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I don't disagree with his basic complaint, but the hard reality is that when 50% or more of the young adult population in a given metro area has a bachelor's degree or higher (true in my current one as well as the one where I grew up), someone without a B.S./B.A. will be at a major disadvantage when it comes to landing a job.

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It is thought provoking.  I come from a family where most of us followed a non-traditional educational path to get to a sustainable career.  In fact, the only one who doesn't have a sustainable career (at present) has a college degree.

 

I have a kid who sounds a bit like the blogger.  She struggles in a lot of areas, but she is also truly good at some things (writing happens to be one of them).  I don't know whether she'll someday hit a brick wall at school or not.  I hope not.  But if she does, I know her life won't be over.  I've seen success spelled too many different ways.  I want her to know that too.

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I dropped out of high school, never went to college, and had a great job making more than my siblings who did have college degrees. I started out answering phones and moved my up in the world of HR. I started handling payroll and benefits for more than 250 employees. Then, I was responsible for hiring and terminating them.

 

That was 15 years ago, though. The world is different today and in my area I would be lucky to get that initial job answering phones without a degree now.

 

I do wish it wasn't this way because I find a lot of it ridiculous. You shouldn't need a college degree for many of the jobs out there right now that are asking for it.

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I don't disagree with his basic complaint, but the hard reality is that when 50% or more of the young adult population in a given metro area has a bachelor's degree or higher (true in my current one as well as the one where I grew up), someone without a B.S./B.A. will be at a major disadvantage when it comes to landing a job.

 

Yes, by now I'm convinced that a lot of it depends on where you live and what you're doing.  

 

Many self-employed people don't have degrees, or their degrees are in other areas unrelated to their employment.

 

But many larger employers (schools, banks, corporations, hospitals, etc.) want a degree. If you live in a metropolitan area, they probably want a degree. Sometimes they don't even care what it is in, just that you have it. We have multiple friends/relatives whose careers have bottomed out within larger employers without a degree, and who is going to start that at 50 with a wife and four kids?

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One of the main values of college for a lot of people is getting exposed to new ideas and different ways of thinking. While his experience is a perfectly valid one for him, I reject the effort to generalize it to command everyone not to go to college and not to send their kids to college. Research is pretty clear that college graduates are much more likely to be employed. Times have been tough but on average college graduates have fared much better. Even in a recession recent graduates do not regret going to college. On average college graduates lifetime earnings are much higher than people who didn't go to college - $650,000 on average over a lifetime. Are there plenty of exceptions to this rule? Sure. College isn't for everybody and some careers that require less education are well paid.

 

One thing I encourage is for students to look at their own individual circumstances and make wise financial decisions. There are many circumstances and choices that will influence the amount an individual will pay for college if they go. There are many, many layers of decisions that can make a huge difference in the total cost. Don't just assume college is off limits or it will automatically come with high debt. Planning can make a big difference in the end result.

 

Editing to Add: If this part of the article is not exaggeration. "We’d take tests, I’d try my hardest, but often I’d still get zero answers correct. ZERO. Fifty questions — all wrong." - That was obviously a huge flag of something. I agree any student in high school who is trying their hardest and often getting every single question wrong on the test is not college ready and taking out student loans would be a poor investment!

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My husband doesn't have a degree, and it has hurt him. He has cerebral palsy, so he is limited to mostly office work. Nothing physical. On the other hand, my son is most likely going to go into a trade. He's smart, but prefers to be doing physical work. My daughter has learning differences and has an amazing creative side. I believe that if she fosters her creativity, she will be successful in anything she chooses.

 

There are many paths to success. My goal is to guide my children in finding THEIR path. 

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I dropped out of high school, never went to college, and had a great job making more than my siblings who did have college degrees. I started out answering phones and moved my up in the world of HR. I started handling payroll and benefits for more than 250 employees. Then, I was responsible for hiring and terminating them.

 

That was 15 years ago, though. The world is different today and in my area I would be lucky to get that initial job answering phones without a degree now.

 

I do wish it wasn't this way because I find a lot of it ridiculous. You shouldn't need a college degree for many of the jobs out there right now that are asking for it.

At my last employer, promotion out of a clerical/admin job was dependent on the person earning a bachelor's degree. One woman I worked with got promoted from accounting clerk to my department the day she completed her bachelor's. She was smart & competent and the position did not actually require skills learned college, it was purely a "check the box" thing.

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My daughter has learning differences and has an amazing creative side. I believe that if she fosters her creativity, she will be successful in anything she chooses.

 

There are many paths to success. My goal is to guide my children in finding THEIR path. 

That's kind of wishful thinking.  I have a very creative doer dc, and I'm suggesting to her the wisdom of a business degree.  ;)  Lots of creative people find that's where their hole is.

