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college dreams vs technical school reality--trying to reconcile my edu-snobbery


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I have two ds in college and the next in line is a 10th grade dd. She's a B student, but herself admits that she's not a career type. Her real wish is to marry and stay home raising a family--it's really how she's wired. She's a homebody without big ambitions. (Note: we are a conservative Christian family, but she has not been raised with an Amish-like mindset.) She has an interest in dentistry...but dental school is out of the question. It's beyond her educational goals or motivation by far. Dental hygiene...maybe. But right now she's most interested in dental assisting...which is essentially a one year program. She likes what they do, and thinks it's what she would enjoy. She could get to work right away and make a little money (they don't get paid much), and so support herself until she finds Mr. Right. I keep wondering if I should just accept this and plan accordingly, gearing her high school towards classes at the tech school...or if I should really push and encourage her to do more, dream bigger, push herself towards loftier goals (educationally speaking, that is.)

 

There is probably much good in this plan for her. I am becoming more and more disenchanted with colleges, for many reasons (expense, political indoctrination, quality of education). So it's hard to justify having her get a four year degree just because I'm too snooty and have the stupid mindset that less education somehow equals less intelligent. {terrible thinking, I know; trying to be honest with self, here} I've never questioned that all my children would have college degrees...4-year degrees. And now I'm struggling with letting go of that standard for reasons that don't really have much to do with education. I value motherhood. I'm a stay at home mom. But I have a 4-yr degree (said with pride).

 

We met with a couple of young women who are dental assistants--both smart, pretty, very capable, leaders in the community. They don't have four-year degrees, and both love their work. They aren't "dummies" who "couldn't make it" in "real college". But that is the horrible stigma that I have about technical colleges. It's the worst kind of intellectual snobbery.

 

I'm not sure what I'm looking for from any of you, other than encouragement that people can and do live wonderful, happy, fulfilling and purposeful lives without a bachelor's degree {all of which I know is true, of course}. Maybe some of you have similar stories of similar internal struggles? It's one of those bends in the road I didn't anticipate and it has thrown me for a loop.

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Our 19 yr old dd is seeking a degree in occupational therapy assistant which is just a 2 yr degree. She was completely all over the map in high school as to what she wanted to pursue after high school (literally everything from culinary arts to forensic chemistry to joining the military!!) I am glad we just plodded forward with a solid high school liberal arts education. She is well prepared for anything she ultimately wants to do if she should ever change her mind (which I don't foresee b/c OTA is a good match for her personality.)

 

FWIW, she did have to complete an entire yr of pre-reqs for the OTA program which is what she has spent this yr doing (depending on which school she looked at she had to have anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, chemistry, computer programming, math, speech, English comp, psychology, etc) Most of the allied health programs do have pre-reqs so you might want to look into what they are and make sure she is well prepared to take them.

 

HTH

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But right now she's most interested in dental assisting...which is essentially a one year program. She likes what they do, and thinks it's what she would enjoy. She could get to work right away and make a little money (they don't get paid much), and so support herself until she finds Mr. Right. I keep wondering if I should just accept this and plan accordingly, gearing her high school towards classes at the tech school...or if I should really push and encourage her to do more, dream bigger, push herself towards loftier goals (educationally speaking, that is.)

 

 

I do not see that accepting her current choice to go into dental assisting must mean any consequences for her high school education.

Dental assisting sounds like a good solid plan, a portable job should she ever relocate, and if that is what she wants to do, she should go for it.

But as for gearing her high school towards classes at the tech school: why? Why not prepare her in the same way you would prepare her if she had plans for a four year college? Even if she decides not to go to college, the college preparatory education you give her now will not be "wasted". And it would keep doors open for her, should she change her mind.

This has nothing to do with "educational snobbery" or with considering college the only valid path, but for me, education is about having options. So, if I had a capable student, I would aim for a college prep high school education irrespective of whether my student had actual plans of attending college or not. I would not want to close any doors.

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FWIW, she did have to complete an entire yr of pre-reqs for the OTA program which is what she has spent this yr doing (depending on which school she looked at she had to have anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, chemistry, computer programming, math, speech, English comp, psychology, etc) Most of the allied health programs do have pre-reqs so you might want to look into what they are and make sure she is well prepared to take them.

 

Yes, this is the type of program she would go into and she would have similar pre-reqs. For her senior year, she has the option of going to a state U or the tech college, so I feel like I have to make the choice of which "track" she'd be taking. One track would be geared right to the tech program and might not have a lot of transfer value, while the other would be more typical college "general ed".

 

The U of M has a really neat program in conjunction with the Mayo Clinic (not for dental asst, but some other traditional "tech" careers). They spend two years completing the pre-reqs and then apply to the program they want (radiology, sonography, etc). Then spend the next two years in a clinical setting. It is very appealing to me, because it seems to combine the best of both worlds--academics and technical, applied learning--and you come out with a B.S. But even this is $$ if you consider you could train for these professions in two years elsewhere, and for much less per credit during those two years! Their grads probably have great prestige, and maybe better job offers, but in the end she's not concerned about getting "the best" job.

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Might it make sense to encourage her to look at dental hygiene rather than dental assistant? It is just a year longer and dental hygiene is one of the highest paid two year community college degrees with an average salary of $68,000 - double the average salary of a dental assistant. It is also a growth field. This is a level of earnings that means she could easily support her family if she ever needed to and that's where I think we should set the bar for all of our kids, male or female. They don't all need four year degrees, but they all benefit from training and post secondary education. More about dental hygienist careers http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-hygienists.htm

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I have two ds in college and the next in line is a 10th grade dd. She's a B student, but herself admits that she's not a career type. Her real wish is to marry and stay home raising a family--it's really how she's wired. She's a homebody without big ambitions. (Note: we are a conservative Christian family, but she has not been raised with an Amish-like mindset.) She has an interest in dentistry...but dental school is out of the question. It's beyond her educational goals or motivation by far. Dental hygiene...maybe. But right now she's most interested in dental assisting...which is essentially a one year program. She likes what they do, and thinks it's what she would enjoy. She could get to work right away and make a little money (they don't get paid much), and so support herself until she finds Mr. Right. I keep wondering if I should just accept this and plan accordingly, gearing her high school towards classes at the tech school...or if I should really push and encourage her to do more, dream bigger, push herself towards loftier goals (educationally speaking, that is.)

