This post is a scary one. But read all the way down to the red print at the bottom and I’ll give you a boatload of hope about college.
1. “If you don’t get into a good college, you won’t be able to get a good job when you graduate.”
This statement is completely and utterly false. Let’s all be honest for just a minute. Don’t we all know people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Let’s get even more honest. Don’t you actually know many, many people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Why do we purposely scare kids with this lie?
2. “You, of course, shouldn’t even consider technical school.”
The bias against technical school gets communicated to kids from the age of 12 on up in a thousand insidious ways.
The subtle message kids hear is: “Tech school is for kids who aren’t as smart as you.” “Tech school is for kids who can’t get into real college.” “We won’t even show you a catalog of job training programs available at a technical school. We don’t care if tech school would empower you to make really great money after only two years of training. We won’t even suggest the possibility of going to technical school first and then perhaps four-year college after that. You’re smart and you come from a good family—that automatically means four-year college or university for you.”
(To see my post on “Could Your Kid End Up Wealthier and Happier by Not Going to College?” click here.)
3. “Of course you’re going to take out $40,000 in student loans to go to college. Don’t worry, you’ll easily be able to pay those loans back with the excellent job you’ll get after you graduate.”
Before you get too deep into telling your kids this lie, parents, carefully read the student loan horror stories in this article by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox of Daily Finance. Think hard about whether you really want to do this to your kids.
Vast numbers of graduates of “good colleges” work as waiters, nannies, grocery clerks, and in other jobs that don’t require one bit of college. Many of these young adults struggle with despair trying to pay those loans back.
4. “College is out of the question for you. It’s too expensive. We won’t even consider it.”
No, no, no! We still do need a college-educated workforce in this world. Your child may be an ideal fit for a career that requires a college degree. Please parents—please—use the tools I provide below very early on to help your child figure out a career goal that makes perfect sense for him or her. Then use every clever strategy possible to get your kid to that goal debt-free. (I’ll help you using my book—which you can get for free at the library. Any librarian will order it for you.)
5. “We can’t save any money to help you with college—and financial aid and scholarships are the only ways to pay for college—so we won’t plan out paying for college until you’re in 11th or 12th grade.”
This is completely, utterly, untrue. There are hundreds of clever strategies for keeping college costs down. But you’ve got to start planning early. Start now, using the free, fast-paced 10-minute video training available here.
<BONUS> 6. “Kids can’t possibly get any sense of career goal while they’re still in high school.”
The message too many parents send to their kids is: “Our plan will be to push and pressure you to get into a top-ranked university, and that will be the magic solution to everything. Once you’re there you can just take random college classes to see what you’re interested in.”
This ridiculously ineffective “career planning” strategy hasn’t worked in years. Millions of today’s parents used this exact strategy to get stuck in the jobs they now detest, but still this lie gets passed down to kids.
Let’s change this. Let’s repeatedly tell these 4 truths to the kids we love:
1. “You’re well capable of getting a great, fun job when you grow up. People get great jobs after attending all different kinds of colleges and job trainings.”
2. “Technical school can be a great option for smart, capable kids like you!”
3. “Let’s plan now so you can get through college or job training debt-free, ready to jump directly into a career you’ll excel at and love. Let’s get specific help for that right now by subscribing to the free weekly email newsletter available at bit.ly/helpfulnewsletter.
4. I’ve know a way you and I can figure out career goal for you as early as 10th grade! It’s all in the book available here. This is going to be huge for relieving stress and pressure for you in your teens and 20s!
Help us spread the word about this!
It’s our goal to help as many families as possible. Copy this entire article and paste it right into your school, business, or homeschool newsletter. Put a link to it in your Facebook group! Just include the words “By Jeannie Burlowski.”
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Parents, it’s actually possible for kids to set viable career goals while they’re still in high school. Chapter 13 of this book will help:
It’s a reference book, so nobody reads the whole thing cover to cover. Pick out what you need to read in it using the fast-paced, 10-minute video instructions here.
You can see hundreds of reviews of this book on Amazon by going to:
You can see why financial advising professionals love LAUNCH, here.
You can see the top 9 questions parents are asking me about LAUNCH, here.
Read just one chapter of LAUNCH every 1–3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.
And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it—especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.
Take a step on this right now. Get regular, inspiring help from me—every Monday morning.
Subscribe to my free weekly email newsletter here. (You’ll especially want to do this so I can alert you to important FAFSA changes that will affect you in the future.)
Do you have very specific questions for me about debt-free college and career for your kids?
It’s my members that get most direct access to me. Doors to my membership open each year for just 5 days in March, and 5 days in September. It costs just pennies per day, but space is limited. Join the waiting list here.
What are your thoughts on this topic?
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Who is Jeannie Burlowski?
Jeannie is a full-time academic strategist, podcast host, and sought-after speaker for students ages 12–26, their parents, and the professionals who serve them. Her writing, speaking, and podcasting help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free, ready to jump directly into careers they excel at and love. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, USA Today, Parents Magazine, and US News and World Report, and on CBS News.
This article was most recently updated on July 6th, 2022.