I married or my employment (yet). I have been at home with my kids for 12 years now. Most of my friends are incredulous that I didn't finish, my parents most of all.

 

How would you feel about a young woman leaving a 4 year degree program halfway though to take up a certificate program or possibly an Associate's degree at a trade school or community college?

 

If it was the right program for the student, then I see no problem from changing from a 4yr program to an AA or trade school program. What is the point of having a useless 4yr degree if one really wants a plumber's license or a physical therapy certificate? A four year degree is not a magic formula that guarantees a good spouse or job, let alone happiness.

 

How would you feel if this young woman left school with only a nebulous plan to do such a program possibly in a year from now?

 

That's more of a problem. How will she support herself until she is ready to start the new program? At her age, why doesn't she know what it is she wants to do?

 

How would you feel if at least part of the motivation for doing so involved moving several states away to be with a young man whom she is dating (and has been for a year)?

 

Well, is he The One? I would do a lot for my husband. Presumably if he plans to marry her, he knows she might be giving up her immediate plans for a four year degree and thus, the first question above (how do potential mates view a woman without a degree?) is answered. I wouldn't change schools or programs though unless I had firm plans to marry.

 

Really, I think you need to find out whether the desire to change programs/schools is independent of the boyfriend relationship or not. I would be peeved if my daughter left a good program to follow a guy for less than marriage. I would be content if my daughter left a good program for a different, even if less prestigious, program that met her needs better.

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It is certainly an issue in certain environments. Mainly where the spouse is earning a higher degree or where they work in an area where most people have higher degrees (Doctorates, law degrees, medical degrees, etc.) I think there may be some judgement on the male about choosing a wife. I don't think it makes a very big difference in circles where the husbands only have bachelor's degrees.

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That's more of a problem. How will she support herself until she is ready to start the new program? At her age, why doesn't she know what it is she wants to do?

 

Well, is he The One? I would do a lot for my husband. Presumably if he plans to marry her, he knows she might be giving up her immediate plans for a four year degree and thus, the first question above (how do potential mates view a woman without a degree?) is answered. I wouldn't change schools or programs though unless I had firm plans to marry.

 

Really, I think you need to find out whether the desire to change programs/schools is independent of the boyfriend relationship or not. I would be peeved if my daughter left a good program to follow a guy for less than marriage. I would be content if my daughter left a good program for a different, even if less prestigious, program that met her needs better.

 

Thank you for your thoughts, LeeAnn.

 

I realize after thinking this through in greater detail, that the #1 concern is the sudden change in plans and the lack of a thorough plan for moving forward from here.

 

I do believe that a young person should move toward their demonstrated interests & talents when choosing an educational & occupational path. Her first idea for a change came out of the blue, and while it is a good occupation to pursue, may not be what suits her best. I think we need more time and exposure to the field & probably a lot more discussion with some advisors to see if it really is worth her while to go through a completely different kind of program from the path she has been on for the last two years.

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In the near term, I think that it would hurt her employability. Per my dh, one major employer would prefer a high school graduate to a college dropout. Being a drop out shows a past history if being a quitter. If I were interviewing her, I would also question the reliability of someone who quit school to follow a guy without any commitment. How long would it be before she quit to go back home because she broke up with bf?

 

If I met her on a social level, I would question her self-confidence or maturity. She has given up on her hopes and education to follow a guy who apparently hasn't had to sacrifice anything, not even an engagement ring, much less a wedding ring. It indicates to me that she doesn't respect herself. These are not characteristics of the women I've made friends with.

 

Finally I'd question how much faith she has in the guy or in the relationship. There are many long distance relationships that last. There are also those that drift apart. It's much better to check the strength of the relationship prior to marrage. That I feel would be better done by the girl finishing college and the two staying in touch by phone, e-mail and commuting than by her quitting college.

 

There are good reasons to quit college or transfer. But to follow a guy across the country without a commitment isn't one of them.

