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Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 10:41 AM   #1
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Kids & College

I'd like to hear opinions on sending kids to college. I wanted to go and didn't get to. Obligations on the family farm kept me home, and I when I didn't get to take it over, I went to work at a local business and ended up buying it. Financially, it has worked out well for me. I wouldn't recommend it to my kids though.

Not having a college degree I see that many doors are closed, where others with a degree will see them open. If a job requires an MBA, it's not a big deal to someone with a BA to obtain while still working. For someone else, it's nearly impossible. Plus the knowlege and social connections made in college can't be measured.

My question is this. Are you making your kids go to college and if so, are you paying for some, most or all of it ?

Before I had kids I made a vow that I would save enough for each one to pay for a 4 year education at a state school. I have a 10 & 12 year old and anticipate a cost of $80,000 each, and I'm right on track to have it available for them.

The 12 year old has to study to get a B average, but he has a tremendous work ethic. He wants to be a heavy equipment operator. I tell him he sure can, as soon as he finishes college, then he grumbles.

The 10 year old is a straight A student, but isn't as ambitious about work. She's looking forward to college.

I'd like to hear how others have done and what you would suggest. Thank you.
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 10:57 AM   #2
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Re: Kids & College

There is no perfect answer so far in advance. My older boy went off to college and didn't do well. Came back and went to community college and eventually got his BA amd a MA (now has a job, wife & our 2 grandchildren ). Younger son is a senior in HS. I expect he will go off to a state school. Going away from home seems like the right thing for him. I went away to school and loved it. You never know what athletic, academic and financial based assistance is available. I stopped putting money in my sons EdIRA some years ago and just started saving for generic purposes. I told my son I would pay at least 1/3 of ANY school he got into, since he did not get into Stanford or CALTECH I think I can cover over 50% if I need to.
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 11:09 AM   #3
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Re: Kids & College

I plan to pay for 1/2 of my kids college tuition, and they pay the other 1/2 so they have a "horse in the race". This may run afoul if they don't actually want to go to school...

My parents paid for most of my tuition and books, which was "cheap". Just over $2k per semester when I graduated, for tuition. They didn't pay for the last year when I started slacking, and said I could pick up the tab. Which was the right thing to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empty Pockets

The 12 year old has to study to get a B average, but he has a tremendous work ethic. He wants to be a heavy equipment operator. I tell him he sure can, as soon as he finishes college, then he grumbles.
You're doing the right thing. I look at 30-50 yr. old equipt. operators when they are working 60-70+ hr. weeks pushing topsoil for weeks at a time. Perhaps the boy sees all the glory and none of the boredom. There's a wide range from sitting in a dozer/blade moving material for days/weeks on end, to making a pick with crane once a day, on a union scale and being done after 8 hours. Tunnel boring machines, to concrete plant operators. Just make sure the boy has a solid foundation in something marketable and you've done all you can.

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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 11:09 AM   #4
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Re: Kids & College

We did not make our daughter go to college. We encouraged her to go, though (not so much for a career, as for her own personal desire for knowledge). She wanted to go to a local college, and was admitted. We paid $500/month (about half, in those days) towards her living expenses, plus tuition and books, and she worked part time as the projectionist at a local movie theater for the other half. She shared an apartment with her best girlfriend, about 3 blocks from our house (but it was HER place, which she loved).

In her case, we felt that she was overly sheltered and more lacking in maturity and responsibility than others her age, and working part time while living "away from home" really helped her in that respect. It worked. She gained a lot of maturity, and she made straight A's in college.



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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 11:28 AM   #5
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Re: Kids & College

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empty Pockets
My question is this. Are you making your kids go to college and if so, are you paying for some, most or all of it ?
Our kid sees college as her only escape from her parents. She's very motivated.

We've put enough money aside for a full ride at UH and most of a ride at most anywhere else. (Today's teen choice is a school of under 5000 students with a good mechanical engineering program and a ROTC unit.) We've told her that if she scores a scholarship there will be profit-sharing.

