Is college the right choice for your child? It seems like a simple question but in 2020, it’s a conversation we must take seriously. Traditionally, it has been commonplace for young men of all ethnicities to attend college after high school.
However, at this point, it’s imperative that we began to look at all the nuances surrounding this subject in order to make the best decision possible. So, before you take out a hefty loan that will literally take years to pay back, here are a few things to consider.
1. Overall Work Ethic of Your Son
As parents, we know our children more than anyone else. We’ve seen them in enough situations to have a pretty good idea of what kind of person they are. So, before you just send your son to college, there are a few questions you should ask yourself. How does he perform in school currently? Is he a self-starter? On a scale from 1-10, how do you rate his level of responsibility? If your answer to these questions are less than unfavorable, you should probably look at alternative options for your son.
Some parents will force their children to go to college knowing they aren’t equipped with the tools needed to be successful in that environment. Granted, it’s our job as parents to help them develop some of these skills but all kids are different and some just pick up things faster than others. With the average cost of college ranging from $10,000-$33,000, a year not putting enough critical thought into that decision could be a large price to pay for a child that’s not excelling and taking full advantage of the opportunity.
2. Realistic Career Choice
Now, if you have a kid that performs well in school and it’s likely a four-year university can be in his future. It’s important to then look at what subject he will major in and how that may translate into the workforce. There’s nothing worse than sending your child to a 4-year university so he can get a degree in fine arts, just to find out the median income in that profession is only $48k a year, a wage that’s feasible for someone who doesn’t have a degree at all.
So, the first step to getting your child prepared for college is being realistic about what subject they want to major in and doing the necessary research on the subject to make sure you’re making the best decision possible. Depending on what they want to do with their life, you may come to the realization that their dream job doesn’t require a degree at all. That’s why it’s important that we start these conversations with our children as soon as possible.
It’s our job as parents to help our children be honest with themselves and use the right perspective when looking at things. In my opinion, another way to prepare your child for these difficult decisions is by teaching them knowledge of self. Understanding where we come from and the unnecessary struggles, we’ve had to endure in this country is a necessary lesson all Melanated children must learn.
3. Looking at Alternative Options
One way at attempting to lower the cost of college is through scholarships and grants that your child may qualify for. In our community, a lot of young men are only looking at the scholarships that can be obtained from athletics and not from a scholastic standpoint. Now, granted that may be an option for some but overall there are too many young men in our community who focus more on their athletic prowess than their academic achievements.
In reality, more kids get scholarships for academics than sports. So again, it’s up to us as parents to drive these points home. Another way a parent can reduce the cost of a 4-year university is by sending your child to junior college first. Not only will it reduce the cost, but your son can also use this time to pick the right major without the financial pressure of a 4-year university. As I stated earlier, you may even find out the field your son wants to in doesn’t require a degree at all, maybe a trade school is a better option.
It’s also important to note that white college graduates are still employed at a higher rate than black college graduates so even your son gets to degree that he wants in a field that’s in high demand, he still may not find a job. Ultimately, it’s important that we consider all of these scenarios when thinking about our kid’s future. This will end up being one of the most important decisions they make it their life. Don’t you want it to be the right one?