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I think sometimes people mistakenly equate having a degree with being intelligent and interesting. It's not always so. Some people are determined to remain superficial and unengaged in the world around them. A degree sometimes changes that, but I don't think it's always so.

 

I don't think it makes a difference to people who get to know someone well. I can't imagine a man becoming unhappy with a wife he otherwise finds interesting and fun simply because she doesn't have a four-year degree.

 

I am a stay-at-home mom, but I have a professional degree. I have experienced people treating me differently after they find out about my degree, but it's usually people who have their own hang-ups, and not people whose good opinion is terribly important in the long run.

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As a performance major, it may be difficult to transfer period. You get into the Jr & Sr recitals and have to have worked w/your prof. to get those together.

 

I do need to clarify that she is not a performance or ed major. Her primary musical interest is fiddling & she isn't on a classical path. She actually had settled on a path that is not all that common at this time- one that combines the music core w/ a minor in a complimentary discipline- in her case Entrepeneurship. This is different from a BA in music because there is still a greater proportion of music courses in the curriculum than there are in a BA.

 

Even so, transfering to another audition-based program would likely be out. There is a school in the area where she wants to move to that has a non-audition based program that might actually suit her interests if it will accept the majority of what she has done already. The area is actually better suited for her fiddling interests also, so there are positives to such a move if handled well.

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Kathy,

 

Thanks for your thoughts. They actually do parallel my initial reaction. The biggest plus for staying right where she is would be that she would be in a better position to continue her own personal growth without being overshadowed by a guy who has already passed through the college years. OTOH, I do hear her that the location where she is at is less than ideal for some of the things she wants to accomplish. In that respect, the area where she is thinking to go may be a better fit for her music & for meeting the kind of people she wants to meet. I'm beginning to feel that if she doesn't go just to go be with him, but rather she plans how she can continue developing personally & musically, then I think I'll be OK with it.

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I don't think this has much to do with how she is perceived by others, I think it has more to do with her future.

 

Dawn

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Kathy,

 

Thanks for your thoughts. They actually do parallel my initial reaction. The biggest plus for staying right where she is would be that she would be in a better position to continue her own personal growth without being overshadowed by a guy who has already passed through the college years. OTOH, I do hear her that the location where she is at is less than ideal for some of the things she wants to accomplish. In that respect, the area where she is thinking to go may be a better fit for her music & for meeting the kind of people she wants to meet. I'm beginning to feel that if she doesn't go just to go be with him, but rather she plans how she can continue developing personally & musically, then I think I'll be OK with it.

 

Why don't you have her look at a couple of additional schools/locations to see if they also are a better fit than her current school? Then she would have several options, rather than feeling that following this guy is a acceptable "out" from an apparent bad educational fit. If she still feels this new school is the best bet, she'll probably feel more commited to finishing her degree.

 

Another question for her to consider re: her relationship with bf. If he is as committed to the relationship as she is, why did't he find a position closer to her? It's possible that this was by far the best, or even only, opportunity. But I've known other guys to take jobs within a few hours of the gf. I've also known a couple that decided together which offers would allow both to continue/start their careers, only to have something come up so the couple commuted for a while. From what you've posted, the bf didn't do any of this.

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I married my DH when I was 19, and had only finished 2.5 years of college. (And not very stellar-ly, I might add...)

 

I went back to school after we were married nearly 2 years, finished my BS when my older dd was 18 mos old, then finished my MS when my younger dd was 18 mos old. :) Stopping in the middle doesn't mean finished for life. Since my MS, I've attended three other universities for various courses, and spend more time on education now than I did when I was in high school or college (LOL).

 

Encourage her to finish, but don't despair of her never finishing if she chooses to take a break right now.

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How do you think bright young women are perceived today by other women, by men (esp. potential mates), and potential employers when they choose to drop out of college midway and do not complete their degree?

