Jan 242019

My son is in his junior year of high school; the time when teenagers are looking at colleges, taking SATs, and thinking about their future.  Teachers, parents, and grandparent expect that their kids will go to college, but let’s be honest…. college isn’t for everyone. Somehow that gets forgotten.  Don’t get me wrong…I value education. I am halfway through my Master of Science in Nursing program. I wish my son wanted to go to college, but he doesn’t….and that’s okay.

I have always stressed the value of an education to him, whether it be college or a trade school.  We spent time talking about how you have to have a marketable skill. How a job making minimum wage is not enough to support himself on.  Do I wish he had this overwhelming desire to be a doctor? Of course, but he doesn’t.

Unfortunately for him, his high school doesn’t seem ok with it.  He has to research colleges and write papers on them. Some classes are spent going to school sponsored college fairs.  It was stressing him out to the point that he was afraid to tell me that he didn’t want to go to college, and I am not okay with that.  I never want him to be afraid to tell me something.

We talked about it and we looked at his options together.  We looked at some trade programs and made plans to attend some open houses and talk to admissions there.  We talked about how people entering the trades are so necessary now. With more kids going to college, less and less are entering the trades.    He seemed so relieved. I also made sure that he understood that he still always has the option of going to college later if he chooses. After all, look at me….it took me 18 years after becoming a nurse to go back for my Bachelors degree. It made me so sad to see how truly stressed this made him.  It was like a weight had been lifted once he told me. I never want him to feel like he is a disappointing me.

With more than 40% of college graduates taking positions after college that do not require a degree and more than 1 out of 5 college graduates working in a job not requiring a degree after 10 years, trade programs are a viable option.  Most are significantly less expensive and are much shorter programs, letting students enter into the workforce earlier. We have all needed a plumber, electrician, or mechanic at some point in our life. While college is a great option for many, it is not the only option.  We need to teach kids this……not to think that they are less or won’t succeed in life because they choose not to go to college.

So no, my son isn’t going to college.  And that’s okay.


About Rachel

My name is Rachel and I'm the single mom of a 14 year old boy. I am a Registered Nurse nurse caring for our nation's veterans. I'm a amateur photographer and a self-proclaimed "adventurer"; I am always looking for for free and inexpensive ways to enjoy life.

  24 Responses to “College Bound…..Or Not?”

  1. I totally agree! College is not for everyone and we need more students going into trade schools and learning trades. When I was searching for someone to do some remodeling on my house, I had the hardest time finding a contractor.

  2. I love this post. College has become an institution that seemingly leaves no room for debate. The thing is, college isn’t for everyone. There’s no point in wasting money on something a person won’t complete if it isn’t for them.

  3. Yup, I agree, it’s a personal choice. Right now my son is saying he’ll probably go to a community college, which is also fine with me. He might only do the 2 years, get his associate’s, and be done with it. He’s never been big on school.

  4. Seems like a long time ago our last was heading off to college. I also realize that not all kids are cut out for college and do better going to a trade school.

  5. I agree that college isn’t for everyone. I love that he has an idea in mind. Your advice about going to college later was what I did. I graduated with my BA in education when I was 30. I had a doctorate by 50. The right thing for me to do was to wait, and really know, what I wanted to do with my life.

  6. College isn’t for everyone, and sometimes students just need a few years to figure out what they are interested in doing. It is great for students to have time to think about it.

  7. totally agree with this my friend- my best friend did not go to college and he’s doing just fine- its all on what they want to do themselves and are happy with!

  8. I always say “to each their own”. I’m hoping my child will go to college because I think he will get what he needs in order to live but in the end it’s going to be up to him and what he wants to do. I think you are a great mother for supporting your son and whatever he wants.

  9. It’s okay. College isn’t the path for everyone and that’s okay. I applaud you for allowing your child to make the choice that’s right for them.

  10. College isn’t for everyone. I graduated with a degree in Computer Science and really never worked with that degree and ended up using it for a SAH job. He should really check into all his options

  11. I agree 100% it’s not for everyone. Great post!

  12. College isn’t for everyone. It’s a waste of money and time for a kid who isn’t really invested in college to go.

  13. This is such a good way to look at things, I think we don’t always understand that people learn different and being out there doing it is often for some better than being in a classroom.

  14. I’m so with you on the idea that college is not for everyone and pushed down kid’s throats. We need people in the trades and really I could go on and on about this topic.

  15. I have very mixed feelings about college. I went, racked up a ton of money in student loan debt, and I’m not even using my degree.

  16. That’s completely ok! I hate that his school is pushing it on him and making him write papers about it?? College isn’t for everyone and teachers should realize that as well.

  17. How lucky he is to have that weight off his shoulders already! My son was a freshman in college, but just decided to withdraw and now he’s trying to figure out his next steps. I’m a late bloomer myself, so I’m glad to see he’s saving money and taking the time to figure out what is right for him.

  18. Definitely right it not for everyone. Maybe they have time to think more about what they should want.

  19. I totally agree, college is not for everyone. My son isn’t very fond of school so we told him that he could just find something he would love to do and then learn it and he can do it without going through rigorous college stuff.

  20. My son is still a sophomore so he still has two years to decide whether he wants to go to college or not. But whatever he chooses, we’re here to support him because I agree, college is not for everyone.

  21. Our school tells us to push the college agenda on kids too. It can stress them out because like you said, it’s great for some right out of high school, but not for all.

  22. Trade schools are a great investment for folks who know they’re not college-bound. Technical skills and trades are needed more than ever.

  23. If he can find a job then college is needed. Everything depends on his likes, if he changes mind in future he can always go to college.

  24. I totally agree and as a teacher, I believe that we need to teach to students skills. I wasn’t ready for college out of high school and it took me going in the Navy to figure out what I wanted to do.

    Also, I think the trades are great. They make more money than I do.