College For The Kids

vinniedelpino

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What's your take on college nowadays? I just had an interesting conversation with my financial planner about this. I have four kids, and I'm in the process of adopting a fifth. The adopted child is older and gets a free ride for being adopted out of foster care.

I have a fair bit of experience with undergrad and graduate schooling and I honestly don't see much value. I graduated at the top of my class, summa cum laude and was COMPLETELY useless to my first employer for about a year or two (public accounting.) I knew nothing that had any practical application and if left unsupervised I would have caused irreparable damage to clients.

Studying for the CPA actually helped a lot. Experience helped a lot more. College, as far as I'm concerned, was a massive waste of time and effort. It kills me when I hear liberals talk down the conservative base for being uneducated...

What's the game plan? I'd rather usher the kids into full time jobs right after high school, let them figure out what they want to do for four years and then give them the $100k to start a business or buy a house. Everyone I talk to thinks that's crazy.

On another note, why not more standardized licensing exams? If you know your stuff, who cares where you learned it? If you can pass the bar, why can't you practice as an attorney without seven years of college? If there's a case for income inequality, it's here. IMO, of course.

What say ye? Anyone out there with little ones that's mulling this over as well?
 
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THEIS

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    Hi,

    IIRC there are actually a few States that will allow you to practice law without all those years of college. I think you have to work under a licensed attorney and then take the bar.

    As per the concept of your post....

    The college vs no college really does come down to what they want to do in life.

    For example:
    If one of them likes to travel a lot...bypass the college and learn 3 languages. At that point they will always have work (Even if freelance translations for businesses) and most of their work will pay their travel expenses.
    If one of them wants to be a doctor...well they are going to have to go the college route.

    Sincerely,
    Theis
     

    hlee

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    There are many career fields that are necessary for our existence, fulfilling in their own right, and do not require a college education. I don't think that college is an either/or proposition.

    If you want to earn useful skills for a career, go to trade school. Don't fool yourself, medical school and law school are fancy trade schools. If you want to learn about the world, society, and generally expand your level of knowledge and understanding, go to university. Know that what you learn may be interesting, exciting, and fulfilling, but not applicable to a career. Yes, graduate education does (generally) require completion of an undergraduate degree. Most grad schools could also be considered trade schools. I had no concept of what "being a scientist" was when I exited undergrad, but I was fully ready to step into an industry lab (in my chosen field) and run upon completion of my dissertation.

    It is crazy to expect the average 18 year old to have a concept of what they want to do for a career. Their brains aren't even fully formed. It is only slightly less crazy to expect a 21 year old to know what they want to do for the rest of their working life. If you have the means, go to college. Don't declare a major until your Junior year- or until the university requires you to. Hammer out all of your core courses and take divergent electives. Take a public speaking course. Take a computer science course. Take an art course. Take an anthropology course. Take a chemistry course. Ask out your cute chem lab partner. Don't take linear algebra. Learn a foreign language. If you are at a university with a school of science, a business school, an engineering school, an architecture school, a liberal arts school, etc, you literally have the entire world at your disposal. By all means, go to class- you are paying for them- even the 8 am classes. Take a full load every semester and work a job- this should keep you out of the bars, mostly. Don't use student loans unless absolutely necessary. Go to "state school" for undergrad because they will let you fail. Take that education on how to succeed on your own merit and crush grad school anywhere in the country.

    Just remember that undergrad is not preparing you to be a doctor, or a lawyer, or a scientist, or whatever. It is preparing you to be a human in addition to your career choice.

    Well, that is my take on college.
     

    Shooter McGavin

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    I know that when I first went to college I had know idea what I wanted to do. Then I joined the Army. That actually helped a lot, gave me a sense of discipline that I need to finish getting my college degree. My kids on the other hand already know what they want to do in life. My daughter, who is 14, wants to be a veterinarian and she has done her research on how to go through the Army to get there. My son, age 12, wants to own a plumbing business after he gets out of the Army. Both have trust set up by their grandfather which requires that they graduate for college before they can receive the trust.

    For my daughter she has to go to college. My son not so much for what he wants to do, but to receive the trust he must go and graduate. I believe they will get more out of it after going through the Army because they will be more mature and be more disciplined.

    In todays world everyone is told that they must go to college, yet when they get out there are no jobs for them because the market is over saturated. Trade schools are a better route for someone who doesn't excel at higher education. That is not to say they aren't smart, but that may not be their cup of tea. I know a young rancher in my town who also does welding. He made $250,000 last year. He works his ass off. His teachers told him if he didn't go to college he would amount to nothing, he makes a lot more than they do and he is in his 20s.
     
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    Mister Ridge

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    28 year old undergrad here. In my opininon, college is overpriced and under useful. So is trade school but slightly less so. If I had the money to go to college, I wouldn't waste the time. Trade school maybe. Your idea sounds like it could be very positive for your children and I wish my parents had the same creativity and capability. I know if someone handed me the money to got to college right now, I'd rather spend it on a house. Of course, manh things could change by the time your children are adults.
     