 

There is probably much good in this plan for her. I am becoming more and more disenchanted with colleges, for many reasons (expense, political indoctrination, quality of education). So it's hard to justify having her get a four year degree just because I'm too snooty and have the stupid mindset that less education somehow equals less intelligent. {terrible thinking, I know; trying to be honest with self, here} I've never questioned that all my children would have college degrees...4-year degrees. And now I'm struggling with letting go of that standard for reasons that don't really have much to do with education. I value motherhood. I'm a stay at home mom. But I have a 4-yr degree (said with pride).

 

We met with a couple of young women who are dental assistants--both smart, pretty, very capable, leaders in the community. They don't have four-year degrees, and both love their work. They aren't "dummies" who "couldn't make it" in "real college". But that is the horrible stigma that I have about technical colleges. It's the worst kind of intellectual snobbery.

 

I'm not sure what I'm looking for from any of you, other than encouragement that people can and do live wonderful, happy, fulfilling and purposeful lives without a bachelor's degree {all of which I know is true, of course}. Maybe some of you have similar stories of similar internal struggles? It's one of those bends in the road I didn't anticipate and it has thrown me for a loop.

 

 

What she wants to do to me sounds fine. I have a friend whose mom worked as the medical assistant to her dad--they seemed to have a very happy work and family life. Even for my dentist, his assistant who is not his wife, seems to be content and gets to go home at a reasonable hour to her family with a pretty low stress job.

 

Is this the same one for whom you are wondering about languages? If she is thinking of something like being a medical/dental assistant, then conversational language skills could be a huge plus and avoid the spelling issue.

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Originally DS15 wanted to study Music Education at a private college. It was really hard once we started homeschooling for both of us to realize that a 4-year college isn't in his future. As much as he liked the idea, he lacked the personal motivation and drive to achieve such lofty goals.

 

I signed him up on a lark for a free ASL class given at a local church and only now is he realizing that *this* is what he's been gifted in and called to do. His goal is now to become ASL Interpretative Certified, which does not require *any* college but only the ability to successfully pass the certification tests. There are degree programs out there for ASL Interpretation should he choose to pursue that, but at this point I doubt he will.

 

OP, I would recommend you listen to your daughter's heart and let her plan to go into the dental hygiene program so she can support herself until she's ready to settle down to life as wife and mom.

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I do not have a degree or college of any nature. The only thing I wanted as a career was only available at select colleges and very expensive ones. I consider myself a fairly smart individual. I had no desire to go to college, obtain thousands in debt for a job I didn't want. In hindsight, I got caught in that gap of years when a degree started to matter for most careers. I had several different long-terms jobs before I quit work when ds was born. My work ethic and abilities had me earning as much as a degreed individual in my last job. Do I regret not having a degree? Not really. I do wish I'd found a way to do what I really wanted, but cannot change the past.

 

As for your dd, the only concern I would have is association with others. After high school, all my smart friends went off to school (there were very few local university options). In my circle of friends, the only ones left were the ones looking for a good time more than a good book. Once her training is over will she be able to find employment takes pays enough to sustain herself. I would want to make sure my dd (this for my ds too) has enough skills and training to find a job to support herself, so if Mr. Right doesn't show up for years she doesn't feel pressured to just marry the first man who asks. Will this job pay enough to live on her own or would she need roommates? I thinking learn to live on her own, with or without roommates, would be a skill I'd add.

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Is this the same one for whom you are wondering about languages? If she is thinking of something like being a medical/dental assistant, then conversational language skills could be a huge plus and avoid the spelling issue.

 

No, different child! But thank you for kindly pointing out that advantage.

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I do not have a degree or college of any nature.... My work ethic and abilities had me earning as much as a degreed individual in my last job. Do I regret not having a degree? Not really.

 

See, I knew I'd be encouraged! Thank you.

 

I would want to make sure my dd (this for my ds too) has enough skills and training to find a job to support herself, so if Mr. Right doesn't show up for years she doesn't feel pressured to just marry the first man who asks. Will this job pay enough to live on her own or would she need roommates? I thinking learn to live on her own, with or without roommates, would be a skill I'd add.

 

She very much needs life skills. She's "ADD" in her thinking and organizational skills. Personal finance is already planned for next year. But certainly self-support would be the goal.

 

Might it make sense to encourage her to look at dental hygiene rather than dental assistant? It is just a year longer and dental hygiene is one of the highest paid two year community college degrees with an average salary of $68,000 - double the average salary of a dental assistant. It is also a growth field. This is a level of earnings that means she could easily support her family if she ever needed to and that's where I think we should set the bar for all of our kids, male or female. They don't all need four year degrees, but they all benefit from training and post secondary education. More about dental hygienist careers http://www.bls.gov/o...-hygienists.htm

 

This is a website we've used a lot, but if you read dental hygiene forums there seems to be a lot of job dissatisfaction, and even a lot of dispute over the number of jobs available, despite it being a "growth" field. But you're right, I want to encourage her more in that direction for salary alone. Right now her main interest is being in an orthodontic office, which is assisting. She's certainly open, though, and we have plans for job shadowing, etc., so she can be informed about the decision and the realities of either job.

