3 Reasons to Not Send Your Son to College

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A while ago, there was a blog post that was circulating the social media world about how girls don’t belong in college. It was titled 6 Reasons to NOT Send Your Daughter to College and it’s by Raylan Alleman. Then, there was a response from Rachel Miller (news editor for The Aquila Report) on the question of whether or not it’s wrong to send young women to college. Rachel has written some really cool stuff that I enthusiastically agree with (Google “Rachel Miller Aquila Report” and you’ll see what I mean). Of course, the whole idea that a woman shouldn’t go to college is kind of ridiculous, and the article that advocates it doesn’t really give good reasons and overall, Rachel gives a good answer. But I want to get away from the whole notion of going to college as a necessary activity for young people and, instead of responding for why women SHOULD go to college (which they should certainly have that freedom if they want), I want to talk about good reasons for anyone to skip college. Sons included.

1. College is expensive

This is one of the reasons Raylan lists for why women shouldn’t go to college. While I disagree with his premise that girls shouldn’t go to college because they’re girls, it’s actually a really valid reason for anyone to skip out. College is expensive. Like, really, really expensive. In a world where a degree is worth less and less, it’s not always in the best economic interests of students to subject themselves to a mountain of student debt. For your son who needs to provide for a family someday, an apprenticeship or self-education might be a better option, and avoiding that $27,000 of average student debt may be a wise decision. Of course, a degree is still a requirement for many jobs so college may be unavoidable for some, but the high price tag is enough to give anyone pause.

2. College extends adolescence

Rachel talks about how college is like real life with training wheels, and is a good place to learn how to own your faith. While this has elements of truth, I think there is a larger culture of “college as an extension of high school.” You have 4 years where you’re largely free from the responsibilities of adult life. The typical college student might be living on campus, is funded by student loans, maybe has a student job, and whose primary responsibility is homework. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that, the culture of college still treats you like an adolescent that constantly needs to be reminded to be an adult. It’s no surprise that many people push off important decisions like marriage until they’re almost 30 ( 28.9 for men, to be exact) when we have a culture that treats you like you’re a kid until you’re 25. College life leaves a lot to be desired in terms of actually preparing you for the “real world”.

3. College and education are not synonymous

My biggest beef with college has always been that it’s not necessarily the best place to get an education. Education is really important and is absolutely necessary to be a well-adjusted member of society. It opens up tons of opportunities and is the best indicator of social mobility. But college in the last few years has been less about education and apparently more about social engineering or raising tuition (at least that’s how it feels). I question the effectiveness of general education requirements (read: thief of time and money) and the semester system in general. If you can educate yourself better by reading books on your own or working under an expert, then why go to college? Better yourself through education, but realize that college may not be where you get that education. Especially if you get $27k in debt from the experience.

That’s all I have for now. It’s a little difficult to respond to Raylan’s article that seriously lists the danger of parents using contraception as a reason for daughters not to go to college, but I agree with the idea that college may not be a wise choice for everyone. Rachel makes the case for college so check out her blog as well at Daughter of the Reformation. 

What do you think? Is college the greatest thing since sliced bread or an expensive scam? 

Why Going to College is Ridiculous for Most People

Ok, so the title is inflammatory and over the top and may not necessarily be true. Maybe I should call it, “Why College Needs to Be Rethought by Just About Everybody” or “College: The Fast Fading Frontier.” The point is that many of us need to take a good hard look about whether or not college is actually the right choice.

And why is that?

Because of this. I could really end this blog right here, because that’s enough reason for anyone to second guess the traditional college path. You have to pay a fortune for that education and the fact is, there are so many other things that money could go towards.

Society tells us that a college education is necessary to get a good job and succeed in life. Cultural pressures push us towards going to college, getting a degree, and landing a good paying job. But at what cost are we to pursue such a thing? Average student debt is somewhere between $24,000 and $26,000 per borrower (Source). That can take years to pay off depending on the economy, your ability to get a good paying job, and your willingness to put off other economic goals (such as marriage or buying a home. In fact, the National Association of Realtors reports that, ” In 2011, first-time home buyers, with a median age of 31, fell to the smallest percentage of total home purchasers since 2006 (Source).”)

Don’t get me wrong; it’s extremely important to get an education because your opportunities in life are very limited if you don’t have a working knowledge of the world around you. Education sharpens and develops your skills. But education doesn’t necessarily happen in the classroom, and it’s time to challenge the mantra that going to college is the most effective, most efficient use of your time and money.

