Seriously, that’s exactly what my Aunt said. No pause. No holding back. Being in your 80’s gives you the right to speak your mind. You’ve seen more of life than most people and the consequences that go along with it. She talks with people all of the time. Neighbors, relatives, the person at the grocery store checkout, the barista at the local coffee shop. She has seen the result of “stupid degrees” for decades.
So this is my effort to honor that request.
(Although for my clients, that doesn’t seem to be a problem. I tend to attract families whose kids are high achievers headed for engineering or business, and such.)
Three decades ago, only 30% of the population attended college. Today that statistic has flipped. 70% attend college.
The following is my opinion. You don’t have to agree with it.
The statistic flopped because society was told, “You must have a college degree to be successful in life.” (Which we know is false.) If you think about that statistic, with the number of college students more than doubling, colleges had to come up with new, enticing, ideas for degree programs. They only had so many engineering and architecture seats and professors. And not everyone is a good fit for that.
But how do you help your teen make the right decision for themselves?
For some kids the answer is obvious.
They’ve always had a bent for x. It’s in their DNA. For others it may not be as obvious. But even when it is obvious, that still may not be the best “career” choice. (I was singing on stage from the time I was 6 years old. But that’s a tough career choice.)
When mentoring your teens toward their life career, and how to educate them with that in mind, you must consider this.:
(1) While it’s nice to be trained in your passions and the things that light you up… is there a job associated with that? Will they need two additional jobs just to stay afloat? Will they be one of the tens of thousands of college educated baristas? Is a degree even necessary for that passion or are you blowing $300,000 on an underwater basketweaving degree?
I’m not saying this is bad. I’m saying be prepared.
Not to say that you have to give up the “thing”. No. You can do the thing as your fun activity or weekend or evening gig. (I continued to sing on stages from a young age as my weekend fun passion, and only retired from the stage at age 55.)
Also it’s not uncommon to get the degree in your passion field but when it’s a J-O-B it’s not FUN anymore bc it’s a lot more than what you thought. (It requires “math” which you hate. Or “science” which you have trouble memorizing.)
(2) So you’ve got an idea of the “what”, but maybe you’re thinking what is the least amount of formal education required to do the thing. Ok. I can respect that. (Let’s get into the world of work and start making a living.) Except… what is REALLY required or expected as the education to be employable? In pretty much any field, all other things being equal such as level of experience, the higher educated applicant will win every time. I’m not saying to get your PhD or even your masters for everything. What I am saying is, do your homework!
Will a certificate be enough? What employment is available with that alone? Can you live on that?
BS vs BA?
There are some fields where a bachelors isn’t gonna cut it. At. All. No way. No how.
Now let’s talk “high school” requirements. This is where you come in.
Most traditional high schools won’t let you get away without the minimum courses for graduation. If you’re homeschooling that should tell you something. The school system doesn’t care if you’re headed directly to work, trade school, or college. There are subjects needed to get by in life. You need a basic understanding of algebra to cut or multiply a recipe, geometry and physics to be a good driver, biology to communicate well with your doctor.
Even taking the GED (which I do not recommend for several reasons) requires some minimal proficiency.
Many trades require some minimal level of algebra and geometry understanding. Heck-today the “tools of the trade” are much more than a hammer and screwdriver. The tools used today are electronic and computerized. You should have some clue about them.
You’re not doing your kid any favors by skipping the basics. (And I can’t tell you the number of kids whom everyone thought was preparing for trade school, at the last moment decided he wanted to go to college.)
Why am I mentioning this? Because twice today I’ve seen parents ask what minimum education their kid needs for x career. Or the kid doesn’t like math or science, and says he’s had enough history. 🤦🏼♀️(We’re talking about a 13/14 year old.)
Your job is to raise adults who can function in society, contribute, and live on their own.
You’re not gonna like/love everything you are required to do in life. (Laundry, for example!😂)
Some things you have to do like it or not. Get over it!
These are life lessons. Lessons your teens need to learn NOW while the consequences are minimal while living under your roof.
Be the Parent!