    Srikaleak

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    I've spent 15 years in higher education and here's my experience.

    Years 1-4: Pre-med but ended up dropping out of the University (trying to become a doctor)
    Years 5-7: Paramedic school and worked as paramedic to see if I really wanted to become a doctor (I didn't)
    Years 8-9: Finished my degree at Uni and pivoted to another field (Health IT)
    Years 9-11: Ended up re-enrolling at another University for a completely separate degree that was more viable (Computer Science)
    Years 12-Today: Got a summer internship, knocked it out of the park, got a full-time offer and now working full-time while pursuing a master's degree.

    What I figured out the long and expensive way.
    • Don't jump into University unless you know what you want to do. University is too expensive to figure out what you want to become.
    • If you just want a job to get paid, look up the career fair and see what types of positions are hiring. Enroll in those degrees. Last 3 career fairs ~80% of jobs were tech related.
    • If you have an idea of what you want to do there are trade positions/entry level positions you can pursue to see if you really want to do it. Had I done Paramedic school straight out of high school I could have saved 6 years.
    • Networking in University is just as important as getting grades/learning the material. This is why Harvard is so sought after, the connections. Make sure your University has the connections as well as the credentials.
      • These are connections to companies / organizations / alumni that you may be interested in.
    • Definitely do community college for at least 1 year to knock out those "Core" courses like History, Gov't, basic math and science. You will save money and take those courses that aren't pertinent to your career.
    • Have some financial skin in the game. I probably would have dropped out sooner/pivoted faster if I was paying for University. My parents covered the the first 4 years and I didn't take it seriously. I then paid for myself during paramedic school and my second degree and my performance has been much better.
    I totally agree that what you learn in University is useless in the actual workforce. I gained so much actual skill in my first 6 months of work than I ever did in 3 years of school. But, University is supposed to help you develop critical thinking skills to become more effective at figuring out a solution, rather than just doing work.

    TL,DR: It's worth it if you know what you want to do and are self-driven. Take advantage of networking as well as knowledge, and go to a very good University.
     

    VA-Varminter

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    There are still many good colleges out there. Most are private and of course cost more, but they don't allow the liberal indoctrination woke bullshit.
    Other than that perhaps some military service up front wouldn't hurt. They get to mature and ripen before hitting 4-8 more years of schooling.
     
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    Greg Langelius *

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    I never spent a day in college, except to repair their IBM Electric Typewriters in the mid-1960's.

    What I did manage to do was to get access to the Library at Newark College of Engineering, (Now NJIT)

    My Career was in I/T, 1969-1999. I started as a delivery boy at the Prudential Home Office DP Services Department in Newark NJ, ended as an AVP at Merrill Lynch.

    College teaches you how to teach yourself.

    Make up your own goals based Lesson Plan, and who needs college?

    Greg
     
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    hollowoutadime

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    You need a degree for certain fields, like if you want to be an RN or an architect - or an employer might require it. It's also viewed by some employers as a sign the applicant didn't throw in the towel and stuck it out. Of course an EMT or electrician doesn't need a four year degree and they make good money. Put money away and give them the option. That's what we did. All have their bachelors, no debt, and most got the balance of their funds to put towards a house/wedding/etc. Give them options.
     

    mcameron

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    honestly it depends on what you want to do....

    i would not get a degree for the hell of getting a degree.....i would only go to college if it was necessary for your destined career path.

    also, i would no go to your chosen school for all 4 yrs...i would get the course schedule from the school i want to attend, then take as many classes as possible at a local community college. most college will let you transfer around 60-90 credits, that is more than enough to get all the basic classes out of the way.....English 101 and Calc 101 are exactly the same at Bum-fuck-community college as they are at Harvard.

    once i got all the basic classes done, i would transfer to my school of choice for all the specialized classes, your degree will still read "prestigious school XXXXX" but you will have saved a bunch of money by doing so.


    also, if your kids do decide to go to college, make sure they learn a trade as well.....most community/ vocational schools have programs in CNC operation or welding....its pretty easy to get certified.....Sure your kids may have goals of being a History Teacher, but if that doesnt work out, there arent many uses for a History degree, and theyll need a way to pay bills.
     
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    Maggot

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    I never spent a day in college, except to repair their IBM Electric Typewriters in the mid-1960's.

    What I did manage to do was to get access to the Library at Newark College of Engineering, (Now NJIT)

    My Career was in I/T, 1969-1999. I started as a delivery boy at the Prudential Home Office DP Services Department in Newark NJ, ended as an AVP at Merrill Lynch.


    College teaches you how to teach yourself.

    Make up your own goals based Lesson Plan, and who needs college?

    Greg
    Lots of good advice in all the above posts. Greg nailed with "College teaches you how to teach yourself.", or it can. I flunked out at 19, wasnt interested, wanted to drink beer and fuck rather than study. Put in a lot of years in construction, got hurt, and went back and got a BA. in philosophy at UVA. Worthless degreein the workplace but it taught me, or improved my skills massively, in critical thinking and how and where to find out what I wanted to know.

    Even if they KNOW what they want to do, Id recommend some time in the real world, work or military. Its sobering.