 

My experience seems to be that women who have a 4 year degree are given more respect by other bright women- whether or not they have actually worked in the field in which they majored. I also have developed a belief that whether or not they start out feeling this way, that many men who are college educated come to the place where they have greater respect for their wives when the wives also have a degree. These beliefs are mostly based on my own anecdotal experience- I've read no studies.

 

How do you & your own friends and acquaintances feel? How would you feel about a young woman leaving a 4 year degree program halfway though to take up a certificate program or possibly an Associate's degree at a trade school or community college? How would you feel if this young woman left school with only a nebulous plan to do such a program possibly in a year from now? How would you feel if at least part of the motivation for doing so involved moving several states away to be with a young man whom she is dating (and has been for a year)?

 

I'm trying to process a situation that is unfolding in my house and want to be able to speak calmly the next time I have a conversation, yet to be able walk her through the potential consequences of any given path.

 

.... I would never presume to judge someone else based on whether or not they have a 4-yr. degree. I tend to be more interested in life experiences and pursuits.

 

But I will say that I am so glad that I finished my degree and worked in my chosen field for 7 years before I married. I feel that if anything terrible happened, I at least would have my degree and my experience to fall back on. There are many, many women who, for whatever reason, find themselves having to support themselves AND their children. And if that ever happens, 9 times out of 10, I think you'd be glad you had that college degree when you go job hunting.

 

So I don't think that it's really a question of what others might think of your dd, rather, it's a question of how she looks at herself, and her possible responsibilities in the future.

 

I wish you the best. What a difficult situation. I know that I would have a very difficult time supporting my dd if she chose to make her decisions based on a "potential" forever relationship.

 

Blessings, Jackie

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There are many, many women who, for whatever reason, find themselves having to support themselves AND their children. And if that ever happens, 9 times out of 10, I think you'd be glad you had that college degree when you go job hunting.

 

 

Blessings, Jackie

:iagree: Dd#1 wasn't sure if she even wanted to go to college, but I kept reminding (nagging???) that she should go while she had no one to worry about but herself & someone else is willing to help pay for it. Just having the Bach. degree helps in the corporate world--regardless of what the degree is in.

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I quit college to get married. I didn't need to quit but my husband wanted to spend more time together. It is a thing that I regret almost every day of my life...there is something so deep down with-in me that knows I did not have the determination to do what was my heart's desire. I love thinking and learning-I acted like I didn't and followed him. Most of our problems stem from this initial acquiescence on my part.

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I quit college to get married. I didn't need to quit but my husband wanted to spend more time together. It is a thing that I regret almost every day of my life...there is something so deep down with-in me that knows I did not have the determination to do what was my heart's desire. I love thinking and learning-I acted like I didn't and followed him. Most of our problems stem from this initial acquiescence on my part.

 

Thank you for your thoughts, Cheryl. We are rapidly coming down to crunch time on a final decision for this semester and unfortunately, I think she's still burying her head in the sand and thinking things will magically turn out the way she wants them to go. That is, achieving her aim of getting somehow, someway, to where the boyfriend lives. Doesn't matter how, just so it happens. Fortunately, no irreversible steps have been taken in any direction, so there's still room for rational, reasoned action.

 

After getting feedback from a number of people in a number of places and remembering & reviewing a number of stories of people in my life or that I have been following on forums, I have only had my initial reaction confirmed. The wisest course of action for her to take is a) stay in school where she's at or b) enroll in a 4 year school in her desired location to complete her degree.

 

For each woman who has no regrets for not finishing a degree they started, there are several more who regret it for a variety of personal reasons or who are in a situation where they have had to go back to school later to finish a degree- whether because of divorce, spouse's disability or death, or because they have been laid off from one job and are now being passed over for similar positions because there is no record of a degree on their resume. I really would rather my dd finish her 4 year degree now while she is not encumbered by other responsibilities. There are other reasons specific to her that make it better that she stay in school and under our financial protection. I just hope that's the choice she makes.

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I am totally praying for you and this situation. I think parenting our older adult children in MUCH harder than guiding and nurturing the younger ones.

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