If you’re going to college, you really need to make a choice: are you going to get an education so you can be a well-rounded individual with a background in liberal arts? Or do you want to get a job? If the answer is, “get a job,” then you’re probably better suited by skipping the college scene and getting some experience in “the real world.” Aside from doctors, lawyers, and the majority of science and mathematics majors, college can end up being a massive waste of time. (Especially since you’re forced to spend time on that notorious thief of time and treasure we call “general education requirements”.)

As you can clearly see, I’m tremendously biased against what I see as an archaic institution that’s outrageously expensive and designed to equip a generation of the past. That being said, in the spirit of disclaimers, I am working towards a degree using an online program called CollegePlus, whereby I skip the bureaucracy, reduce the time, and cut the cost. I do so only because I have been blessed by God to be able to work through paying for such a degree out of my own pocket. If I wasn’t so blessed, I would forget the degree altogether.

What are your thoughts? Am I too harsh? Not harsh enough?

Knowledge Ignites.

School vs. Education: Round 1

In the past few weeks, I’ve thought a whole lot about the whole “college vs. work experience” conundrum. While it is a valid discussion, I want to boil down the argument even further in order to challenge the basic assumptions of our culture. Namely, our attitude towards education and particularly college. I call it the “school vs. education” dilemma.

Definitions

We need to define some terms. Google defines school as “an institution for education children.” College is defined as “an educational establishment, one providing higher education or specialized professional or vocational training.” School means the establishment of learning; the brick and mortar institutions where you go to supposedly get your education. (Note: I’m applying this specifically to the college level; K-12 may apply on a different level, but it’s not my focus.) “School” is this attitude of, “You need to get educated; therefore, you should spend four years of your life sitting in a classroom learning about things that may or may not relate to your area of interest.”

How does it differ from “education”? Education can most certainly happen within the context of the collegiate environment. But it’s really so much more than that. Education is defined by Google as “The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction”. This really leaves the door open to a lot of things that don’t really fit into the traditional mold of what ‘education’ is. There is an attitude in our culture that says education happens exclusively, or best, in school (read: college). I find this view limiting and somewhat naive. It’s a one-size-fits-all mentality that is applied to the educational process, and because it has largely worked rather well in the past, we accept it tacitly without critically thinking about what it is we’re accepting.

What does school have to do with education?

I’ve often said that after I get my college degree, I plan on going about the business of getting an education. That is to say, that I largely consider what I am learning in school to be secondary or even tertiary compared to what I actually want to learn (or what I consider actually useful for my career). In other words, school isn’t teaching me what I want to learn. That has become a bigger and bigger problem as it has become apparent that the education system in America isn’t as great as it used to be. [Interesting statistics about how much our education system sucks]. The whole concept of “General Education” is a completely meaningless waste of time, a point I will drive home in another post.

Our culture expects us to go through college, get our degree, and then settle into a nice career. But this blind insistence on college is really a disservice to many in the educational system. A major is not necessary for many jobs and in most cases, the things you learn on the job are not things you learn in school anyway. You need to be properly educated to do quality work in your field, but the education that matters most doesn’t come in the classroom. It comes through experience.

We said that education is the process of giving or receiving systematic instruction. Learning skills on the job is education; just not the academic kind. And in many ways, it’s much more useful, more current, and more fun. The educational establishment, like many establishments, is slow to change. Attitudes become ingrained into the fiber of the institution and it’s hard for those attitudes to change. For this reason, much of college and education is pretty outdated.

When I was investigating whether or not to do a political science degree or a business degree, what I kept hearing from politicos “in the field” was that what I would learn in a political science class would be about 20 years behind what’s actually happening in the field. How many establishment colleges are offering a class that focuses on social media and the changing political environment? Not many, although there are some. But even then, what you learn at the start of the semester is outdated by the end. You need to learn these things “on the job”.

So Is It Worth It?

Education is worth it. But for a lot of young people, college is not the place to get that education. Sure, you should be a well-rounded citizen and know your history and literature. That education should be completed by the time you get to college, notwithstanding, but I digress. College does not prepare you for the workforce. It prepares you to pass a test and please a professor. Some of those skills are transferable to the workforce, but many of them aren’t.

So why are we spending so much money on this? I’ll discuss that in Round 2 of School vs. Education.

Much of this is still undeveloped in my mind. Feel free to add your thoughts.

SDG.