    University has its place. As a buddy put it to his daughter, "Its not where you go to school but whether you learn to think." That said, Some of the connections and experiences I had at a major revered University like UVA were virtually priceless. Unfortunately it seems to have turned into a liberal shithouse. I can only imagine what you are exposed to, for better or worse, at Harvard.
     

    Mattrmvpd

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    Send them to my school - Georgia Military College - have them do the Cadet program and the commission as a officer after 2 years and military pays them to go back and finish their 4 year degree. That and we do our education MUCH cheaper than any college while teaching core values of Duty/Honor/Country - Impeccable moral and character building.
    Just a thought...
     

    giegs

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    How old are your kids? I paid my own way on it and am just about to finish paying things off nearly 15 years later. Definitely a financial blow, but life wouldn't have shaped up how it did without getting my degree and there's value to that beyond just the education and what opportunities it opened up. It would have been great to have some sort of nest egg to ease that burden or go a completely different direction, but being a struggling poor kid wasn't without perks. Saving for your kids is good regardless of what they end up wanting to do with that savings as long as you're helping them evaluate their choices.

    The current state of colleges is generally pretty shit. They cost too much, admit too many people, and don't hold them to high enough standards or they're tech/vocational schools masquerading as universities. This is what imo results in a lot of the 'leftist' and 'right wing' college talk, dumb kids (and professors) being put in an environment where their dumb shit goes unchallenged by their peers and becomes normalized nonsense. Doesn't matter as long as that tuition money keeps coming in. There's nothing wrong with the professional/vocational approach either, but it can corrupt other parts of the institution and make the education they're offering less valuable. I've seen post-grad philosophy courses at prestigious universities required for MBA programs but not requiring philosophy pre-reqs to take them. You end up with the MBAs dumbing down the course for everyone just to tick a box and get their indoctrination furthered along. Same thing happens with some of the history courses I've seen.

    It probably doesn't play too well here, but I'm a big fan of a proper liberal arts education as distinct from a professional or technical education. The STEM circlejerk is good at creating well paid drones but not as good at creating well rounded thinkers. The less vocational parts of STEM are in the liberal arts anyway. Nothing wrong with that, but you lose a lot of value if STEM is the only focus and there's a lot to celebrate in a liberal arts education when it comes to being a good learner.

    I'm an advocate for national service opportunities that aren't necessarily military as a thing to do between high school and college. Go spend a year or two working on trail or fire crews or working in some community that needs help. There's lots of stuff going on around disaster recovery that can be pretty good. There's nothing quite like back breaking labor to help you sort out your priorities in life. Graduate high school, do something that has value beyond yourself, decide if further education is what you want and then what type.
     
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    vinniedelpino

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    You really think college teaches you to teach yourself? I didn't get that at all. I guess I already knew how to teach myself?

    I figured out early on that the key to doing well was not to try to rock the boat. I started out writing very high quality papers, but I usually disagreed with the overwhelmingly liberal point of view of the professor. This usually resulted in "B's." I switched it up, started writing shit papers that were in line with the professors views and sailed through my college career with straight "A's" with half the work. Maybe that's where I went wrong.

    My kids range from three to 12. That's a lot of coin for school. My financial planner (a good friend) is trying to get me to throw some money in 529s (which suck, at least here in NC) and the wife is giving me a hard time about my objections.

    Mattrmvpd's suggestion looks interesting. I'll definitely check on that.

    It kills me to drop hundreds of thousands of dollars to send my kids to get indoctrinated by commy professors that live inside the bubble of academia. On the other hand, I'm being portrayed as a bad parent if I don't. I think it's ridiculous. My biggest clients aren't college educated. They're mostly in trades or contracting, with a few Indian IT guys that went to school in India. Most of the self employed tradesmen do very well... moreso than the educated folks who work as employees in finance, healthcare etc (save for the doctors.) Add to that the fact that a lot of the white collar folks can't screw in a lightbulb on their own and it seems clear as day to me...

    If you have a very specific career in mind, college may be a necessary stepping stone. For an 18 year old that doesn't know his ass from his elbow, I just don't see the value. The way we blindly follow the status quo seems absurd to me.
     
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    kenny1773

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    Here is my take

    When my kids were born (literally the week of) I opened a 529 account for each one of them and put money in it. Every holiday/birthday/etc tax refund, bonus check, you name the reason I put more money in their accounts. $100 here and there and sometimes more.

    Fast forward to today, my older child will graduate from a state school with a bachelors degree this spring
    My youngest will start college in the fall of 2021

    Here was my plan. My oldest spent 2 years in the local community college and graduated with an associates
    The 4 year state college HAD to accept her at that point
    She has been doing great and will start her last semester this spring to obtain her bachelors

    Community college for 2 years (and she lived at home) cost me about $9000
    Her two years at the 4 year university are going to cost me $22,000 (she is able to live with her grandparents and attend)

    Total out for a 4 year degree from an extremely well known state school = $31,000

    My younger one *is* on the same path and I expect a similar cost and outcome.