 

Although I agree with the thesis that there are lots of paths to success, I thought the blogger was a horrible writer and wrote as someone much younger, without the polish and quality college would have given him.  I missed the part about his (probable) LDs, so that's a shame he didn't get any help there.  It's sort of astounding that someone makes money from advertising traffic to a blog of possibly minimal quality and then proclaims himself an example of a great way to pursue life.  That's the new norm now, that all sorts of people are getting incomes via advertising traffic, but that doesn't mean it's sustainable, satisfying, or dependable for the future.

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As background, by my husband and I are college professors. (I'm on probably permanent leave with our four kids at home.) I absolutely value college education.

 

I don't value loading young adults with thousands of dollars of debt as they begin their careers.

 

I don't value expecting young adults to know what they'd like to do with their lives (via college major) at such a young age. At many major institutions around our country, students apply to a college (engineering, arts and science, business) or, worse yet, a specific major. Transferring between departments and schools within a college can be difficult.

 

I absolutely disagree with the current culture of college, in which young adults (or, truthfully, old children) are left to have "experiences" and "make mistakes," where there is an expectation and a value placed on partying, irresponsibility, slothfulness, and minimal effort.

 

This isn't every college student. There are many who work hard, hold many jobs, are driven, etc.

 

It is my firm belief that if we want to make college an experience worth the expense - a worthy investment - then we must normalize a later start date, so that it's a standard that freshmen enter college at 25 rather than 18. 

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It is my firm belief that if we want to make college an experience worth the expense - a worthy investment - then we must normalize a later start date, so that it's a standard that freshmen enter college at 25 rather than 18. 

But wouldn't that lengthen the already too-long adolescence that young people in first world countries enjoy?

 

And then, at what age would they settle down and start their families? Won't that worsen the problems of shrinking childbirth rates and the rapidly ageing populations?

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I was enjoying his blog when it was about himself.  I found myself relating him to other students I know from school (though he is a far better grammatical writer than those he claims to identify with, so I have my doubts about how little he actually learned in school - perhaps 13 years of experience and learning has indeed made the difference).

 

However, once he got here:

 

 


This is madness. And there’s only one way to stop it: don’t go to college.

 

Don’t send your kids to college.

 

If they aren’t actively pursuing a career that fundamentally requires a college degree, don’t encourage them to go.

 

We set up an artificial construct whereby degrees were suddenly “needed†for things like business, sales, and even writing. This house of cards is beginning to tumble, as employers are realizing that, shockingly, they need people who can actually DO the job. They need talent — not paperwork. New college graduates are left unemployed because they often expect too much and offer too little.

 

His fallacy is taking a path that may (or may not) have worked for him and asserting that all should follow it.  Then he claims that employers are turning away from requiring degrees... IRL, I haven't seen that at all - just the opposite.  In any study I've seen, it's also the opposite.  Where are the facts backing up what he is saying?  Or is he merely wanting everyone to be like him to justify his life?

 

There are many paths.  Not everyone should go to college.  But it is my belief that those who are capable will have much better odds in life if they do head toward college (or some other post high school education) - taking the time to do a bit of research to find a good fit both academically and financially.  I've seen far too many IRL have to go back to school later in life to break through that "degree" barrier.  Every single one of these adults is sending their offspring to college (2 or 4 year) right from high school.  Does anyone wonder why?  It's far easier to get the degree earlier.

 

And, if taken advantage of correctly, there is FAR MORE to a college education than the academics (and I'm not talking about alcohol, drugs, and casual s_).

 

He is welcome to his path and others might find themselves identifying with it.  To them, it is right.  For parents to push their students that way is just as wrong as parents pushing their students toward Top 10 schools and saying all should do so.

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Around here the quality of a high school diploma is low for many graduates. I'm not saying that all of the are illiterate, but the rate of reading at only a 5th grade level, being able to do only basic arithmetic and computation, having no problem solving skills whatsoever, and very, very limited experiences is too high. As a result, most local employers won't accept someone to even bag groceries at the store without a couple of years of college. They figure if they have survived that much, they must read decently, have some sense, and will be more reliable since they passed their classes genuinely. There is something to say for that. Grade inflation is crazy here!

 

On top of that, the GED is looked at VERY grimly, so this means either going to a good name trade school and going through their 2-4 year licensing program and definitely Michigan has some good schools and programs for that, or getting at minimum, an associate's degree.

 

Since the trades have taken such a hit here with the bottoming out of the economy, most young adults can't get a job in them once they've completed the program. But, they can leave the state and there are places they can go to get jobs. This happens A LOT. Of course in the future as the economy recovers, this is going to bite the state in the behind because as current trade licensed individuals age and can't do the work anymore, retire, etc., there isn't going to be anyone to take their place. However, that is the current state of things. It generally means that if a young adult wants employment in this state that pays more than minimum wage - two years of post high school education in something medical such as ADN or paramedic training, fire sciences, etc. is going to be a must, or a 4 yr. degree. Many hospitals are paying for their ADN's to get BSRN's and as the medical profession gets more and more technical, I would imagine that eventually the ADN will be discouraged from the outset. In our three county radius, all of the LPN programs have been discontinued. The hospitals push a lot of LPN work on the CNA's, and do not hire LPN's. One hospital fired every single LPN who refused to go back to school and finish the ADN. In other areas, something fairly technical is needed so STEM kids do better than humanities.

