I agree that for many young people community college is the place to start. As a parent of two young adults I wholeheartedly agree and for a number of reasons.
The first and most obvious is cost. There is no way that I could pay for two children to attend college today, and I hated the thought of them being saddled with ridiculous student loans they would be paying off for the rest of their life! It didn’t make any sense to start adulthood in so much debt.
Unless a child knows exactly what he wants to study then what is the difference where the general classes are taken? Who will care if you got an Associates Degree at a local junior college? In the meantime, you may also want to consider that many of these young adults are also holding part-time jobs that are also giving them needed work experience. They are also learning valuable lessons about everyday life and being in the workforce and that is something that a college doesn’t teach.
As a parent we must also consider the child, and if he/she is mature enough for the rigors, independence and perseverence it takes to succeed at a university. To be sure it is an exciting experience for some children, but many are not ready and still need the guidance and support of their family and home. The first year my son was in college I had to help him with term papers, scheduling his classes, and preparing for tests. I don’t know how he would have managed had he been alone on a college campus.
My children have friends that started off in a University and either failed and returned home or it has taken them 5-6 years to complete their degree. Not to mention that they are having a difficult time securing good employment since they have no work experience. Whereas, my son has been attending junior college and also working. He now has customer service and sales skills to add to his resume. He already makes as much money as many working adults out there.
This fall he will begin an accelerated program to complete his degree. He lives at home, drives a nice car, and has money for his personal expenses and is happy. He also feels now that he has had the time to explore his career options and has a better idea of what he wants to do with his life. He looks forward to school and enjoys all his classes because he is allowed to pace himself and does not have to overwhelm himself to meet that graduation deadline. His grade point average is 3.5, something that was never possible for him in high school. Needless to say, he is proud of his achievement and so are we.
Granted, it has taken him a little longer, but he is completing his education one way or another and that is the key. Not to mention, he owes nothing for school and we all feel great about that! I believe that in the end we chose the correct direction for him and did not let the pressure of counselors, friends, or society lead him down the wrong path. For him, junior college was the smart road. Whether he graduates at 25 or 26, what does it really matter? Eventually, he will be the best candidate for the job. He will be mature, have had work experience and be ready to committ himself to a career of his choice.
Our only complaint is that living around a big city the classes fill up quickly and there are never enough time slots. I know that this also happens at Universities and I believe that this is another reason that children will be taking longer to graduate from college.
I believe that parents must step back and listen to their child. They are still young and deserve the opportunity to explore their options and must not be coerced by parents and society to attend a university when they may not feel adequate or ready. I have overheard too many conversations with my daughter and her friends at college who are lonely and scared, but do not want to disappoint their parents. College should not be a place where a child is lonely and upset. This is only a set up for failure. Schools will always be there and not all of us will do everything on societies schedule. Pay attention and really listen to your child. In the end, it is their life…not yours.