 

 

But as for gearing her high school towards classes at the tech school: why? Why not prepare her in the same way you would prepare her if she had plans for a four year college? Even if she decides not to go to college, the college preparatory education you give her now will not be "wasted". And it would keep doors open for her, should she change her mind.

 

This is part of the angst of my decision making right now. But you're right, keeping doors open is wise. Without going into all the details, I'll just say I agree, and yet I'm not sure the best way to play it. Her 11th grade year will be the same, but her senior year is when her options will be split into two tracks--tech or state U. There are pros and cons for each, and my brain needs to step away and try to see the bigger picture of why one might be better than another for her.

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Might it make sense to encourage her to look at dental hygiene rather than dental assistant? It is just a year longer and dental hygiene is one of the highest paid two year community college degrees with an average salary of $68,000 - double the average salary of a dental assistant. It is also a growth field. This is a level of earnings that means she could easily support her family if she ever needed to and that's where I think we should set the bar for all of our kids, male or female. They don't all need four year degrees, but they all benefit from training and post secondary education. More about dental hygienist careers http://www.bls.gov/o...-hygienists.htm

 

:iagree:

This is exactly what I was going to recommend -- do a program that is not too onerous, but do one that will give her the skills to support herself (and her family) later in life if she needs to. Also, dental hygene is a skill that is needed everywhere, and it's easy to do part time if her family needs a little extra money. My current hygenist works two days/week and spends the rest of the time raising her kids.

 

Could you talk to your current dentist and see if she could maybe spend a few hours or a day at the office shadowing a hygenist to see what the job would be like?

 

Best wishes to her!

Brenda

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I signed him up on a lark for a free ASL class given at a local church and only now is he realizing that *this* is what he's been gifted in and called to do. His goal is now to become ASL Interpretative Certified, which does not require *any* college but only the ability to successfully pass the certification tests. There are degree programs out there for ASL Interpretation should he choose to pursue that, but at this point I doubt he will.

 

 

BobbeyM, not trying to be argumentative at all, BUT, our younger DS graduated (homeschool high school) last May and is right now finishing his first year at the community college (CC) working towards an AAS degree in Interpretation for the Deaf. He recently spoke with the program advisor, who laid out for him what he is going to need to accomplish in order to work as an interpreter.

 

She said that to find jobs you are eligible for and to get hired, you need to be a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI), which requires passing the National Interpreter Certification test. And as of June 2012, a BA is required for taking that national certification test, which then lists you on the Registry for Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) as a CDI. Prior to June 2012, an AAS degree was still required for taking the test.

 

Here is the RID website which lists the requirements that must be fulfilled prior to taking the test.

Here is an About.com article about the process of becoming an interpreter for the Deaf.

 

 

Is the certification you are talking about for your DS strictly local? And even if it is, I would suggest that this would be a good time to do some research on what, if anything, job-wise will be open to your DS if he is only locally certified, or is not nationally certified. Again, the program advisor at the 2-year CC (who has nothing to gain by advising students to go get a BA at a 4-year school), seemed to indicate that there is very little work available for interpreters without the national CDI certification. I would hate to see your DS severely limit his job options by not jumping the hoops required to be nationally certified. :(

 

I totally understand about your DS not interested at this time in college. Neither is mine. He has some mild learning disabilities that make it difficult. However, he has managed his first year at the CC pretty well, with some tutoring helps from me, and us limiting him to just 4 classes (minimum for going full-time) to keep him from being overwhelmed. And, best of all, after talking with the program advisor, he has a pretty good attitude about seeing college suddenly go from taking 3 years (to get the AAS) to now more like 5 years (to get the BA). Also, taking the ASL classes at the CC is offering potential opportunities he would not have been aware before.

 

Also, your mentioned that DS is only 15yo. He may change a lot in the next 2-3 years. He may be much more willing/motivated about the idea of college when he is graduating from high school and starts seeing the "view" of available jobs with only a high school diploma is pretty limited. And one more thought: is dual enrollment a possibility? Some states offer free tuition for high school students to take 1-2 classes per semester at the CC. Perhaps have DS try out an ASL class. Then he can see if that's what he really is interested in; you get to count the credit on his high school transcript; and if he does still want to go that route of CDI, and needs the BA, he would have already started knocking off some classes through dual enrollment towards that goal! :)

 

 

Again, not at all trying to tell you what to do or question your DS's path -- just throwing in some information that may be relevant to your DS's career path. BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.

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I agree with Regentrude not just to keep her doors open, but to keep her mind open. Just because in the end she'd like to stay at home with her children doesn't mean she shouldn't study and enjoy history, lit, science and math. Encourage her to do everything for the Lord and excel at all these areas as a way to enrich not only her own life but her future family's

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I agree with Regentrude not just to keep her doors open, but to keep her mind open. Just because in the end she'd like to stay at home with her children doesn't mean she shouldn't study and enjoy history, lit, science and math. Encourage her to do everything for the Lord and excel at all these areas as a way to enrich not only her own life but her future family's

 

It isn't that she doesn't want to study these things, or that she's opposed to doing the work. It just doesn't seem to fit with her career (and thus educational) goals. I mean, she wouldn't get a 4 yr degree if she really wants to dental assisting. I think she does do these things with a good spirit, and she is open to any career ideas at this point. It's *me* who is having a hard time thinking that tech college is good enough, if it is what would best serve her needs. Does that make any sense? She's not oagainst to going to a university, but it just doesn't seem to make sense at this point given her interests...and lack of interests. But I understand your point, and thank you.

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I have a masters degree, and dental assistants make not too far from what I make per hour. I think it is a fabulous career for a person like your dd. She can return to school at any point and continue her education to become a hygienist, which is higher paying. It can be done part-time while raising a family, if she chooses. Not everyone should go to college. Not everyone needs to in order to achieve a happy, well-balanced life. I believe strongly in all young adults pursuing some sort of career training/college education with the end goal of being able to support themselves, if needed. Beyond that, what each person chooses is completely up to them.