    Did I have exactly $31000 in the 529 account at the time my older one started school? No, but I had enough that I could make it work out without it being too painful (cancelled vacations, continue to drive old cars), and she managed to get one $2000 scholarship that helped.


    I made the decision that my kids might want to go to college, and if I saved some over 18 years of their life it might not cover the whole cost. but it would help tremendously.

    IF my children knew at age 18 that they didn't want college and instead say wanted to be electricians or plumbers, that would have been fine too. You can take the money back out of a 529 and pay a penalty on the profits, but its a risk worth taking in my opinon.

    I also see that many resumes are scanned by HR systems and simply tossed if they don't include a college degree, so at the very least have your kid get a 2 year associates in general studies if nothing else.

    The extra time spent in school 'growing up' also helps even if the school didn't
     

    AlexeBerthiaume

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    I'm sending all my kids to trade schools: electrician, plumber and hvac.
    There's no point anymore in university, it's become over rated.
    Today's bachelor is yesterday's high school diploma.
    Career in finance with a bachelor? forget it, you won't go far.

    Trades get the cold hard cash week in, week out, without the back pain from sitting at a desk.
    anyhow, that's my take
     
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    ggmanning

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    Focused degree or graduate degree that provides immediate good paying job.....absolutely worth it. There are few of these and course of study must be chosen widely. Everything else useless. My kids were offered no expenses education by me......within the following:
    -state supported college
    -degrees with a specific job as the ending
    -finish in time or early or offer is off
    Trade schools, learn to run heavy equipment, welding etc,etc....far better choices than almost all degrees offered for return on investment and "worth it". Parents today give no real guidance and waste a ton of money on crap. I wouldn't pay for anything but a job focused degree and my kids were taught that college doesn't equal career unless you choose correctly.
     

    MinnesotaMulisha

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    I have a two year degree and I'm doing quite well.

    My wife started with an RN (Two year) but has since gone back and gotten a four year. She's also doing quite well.

    My kids have it beaten into their heads by the public school system that in order to make anything of themselves, they need a four year degree.

    I swear to Christ, public school teachers make commission on kids attending a public college or university.

    Anyways, everybody and their brother wants to send their kids to a four year college. I get it. You want to afford your kids better opportunities then you had.

    So do I. But $100,000 in debt is fucking retarded and unless Mom and Dad are footing the bill, that's reality for those kids.

    Go to trade school and learn to work with your hands and get dirty.

    If you're good at what you do, six figures in the trades is not that difficult provided you're willing to put in the time and effort.
     
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    WilburW

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    College is a piece of paper that shows the kid negotiated the system.
    My second child was not a great student. He was helped immensely by attending his first two years of college at the local community college. Class sizes were much smaller and more attentive, tuition was a fraction of the university. The guidance counselor set him up in a program that completed all his lower division required courses (algebra, english, etc.) with automatic acceptance as a Junior at the local University. It was an incredible money saver and valuable transition from structured high school to very unstructured university.

    Very few students need to spend $40k to sit in a room with 500 other freshman taking English class. No parent should waste $50k per year because their son/daughter wants to go to an out-of-state party school.

    Especially now, no need to drop big bucks on an overpriced University that will keep them locked-down in their dorm room. Keep them home where they can get the same college credits from the local community college on-line or in person.

    Not everyone needs college. Many will thrive and prosper learning a trade. Plumbers and electricians earn as much as many doctors, now. And without $500,000 education debt!
     

    Sean the Nailer

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    The first 3 years out of high-school are simply for the individual to start to learn about themselves. Now, I truly am an advocate of them having a 'part-time job' (doing whatever) while they ARE in school. Starting at around the grade 10/11 range. This way, they can learn about the value of money, their time, and their interest. Let alone what they potentially are good at and more importantly, NOT good at.

    So that they then can with greater understanding, at least see a trend or direction they wish to follow/pursue.

    School/education for the sake of sheepskin is ridiculous. But furthering/increasing one's education is something that nobody can take away from you. Best to learn what it is you want to learn about, instead of just throwing various random things such-as underwater basketweaving and pre-revolution french literature and who-gives-a-shit garbage such as that.

    Now, when I was in university, there were certain 'Arts' classes that were mandatory. I truly felt then, and still feel today, that they were simply indoctrination bullshit and it was WRONG to be forced to take such crap. This was MY time I was spending, and these were MY dollars that I was paying with..... who the hell are THEY to dictate that these bullshit 'ARTS' classes were required when my field of study was a Double-Major in Physics and Chemistry with a Minor in Biology.

    I felt then, as I still do to this day, that what I was studying was of a MUCH higher value AND need in my end goal, than this distracting bullshit that had NO value of any sort, on anything I was doing. Or planned to do.

    So, take that for what it's worth, and go forth and prosper.

    I'll add that none of my grandparents, nor my father graduated high school nor went to college or any other post graduate education. Some served in the Forces. None had the experience of a 'full job market' and there were more Help Wanted signs when they were young as opposed to today. So the times themselves, are different.