 

I think there is a lot work out there for students in the humanities, it's just not in Michigan right now. So, young adults who love foreign languages, history, writing, English, arts, etc. have to be prepared to leave the state upon graduation or work completely outside their field of interest. In that respect, there are businesses definitely who require the BA/BS as the "hoop" to employment and if these adults do not mind working in HR, office management, etc., they can get jobs in business with their humanities degrees. My hope is that if the state continues to recover, the pendulum will swing back a bit more to center and the employment situation will not be so extreme.

 

That said, for us, we see the purpose of a college education as more than just career preparation and a hurdle to jump for employment. This may be due to the fact that dh and I LOVED college and had amazing experiences there that have stuck with us for a life time. Our horizons were expanded being exposed to more diversity, other worldviews, rousing discussions, etc...things that we couldn't get in the areas in which our families resided. It is one reason that we'll be somewhat picky about the college, the dorm assignments, etc. for the boys. We want them to have the same kinds of experiences, but will do what we can to limit the angst of the drinking, s*xing, carousing, troublemaking, scene.

 

All of that though is more about us and our local reality. There is no just right path that ALL should follow. That's the hard part of parenting; it's the hard part of life. I think way too many people make money telling everyone else the magic plan of life, the magic plan for health, the magic plan for success, etc. People lap it up like water in the desert. However, the reality is that there are too many variables, so there isn't any just one right way to launch young adults. This is scary news that a large segment of the culture does not want to hear!

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It is my firm belief that if we want to make college an experience worth the expense - a worthy investment - then we must normalize a later start date, so that it's a standard that freshmen enter college at 25 rather than 18. 

 

 

...  I've seen far too many IRL have to go back to school later in life to break through that "degree" barrier.  Every single one of these adults is sending their offspring to college (2 or 4 year) right from high school.  Does anyone wonder why?  It's far easier to get the degree earlier....

 

I was thinking last night at what I was doing at 25 and how frdinca's advice would have worked out for me.  I was, um, here on the boards, getting ready to homeschool!  I had a BA and some grad school and education experience under my belt, and I was ready to do what I was trying to do.  I wouldn't have my happy life now if I had chosen some kind of protracted life based on someone else's opinions.  Frankly, I probably wouldn't even have my kids, because my fertility seems to have decreased radically (along with my health) over the years.  That's not at ALL uncommon for women to wait and later have issues with fertility, etc.  

 

I'm sorry if a segment of the country has raised to be young, immature, spenders instead of producers who want to live off the insurance policies of their parents until they're (insert ridiculously old number).  I was raised to be ready and my kids are being raised to be ready.  YES people change, but that's also OK.  It's called a mid-life crisis, and it's ok to decide to go back to school or change careers.  I know someone who has a degree in engineering and later went back to get a BSN while raising her kids.  Those weren't mistakes; they were CHOICES.  The experiences enriched her and formed her into who she is (and caused her to meet her dh!).

 

I think the real issue is the dwindling working class, the outsourcing of our jobs to China, and that kids can go into extreme debt for college rather than working to pay for it or even reflecting if they're on a sensible path that will lead to a ROI.  

 

Rant over.

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But wouldn't that lengthen the already too-long adolescence that young people in first world countries enjoy?

 

And then, at what age would they settle down and start their families? Won't that worsen the problems of shrinking childbirth rates and the rapidly ageing populations?

From 18 to 25 they should be working not extending their adolescence . There is a lot of value in physical work and being exposed to various situations. I know many people who have gone on to college as adults....and while it is more difficult in some ways it is MUCH easier in more ways.

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I was thinking last night at what I was doing at 25 and how frdinca's advice would have worked out for me.  I was, um, here on the boards, getting ready to homeschool!  I had a BA and some grad school and education experience under my belt, and I was ready to do what I was trying to do.  I wouldn't have my happy life now if I had chosen some kind of protracted life based on someone else's opinions.  Frankly, I probably wouldn't even have my kids, because my fertility seems to have decreased radically (along with my health) over the years.  That's not at ALL uncommon for women to wait and later have issues with fertility, etc. 

 

I completely agree. When I was 25, I had finished my dissertation and was getting ready to spend two years working in foreign country before starting a family.

 

 

 

I'm sorry if a segment of the country has raised to be young, immature, spenders instead of producers who want to live off the insurance policies of their parents until they're (insert ridiculously old number).  I was raised to be ready and my kids are being raised to be ready.  YES people change, but that's also OK.  It's called a mid-life crisis, and it's ok to decide to go back to school or change careers.  I know someone who has a degree in engineering and later went back to get a BSN while raising her kids.  Those weren't mistakes; they were CHOICES.  The experiences enriched her and formed her into who she is (and caused her to meet her dh!).

