Are parents justified in pressuring their children to get a college education?

There are many arguments in favour of pressuring children into getting a college education. There are statistics that show that a college education can lead to a higher average annual income. There are arguments for the social and even political interaction that attending college can provide. It simply cannot be ignored however, when we consider that there are many successful people who walked their journey, without following a path through tertiary education.

Michael Dell, founder of Dell Inc, one of the world’s biggest computer hardware manufacturing companies is reputed to have dropped out of college at the age of 19. John D. Rockefeller – arguably the richest man in history – famously dropped out of high school, before even having the opportunity to attend college. And Henry Ford – responsible for bringing the first commercially produced car to the world, and establishing one of the biggest automotive companies of our time, the Ford Motor Co. – didn’t even graduate from high school either.

Social stigma has a lot of repsonsibility in adding to this pressure that parents often put on their children. Whats more, is that children forced into this kind of education, not only study it at a compromised level, but they waste precious time and precious money that could surely be better utilised elsewhere in their upbringing.

A child seeking fulfillment outside of the realms of their parents beliefs, will also feel like they are rebelling against what they have been taught – whether they agree with it or not. The implications of this can become far greater that the implications of for example, not attending college.

Needless to say, college can be a path to a career of a higher standard. It can also empower our children with an unmatchable knowledge and allow them to challenge themselves to a higher degree, and help them to grow and learn in positive and unique ways. But it simply isn’t the only way to achieve this.

Furthermore, college is an expensive way to embark on a journey of discovery in order to find out just where you fit in in the social structure of our society. It is an expensive way to find out where your interests and passions lie (which is often a reason for parental pressure) and what career will make you happy.

And who says that happiness ultimately comes from a higher education? – The clearest arguement here, is for the fact that parents shouldn’t be putting unecessary or biased pressure on their children for any reason. Parents must understand that guidance is the key, not insistence.

2 thoughts on “Are parents justified in pressuring their children to get a college education?

  1. Hey C,

    I am ‘guiding’ Danni-Elle toward a Uni education so to secure her future, does that make me a bad parent? I dropped out of school not even half way through year 10 and even though I work and get paid OK it has caused me many hassles not having a degree. I am just lucky that I gathered a lot of work ex. in the 90’s and that is what has got me through all these years. IN saying that, I did the uni entry exam in 2000 and passed with the equivilent of an OP 4…………all of this would be impossible to do in todays society. Danni-Elle wants to act and while I support that 100% I also like to stress to Dan the importance of having something to fall back on, hence the fact she is going to Uni to study double degree (Drama/Education). There is no doubt in my mind, especially after working in a corporate environment for over a decade, that having that degree opens way more doors for you than if you didnt have one, I have seen it with my own eyes! Do I believe that a person with a degree can do a better job than a person without one? Not necessarily, but in this world employers value what you look like on paper.

    Yep, it is wonderful to be there as a parent to support and guide your child but it is also the responsibility of the parent to not produce another leech into our society………another person on the dole cue. Not to mention all most decent parents want for their child is to have a comfortable life with as little struggle and hardship as possible. So while I feel you make a valid point, I also think it is somthing thats difficult to contemplate unless you are in the situation of being a parent that only wants the best future for their child.

    Peace and love to you my friend \m/


    • Jen.
      You seemed to have missed the point of what i was saying. Note the title – “Are parents justified in pressuring their children to get a college education?” … Alluding to, or implying that those who don’t attend uni will become a “leech” on our society, or “another person on the dole cue” also ignores other facts in my piece (note the successful people who didnt attend uni). It also risks offending those how read this who have followed the same path. Like me.

      What i wrote was merely a point of view – not a set of rules – and i think it can clearly be agreed that there is plenty of validity in what i say. It certainly isnt a standing point for you to get so defensive.
      Good luck to Dan.

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