    It took a bit to explain this to them. The job market IS different, and therefore the candidates are more competitive because of it. Best to stack one's duds and grease one's skids to the best of their ability.

    Some of you are old enough to know what that means. :D

    And yes, I forgot to add that the Trades are truly the better venue for advancement/achievement. I got my Journeyman's ticket (with Red Seal) back in '95. I challenged Level I, then had the opportunity to attend schooling for Level's II, III, and IV all in one year. That was '93. Still had to finish putting in my time though, and got that done in early '95.

    Do I wish I could go back, and start all that 'earlier', sure. Did I know that at the time,,, no. Also didn't have ANY guidance/direction/assistance at all, as I was on my own to figure it all out.

    So, best advice I can give.... INCLUDE your children in what you're doing, AS WELL AS any friends that you have, to give them (the children) as much exposure to what-all is out there. Let them take a day or two off school, so that they can be at different jobs and/or jobsites and be involved in what is going on. Just so that they can actually see what happens out there in the real world, as opposed to the blithering crap that is on tv or in the social media drivel.

    Expose them to real-life stuff.... THAT would be a huge benefit, in the long run. Trust me on this.
     
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    shields shtr

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    What a great thread, and one that doesn't require a tinfoil hat to participate in. I have thought a lot about this, especially as a father. Personally, college didn't really work for me. Like a few have stated above, I had no clue what i wanted to do when I graduated high school, but college was sort of the default choice. I was a decent student in high school, scored above average on my ACT's, and could go to most colleges I applied to. I was an athlete in college, and that took up most of my time, but I had very little interest in any of the academics. Summing it all up, and being brutally honest, I probably just managed to piss away about 35k. The most I got out of my college experience was that I made some great, lifelong, friends. I never did graduate, and I ended up with a career in construction that has led to me being part owner of a consulting and management firm. I got to where I was at by working my way up through the ranks as my career progressed. I made a ton of sacrifices, and worked in some really shitty parts of the country in order to gain experience and knowledge. The culmination of all that hard work and sacrifice probably far exceeded what a college education in that field would have gotten me.

    For my kid, I am going to be extremely careful how I approach the whole message of college to her. This can be difficult, because the "system" is geared towards sending your kids to college. I could probably afford to send her to a state school, but I have a feeling she would have to take out some loans as well. This is where I feel the system is basically broken. The amount of money these kids have to borrow in order to get a job that pays them just enough to maybe have their student loans paid off by the time they retire is staggering. I know this from experience, as my wife is doing just that right now. In the most basic sense...it makes zero sense. In the meantime, I will squirrel away some funds if college is something my kid wants to do, but I am by no means counting on that as the only option.
     
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    Winningdog

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    Drilling consultant in the oil patch, average wage $1500.00 per day. Zero college required,
     

    Ballistic RPh

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    I don’t have kids and don’t plan to any time soon. But just keep this graph in mind when considering college. I went to a 6 year school and got a pharmD which will help me pay back my student loans in a reasonable amount of time (12ish years lol). The problem is, a significant number of people are graduating with the same amount of debt or more, and are not able to get jobs that pay a good enough wage to repay their loans and live a decent lifestyle. A lot of this is because of their choice of major. I know dozens of people who went to a liberal arts school or an expensive university in a large city to get the “college experience” and are now stuck with a 6 digit debt and a very small 5 digit income.

    My advice, if they want to go to college, try to nudge them into a career field that is more likely to provide a good lifestyle. Law, finance, comp sci, etc. Healthcare is still a good option for many fields. There are many nursing schools that offer a 3 year accelerated program. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners do very well too. Especially if they are specialists. For physicians, I would actively discourage my kids if I had them, from going to med school to become a hospitalist* or primary care provider. Their debt to income ratio is not great.
     

    kenny1773

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    The other comment I forgot to throw into my earlier post

    You as the parent will also have to deal with all the social nonsense that goes along with having a High School senior and not being in the contest of who is getting accepted by the better college. I couldn't believe the nonsense bragging parents were putting on about this.

    Your kid will also have to deal with teachers/counselors/etc at the school all helping them fill out their 4 year college applications

    My younger daughter is dealing with it well. She actually had the confidence to explain to her counselor how stupid it is to pay $80,000 to $120,000 + for a 4 year college when you can buy the same degree at a discount using a community college for the first two years. I also coached her to tell them all that she is paying for college herself and that this is the plan she worked out.

    They now leave her alone about the subject :) (yes she used the actual word stupid when explaining)

    Dealing with other kids and other parents and social media can be tougher if you are the kind of person that cares about that sort of stuff. I do understand all my kids friends are applying and receiving acceptance to this school or that school and its a big point of discussion and bragging. I just try to keep them focused on the long game and that once everyone goes off to college you will see half these kids bragging drop out and not to worry about it (i.e. see your older sisters friends, see how many got into great schools and have dropped out and how both them and their parents avoid talking about it)
     

    fmillik

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    I have 529 plans for my 3 kids (7, 4, and 2). You can always transfer beneficiaries if college wouldn’t make sense for your kids, or pay the penalty for other uses.

