If you asked most parents whether they should encourage their child to go to college or not, most people would say definitely yes. Education is so important and everybody wants their kids to have good job prospects so they can earn good money, nobody wants to see their child in a bad financial position when they’re older. But is college always the best choice? In the last decade or so, more people than ever have started going to college which is great, but there are downsides. A degree isn’t worth quite as much as it used to be because more people have them and there are also a lot of people that go to college because that’s what’s expected, not because it’s the best thing for them. Then there’s the cost to consider because college is so expensive these days and if your kids are taking out loans, they’re going to be paying them off for a long time to come. Some parents might be able to afford to help their kids out but a lot of people can’t, and even if you can, it’s going to put you in a very difficult financial position later in life. That’s why it’s important that you speak to your kids and let them know that they should think about it carefully before they decide to go to college.
Most people don’t know what they want to do when they finish high school but they may have some idea about their future career. If they have a career in mind and it requires a degree, then college is the obvious choice. But a lot of career paths don’t require you to have a degree and you might be better off taking a different route which isn’t going to cost as much and might not take as long. If your kids are starting to make decisions about their future and they’re not sure whether college is the right choice for them, here are some of their other options.
For a lot of people, the college lifestyle is a big part of the experience and moving to a different city and living on their own for the first time is just as valuable as the degree they get at the end of it. But some people don’t like the idea of it at all so, even though they want to get a degree to further their career prospects, they’re put off by the idea of college. If your child feels the same way, it might be worth thinking about online college instead. Online colleges have become a lot more popular in recent years and they offer a wide range of courses. If they study online @ Aston and other similar online colleges, it’s a lot more flexible. Your kids can continue to live at home if that’s what they want to do, so they’ll save themselves a lot of money. They can also complete the courses in their own time which means they’re free to work more hours alongside their studies to help pay for it. It’s a great option for people that aren’t interested in the college lifestyle and want a more flexible and affordable way of getting a degree.
So many people don’t even consider the idea of community college because it doesn’t have the same prestige as a traditional 4 year college but there are actually a lot of benefits and for some people, it’s a far better choice. The most obvious benefit of a community college is the cost. On average, you’re paying $300 for every hour of teaching at a normal college, at a community college, it’s only around $60. A lot of community colleges will offer free tuition to high school graduates with a good GPA so your kids might not have to pay at all if they perform well enough. It’s also good for people that don’t want to leave home yet because they can just attend a local community college.
The other major benefit of community college is that it’s possible to earn an associate’s degree in just 2 years. This is important because a lot of employers are starting to focus more on potential than qualifications and most of the fastest growing jobs only require an associate’s degree rather than a bachelor’s degree. That means that 2 years of community college might be enough for your kids to pursue the career that they’re interested in, and the financial burden will be tiny compared to what it would be if they spent 4 years at a traditional college.
Blue collar jobs have a bit of a bad name because we’re pushing more kids into college and telling them that it’s the only way to get a good job, but that simply isn’t true. There are plenty of people that work in the trades and earn a good living doing something that they enjoy. Some people are well suited to office jobs, but other people are far more comfortable doing something more practical. The other benefit of working a job in the trades like welding, carpentry or painting is that you can’t easily have your job outsourced. If you work in an office, it’s easy for a company to pay somebody halfway around the world to do it for half the price, but you can’t outsource practical jobs. Learning a trade also gives your kids the opportunity to start their own business in the future when they’ve got a bit more experience so they can be more independent and make more money than a lot of people that went to a 4 year college.
Learning a trade is also a lot quicker and easier than doing 4 years of college. Some vocations will require them to do a 2 year associates degree at a community college but a lot of them don’t even require that. Instead, it just takes a single year at a trade school to get qualified. In recent years, people have lost interest in these jobs because we have a misguided view of people that work in the trades and consider them successful, which means there are a lot of positions out there for people that have the right training.
Entry Level Jobs
Education isn’t always the best route for everybody and sometimes, it’s best to just get an entry level job. If your child is undecided about what they want to do, they don’t have to make these decisions right away. There’s no sense in going to college for the sake of it because they don’t know what they want to do. A lot of people benefit from working for a year or two while they decide what they want to do long term. They can earn a bit of money and get some work experience while they think about whether college is right for them or not. If they do eventually decide that they want to go to college, they can have a bit of money saved up
In some industries, there is a lot of upward movement within companies. If your child wants to pursue a career in one of these industries, there might not be any need to go to college at all. If they start out with an entry level job instead and prove themselves, they could quickly get promoted and move towards their eventual career goals. In the 4 years that they would have spent at college, they can progress a long way and they’ll be earning a good wage without having to deal with the financial burden of college.
If your child is interested in a creative career like writing or music, college might not always be the best way to go. While there are some great courses out there that will help them to develop their skills, it’s very difficult to break into a creative career and sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. It’s important that they think about whether they’re willing to spend 4 years at college and put themselves in a lot of debt without knowing whether they’ll definitely have a career at the end of it.
There are other routes into creative careers and they don’t necessarily need to get a formal college education to be a success, a lot of people don’t. Instead, they might be better off finding a job that can support them while they pursue their creative passion in their own spare time. They may also be able to find jobs that are somewhat related to their creative field which will allow them to network with people in the industry and improve their chances of a successful career.
For some people, college is the right choice because they’re looking at a career that requires them to have a degree. But there are a lot of career paths where a degree isn’t necessary and there are alternatives that are cheaper and won’t take as long. Before you advise your kids to go to college, it’s important that you think about their other options.