 

Agreeing again. I find it remarkable that some people advocate prolonging adolescence even further as it already lasts. I do not think any historical period has infantilized young people to the degree we see today in the US.

Does that mean that every high school graduate is ready to, or should go, to college? Absolutely not. Some students are much better served by taking a few years and working before deciding to go back to school. On the other hand, I see plenty of motivated young college students who know what they want and who work hard to get it. And I see many of my older students who are returning to school later in life struggle with balancing all their additional responsibilities and finding it more difficult to grasp new concepts at a more advanced age - and not in all subjects will the additional life experience be relevant and helpful.

While a person can learn life long, it does get harder with age. I see no benefit in postponing young people's education and leaving out the time when they learn best and are most creative.

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I was thinking last night at what I was doing at 25 and how frdinca's advice would have worked out for me. I was, um, here on the boards, getting ready to homeschool! I had a BA and some grad school and education experience under my belt, and I was ready to do what I was trying to do. I wouldn't have my happy life now if I had chosen some kind of protracted life based on someone else's opinions. Frankly, I probably wouldn't even have my kids, because my fertility seems to have decreased radically (along with my health) over the years. That's not at ALL uncommon for women to wait and later have issues with fertility, etc.

 

I'm sorry if a segment of the country has raised to be young, immature, spenders instead of producers who want to live off the insurance policies of their parents until they're (insert ridiculously old number). I was raised to be ready and my kids are being raised to be ready. YES people change, but that's also OK. It's called a mid-life crisis, and it's ok to decide to go back to school or change careers. I know someone who has a degree in engineering and later went back to get a BSN while raising her kids. Those weren't mistakes; they were CHOICES. The experiences enriched her and formed her into who she is (and caused her to meet her dh!).

 

I think the real issue is the dwindling working class, the outsourcing of our jobs to China, and that kids can go into extreme debt for college rather than working to pay for it or even reflecting if they're on a sensible path that will lead to a ROI.

 

Rant over.

For you that was the right decision. Just as many other kids are being shoved into college when they have no idea what they want to do and/or have little to no support or preparation.

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From 18 to 25 they should be working not extending their adolescence . There is a lot of value in physical work and being exposed to various situations. I know many people who have gone on to college as adults....and while it is more difficult in some ways it is MUCH easier in more ways.

 

Working in what capacity? What jobs do you advocate all those 18 to 25 year olds without qualifications should be finding?

I have nothing against working; I just have a hard time seeing where all those jobs would be coming from.

 

ETA: As far as college later being easier: Those of my female students who are mothers to small children would collectively disagree.

 

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I completely agree. When I was 25, I had finished my dissertation and was getting ready to spend two years working in foreign country before starting a family.

 

 

Agreeing again. I find it remarkable that some people advocate prolonging adolescence even further as it already lasts. I do not think any historical period has infantilized young people to the degree we see today in the US.

Does that mean that every high school graduate is ready to, or should go, to college? Absolutely not. Some students are much better served by taking a few years and working before deciding to go back to school. On the other hand, I see plenty of motivated young college students who know what they want and who work hard to get it. And I see many of my older students who are returning to school later in life struggle with balancing all their additional responsibilities and finding it more difficult to grasp new concepts at a more advanced age - and not in all subjects will the additional life experience be relevant and helpful.

While a person can learn life long, it does get harder with age. I see no benefit in postponing young people's education and leaving out the time when they learn best and are most creative.

I have had two husbands who got their college degrees after age 30. Neither of them could have done it beginning at age 18. Not everyone learns better at 18.

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Working in what capacity? What jobs do you advocate all those 18 to 25 year olds without qualifications should be finding?

I have nothing against working; I just have a hard time seeing where all those jobs would be coming from.

 

There are jobs. Most of which teens think they are too good for.....but those are decidedly the kinds of jobs young adults need to experience. 25 may be a stretch to wait....but certainly a couple of years to contemplate what it means to really work would be beneficial.

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Working in what capacity? What jobs do you advocate all those 18 to 25 year olds without qualifications should be finding?

I have nothing against working; I just have a hard time seeing where all those jobs would be coming from.

 

ETA: As far as college later being easier: Those of my female students who are mothers to small children would collectively disagree.

 

My mom went back to school at age 34 while raising my brother and me alone. She definitely couldn't have done it at age 18. Not because she lacked the intelligence....same with my dh.....but because their minds weren't settled down enough to focus.

 

Not everyone is like that...but some are. And if many knew they could work a few years and then go to college they would likely delay having children.

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There are jobs. Most of which teens think they are too good for.....but those are decidedly the kinds of jobs young adults need to experience. 25 may be a stretch to wait....but certainly a couple of years to contemplate what it means to really work would be beneficial.