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I would not have her pursue the tech-oriented classes while in high school. I would make her complete a college prep high school path and not start the tech-oriented courses until after high school graduation. That way if she changes her mind between the next couple of yrs, all paths are open.

 

FWIW, it doesn't bother me at all that my dd wants to earn her OTA. She has a very serious boyfriend and they are planning on getting married. OTA is a good job for part-time work if/when they have kids and OTAs make decent salaries (beyond what many entry level BA degrees earn.) OTAs are also in demand. She loves working with both the elderly (has volunteered with retired communities for yrs) and disabled children (was the care-giver for a severely disabled 14 yr old boy who functioned on an 18 month level), is very much a people person, so it is also a career choice that will fit her personality and allow her to be happy in what she is doing. Even though it is a 2 yr degree, I think it is a wise choice, whereas some of the things she talked about during high school did not really fit her personality at all.

 

But.....I am also very low-key about the decisions my adult children make. I don't really get involved in their decisions other than to offer our POV and suggestions. I figure we raised them well and to make well-informed decisions, so I need to trust them to live their lives the way they feel called. (the exception to that rule is our dependent Aspie and we definitely control his decisions!! Like he asked me earlier today if he could go to a bar with a friend. That would be a big NO b/c he has no common sense and we know the friend is not the best influence on this ds's behavior. We could very see that night ending with a call from prison. :p)

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Maybe some of you have similar stories of similar internal struggles?

I struggle with this quite a bit. I am an education snob. I don't know that I care to share my thoughts publicly, but I may PM you.

 

My dental hygienist was homeschooled. She has a 2 year degree from the local community college. It has allowed her to work part-time (at a decent wage) to supplement her husband's income as they raise their family. In a book I have, Part-Time Careers by Joyce Hadley, it shows that dental hygienists earn 2x what dental assistants earn.

 

There was a thread here maybe a year ago where a mom asked about college for a dd who wanted to be a mom. I was touched by the replies, which were much more thoughtful than my own initial reaction. There were many, many practical suggestions. I will try to find it.

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I know that it is unlikely my youngest will go to a 4-year university.

 

I don't know what path she is going to follow, but the possibilities she has discussed with me are cosmetology/esthetician school and getting a real estate license. I think cosmetology would be a very good option for her.

 

I am trying to gear her high school years to keep options open, but she is clearly not going into a STEM field. Her high school years are going to be very different from her sisters'.

 

I do want her to get something beyond high school, whether that is some type of certificate or an associate's degree.

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Another thought: I worked for a veterinarian for 5 years as a vet assistant. For the most part, it was a great environment. I would imagine if she finds the right dental office, the same might apply. I learned a lot from the vet I worked for. I was young and didn't pay attention to a lot of it, but I appreciate it now. He had been classically educated, a fighter pilot BEFORE becoming a vet, and he owned the practice with his wife. He used to tell great stories while we were in surgery. We were a very tight knit group of employees. We worked hard, but it was around professional level people who were making a difference. I learned a lot of business and people skills. They were very culturally intelligent as well (my upbringing was around the TV not "culture"), so he would take us out to eat at fancy restaurants, jazz clubs, I even went to several training classes, including an out of town convention. We even had a recreational volleyball team one year.

 

I don't know where your family interests lie, but I would try to continue in the vein of culturally intelligent outings. These are some of the opportunities I do feel I missed by not going to school, having a lot of cultural opportunities.

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I have a cousin who is a Dental Hygienist. She is old enough to receive Social Security Retirement benefits, but I believe she is still working, 2 or 3 days a week. She met her current husband while she was working. He was a patient...

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My teen son is very 2E, and both I and his sister dropped out of college without a degree. My plan is to get him a 2-year tech degree so he can get a job and support himself while he matures and figures out what he wants to do with his life. I am still making his high school as rigorous as I comfortably can - well, maybe slacking off slightly - but it feels like the right plan for where he is now and what I know about our family. and its cheaper. There is no time limit on a college education, it can happen any time.

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I don't think I'd have her do the technical classes while in high school. It's only one year of school after, you said, right? One thing that I would look into is whether any of the classes will transfer if she decides to do dental hygeine. I know absolutely nothing about this but it would be worth looking into. I know quite a few people I worked with had gotten a CNA license, worked at a nursing home while putting themselves through LPN, then used the LPN to get a better salary while earning an RN. Maybe something similar with dental assistant/hygeinist would work?

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I don't know that I care to share my thoughts publicly, but I may PM you.

 

There was a thread here maybe a year ago where a mom asked about college for a dd who wanted to be a mom. I was touched by the replies, which were much more thoughtful than my own initial reaction. There were many, many practical suggestions. I will try to find it.

 

Please do pm. I'd like to hear your thoughts, and I'd love to read through that thread if you find it. I, too, have been somewhat surprised by the replies here. All very much appreciated. And not just because I got some validation, either.

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I agree with Regentrude not just to keep her doors open, but to keep her mind open. Just because in the end she'd like to stay at home with her children doesn't mean she shouldn't study and enjoy history, lit, science and math. Encourage her to do everything for the Lord and excel at all these areas as a way to enrich not only her own life but her future family's

 

 

Yes, but someone does not need to go to a 4 year college to study those things. It can be done as a lifetime learner, perhaps more happily and meaningfully so.

