The Value of College

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Dear Dr. Darcy:

I’m going into my senior year of high school and my parents are really having a hard time with the fact that I’m not going to college. They are suddenly putting so much pressure on me and they don’t want to hear my reasons for not going. I don’t want to go to college because I don’t know anyone with a college degree that uses what they were taught in college. They just come out insanely in debt and most don’t even have jobs in their major.  They have jobs like the one I have and I didn’t go to college and don’t have debt. I’d probably waste more than 5 years because who knows if I can even finish in 5. Can you please give me some advice so that I can make my parents understand that things aren’t the way they used to be?

ANSWER

Things aren’t the way they used to be and I can see why you’re hesitant to invest in a degree that no longer guarantees you a job in your chosen field. There are, however, some affordable colleges that won’t leave you with a mortgage sans house on graduation day. And there are some legitimate reasons to consider going even though you may not use the information taught in classes.

There’s something to be said for setting a long-term goal, navigating the challenges that are bound to present along the way, tolerating the frustration of setbacks – and achieving that goal. The skills that you will learn just from beginning college and continuing through graduation will, in and of themselves, serve you throughout your life. Those skills will form the foundation of your work ethic which is something you’ll need in any discipline or profession. College is so much more than what you learn in class – and it’s an opportunity to grow and mature for another 4 years (or more) before you have to enter the workforce with the full responsibilities of an adult.

I think you’re worried that you won’t be able to handle college or that you’ll be on the 5+ year plan. Did you know that 53% of US college students take 6 years to graduate? I didn’t make that up. Click here for the source. Did you know that it took me 5 ½ years? My high school grades were so poor that I had to complete my first year of college for no credit just to make up for the basic high school classes that I never took. No one ever asks me how long it took me to graduate from college. And no one will ever ask you. You owe it to yourself to deeply consider this before making a decision. Email me and we’ll schedule an hour to talk on Skype or Facetime – no charge. That way you’ll be able to tell your parents that you actually met with a shrink before making your final decision.

Writer’s Stats: Male, Straight.