If she graduates from a military academy then that profit-sharing promise will definitely be used against us. But if she doesn't move back in with us then it's worth it!
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 11:47 AM   #6
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Re: Kids & College

I am one of 5 children. None of us got any help for college. Two of us had enough motivation to make a go of it ourselves. We worked while in school and managed to get degrees. The two of us are now the most financially successful. So, in our family, there was a correlation. My youngest brother is now 26 and is trying to go back to school to better his opportunities. It is difficult because he has to work full time due to financial obligations. I can't help but wonder if the money was available to them, would the other 3 have had more of a desire to go to college? My feeling is that I owe it to my children to at least get them a start on life by offering to pay what I can for 4 years of college. We are on track to make that happen for them. After that, they must make their own choices, but at least they get a good start in life.
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 11:58 AM   #7
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Re: Kids & College

I got away with not going, but for a serious job today its a huge hurdle to overcome. I suppose if the kid doesnt know what they want to go to school for and is aimless job-wise, it has less value. But I think i'd still encourage gabe to get into a general studies program at one of the universities of california and i'd pay his tuition and basic expenses to raise the encouragement a little more.

Its probably cheaper than supporting a deadbeat adult child and then having them vulching around you in your old age, checking your last will for how much they're going to get after you're gone
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 12:12 PM   #8
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Re: Kids & College

My stepsons dd wanted to be a hair stylist, he and his wife insisted she go to college and take some business courses and then if she still wanted to be a stylist she could go to school for that but have the knowledge to manage/own a salon. This was also a way to get her out on her own, they also insisted she stay at the school. Fast forward 3 years, she's loving college and has dropped the dream of being a stylist and is persuing a degree in accounting. They have paid for her schooling and feel that's their way of giving her a start in life. The ds is a different story and is following his own path but we have no doubts he'll be sucessful.
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 12:34 PM   #9
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Re: Kids & College

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empty Pockets
My question is this. Are you making your kids go to college and if so, are you paying for some, most or all of it ?
Luckily my kids want to go to college. So I did not have to force them.

I would have used everything in my power to make them go. If all things failed, I would resort to threatening (disown). I guess the only time college shouldn't be encouraged is when the kid is incapable of handling that task.
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 01:43 PM   #10
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Re: Kids & College

I am not planning to save specifically for my son's education. For starters, we are following by way of "Unconditional Parenting" and "Unschooling."

So with that in mind, if he wants to pursue conventional paths of education and employment then that's fine. However, I suspect he'll grow up learning the knowledge and skills he needs to succeed in anything he choose to do, regardless of whether he has a degree.

I also would never try to force or coerce my child to go to college. For me, it isn't about whether or not my son "is educated" or "experience" but rather, that he lives a happy and healthy life doing what he enjoys and loves.

If he has an itch to get a college education, then he will. If he has the itch to become really wealthy, he'll find a way (which may include a college education and/or MBA), and if he has an itch to be a surfer and work part-time while boarding the rest of the day, he'll find a way.

That all said, I would find a way to help financially support my son in any educational endeavors he may have, while simultaneously fostering his own sense of autonomy and encouraging him to also be fiscally responsible.
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 01:54 PM   #11
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Re: Kids & College

Peaceful_Warrior,

Not in anyway challenging your thinking. Just wonder if you would share some of your beliefs.

I believe that younger adults are not capable of knowing what's good or bad for them. By the time, they reach that level of understanding (in the 30's, imo), they might not be able to change thing, or not have enough time to change.

What's yours?
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 01:57 PM   #12
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Re: Kids & College

my two sisters and i all went to college - none of us use our degrees although i probably got the most out of the experience itself.

one sister is now in four more years of art school (she has a BA alreadY) for interior design, the other has a degree in psych worked in HR and is now a make up artist...

i think the moral of the story is - college or not, help cultivate your kids' interests so they are aware of the expansive array of job/career options in the world.

our family only stressed good grades and go to a good college l - doctor, lawyer or engineer and we spent much of our adult lives going doh! other friends of ours also were pushed into pursuing business or econ degrees - there are so many other cool jobs out there that we could have considered...

we got a good bit of financial aid (CA Cal grants), our parents helped with some expenses, but we also all got a share of loans that we are paying to cover the rest...(about $15-20k each)... there is some stat about how much quicker a kid can accumulate assets if they have less/no school loan burden (i know a bit obvious, but hey)...
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 02:35 PM   #13
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Re: Kids & College

Thanks for the responses so far, please keep them coming. Not going to college has had mixed results for me. I believe it has encouraged me to work harder in my business knowing that I don't have any other option to turn to. I have to try harder.

However, not having a degree has seriously limited my mobility. Ask the HR dept. at any major employer and they have two doors. One for degree holders and another for the rest. Kind of like Officers and Enlisted in the military service. There have been many jobs that I know I could handle, but in bold letters on the job description are the words "College Degree Required".

