#110 How to Know if College is Still Worth It Transcript


Lisa Marker Robbins  00:00

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal explained why Americans have lost faith in the value of college. It brought up things like the rising cost of college and changing job market demands as reasons to why Americans after three generations where everybody assumed they would go to college, or most did, many now don’t see the point and going to college. This has many of the families that I work with that are in the college bound journey stage, asking how in the world can they know If college is really worth it? I’m Lisa, Mark Robins. And I want to welcome you to a solo episode of College and Career Clarity, a flourish coaching production. So as we really talk about how you can know, If college is worth it for your teen, I first of all want to tell you take it one kiddo at a time, what might work for one of your children, if you have more than one may not work for all. As a matter of fact, many of my regular listeners know I have three children and two bonus kids. And they all have taken very different paths to the jobs that they’re now in, and they’re all aged 22 to 32 and are doing well and are in jobs that are aligned to them. So college for some of my then teens were not was not necessarily going to be worth it. And for others it was. So let’s look at this. Yes, the cost of college is rising, I went to college in the 1980s. And I grew up thinking that there really wasn’t another path open to me. My dad was a first generation college graduate, and my mom did not go to college, my parents placed a value on that college education. And from elementary school, it was just assumed that I would go to college. And part of why we don’t just assume that now with our kids is the cost of college. College, as the article stated, has increased in cost by 180%. From the time that I went to college in the 1980s, to when my own children were heading to college in 2016, and 2020. So it’s expensive. And like all things that are a major investment, we should be good stewards of the money that we have in wise consumers. And think before we spend as a matter of fact, the average cost of attendance for a student who lives on campus at a public four state institution is $26,000 per year. And I’m going to tell you, I paid a little bit more than that. My daughter is graduating in April of this is 2024. As a matter of fact, I just made my last college tuition payment, all my kids will be finished. My youngest is graduating, and I just made that payment in December, there is no feeling like that to know that, hey, I saved Well, we made the decisions that were right for each student. And we’re at the finish line on paying for college. So if that average is over 26 is 26,000 On average, and I paid more than a little bit more than that. You’re looking at a $100,000 investment. If your student chooses to attend an in state public institution, I’m actually getting ready to also record an upcoming podcast on myth busting around in state versus out of state a public institution. So stay tuned for that one. It’s going to be a fun one. But I am packet with an independent educational consultant, we both have lots of thoughts around that. So, at a private school, you could be looking at spending as much as $85,000 a year, if your full pay. So we’re getting ready to make a major investment. So how would you know if it’s worth it? Whether it’s $25,000 a year or $85,000? A year? How will you know it’s worth it? Well, the first thing that I’m going to encourage you to do is to begin with the end in mind, really think about in and I would say, right now, if you’re in a place where you can get a piece of paper, and can jot some notes down, do it if not, bookmark this podcast episode and come back to it. And I want you to just brainstorm, as a parent, by yourself first, all of the many reasons you have for being willing to invest in your teen having a college experience, some of them might be in, you’re gonna come up with others. And if you do, hey, hit reply on my weekly email where I share my podcast and let me know where your other reasons were. But some of the many that I’ve considered for my own students, I’ve seen the families that I’ve supported for the last 25 years on this journey thinking about is they want to do it for fun. They want their they and their teen want to have that quintessential college experience. Football games, dorm life, sororities, fraternities, whatever it might be, they’re looking for that next stage of what I’ve always said, is the greatest amount of freedom with the least amount of responsibility. I always say enjoy it, because that comes to an end once you get out into the real adulthood. Could it be that as a parent, you View College as a safe in between space between childhood and true adulthood, where they’ve got a little taste of freedom, and they’re learning some key adulting skills that will give both you and them confidence as they go out into the world? Could it be that you view college as a space to explore passions and hobbies and learn about themselves in the world? Could it be it’s a stamp of prestige that you are pursuing something that is prestigious in your mind? And possibly in the mind of the world’s or employers or other people like that? Could it be that you want to have your student demonstrate that they can persist? And they have the discipline and the ability to do hard things? Believe me, only 37% of Americans have a college degree? Why? Well, it’s not easy. And only 14% of Americans have a post graduate degree. So anything beyond that bachelor’s degree, so yes, it does demonstrate persistence and discipline. Is it for career readiness? You want them to gain skills that translate into a career? Could it be that you have legacy in mind? Perhaps every person in your family has gone to the University of Michigan or Cornell or whatever, insert whatever college name? Or do you have a career legacy in your family? We’re a family of engineers, we everybody’s been an engineer for generations. So the first thing I want you to do is maybe as a parent brainstorm all of the reasons why you’re willing to make this substantial investment. You’re probably you’ve spent more on your house, you’ll probably spend more on retirement. But this comes in probably third place about your investments. So think about it as an investment. Have your student brainstorm what are all their reasons for going to college and then come together in a family conversation. If you’ve been in my world for a while, you know, that I encourage from second semester sophomore year until your student is graduating to have a college bound conversation. Each weekend, usually it’s on the weekend. It’ll be Friday after school Saturday morning over pancakes Sunday afternoon before you watch a football game, whatever it might be. But choose a weekend time where you’re doing college bound things. Now, you may have a student who is only college curious, not college committed or career committed. And we’re going to talk a little bit more about that in a minute. So that doesn’t necessarily have to be a college bound conversation, right? It is a post high school planning so that you’re designing what comes after graduation instead of just drifting into it. So as you begin to think about and then talk about what is the reason for making a substantial investment. I really want you when you’re thinking about college, to emphasize in your mind that the ultimate value of going to