Thinking About My "College Bound" Children

As a parent of three children, one of whom is about to enter his senior year of high school, I continue to have concerns about what pathway is best for him to prepare for his life beyond the walls of an educational institution. While comments from people questioning the relevance of a college education are nothing new, there are more and more bleak stories highlighting the plight of college graduates who start their lives in tremendous debt.

Brittany Bronson touched upon this yesterday in an Op-Ed in the New York Times titled Long Odds in the Game of Life:

“…underemployment is a national phenomenon; as many as 22 million Americans fall into the category. Once considered a rite of passage, it now extends later into the average graduate’s working life, and the longer it lasts, the greater threat it poses. The more low-skill work we compile on our résumés, the less likely we are to convince employers we’re qualified for something else…For today’s college graduates, the path to underemployment begins early…”

 Add in this from Seth Godin today:

“Does a college degree confer the ability to choose, to open the door to find a way to matter?…The education system continues to head in one direction, but each day, more of those it proclaims it seeks to serve (students, parents, taxpayers) are realizing that the system ought to be doing something quite different. And differently.

With two more children following my son down the traditional pathway, I am wondering what the realistic alternatives are.  They have all grown up in a family where college is the expectation and older cousins have gone off and followed the “traditional” model.  I am struggling to find a balance to explain the reality to my oldest child in regards to the changing landscape of employment without being a major downer. In the past, it seemed college acceptance was always a huge reason for jubilation that would lead a conscientious student to some solid career opportunities. 

Now, who knows?

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