Some other real world examples I can think of are: David Weaton was a world class tennis player, and an excellent coach. He was helping coach at the University of MN and doing a fine job, but he couldn't even apply to be the head coach because he doesn't have a degree.

I have a friend who has been a corporate pilot for 20 years flying jets around the world. He has thousands of spotless hours on his record and is called on by plane manufacturers for input in their new jets. He has flight departments all over the country that want to hire him. I asked if he'd ever considered flying for an airline and he told me " I wanted to but Northwest won't accept an applicant without a 4 year degree". This only drove him harder.

I don't mean to take anything away from a college degree, I wish I had one. But I have also seen college graduates expect the world to fall at their feet when they pull out their degree. If you could combine the degree with the drive...then you'd really have something.

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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 02:39 PM   #14
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Re: Kids & College

Hi Sam,

Whether or not you are challenging my beliefs doesn't matter to me since I don't take it personally. In fact, I thoroughly enjoy open-minded discussions about differing values and beliefs.

When my wife first suggested the idea of "Unschooling" I thought she was smoking crack. My primary concern as a father was ensuring my child would be enabled to succeed in our society, and I felt that not going to school... and not even homeschooling... would be seriously detrimental to our child's development.

However, as I learned more and read more about Unschooling, I came to see how it was actually exactly what I was looking for. I joined several mailing lists and read many websites to help me gain insight before I came back and told her that I would support that new educational direction with our future children.

For example, we don't teach children how to walk or talk. They learn these things because they want to become mobile and they want to communicate with us.

The same can be true of anything. If a child wants to learn to read (maybe because Mommy and Daddy read to them every night), then they will learn. Some children learn to read spontaneously without any teaching, while others (also unschooled) may be taught in a non-worksheet kind of way.

For example, driving down the street and pointing out letters and signs a child can learn the basics of reading and language. Or while reading a book simply asking, "Do you know what letter/word that is?" There's also plenty of child-oriented DVDs that are enjoyable for children... so they can learn many things that way.

The same is true of math. Say your child enjoys trains. A great way to teach math is by having trains and tracks... so an Unschooler finds what interests a child, and then creatively finds ways to integrate important skills within those interests. However, an unschooling parent also waits until the child takes interest in those things rather than pushing it onto the child.

Ultimately, this helps children ultimately enjoy learning and encourages them to learn through experience and finding their own answers.

So when it comes to college, if my son wants to go to college then we'll sit down and see how he can meet the requirements for admittance. There are plenty of Unschooled children who have gone to college, and many colleges are now trying specifically to target homeschooled children (which also includes unschoolers inadvertently) because they have found that homeschooled children tend to be, as a whole, very successful at Universities.

Many older unschooled children will openly admit that their education has "holes" in it. They may not know geography very well, or another one might not know history (whereas another may be a history whiz), but what they all seem to have in common is the ability to learn and succeed at whatever they want.

Children know what they want to be happy; however, a lot of time adults project onto those children what WE think they need to be happy. And therefore, we set them up to know what WE think is good/bad for them, and they progressively forget what they already know makes them happy.

I am no exception. I was raised very traditionally, and my parents said as long as I went to college they would pay for it and I could live at home rent-free. I did that, got through in 5 1/2 years, got myself a $60k job right off the bat and it's been smooth sailing ever since. Basically, they told me what they thought was good/bad for me, and I listened and turned out just fine.

However, just because I turned out fine doesn't mean I agree that the same is best for my own son.

Everything I learned about my career I learned through on-the-job experience or personal experience. My education was, honestly, almost completely worthless to me in most ways other than the fact that it is on my resume. That said, the way my jobs went I didn't have a degree and was already doing well, and that paved the way for the rest of my career. I believe I could have done everything I have without a college education.

I think if you do some in-depth reading about "Unschooling" you might find some interesting things. At the very least, you may find some valuable tools to integrate into your own methods of child-rearing.

Really at its core, unschooling says we should encourage our children to be happy and learn through doing things that interest them, and through that that they will have a lifetime love of learning that enables them to succeed in anything they choose.

For me, I don't care what my son does for a career as long as he is happy. If that is a minimum wage job until he dies, then so be it. And if that is an Executive VP / CEO of a major corporation, then he'll still have the tools he needs and the confidence to pursue anything his heart desires.