 

A college degree can sound good and be a feather in one's cap--that is the prestige issue that I think the op is concerned about. But I have a neighbor with a degree in mathematics from a good 4 year university and yet has not been able to find any work that fits that and fits where she lives and being a mom. Getting a 4 year degree is not a guarantee of anything, certainly not of being able to support ones family, and if it is not the child's personal goal, nor a needed road to her personal goal, it makes little sense to me. It appears that being a dental assistant might lead to a higher income with less pressure than some 4 year college type careers seem to be doing these days, such as teaching, or being unemployed. It is also possible to get a 4 year degree later if one chooses to do so for the learning, though these days there is so much for free on line that may not make so much sense as it once did. A 4 year degree also does not protect against getting into a wrong marriage, a point raised by another pp possibly? I went to 2 Ivy League schools (paradoxically, maybe that allows me to be less of an education snob than I might be if I did not know the reality of that?), and have several friends who went to only high school who seem better educated and more interesting than many of my fellow alumni. The degree can be allowed to be a barrier between people, but it need not be one.

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There was a thread here maybe a year ago where a mom asked about college for a dd who wanted to be a mom. I was touched by the replies, which were much more thoughtful than my own initial reaction. There were many, many practical suggestions. I will try to find it.

 

Well, this is not the thread I was thinking of, but it is similar. I may hunt some more tomorrow.

Help me decide right course of action for 16yo daughter please

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It isn't that she doesn't want to study these things, or that she's opposed to doing the work. It just doesn't seem to fit with her career (and thus educational) goals. I mean, she wouldn't get a 4 yr degree if she really wants to dental assisting. I think she does do these things with a good spirit, and she is open to any career ideas at this point. It's *me* who is having a hard time thinking that tech college is good enough, if it is what would best serve her needs. Does that make any sense? She's not oagainst to going to a university, but it just doesn't seem to make sense at this point given her interests...and lack of interests. But I understand your point, and thank you.

 

Yes, but someone does not need to go to a 4 year college to study those things. It can be done as a lifetime learner, perhaps more happily and meaningfully so.

 

A college degree can sound good and be a feather in one's cap--that is the prestige issue that I think the op is concerned about. But I have a neighbor with a degree in mathematics from a good 4 year university and yet has not been able to find any work that fits that and fits where she lives and being a mom. Getting a 4 year degree is not a guarantee of anything, certainly not of being able to support ones family, and if it is not the child's personal goal, nor a needed road to her personal goal, it makes little sense to me. It appears that being a dental assistant might lead to a higher income with less pressure than some 4 year college type careers seem to be doing these days, such as teaching, or being unemployed. It is also possible to get a 4 year degree later if one chooses to do so for the learning, though these days there is so much for free on line that may not make so much sense as it once did. A 4 year degree also does not protect against getting into a wrong marriage, a point raised by another pp possibly? I went to 2 Ivy League schools (paradoxically, maybe that allows me to be less of an education snob than I might be if I did not know the reality of that?), and have several friends who went to only high school who seem better educated and more interesting than many of my fellow alumni. The degree can be allowed to be a barrier between people, but it need not be one.

 

 

I'm sorry, I obviously didn't write clearly enough, but I am fine with the idea of her not going to college, but I think that keeping the door open is wise.

 

However, the main thrust of what I want to say is that beyond what she does after high school this is her last chance to study many subjects in any meaningful way. I can't tell you how many well educated folks I come across who aren't doing anything like this. They may read all the time for their jobs, but beyond the office they do not.

 

While a life time of self study is certainly a goal, the truth is if it doesn't begin now in high school it likely won't begin later. Sure there are exceptions but the truth is they are rare. After high school in a tech school, then working daily, and then having small children, it will be much, much harder. Harder still because there was no habit, no foundation laid while she was young.

 

Enrich her now. She and you won't regret it.

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By all means, she should study to prepare for what she wants to do.

 

But if her #1 goal is marriage and being a SAHM, here are some things to consider.

 

You can consider that nowadays people tend to marry others of similar eduational attainment. This is from a Freakonomics blog post:

 

 

"Social scientists have known for years that married people tend to be sorted by their levels of education, but the reasons for it have been elusive. It could be all about money. People may assume that a partner with similar education will have a salary that matches theirs. Or it could have to do with lifestyle factors. Similar education may lead to similar interests in books, music, and hobbies.

On the other hand, sociologists might argue that sorting by education has less to do with personal preference and more to do with who we're likely to meet. People often meet their future spouses in college or grad school. Also, people of similar educational backgrounds tend to end up side-by-side in the workforce, leading to ample opportunities to strike up romance."

This is in contrast to the ye olde times (50s-70s?) when stereotypically doctors married nurses and businessmen married their secretaries. This doesn't seem to happen as much anymore.

 

OTOOH, the NYTimes recently reported that people are taking the debt level of potential spouses into consideration. It strongly implied that young people with larger student loans (and lower earning potential) are having a harder time finding a potential spouse in this economy. So, your dd could do best by preparing for a job that she enjoys while carrying a minimum of debt.

Another article I can't find right now related how parents are increasingly objecting to paying exorbitant tuitions so their kids can attend football games and party for four years.

 

(More food for thought here than actual advice. I think she should do what she loves first, then think about finding a husband later.)

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I agree with Rentegrude about not closing any doors. I would wait for technical until after graduating high school.

 

I have two ds in college and the next in line is a 10th grade dd. She's a B student, but herself admits that she's not a career type. Her real wish is to marry and stay home raising a family--it's really how she's wired. She's a homebody without big ambitions. (Note: we are a conservative Christian family, but she has not been raised with an Amish-like mindset.) She has an interest in dentistry...but dental school is out of the question. It's beyond her educational goals or motivation by far. Dental hygiene...maybe. But right now she's most interested in dental assisting...which is essentially a one year program. She likes what they do, and thinks it's what she would enjoy. She could get to work right away and make a little money (they don't get paid much), and so support herself until she finds Mr. Right (bolded mine). I keep wondering if I should just accept this and plan accordingly, gearing her high school towards classes at the tech school...or if I should really push and encourage her to do more, dream bigger, push herself towards loftier goals (educationally speaking, that is.)