Scarlett, I think that in states with good economies, there are jobs that older teens and young 20 somethings can get without further education. That is not the case in my state. The unemployment rate is so high that even standard jobs such as stocking shelves at a business, window washing and cleaning, bagging groceries, working as a cashier, etc. are not available to new high school graduates. They can't even get jobs at McDonald's. The bottom line is that the business can hire someone with a LOT of work experience, a trade license, or a degree for the same piddly money that they used to pay high schoolers. The work study and apprenticeship programs in our county have been discontinued. No one will take these students.

 

So, it's a sad reality for parents of kids in my state who really aren't sure what they want to be when they grow up and would benefit from working for a little while so they can mature and contemplate what is available to them. It's just not an option. Maybe as the economy recovers, things will improve. I think the unemployment rate in Detroit is still hovering at well over 25%. It's a hideous number to consider!!

 

Mostly, a lot of this discussion is appropriate to where each of us lives and the local culture. Pockets of this nation are suffering so much, and the families stuck living in these areas find their options are minimal at best. Sad to say. I wish there were many more opportunities for young people to gain a wider variety of work and educational experiences.

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. And if many knew they could work a few years and then go to college they would likely delay having children.

 

Which touches on the issue a PP mentioned: female fertility, especially for women who want to pursue a post graduate education. It is not a coincidence that, the higher the educational level of the mom, the fewer kids she has. Not always out of choice. The biological clock is ticking and for many, it is a race against time.

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From 18 to 25 they should be working not extending their adolescence . There is a lot of value in physical work and being exposed to various situations. I know many people who have gone on to college as adults....and while it is more difficult in some ways it is MUCH easier in more ways.

 

 

For you that was the right decision. Just as many other kids are being shoved into college when they have no idea what they want to do and/or have little to no support or preparation.

See I actually agree with you.  I DON'T think everyone should be going to college.  If these underage kids in china can make iPhones, then OUR kids should be making iPhones.  We should have more factories in the US and be doing more manual labor, more manufacturing, etc.  I've read Steve Jobs complained that he couldn't bring his factories here due to lack of engineers.  So WHY is the most pressing debate handouts and subsidies rather than a call for more engineers?!?!  If more engineers in our country would bring more factories, more jobs, and more prosperity, then that would solve a lot of our problems.  And factory jobs are often direct entry, at least in states where I've lived, and they can be good jobs.  The factory then pays you to go back and get your degree if they want you for management, etc.

 

Working in what capacity? What jobs do you advocate all those 18 to 25 year olds without qualifications should be finding?

I have nothing against working; I just have a hard time seeing where all those jobs would be coming from.

 

ETA: As far as college later being easier: Those of my female students who are mothers to small children would collectively disagree.

 

There are jobs for people who are willing to work.  They're blue collar and sometimes involve moving or being willing to work long hard hours or risk your health.  They're work, and I'm not sure we're a culture of work anymore, with 60% of those able to work not working and people quibbling over how many years someone should be allowed to live on unemployment.

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Just to follow up with what Faith said, sometimes it involves moving.  My brother left an area where he had no future, went to another state, and had a job in a hot minute.  He got training to go farther, and he makes enough money to live a quiet life and do what he wants (fish, raise snakes, etc.).  Yes, I agree there are places where you basically have to LEAVE to find a job or make the life you want to live.  

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Scarlett, I think that in states with good economies, there are jobs that older teens and young 20 somethings can get without further education. That is not the case in my state. The unemployment rate is so high that even standard jobs such as stocking shelves at a business, window washing and cleaning, bagging groceries, working as a cashier, etc. are not available to new high school graduates. They can't even get jobs at McDonald's. The bottom line is that the business can hire someone with a LOT of work experience, a trade license, or a degree for the same piddly money that they used to pay high schoolers. The work study and apprenticeship programs in our county have been discontinued. No one will take these students.

 

So, it's a sad reality for parents of kids in my state who really aren't sure what they want to be when they grow up and would benefit from working for a little while so they can mature and contemplate what is available to them. It's just not an option. Maybe as the economy recovers, things will improve. I think the unemployment rate in Detroit is still hovering at well over 25%. It's a hideous number to consider!!

 

Mostly, a lot of this discussion is appropriate to where each of us lives and the local culture. Pockets of this nation are suffering so much, and the families stuck living in these areas find their options are minimal at best. Sad to say. I wish there were many more opportunities for young people to gain a wider variety of work and educational experiences.

Yes I agree we have to take into account what the economy is like in our area. 26% UE is shocking.

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 So WHY is the most pressing debate handouts and subsidies rather than a call for more engineers?!?!  If more engineers in our country would bring more factories, more jobs, and more prosperity, then that would solve a lot of our problems. 

 

Oh, there is a call. But  it's rather difficult to find enough students who are interested in a hard, math heavy college degree. Plus, the low level of math and science education in schools makes things extra difficult.