    If my kids looked like they didn’t want to do a STEM field, I would encourage them to go into a trade instead. They can read history or philosophy on their own time.

    My Wife (MD) and I (attorney) spent a long time in school, and I think you can use your time better from 18-21 as well. If college still makes sense, do it after you have been independent for a bit.
     
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    Franko

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    Certain schools are worth their obscene cost (Harvard, Stanford, USC, etc.) because the doors that the alumni network opens. Certain majors (medicine, finance, computer science, etc.) are worth it because the degree is in demand and pays well. The ironclad rule that most people fail to understand is "the juice has to be worth the squeeze". There are far too many kids overpaying for worthless degrees, but if you choose the right one it is worth every penny and then some.
     
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    TheGerman

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    Depends on what they go to college for.

    STEM with a degree in something not oversaturated or being phased out = Go for it.

    Anything else is a total waste of money that will only get them a useless degree, 200k in loans and a 30k/year starting salary if they even get a job.

    Trade schools/apprrenticeships in solid trades like plumbing, electrical (i.e. not how to cut tile and grout a fucking floor) have vastly more ROI on them, but be careful they don't go into something 'sexy' thats is oversaturated due to the growing housing bubble and then will disappear afterwards.

    I've been around long enough, with enough people to know that College does not equal intelligence. Some of the biggest fucking idiots I've ever encountered have multiple college degrees.
     

    Winningdog

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    The problem with trade schools ie plumbing, electric, carpentry, auto mechanic, HVAC, the part of the country they try to work in may be over run with illegals, that will do the same job for far less wage.
     

    vinniedelpino

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    Depends on what they go to college for.

    STEM with a degree in something not oversaturated or being phased out = Go for it.

    Anything else is a total waste of money that will only get them a useless degree, 200k in loans and a 30k/year starting salary if they even get a job.

    Trade schools/apprrenticeships in solid trades like plumbing, electrical (i.e. not how to cut tile and grout a fucking floor) have vastly more ROI on them, but be careful they don't go into something 'sexy' thats is oversaturated due to the growing housing bubble and then will disappear afterwards.

    I've been around long enough, with enough people to know that College does not equal intelligence. Some of the biggest fucking idiots I've ever encountered have multiple college degrees.
    Amen to that. If they're pursuing engineering/math/sciences/medicine I don't have a problem with that. If one of my kids tries to major in non-binary gender studies (God forbid) or something stupid like that I'm out. Not on my dime.

    I'm thinking this...

    If they choose a program that yields (on average) an acceptable return on investment by my standards I'll pay for tuition. No room and board. Any classes dropped, failed or not required for the degree are on them.

    If they work in lieu of college, I'll give them what I would have spent as a down payment on a house. If one of them enlists, they get the down payment and I leave them my firearms collection when I'm gone... which should be massive at the rate I'm going right now.

    I think that's fair.
     

    vinniedelpino

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    The problem with trade schools ie plumbing, electric, carpentry, auto mechanic, HVAC, the part of the country they try to work in may be over run with illegals, that will do the same job for far less wage.
    Not here in NC! You can't pay an illegal as an employee, and NC imposes a withholding tax on foreign contractors that's a huge pain in the ass for businesses to deal with. It makes it virtually impossible to run NC withholding taxes through payroll software. If an employer gets caught for not withholding from these contractors, they're on the hook for the balance plus penalties and interest. It's a huge pain in the ass to deal with, so most of the decent sized contractors won't even bother dealing with them.

    Illegals might get some small residential jobs, but they're not much of a threat to American tradesmen.
     

    Winningdog

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    Not here in NC! You can't pay an illegal as an employee, and NC imposes a withholding tax on foreign contractors that's a huge pain in the ass for businesses to deal with. It makes it virtually impossible to run NC withholding taxes through payroll software. If an employer gets caught for not withholding from these contractors, they're on the hook for the balance plus penalties and interest. It's a huge pain in the ass to deal with, so most of the decent sized contractors won't even bother dealing with them.

    Illegals might get some small residential jobs, but they're not much of a threat to American tradesmen.
    That's not the story in West Texas.
     

    hlee

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    Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkk. Every house being built in Texas is being built entirely with illegal labor. You may not be able to legally hire them, but that doesn't stop it one bit. Pay them with a check at the end of the week, knowing that they can't get a bank account. Then, cash their check for them- for a nominal fee. Fixtures and flooring might be done by tax paying employees, but the structure, facade, and paint is done by illegals.
     
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    vinniedelpino

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    Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkk. Every house being built in Texas is being built entirely with illegal labor. You may not be able to legally hire them, but that doesn't stop it one bit. Pay them with a check at the end of the week, knowing that they can't get a bank account. Then, cash their check for them- for a nominal fee. Fixtures and flooring might be done by tax paying employees, but the structure, facade, and paint is done by illegals.
    Damn. I'd be yelling "LA MIGRA!" at the top of my lungs every time I drove by a construction site. Hopefully the illegals will scatter and half a days production would be lost. Good luck with that.
     

    theLBC

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    my daughter recently got her masters, and we didn't have to go into huge debt.
    she took as many AP courses in high school as she could, and that helped.
    she also worked, and didn't spend student loan money on starbucks, eating out, and spring break like lots of idiots.

    i would still tend to recommend college for folk that don't have a decent trade picked out, because so many places require some kind of degree, even if it doesn't apply to the position, sales for example.
     