 

To comment on the bolded above, what if she never finds Mr. Right? What if Mr. Right turns out to be Mr. Wrong and she has kids to support? What if Mr. Right dies or becomes disabled? What if things happen where Mr. Right cannot support the family on his own? I think it is short sighted to choose a career for the short term when she may actually need to support herself and maybe others for the long term. I would encourage her to at least look at the income potential of dental assisting vs. other careers in similar areas where she could earn more. Or she could set her sights on dental assisting, using that as a springboard to get further schooling to become a hygenist.

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I have a son who is both dual enrolled in a trade school and a community college. It doesn't have to be either or. And doing it while in high school saves us a small fortune.

 

I'm not at all against her going through trade school. I think it perfectly valid. I just do not think that has any baring on whether she attains higher education.

 

Even if she stops at an associates, that will open up opportunities for her and likely better pay in her field.

 

If done "right", it does not have to equal tons of debt or even any debt.

 

Should she ever decide to return for a bachelors, she will be half way there if its anywhere near her current career choice.

 

And lastly, it will open up the pool of marriage candidates. Of course I don't think she should go to college just to find a man. Not at all. But there's no denying that she is most likely going to meet him through school or work connections. Why not further her own education and earning potential and expand the pool too?

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You mentioned seeing bad reviews for Dental Hygiene prospects/working conditions. Everything that hygienists complain about, dental assistants do as well and often have it worse as far as how some patients and some employers treat them. But at the end of the day, a FT dental assisting wage barely keeps a family of 3 out of poverty. There are good things about the both fields, but like most any other profession there are bad things too. Dental hygiene would leave more options open for her later on. Don't write off Dental Hygiene based on online reviews, which mostly come from disaffected and unhappy people.

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She has an interest in dentistry...but dental school is out of the question. It's beyond her educational goals or motivation by far. Dental hygiene...maybe. But right now she's most interested in dental assisting...which is essentially a one year program. She likes what they do, and thinks it's what she would enjoy.

 

 

 

 

No "horse in this race" ;), just wanted to share that I just got back from the dentist today, from the annual cleaning, and so I asked the hygienist about this very topic: assistant vs. hygienist.

 

Here are the points she made:

 

- Both jobs equally work with people, and with various aspects of dental office, so neither is more "people" oriented or more "dental" oriented in the work you do.

 

- All the best hygienists she has seen first were assistants or had some other dental office experience; the "cross training" seems to produce a much better hygienist.

 

- It is often harder to get into hygienist programs, and more expensive (2 years, vs. 1 year).

 

- Consider starting with the faster, cheaper dental assistant program, get on the job and get that "cross training" office experience and have a first-hand look at the various jobs in a dental office, and after awhile, consider going back via night classes and get the hygienist education to be able to receive the better pay.

 

- Whatever route you decide, be sure to check out the reputation of the school and level of instruction first. My hygienist said that in our city, the local community college has a very good quality program with instructors who really care about giving you a quality education and real training, compared to the graduates of the cheaper/faster programs offered through some of the vocational/tech schools, where the students actually don't get much experience or training there, but only once they are out in real offices for internships where the dental office staff end up trying to fill in the "holes".

 

 

Would DD be able to shadow at a few dental offices and see different things, ask questions, even ask "what route did you go and why, and would you recommend that route to me and why/why not?"

 

BEST of luck as your

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Lori D, thank you--how sweet to spend your appt. making notes for me--lol!

 

Of all these points, the one I've wondered about is checking the reputation of the school. I have no idea how to find out that kind of info.

 

The program nearest us is a tech school, and they list the historical stats of those who were accepted into the program...including past D.A. experience. Another part of the whole equation in my mind which I hadn't mentioned before...I have doubts about her ability to get accepted into the hygienist program. They actually have a very high average g.p.a.; it's quite competitive. :( But you've got a point. Maybe do D.A. for a year, then go for hygiene. She has job shadows planned, so maybe that will reveal a lot.

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Everything that hygienists complain about, dental assistants do as well and often have it worse as far as how some patients and some employers treat them.

 

There is some overlap, but not as much as I thought (unless you speak from personal experience, in which case I stand corrected.) Hygienists complain that they are often only part time (because they do get paid more, and this way the dentist can employ lots of part timers w/o paying benefits); stress (lots of competition for their position, despite this job being a "growth area"); repetitive injury (lots of carpal tunnel).

 

Don't write off Dental Hygiene based on online reviews, which mostly come from disaffected and unhappy people.

 

 

I love this point --true dat! I guess it just raised some red flags worth thinking about.

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I think I would continue to do her high school as is. No reason to close doors. BUT technical school can be just as good as regular college. My husband ended up at a technical school and it's worked out very well for him. At this point in his career there is no difference at all between him and those with degrees.

 

As far as dental assisting and dental hygeinist, my dental hygeinist actually started out as a dental assistant and was trained to be a hyienist by the dentist he works for.

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I have a son who is both dual enrolled in a trade school and a community college. It doesn't have to be either or. And doing it while in high school saves us a small fortune.

 

Hmm, I wouldn't have thought of both. But yes, the small fortune is why I'm worrying myself about this right now--because she'll dual enroll her senior year. Gotta take the "free" college while you can.

 

And lastly, it will open up the pool of marriage candidates. Of course I don't think she should go to college just to find a man. Not at all. But there's no denying that she is most likely going to meet him through school or work connections. Why not further her own education and earning potential and expand the pool too?

 

 

Actually (going back the whole "edu-snob" theme) this is another reason why the tech school has less appeal for me. I feel like her "pool of candidates" will be much different, much less education oriented...and with less earning potential. This is when I need to stop worrying over her life, I believe. Maybe I'm the over-invested, over-protective, over-controlling homeschool mom I never wanted to be.