college is really going to be to prepare your student for a career that they’re passionate about, that they’re hardwired DNA of their personality demonstrates that they are aligned to. And if that path, that identified path requires a degree, then well, for sure college is worth it, right. And there are other paths that perhaps you could get there without a degree. But I’ll say this, my daughter who’s getting ready to graduate, she is secured a job in a management training program, and then we’ll train and professional sales is what she wants to do it is aligned, could she get into professional sales? Could she get into management without the college degree? Yes. And unlike many of the employers who are opening their eyes and say, Hey, we’re no longer gonna require a four year college degree for jobs that were posting, or at least some of the jobs were posting, her employer is only looking at students who are graduating from college. So this idea for her that it gave her persistence of being able to do hard things was an important one. If your student discovers, for instance, they want to be a teacher, they must have a college degree, along with a lot of other ones, right? So is college necessary? Or would it be helpful, that’s something that I want you to think about, you know, consider the fact that just because your student is college capable, does not mean for them that college would be required. Sometimes, as parents, we have dreams and aspirations for our students that don’t necessarily align with what they want. And that’s part of having these healthy conversations. If your student starts to entertain thoughts that you don’t think are aligned to them, or it is going in a direction that you didn’t dream of, for them, I would encourage you to be curious and ask questions, instead of directing and pushing your own agenda on them. So as we talk about this, like college capable doesn’t mean college required, you know, this goes along with what we talk about with highly selective, or what I call highly reductive colleges, where they are rejecting the vast number of applicants, even though most of the people they’re not, maybe not most, but many of the students that they are rejecting, would be quite capable of doing well there, they’re not necessarily going to get in. So college capable does not mean college required. And it’s okay to embrace being college curious, or career committed. To do so is really beginning with that end in mind. The Universal when I talk to all parents and I have worked with over 4000s parents and their students at this point is that parents just want their student to be happy. They want them to launch into adulthood, into a thriving career where they’re comfortable, happy and living their best life. And I want you to think about that as the end goal. So aligning the college education with career readiness is fantastic in discovering if it’s even necessary. So, you know, the traditional perception of college has been prestige. But what we’re seeing is a lot of employers coming around to it’s about having the skills to do the job. Now, to make college worth it, it’s necessary that you’re spending part of your college bound journey. And figuring out what that career is the world is telling your student that that they can be anything the world’s our oyster, and that frankly, is overwhelming to your teen. So instead, I want your students identifying what careers are aligned to. I want them researching these careers. And even more importantly, is creating curated experiences to get up close and personal to make a definite decision because even the college curious needs to eventually decide if they’re going to be college committed, or career committed as that first step after high school. So to do so, will require beginning early. My ideal time for you to begin doing this work is sophomore year of high school no later than Second semester, and you may be listening to this and going, oh my gosh, we’re way behind. It’s never too late to take the right steps to finding alignment and making informed decisions. So what I want you to do is to find whether the value of college is good for you this is deeply personal, is to figure out if college is tied into your students career ambitions, to begin with the end in mind, and it’s okay to have other additional reasons to go. But is it necessary, and will that be the path that you take? So to do so, I have a complimentary on demand video for you. It is to help you guide your teen towards choosing the right major college and career. And through the process, you could find out that it’s not about the right major in the College, but only about the career. However, even if your student is not going to go on to a four year college immediately after high school graduation, some sort of training is going to be necessary to prepare them for the world of work. My goal is that you don’t get to their senior year and have them painting themselves into a corner missing crucial deadlines or risking choices that either or both of you end up regretting. So I want you to go over I want you to my video is that flourish coaching co.com forward slash video. Shocking, right? I’m gonna link to it in the show notes. So in there, you get I give it to you, I know you’re busy. I give you six days to watch it after you request the video. But we’re really going to look at how you begin with the end in mind to flip the script on this process. So that your teen has the tools to know beyond any doubt that they’re on the right path. And that you’re not later on trying to open doors that no amount of money or persuasion is going to be able to open for your team. Let’s begin with the end in mind. So Is college worth it? I think college is worth it. For many. I’m one of those people that when I was in college, I wanted to be a teacher. I still view myself as a teacher that is the through line of my career. I am a teacher at heart. And I couldn’t have gone on without a degree. Could I do what I’m doing now without a degree? Yes. What I probably have chosen college regardless. Yes. I love learning. I have an intellectual curiosity. I have a love of learning. I have a bachelor’s degree I went on to get a master’s degree. I have even over the years. And even recently as last year, I thought, Do I want to go get a doctoral degree for fun. And then I said wake up. Lisa. There’s other ways to learn things that don’t require spending time and money earning another degree. So Is college worth it? There are a lot of reasons to go. But I think what you really needed this dial in on is that career path, and whether it’s required or optional for your teen. And if you find that as optional, lead back into that list that I asked you to make at the beginning with the many reasons to go to college. And do those coupled with the career aspirations. Answer that you have not lost faith in the value of college and you’re going to go ahead and go. So I embrace all paths. As my kids have pursued all the path, college curious, college committed and career committed. So if today’s episode was helpful to you, I’m going to ask that you share it with a friend. Just take a quick screenshot and send them a text message because I am on a mission to help students get clear on their purpose as they plan their post high school path and supporting their parents along the way to okay my friends. Thanks for letting me into your ears and into your life to help you move from overwhelming confused to motivated, clear and confident about your team’s future.