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    The D

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    Edit: dammit, I didn’t time this right. This is supposed to be a response to theLBC’s post

    My wife went through a nurse practitioner graduate program several years ago and we didn’t take out any loans. She worked while going through the program and we saved money to pay for the next semester
     
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    vinniedelpino

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    The OP says “I knew nothing that had any practical application and if left unsupervised I would have caused irreparable damage to clients. Studying for the CPA actually helped a lot. Experience helped a lot more.“. But also suggests that the game plan could be ushering uneducated, inexperienced kids into full time jobs for them to figure it out and then giving them $100k for a business or a house. That doesn’t follow for me.

    That doesn't make sense to me either. I wouldn't want them to "figure it out." Not entirely anyway. I would want them to learn under the mentorship of someone with actual experience in their chosen profession while earning a paycheck and simultaneously providing value to their employer. One of my biggest issues with my college experience is that there was zero practical application of what was taught in the classroom. Everything was conceptual, and little of what was learned applied in the real world. I spent years studying without ever seeing or understanding how all the moving parts worked together. My education also covered an incredibly broad range of material I'll never use. I'd liken it a body of water a mile wide and an inch deep. I'd much rather have an education an inch wide and a mile deep that's restricted to material that's actually relevant to my profession. It's awesome that I can have an intelligent conversation with corporate attorneys, big four auditors and banking execs, but it's just not worth what I paid for it. In my opinion, of course. I'm not knocking college grads. I am one. So's my wife, my brother, my sister etc.

    But also suggests that the game plan could be ushering uneducated, inexperienced kids into full time jobs for them to figure it out and then giving them $100k for a business or a house. That doesn’t follow for me.

    I wouldn't hand them $100k either. I'd wait however long it took for them to become proficient at what they do, after several years and maybe a few promotions. I'd buy $100k worth of primers at todays prices before I handed and 18 year old six figures. One of the reasons I'm contemplating this idea stems from my observations in my line of work. Raising startup capital is one of the biggest road blocks to starting a successful business, and self employed individuals are far more likely to create lasting wealth than individuals who are employed by others throughout their career. This is just an observation I've made filing about 10,000 corporate and personal tax returns for clients from every walk of life, tax bracket, profession and region throughout the United States and abroad. I'd prefer my children to work for themselves at some point and I'd like to facilitate that if possible. Based on my observations, this is generally a better investment than a college education. For most professions anyway. Since going out on my own, I've just about doubled my income each year.

    Straight to the workforce is a fine plan but those jobs won’t have an abundance of responsibility or pay...because you have no experience and you are an untested child in the eyes of the 40 year old doing the hiring. The thing that helped the OP, in his own words, was education and experience. So, straight to work? Sure, but expect to be underpaid, overworked and disrespected (if only in your own eyes) until you have some experience and some more education and more maturity.

    That's kind of the point. Everyone starts out with no experience, and they are essentially untested children regardless of whether or not they graduated with an undergraduate degree. Four more years and a diploma doesn't make you an adult. I WANT them to be underpaid and overworked. That's part of paying your dues. It builds character, motivates you to improve your current situation and fosters appreciation for what you have when you get where you want to be. The sense of entitlement I'm seeing from recent grads is.... unappealing to me.

    Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't think this approach is that outrageous. Is it really so appalling that it's discouraging you from hanging around the bear pit? Especially with all the other crazy shit going on here? It might be a little unconventional, but is it so outrageous as to not warrant a discussion?
     

    flyfisher117

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    Why, When discussing college expenses, is the first figure thrown out $80,000-$100,000? I know some schools cost that but not all of them.

    I spent 5 years on my 4 year degree. I got a job out of school and paid off my loans within a year of graduating. My now fiancee also spent 5 years on her 4 year and walked out with about $20k in debt. Neither of us went to a community college. We went to state Universities the whole time. She worked during the school year I did not.
     

    vinniedelpino

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    Why, When discussing college expenses, is the first figure thrown out $80,000-$100,000? I know some schools cost that but not all of them.

    I spent 5 years on my 4 year degree. I got a job out of school and paid off my loans within a year of graduating. My now fiancee also spent 5 years on her 4 year and walked out with about $20k in debt. Neither of us went to a community college. We went to state Universities the whole time. She worked during the school year I did not.
    College didn't cost me $100k either, maybe $20k total. That's just what we decided to invest in each child. I did my associates through the local community college and my bachelors through a state school too.
     

    theLBC

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    Edit: dammit, I didn’t time this right. This is supposed to be a response to theLBC’s post

    My wife went through a nurse practitioner graduate program several years ago and we didn’t take out any loans. She worked while going through the program and we saved money to pay for the next semester
    we had saved for her college, and she wouldn't have needed any loans except she decided to get her masters up in uc davis.
    i am just glad she got accepted into the program she wanted, because her 2nd choice was at a much more expensive private university.
    she has a few thousand to pay off, but i plan on paying it off for her.

    she had just submiited her thesis over the summer, but is already working and making decent money.
     