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what if she never finds Mr. Right? What if Mr. Right turns out to be Mr. Wrong and she has kids to support? What if Mr. Right dies or becomes disabled? What if things happen where Mr. Right cannot support the family on his own? I think it is short sighted to choose a career for the short term when she may actually need to support herself and maybe others for the long term.

 

 

 

All good things to bring up to *her*. I will do so. I guess these things have been in my mind, but I haven't taken the time to talk along these lines with her.

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You can consider that nowadays people tend to marry others of similar eduational attainment. This is from a Freakonomics blog post:

 

 

"Social scientists have known for years that married people tend to be sorted by their levels of education, but the reasons for it have been elusive. It could be all about money. People may assume that a partner with similar education will have a salary that matches theirs. Or it could have to do with lifestyle factors. Similar education may lead to similar interests in books, music, and hobbies.

On the other hand, sociologists might argue that sorting by education has less to do with personal preference and more to do with who we're likely to meet. People often meet their future spouses in college or grad school. Also, people of similar educational backgrounds tend to end up side-by-side in the workforce, leading to ample opportunities to strike up romance."

This is in contrast to the ye olde times (50s-70s?) when stereotypically doctors married nurses and businessmen married their secretaries. This doesn't seem to happen as much anymore.

 

OTOOH, the NYTimes recently reported that people are taking the debt level of potential spouses into consideration. It strongly implied that young people with larger student loans (and lower earning potential) are having a harder time finding a potential spouse in this economy. So, your dd could do best by preparing for a job that she enjoys while carrying a minimum of debt.

Another article I can't find right now related how parents are increasingly objecting to paying exorbitant tuitions so their kids can attend football games and party for four years.

 

(More food for thought here than actual advice. I think she should do what she loves first, then think about finding a husband later.)

 

 

This is a real concern of mine--yet I can't justify sending her to college to broaden her husband prospects. But yeah, the whole college thing is outta control, imho. We should have another thread on that.

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. Another part of the whole equation in my mind which I hadn't mentioned before...I have doubts about her ability to get accepted into the hygienist program. They actually have a very high average g.p.a.; it's quite competitive. :(

 

 

I wondered about this. The OTA programs we have investigated are very competitive and only have .around a 35% acceptance rate. From my perspective, this is all the more reason to not have her dual enroll in high school but spend high school building the strong foundation of high school level courses and then having her take the pre-reqs as secondary classes.

 

You have older kids, so I'm not sharing anything you don't already know, but a lot of maturing takes place during those last couple of yrs of high school. I won't even let my extremely advanced students graduate early or fully dual enroll. We see the difference in their persons between jr/sr yr and 18/19 selves. I wouldn't want my weaker students to be in a situation that I wouldn't put a fully academically-prepared younger student in.

 

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To comment on the bolded above, what if she never finds Mr. Right? What if Mr. Right turns out to be Mr. Wrong and she has kids to support? What if Mr. Right dies or becomes disabled? What if things happen where Mr. Right cannot support the family on his own? I think it is short sighted to choose a career for the short term when she may actually need to support herself and maybe others for the long term.

 

One thing that really brings this home to me is looking back to the families we knew from the early days - of La Leche League, playgroups, and early elementary homeschool co-ops. Almost everyone thought they'd be SAHMs and homeschool forever. But, for so many life brought changes - divorce, aging parents, disabilities of parents or birth of kids with disabilities, cancer, long period of unemployment with the recession, moving, death, etc. Not that you want to focus on the gloom and doom, but changes can happen in life that are out of our control and having a plan B (and plan C and D maybe) is never a bad thing. For young women who hope to be SAHMs, I'd strongly encourage looking at careers that are more recession proof and tend to bring in good income on a part time basis (accounting, IT, medical like radiology, nursing, physical therapy, dental hygiene, etc.)

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n the other hand, sociologists might argue that sorting by education has less to do with personal preference and more to do with who we're likely to meet. People often meet their future spouses in college or grad school.

I can't believe I'm saying something so archaic, but I agree. The MRS degree is not to be underestimated. And many of us do meet our spouses in college, so choosing a college that will draw that type of potential spouse is something to consider.

Though if asked IRL, I'll deny I ever said such a thing. ;)

 

And this is definitely not to suggest that any girl should ever aspire to be just a SAHM! (Speaking as a SAHM, btw) Not only recession, but what if her husband becomes permanently disabled, dies, or some other calamity? She needs to be able to support not only herself but potentially her entire family!

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One thing that really brings this home to me is looking back to the families we knew from the early days - of La Leche League, playgroups, and early elementary homeschool co-ops. Almost everyone thought they'd be SAHMs and homeschool forever. But, for so many life brought changes - divorce, aging parents, disabilities of parents or birth of kids with disabilities, cancer, long period of unemployment with the recession, moving, death, etc. Not that you want to focus on the gloom and doom, but changes can happen in life that are out of our control and having a plan B (and plan C and D maybe) is never a bad thing. For young women who hope to be SAHMs, I'd strongly encourage looking at careers that are more recession proof and tend to bring in good income on a part time basis (accounting, IT, medical like radiology, nursing, physical therapy, dental hygiene, etc.)

 

 

I agree, but also want to lend another view.

 

I am of a different generation, I guess. The one that put off having a family to go to college and beyond and have an important career.

 

All the same sorts of problems came up--though perhaps more often being single rather than divorced (the later marital choices might have been better, but sometimes/more often never happened at all???), but often without managing to have the family we wanted because it had been put off. Or maybe not a "because" causative relationship, but just another situation that too can be a problem and adds to difficulties.