And - which is rather ironic in the context of this thread- it would require a college degree ;-)

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Such as what? Nobody is naming actual jobs.

 

My dad worked in a factory.  He learned on the job.  But guess what?  Manufacturing is nearly dead in the area he worked.  What has remained has become too high tech that people can no longer learn on the job. 

So where is that company telling people to get the training to be hirable for those positions?  What kind of training do they want?  

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Which touches on the issue a PP mentioned: female fertility, especially for women who want to pursue a post graduate education. It is not a coincidence that, the higher the educational level of the mom, the fewer kids she has. Not always out of choice. The biological clock is ticking and for many, it is a race against time.

People have to make choices and contrary to what we have been told we can't have it all.

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Just to follow up with what Faith said, sometimes it involves moving. My brother left an area where he had no future, went to another state, and had a job in a hot minute. He got training to go farther, and he makes enough money to live a quiet life and do what he wants (fish, raise snakes, etc.). Yes, I agree there are places where you basically have to LEAVE to find a job or make the life you want to live.

That is what I would do if I couldn't find a job. It is what many of our parents and grandparents did....left to go find jobs out west....

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Oh, there is a call. But it's rather difficult to find enough students who are interested in a hard, math heavy college degree. Plus, the low level of math and science education in schools makes things extra difficult.

And - which is rather ironic in the context of this thread- it would require a college degree ;-)

I have a very intelligent almost 14 yo. He is math bright....but I do not see him being ready to go off to university in 4 years. He can probably be an engineer....but he will need guidance and support and I doubt we will do it the traditional way.

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It takes money to move. And what about those who aren't particularly physically capable of grunt work? I wouldn't be a very good roofer's assistant. I'd make a lousy grave digger too. And it isn't because I don't like to work hard.

I am right there with you.....I couldn't dig ditches but I am almost 50. When I was 15 I spent a summer mowing lawns. When I was 17 I worked two jobs while a senior in high school.....one was in a nursing home laundry room. Then I waited tables for a few years. Those are good jobs for kids to have.

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It takes money to move. And what about those who aren't particularly physically capable of grunt work? I wouldn't be a very good roofer's assistant. I'd make a lousy grave digger too. And it isn't because I don't like to work hard.

My 22 year old nephew just "moved"...about a 1000 miles for a fresh start. It involved a bus ticket and job waiting for him. He sold his truck to make the move.

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The company he worked for isn't even in business anymore. Towards the end of his time there they offered to send him to some specialized training at tech schools. They have technical schools, community college programs, etc.

I don't mean one needs necessarily a 4 year university degree, but some sort of higher education.

This kind of training is what some kids need to be made aware of. They need options. Society is too busy telling every high schooler they are a failure without a degree from 4 year college that no one helps kids who can't do that.

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People have to make choices and contrary to what we have been told we can't have it all.

 

Which is why, at least for a girl interested in academia, it is a very sensible choice to start college right out of high school.

 

Look, nobody is debating that for SOME students, going to college later in life is beneficial. The contentious issue was the call to make this the default.

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I grew up with a good work ethic and a high school diploma (circa 1985). In my decade + of working before ds was born, I topped out at 3 jobs because I didn't have a degree. I had been promoted as high as I could go. 

 

I now live in the rural midwest. One company around here requires the secretary to have a BA, the secretary. Yes, admin is hard work, but most of it could be learned on the job with a person with skills and discipline. 

 

I'm a 46 year old college freshman because I want better job prospects than my high school diploma and self-education will get me. The reality is around here without at least a BA/BS you can't even get the interview for a job with some sort of advancement. I can't put my copious amounts of self-ed or Coursera courses on a resume, they would mean nothing to a potential employer. 

 

I don't think everyone should go to college, but the reality is my son may have to support a family one day. I'd like him to be able to afford to move out of the attic. Without a degree he probably couldn't afford to. 

 

Yes, people can return to college when they're older, reality is it's hard work and it's a lot more money than it used to be. Not always a viable option. 

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See I don't think so. At least in my area there are a lot of tech schools for anything you can think of. Anyone who doesn't know about them is probably beyond help anyway. Many of these places are also on the bus line and the bus fee is included in tuition. None of those places require more than graduating high school so you don't even necessarily need to be an awesome student or anything.

 

My sister went to school for medical assisting. She finished in a year. She was making three times as much as I was until I graduated from college. But hey not bad for such a short amount of training. And she was definitely a school hater. She is smart, but she hated school (in fact she has a GED because she dropped out). What would she have done otherwise though? Work at McDonald's making minimum wage? KWIM?

Maybe I have been hanging around WTM boards too long, but it feels like most people push college. Yes I totally agree kids probably need something. I am thinking ds could benefit by getting auto-cad certification while still in high school....he could support himself with it and decide if he wants to put the effort into engineering.