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    Snipe260

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    I have a kid that’s freshman now. My advice to him is to get a degree where you can make minimum 175,000 or go learn a trade and work for a living.
     

    The D

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    My wife’s brother is the exact opposite and a great example of going through school without a well thought out plan

    He went to an art school in San Francisco and didn’t work, or very little at least, while he was there. Thankfully he is great at what he chose to go to school for and makes really good money. He needs it because he had over $150,000 in debt when he graduated
     

    chevy_man

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    Depends.

    I make more money than anyone I graduated high school with. Most of them have bachelor's, I have an associate's/trade and have been an electrician for almost 15 years. Knowing what I know now, that associates was as good as tossing $25k into the trash.

    Some jobs require it. I have to deal with idiots that have been educated into stupidity.

    I'd encourage the minimal schooling possible and look towards experience.

    It's been crammed down our throats and pushes the communist agenda. It's easy to say you need it when you used it yourself. It's also easy to say it's worthless when you've never used any of it.

    Some of you older guys would puke if you sat through some of the classes today. It's hardly an education when even the stem classes are political and the proofs are so hard left it's sickening.
     

    OREGUN

    Duff Man says “oh yeah”!
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    My comment about the bear pit was that this is too much thinking. Can’t we talk about why Harris bipods suck, or something?

    I don’t think your idea about investing in your kids in ways other than college is appalling at all. More parents should have a plan, in my opinion.

    I went to an out of state college and borrowed a little more than I should have. My parents had no plan and no money. Their explicit and implicit messaging was that I would go to college. That was it.

    I really like what @seanthenailer, @giegs, @hlee, @theLBC and others have said.

    My education was largely a mile wide and an inch deep as well. I did have to do internships every summer that gave me some practical application, though. My guess is that colleges have always struggled with how to expose students to application....it’s why forestry schools have test forests and why you can’t become a PA without working under a doctor’s supervision in every conceivable clinical setting prior to certification. Classrooms are great for thinking about systems but not for learning to manipulate those systems, at speed, to maximize organizational goals. So, yeah, if you can get into a job that will take you in the direction you want to go without paying for education...why not?

    Some careers are probably better for self employment than others. I could take my education and experience and go out on my own. However, it would take a miracle to recreate the financial security, earning potential and time surplus I have now. Not a slim chance, not a possibility...a miracle...and all of my time. It’s completely not worth it to me. I’m more risk averse than that. So, for every tax return you do, how many failed startups do you not see? I’m not saying it’s a bad idea but for some people the risk isn’t worth it inside the parameters of their chosen career.

    I agree about entitlement. I managed to pick up that message from my parents; that I would roll out of any undergraduate degree program into a high paying, mid-career type job. Jeez, that first ten years after college were a rough surprise as my new wife and I struggled to make $40k between us, kept having to fund more education and do jobs that sucked and couldn’t afford to buy a house or save much or have nice cars, go out to eat much or definitely not save for retirement. Paying your dues sucks and teaches you what’s important. And really can’t be avoided whether you go to college or not. I really don’t think there’s much that can be done about inexperienced, immature employees being pretty much useless for awhile without regard to education.

    On that note...my kids are a perfect example...I was about half way through that ten years of bullshit when my kids were born. So they don’t remember the budget discussions, the extra jobs worked, the terrible rental houses, the old ass cars. Not that we live rich now but it’s a lot easier. I think some of that entitlement comes from being born into mid-career earning power and not having anyone explain that regardless of the degree it might be a few years before you are buying a vacation home...or whatever.


    Some ideas for your kids:

    My uncle paid for my cousins’ first four years of college under the proviso that they would work for four years in the career field that his money had paid for. One cousin studied English and education and then taught English for four years before going off to China to be an English teaching missionary. The other studied Journalism and then worked at the local newspaper for several years while establishing himself as a youth minister...which became his full time gig. So, Uncle got his money’s worth and ultimately their family’s strong evangelical values were as big, or bigger, an influence on the kids’ career paths.

    My father in law, a high-school to retirement blue collar worker, offered his kids his number at the local if they wanted it...they would have been second-tier, semi-employees until he retired at which time they would become full-fledged, card carrying union employees through no qualification other than having been his kid. Knowing that it was unlikely that any of his daughters would do that, he offered to pay the cost of in-state, state school tuition for them to go to college. If they wanted to go out of state or to a private school, it was on them get the money and no one, he or the kids, would be borrowing any money.

    One thing that is good about college is that it does provide a semi-supervised, intermediate step between, what for most students is the supervision of high school, and the freedom of adulthood. It’s a pre-planned, semi-subsidized, survival-needs-are-met, kind of intermediate step before you’re totally on your own. What’s that worth?

    $100k worth of primers at today’s prices...let’s see, that’s four boxes of 210Ms.

    Cheers