 

Where family did happen later, the same problems still occur, and more education does not necessarily solve that. Trying to deal with infertility, very young ones (normal or special needs) while parents are aging, having disability oneself, having very long work hours for a high powered career and trying to balance that with a family...thinking one had chosen a recession proof career, only to find oneself out of work...deaths, divorce... Finding oneself having to take a job one did not really like (or even that was destructive in ways similar to what are concerns about dental hygienist (carpal tunnel, abusive employers, etc.) because of student loans...

 

Some things seem so promising... like accounting sounds like a high income job that could be done out of one's home...and yet it may be that in a few years most of that will be gone over to computer programs...nursing is often exhausting with long hours on varying schedules that may not be great for family life....

 

 

 

Also for OP's daughter, I'd suggest, if she does want to do dental assisting/hygiene, to think about doing it where the patients are not likely going to be mainly teens in for braces, and thus unlikely husbands.

 

And if there are older siblings in college, maybe, rather than her going herself if that is not her path, they could introduce male friends to her--that is another common way for girls to meet potential husbands.

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I didn't go to college. I wasn't a good high school student and never had aspirations (actually, I think what I lacked was confidence) of higher education. I married at age 20 and had my four children by age 30. I was thankful that I didn't have any student loan debt or "waste" my degree like a few of my friends had done by choosing to stay home with their children after only a couple of years of work.

 

My children are 6, 8, 12 and 16 now and as of this year they are all in school. I'm fortunate to be able to stay at home. However, I am bored out of my mind. I keep house, volunteer a few times a week (which I love) and manage our family's schedule but I do have regrets about not getting some type of degree. I never thought my kids would ever demand less of my time. Don't get me wrong, they still need me and they are my number one priority. I want to be home when they are home and I never want to be torn between my family's needs and an employer.

 

But reality is starting to set in that I'm only 36 years old. I still have a lot of living to do. I don't know what the future holds but I'd like to be able to support myself if I should ever need to. Most employers (at least the fields I would be interested in) won't even consider you without some type of degree. I had a good job before I decided to stay at home but that was 14 years ago. It's not going to be easy to land a job when I have no college and no recent work history.

 

I just started the enrollment process at a local community college. I may not ever use the degree because I'm probably going to be very picky with what type of job I apply for when the time comes. But at least I will have something that may help me get a job should the need arise. Here in our school district you can not even substitute teach without a 2 year degree of some type.

 

Those friends who I thought "wasted" their degrees? They've had a much easier time picking up where they left off because of their degrees. I also have several friends who are nurses that work six 12 hour shifts a month. They are home with their children but bring in considerable income and benefits for their families. I could never be in that field but I think that is a wonderful option to have.

 

This may not be helpful at all to your daughter but I thought I'd throw it out there. I was that girl who only wanted to raise her family. I'm doing that - stayed at home with my babies, homeschooled for 8 years. I'm here when they need me and will continue to do so but the realization has hit that they are not always going to need me 24/7.

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Those friends who I thought "wasted" their degrees? They've had a much easier time picking up where they left off because of their degrees.

This is the place where I'm at. I used my degree for a couple of years then stayed home with our kids when we started our family. Our youngest is now 11. Seven years and we'll be empty nesters! :( But, I'm so glad I'm in a place where I don't have to start worrying about what I'm going to do for the next phase of my life like so many of my friends are... And, because I've been out of school for 15 years, all of our loans are long paid.

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I think it is important to prepare my kids to be self supporting financially as well as to have a gratifying career. Sometimes plans change or go awry.

 

I know several people who were entirely unable to biologically have children of their own. Sometimes this meant being married a dozen years before adopting or succeeding with medically intensive (and extraordiarily expensive) In at least three families, it resulted in the couple never having children by any means, despite a deep desire to have done so.

 

Sometimes husbands (or wives) die, become disabled, or turn out to be mentally ill or just jerks. Not all of those contingencies can be covered by insurance, and young families rarely have the financial reserves built up to care for the remaining spouse and children without the primary breadwinner still providing. Similarly, tragedies happen, intended spouses can die before you are even married or die before you have kids, or become disabled and unable to reasonably ever be parents, relying on the surviving spouse for care themselves. For these reasons, I think it is imperative that parents each have the ability to earn a decent living if at all possible. This is easiest to achieve by at least making a decently paying job an option via appropriate education or training.

 

So, my two cents would be to encourage dd to do dental hygiene instead of assisting. I imagine that a licensed hygenist can easily choose to do assisting instead of hygiene if that particular position still appeals more to her when she is takinga job. but, Money matters, imho. She might be working for a lot longer than she expects. She may decide that the doubled income and the things that affords her more than makes up for any other negatives in the particular position.

 

 

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As for your dd, the only concern I would have is association with others. After high school, all my smart friends went off to school (there were very few local university options). In my circle of friends, the only ones left were the ones looking for a good time more than a good book. Once her training is over will she be able to find employment takes pays enough to sustain herself. I would want to make sure my dd (this for my ds too) has enough skills and training to find a job to support herself, so if Mr. Right doesn't show up for years she doesn't feel pressured to just marry the first man who asks. Will this job pay enough to live on her own or would she need roommates? I thinking learn to live on her own, with or without roommates, would be a skill I'd add.

 

 

This. All I ever wanted to be was a wife and stay at home mom.

 

However, life had different things in store. I went to college for two years, moved cross country, went to work and finally got an AA. Met my now-husband when I was 28 and we got married at age 30.

 

But between leaving high school (17) and age 30 when I got married, I had to make it on my own (well I guess I could have lived with my parents, moving when they did all that time. But I think I'm better marriage material for having the skills and ability to live on my own, even buying my own place during that ensuing time)

 

My husband is younger and was working retail when we got married, but has had a hard time breaking into a professional job. So I am still working to support the family while he tries to find a job. I would urge your daughter to have career skills even if that isn't her first love.

 

I have friends supporting their family because they are widowed or their spouse is disabled, as well. So even if things start perfect, everything can change in the blink of an eye.

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