 

I am in a situation where I really need to go to work when ds gets launched.....maybe I need to look into some of those training programs!

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I have a very intelligent almost 14 yo. He is math bright....but I do not see him being ready to go off to university in 4 years. He can probably be an engineer....but he will need guidance and support and I doubt we will do it the traditional way.

 

What you are referring to, is taking a gap year or two, to mature, for those who need it. The other poster spoke about 25 as the minimum college-ready age for everyone. Two totally different things.

 

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What you are referring to, is taking a gap year or two, to mature, for those who need it. The other poster spoke about 25 as the minimum college-ready age for everyone. Two totally different things.

 

I went back and re read it.....you are right that she was saying it should be the norm to start college at 25.....I can see that 25 as an absolute may be too long to wait....but I think it is the rare 18 year old that is ready for college.

 

Also, I think it is important to help kids avoid getting I to debt while they are figuring out what to go to school for.

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I grew up with some family who had the attitude that higher education was for I dunno foo foo people. Like, "if what I did is good enough for me it's good enough for you". What a ridiculous attitude.

 

That might be the best path for your son, but don't short change him because you've been held down with a similar attitude that I'm having a tough time explaining. In other words, don't let an imaginary mental block stop him.

No, that isn't how I am feeling. I certainly wouldn't recommend my path to my son..educational or otherwise.

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.but I think it is the rare 18 year old that is ready for college.

 

 

but isn't that partly a direct consequence of a high school education and parenting that discourage independence and exploration?

So, could not a better approach be to foster young peoples' independence in their teens before college?

 

I see a striking contrast between how college students are viewed in the US vs in other countries. Here, we treat them as college kids, insist that they live in structured supervised dorm living environments, impose levels of "adult" supervision for, what are basically, adults themselves. I notice it even at the level at which the college itself coddles the students here, relieves them of responsibilities, mitigates shortcomings in initiative and adult work ethic, micromanages work load under the guise of "improving retention". In contrast, in other systems a student is expected to do the work throughout the semester without being rewarded with weekly points - simply because otherwise he will fail the final exam. That's treating adults like adults.

 

The typical high school in this country micromanages teenagers to an unbearable degree. The amount of rules and regulations is staggering. And it is not just schooling,but parenting as well. The prevailing norm seems to be that high schoolers have to be constantly supervised, have to travel with chaperones - whereas 15 and 16 year old European teens are traveling across Europe on their own and nobody bats an eyelash about it.

 

So, I am wondering whether part of the not-college-readiness is that the young people are so overprotected until it is pretty much time for college and whether giving them more freedom and more responsibilities earlier would not go a long way towards developing maturity.

 

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but isn't that partly a direct consequence of a high school education and parenting that discourage independence and exploration?

So, could not a better approach be to foster young peoples' independence in their teens before college?

 

I see a striking contrast between how college students are viewed in the US vs in other countries. Here, we treat them as college kids, insist that they live in structured supervised dorm living environments, impose levels of "adult" supervision for, what are basically, adults themselves. I notice it even at the level at which the college itself coddles the students here, relieves them of responsibilities, mitigates shortcomings in initiative and adult work ethic, micromanages work load under the guise of "improving retention". In contrast, in other systems a student is expected to do the work throughout the semester without being rewarded with weekly points - simply because otherwise he will fail the final exam. That's treating adults like adults.

 

The typical high school in this country micromanages teenagers to an unbearable degree. The amount of rules and regulations is staggering. And it is not just schooling,but parenting as well. The prevailing norm seems to be that high schoolers have to be constantly supervised, have to travel with chaperones - whereas 15 and 16 year old European teens are traveling across Europe on their own and nobody bats an eyelash about it.

 

So, I am wondering whether part of the not-college-readiness is that the young people are so overprotected until it is pretty much time for college and whether giving them more freedom and more responsibilities earlier would not go a long way towards developing maturity.

 

That is a pov worth considering. I would very much like to know how a parents gets a high schooler to be more independent. My son is an 8th grader....so I am almost upon those Hs years.

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Back in the '80's and '90's I taught in three corporate programs, one through a university and two through a community college. There were too many valuable employees without degrees--or certification for floor workers in one chemical company. Standards were changing decades ago in corporate America. Now a degree is seen as a basic hoop through which a potential employee must pass. Exception: the computer industry.  This is an area where bright young things can still create start ups.

 

Let me tell how hard it was for many of these guys (most of the students in these programs were male) to work 50 to 60 hours a week, do their school work and attend their kids' Little League games.  The one message they gave to their children was get a degree while you are young.

 

Granted, not everyone is four year college material. But where I live a number of technical jobs require a two year degree or a certificate. Some sort of post high school math class is often a requirement--even for a turf grass degree. 

