Before my current gig as a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom, I used to teach at a community college full-time.
I had students of all ages from all walks of life. Some were very bright; some were lacking the necessary skills they needed to succeed in my class. Some were young, and some were old. Some were motivated, and unfortunately, many of them weren’t.
If you have a recent high school graduate or a student in college, you may feel apprehensive if your child decides to delay entry to university or to take a semester or two off.
Many parents do everything in their power to get their children to go to college and to keep them there once they are enrolled. However, I take a different view. If your child wants to delay entry to college or take a break, let him.
You’ll Save Money
College, even community college, is not cheap.
Spending money on a child who does not want to be enrolled is essentially throwing away your money. The students I taught who didn’t want to be in class had lackluster grades (many failed), were difficult in class, and often skipped.
If you want to pay for your children’s college education, wait until they are ready to attend and do the work that is required.
Your Child May Need Time To Mature
Over 10 years of teaching, I had several students who were going on to post secondary education for the first time in their 30s or their 40s. These students were some of the best students I had. They were intrinsically curious, they weren’t afraid to ask questions, and they not only did all of their work, but they did quality work.
Sometimes you just need to let your children mature and trust that if it’s right, they will eventually go to college and succeed.
Real World Experience Can Be Beneficial
I took one semester off while I was in school. After completing my community college work, I couldn’t decide which of two colleges I wanted to attend. I took the semester off, worked about 30 hours a week at a restaurant and volunteered 10 hours a week at a veterinary clinic because I thought I wanted to be a vet.
At the end of that semester, I had decided what college to attend and that I did NOT want to be a vet.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to volunteer and “try out” a career I was considering before I spent years and tens of thousands of dollars trying to prepare to apply to veterinary school.
Your Child May Be Successful Without A College Education
Not everyone wants to go to college, and they shouldn’t have to. Your child can be a success if he is a hard worker, and college isn’t a good investment for everyone.
My cousin never went on to get a university education, and now she runs her own company and makes a very good living. (She earns more per year than I ever did as an instructor with a Master’s degree.)
We have a family friend who owns his own landscaping/snow removal company, and he, too, is quite successful.
Many self-made millionaires work in decidedly blue collar professions, without ever getting an advanced degree.
If your children want to delay entry to school or take a semester or two off, I encourage you to let them. If they are meant to go to on to university, they will.
Meanwhile, if you’d intended to help your child financially with college, tuck that money into an investment fund earmarked for their education. Whether your child decides to go to college at 20 or 35, she will likely benefit from any financial help you can offer.
Do you encourage your child to go to college immediately after high school and not to take any time off while in school, or do you see the benefits of taking time off?
Chrissi Cowles says
I SO agree with you. I went straight to community college after HS on graduation money and dropped out mid semester. Although I don’t think it was a waste of time it was certainly a waste of money. A few years later went on to study to be a medical assistant on the way to being a nurse. I passed the certificate course with a 3.99 GPA. Do you know I discovered? I didn’t want to be a nurse. Most doctors are pompous jerks. Three years later I trained to be a truck driver. Cost? Nothing. Zip. Zero. Two weeks of lodging, meals and training. I loved it! (Granted you can’t find this deal today because the ever-knows-best government has changed the laws and companies aren’t allowed to train drivers themselves like in the 90’s.) When I started my family, that training transferred over to my current career of school bus driving. Would I have known this was good career choice by waiting? Who knows? But I wouldn’t have wasted money at college that first year.