Now for "Unconditional Parenting" that's a whole other ballgame, though related, probably not well suited in conjunction with this post.
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 02:43 PM   #15
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Re: Kids & College

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empty Pockets
Kind of like Officers and Enlisted in the military service.
I spent almost eight years at military training commands, where the enlisted instructors wanted to be stationed because college had become one of their top priorities. Many of them joined the military because they weren't ready for college or couldn't afford college or, at the time, couldn't focus on getting good grades. But after training and a few years of sea duty, to say nothing of combat, college no longer seemed like a big scary hairball.

In a department of 50 instructors it wasn't unusual for 8-10 of them to finish their bachelor's degrees every year. With that many potential students you could even prevail upon the college to send the instructor to your building. (One year the college instructor was also one of our military instructors.) Of those annual graduates, 4-5 of them would apply for an officer program and maybe one of them would try for their master's degree.

The rest would try to accomplish something even more difficult than getting a college degree or being an officer-- getting promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer...
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 02:49 PM   #16
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Re: Kids & College

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peaceful_Warrior
My primary concern as a father was ensuring my child would be enabled to succeed in our society, and I felt that not going to school... and not even homeschooling... would be seriously detrimental to our child's development.
Of the dozen or so homeschoolers I've known so far, including half a dozen unschoolers, they've all chased down their GED and used it to pursue a college degree.

They all agree that sitting in a classroom studying English verbs ("Because it's Tuesday!") sucks when many of them have already written their own manuscripts & plays. Same with history & math & financial skills. But some of them feel that they've "missed out" on the school experience, others see it as the requirement for certification (medicine or education or engineering), and others are just too darn competitive to resist the challenge. Most of them are finishing a bachelor's in three years or less.

So unless your kid is headed to take over the family business in a couple decades, I'd bet there's a better-than-50% chance he'll want to go to college. You'll have to ask what the homeschooling hui in your area is seeing.
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 02:59 PM   #17
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Re: Kids & College

I couldn't agree more. Part of the Unschooling for us is ensuring that we continue to encourage our child to learn in the ways that interest them the most. And that may mean that they go to public/private school, maybe go to college, trade school, or whatever else.

Basically, I'm not opposed to public schooling. I just am not going to go that way unless its what our child chooses. Also, as part of Unschooling / Unconditional Parenting, if our child does want to go to school then we have decided that we won't praise/punish for grades, nor will we make our child go to school on any given day.

In that way, we are applying the unschooling principles to school as well. In that way, it's a lot like when I turned 18 and my Dad said, "Son - if you move out, you wouldn't have a curfew. So now that you're 18, you don't have a curfew even while living at home."

Seems obvious and makes sense, but basically with education it's the same thing. "I wouldn't give you grades, and I wouldn't make you sit at worksheets or stay in a certain place while you learn something, so if you choose to go to school I won't expect those things from you there either."

For me it really is about letting them do what they want, where they learn the best, and trust that they know what is best long-term for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Of the dozen or so homeschoolers I've known so far, including half a dozen unschoolers, they've all chased down their GED and used it to pursue a college degree.

They all agree that sitting in a classroom studying English verbs ("Because it's Tuesday!") sucks when many of them have already written their own manuscripts & plays. Same with history & math & financial skills. But some of them feel that they've "missed out" on the school experience, others see it as the requirement for certification (medicine or education or engineering), and others are just too darn competitive to resist the challenge. Most of them are finishing a bachelor's in three years or less.

So unless your kid is headed to take over the family business in a couple decades, I'd bet there's a better-than-50% chance he'll want to go to college. You'll have to ask what the homeschooling hui in your area is seeing.
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 03:06 PM   #18
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Re: Kids & College

Quote:
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For me it really is about letting them do what they want, where they learn the best, and trust that they know what is best long-term for them.
We'll have to check back on that philosophy during the teen years!
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 03:07 PM   #19
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Re: Kids & College

Peaceful_Warrior, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
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Re: Kids & College
Old 02-12-2007, 03:09 PM   #20
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Re: Kids & College

We're not forcing our kids to go to college, but we have raised them with the unspoken expectation that they would. So far DD#1 is a sophomore in a state university, and DD#2 is a sophomore in high school with a 4+ GPA who wants to attend Stanford. DS is in 6th grade and has expressed the desire to be a homeless person because they don't have to work and don't have to pay taxes. : We will pay for the first 4 years of college. If it takes longer for the BS/BA, then they have to find alternate funding.
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