 

With a high school diploma or a GED, people might find a job at a restaurant or a store.  Landscaping work is often seasonal.  Most high school graduates do not have the skill set to become a carpenter overnight but a builder might take someone on.  Want to fix cars?  You'll need training or some sort of certification.  It is the way the world is.

 

One of my son's friends quit college after a year.  We are not sure if it was a bad fit, if he was depressed, if someone should have read him the riot act. Not my call.  But I do know that this young man has had a heck of a time finding a job.  He has had seasonal restaurant work.  Otherwise he gets about fifteen hours a week. 

 

 

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That is a pov worth considering. I would very much like to know how a parents gets a high schooler to be more independent. My son is an 8th grader....so I am almost upon those Hs years.

 

One aspect is obviously the actual school work, where it differs how much a student is able to do without supervision, how well a student can already manage his time, etc. I try to involve my high schoolers in curriculum design and scheduling, leaving them as much freedom as possible while still making sure the necessary work gets accomplished.

 

I was, however, more thinking along the lines of other life aspects. For us, it was important to let DD do whatever she was able to do by herself, without stepping in and doing things for her she was capable of. This meant for example, that from the very first, she was solely in charge of everything related to her first college class she was formally enrolled in at age 14: all communications with the instructor, all time management. She was adamant about not wanting interference, and I admit it was a learning curve for me to let go of my need to check up and be involved. But having her do it all.by.herself was important for her growth.

Other things we did was to give her as much freedom of movement as we could safely allow, and to put her in charge of organizing her activities. When she was 12 years old, we let her use public transit across a city with half a million population in Germany - as all kids her age were expected to do. We did not feel the need to supervise her on a university campus as a young teen. She would get dropped off and picked up, she arranged to have lunch and study sessions with class mates. Now, as a 16 year old, we have just let her travel by car out of state for three days to visit a friend. (And  yes, that was difficult for me)

 

Some people will consider us crazy for what we allow our teens. We see it as a preparation for a young, almost adult, woman who, in half a year, will move across the country away to college and be on her own. To us, developing independence is a main objective of the later high school years.

 

ETA: It is a continuous process that starts way before high school. Lots of little things come to my mind. For example, since elementary age, my kids did not have a set bed time. They learned to self regulate. My DD does not have a curfew (except for the state law driving restriction between 1 and 5am). All things they won't have to rebel against when they move out, because they have those freedoms already.

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That is a pov worth considering. I would very much like to know how a parents gets a high schooler to be more independent. My son is an 8th grader....so I am almost upon those Hs years.

With the exception of my Aspie who's is still not even close to being ready to be independent at almost 22(sigh, he'll be 22 in a couple of weeks) all of my older kids have been more than ready to be independent by high school graduation. Financially, no, but they have been self-directed and completely w/o need for our assistance on anything regarding day to day life or decision making. (Actually, they are pretty much that way in 11th and 12th, too, to a slightly lesser degree)

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That is a pov worth considering. I would very much like to know how a parents gets a high schooler to be more independent. My son is an 8th grader....so I am almost upon those Hs years.

 

As Regentrude noted, give teens the freedom to be responsible and make decisions. 

 

One of the problems that some first year college students have is that they were never allowed to make decisions.  Suddenly they are plopped in a dorm and they don't know who they are as people.  It is an opportunity to rebel against strict parents or a lifestyle that they were never allowed to question.

 

As homeschoolers we can easily include our kids in their educational decisions.  Get their input on books to be read or community service projects.  Send them off on 4-H over nights or week long summer camps at colleges where they can live in a dorm and test the waters.  Then talk, talk, talk. 

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I have a very intelligent almost 14 yo. He is math bright....but I do not see him being ready to go off to university in 4 years. He can probably be an engineer....but he will need guidance and support and I doubt we will do it the traditional way.

 

I would focus on two things:  planting questions in his mind (talking) and helping him find the answers or at least suggesting where he might look for the answers.  You might start finding him that guidance sooner rather than later.  He's old enough to start thinking about these things.  If you know any engineers (of which there are many types), arrange a sit-down discussion with all of you, possibly many sit-down discussions over the high school years.  Talk with such people about the wide range of possibilities for the mathy mind (engineering isn't the only option) and what the paths might look like to get there, how those doors stay open and what is the most efficient way to get there from different starting points in time.  Such discussion, especially with people who are not you, may be not only instructive but also motivational.

 

My parents had no clue about choosing colleges and careers and offered zero guidance.  I just did it following an older sibling's example and fortunately it worked out, but it might not have.  It would have helped me to have had conversations with some adults with knowledge and information about higher education and various types of careers as I might have made slightly different choices or at least more-educated choices.  It's hard to make good choices without some information; the internet helps the motivated and curious but live examples could be really useful too.  The time to start digging into this is now, IMO, keeping all doors as open as possible.

 

In addition to the gradual releasing of responsibility for decisions, some of this may boil down to your own experience.  Just like coursework, I'd find a way to outsource what isn't within my experience, and that may include college guidance.

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