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My Daughter Said She Might Not Go To College

September 1, 2020

(image via wikimedia)

A couple days ago my daughter proclaimed that she might not go to college next year.

This would be a big switch of plans. My daughter is starting her senior year of high school next week, and for the last couple years, she has been making lists of colleges she might want to attend.  We’ve toured the campuses of of a bunch of universities within 500 miles of our home.  She’s been writing essays and taking practice College Board tests.  She’s been stressed.

But now she’s mad at college.

My daughter has been watching YouTube videos of current freshmen students being quarantined on major college campuses, and her favorite is a YouTuber going to New York University.  My daughter knows that we can’t afford NYU, even with financial aid, but she’s still fascinated with the university.

From my point of view, NYU is also too far away, and it’s New York City (which is a huge negative), but almost every high school student loves New York City.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), New York isn’t even New York anymore.  A bunch of businesses have shut down.  A lot of people with money have moved out.  Crime is skyrocketing.  Even if my daughter wanted to go, I wouldn’t send her there.  Not even if it was free.  Not even if they paid me.

To make things worse, college isn’t even college right now.  Students are quarantined.  Classes are online or limited.  Social contact is very limited.  Everybody is walking with a face covering  outside, outside even with social distancing.

I’m glad my daughter has come to this conclusion on her own.  I’ve kept my mouth shut about this while watching the COVID-19 stuff over the last few months.  I haven’t kept my mouth shut about much, but I have for this.

I’m not a big believer in the college system right now.  Yes, I graduated college, and so did my wife.  I went into the field my degree prepared me for.  My wife did not.  I accumulated a little bit of debt that I paid off within a few years.  My wife accumulated a lot of debt that we paid off after we got married.

I don’t want my daughter accumulating a lot of debt.  We’ll help her out, but she’s going to do a lot on her own.  It’s not a bad situation.  If we were capable of paying her way completely, my daughter would be less careful about her decision.  I like that she has some financial stake in her college decision.

At any rate, the College Board has ticked her off with the way they handled Advanced Placement exams last spring and the way they keep changing standardized test dates.  She thinks that since grocery stores can figure out how to distribute food without spreading COVID-19, College Board should figure out how to do tests.

(She might have gotten that previous thought from me, but that’s okay because I agree with it.)

Plus, if she can’t have the full college experience, my daughter doesn’t want to pay the full college price.  She might not even want to go.

My daughter has other options.  I don’t mind if she stays home and works and saves money.  She could take online classes part-time and still work.  She could work while getting certified in something like real estate or insurance.

I’m not saying those are all great options for her, but they’re options.

Even if college goes back to normal next year, she still might consider these other options.  She doesn’t miss taking classes all day long.  She likes working (she’s been working two part-time jobs during the pandemic).

The scam tendencies of the university system aren’t going to go away with COVID-19 fears.  I’m glad that my daughter recognizes the scam-like tendencies of college, the piling on of debt, the unnecessary rules and expenses.  I didn’t even have to tell her.

I know my daughter isn’t the only potential future college student who recognizes this.  If the university system doesn’t get its act together, it might find itself short on students.

At least, it might not get my daughter.

  1. Can I really be the first one to comment on this? Even before COVID 19 many students – at least in the UK – had a “year out” before going to university. I’ve often thought that the best plan would be to find a lucrative but boring job for a year or two, save like mad and then go to uni as a mature student so you can concentrate on studying rather than struggling with a part time job plus a degree course and you won’t start your career burdened with a massive debt.

    I can remember the 1960s when university tuition fees were funded by the government and most students got grants to cover their living expenses .Those were the days!

    • “…lucrative but boring job…” Haha! That sounds like my former career.

      Still, “lucrative but boring” pays the bills and gave me means to do a lot of the things I wanted to do.

  2. I feel you. My son is a high school senior, and some colleges still want the SAT and some don’t, and all our tours were cancelled in spring and none are open yet, and this Zoom year is going to be a joke. Like yours, he’s more focused on his part-time job every night than his classes this year. I don’t blame you for not sending her to NY. And my husband and I both have degrees and never got paid for anything in either field. But then again, my first semester at UT Austin was $380. I found the receipt! Can you imagine. Now a semester is my entire annual income. Good luck to our seniors!

  3. Amazing perspective! I wouldn’t want to go to spend money on a big campus university without the full benefit of campus life either… She’s a smart person to wait! I think keeping her head in the books is a good idea as well — a class or two, here and there. I could see a benefit in waiting, also, in that she may really figure out what type of future she’d like to see for herself and find the absolute best way to get there. Whew… It’s tough being a youngster these days.

  4. Sounds like a good plan to me. The American education system needs a revamp for sure. Glad to see you so supportive of your daughter’s decisions.

  5. Meezeman permalink

    Well said…amen brother….hope you all stay safe

  6. I’ve often said in the last six months: I wouldn’t want to be in college right now, especially as a freshman. What a reduced and weakened experience it would be.

  7. haha you all find us not going to college. but enough potential is our wealth.. i think i had acquainted with more things than those days of lazy college days..not joking.. literacy is most important for us all.. if you interested to read india’s literacy and funny moments.. you may find my informative article about literacy india..have a read.. follow if you loved it..

    good day.

  8. Hi, I’m a freelance writer working on a story for the NYT about parents facing the college admissions landscape during this pandemic. Would you be willing to talk with me about your daughter’s decision, and how you feel about it? I can be messaged from my Twitter account, @constancesommer. Thanks!

  9. I am a student myself and can relate to this a lot. I had to take a gap year due to covid otherwise I would’ve been in college. Now here’s how it goes: I need at least $75000 per annum to get a into any private college as an international student. God knows how stressed I am on the inside because I want to study but I don’t want to put burden on my parents at the same time. Even if my dad spends all of his earnings for my education, the institution is still going to ask for more. It’s extremely stressing. On a lighter note: could you please tell me that ^Youtuber’s^ name? I might as well watch for the sake of fun.
    Much love

    • The YouTuber’s name is Alex something, and he’s from Tulane University. I’m not endorsing Tulane or this YouTuber (Haha!), but my daughter likes watching his videos.

      Even without watching his videos, I’m thinking Tulane might be a little expensive for us.

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