Top 5 Lies We Tell Kids About College

Read This When Your Kid's in Middle School.

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 you 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, 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 a perfect 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.

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 12th grade.”

Completely, utterly, untrue. There are so many other clever strategies for keeping college costs down that I could fill an entire book with them. But you’ve got to start planning early. (7th grade is great!)

All that said—applying for scholarships is a fantastic idea. I inspire and equip students from age 12 to age 22 to apply for lots of college scholarships while having a lot of fun in the process. To get free help from me on this very important journey, subscribe to my free weekly email newsletter using the form above. Then click here to learn how to add me to your “safe senders” list so my newsletter ends up in your primary email inbox every single week.

Finally . . .

<BONUS> #6. “Kids can’t possibly get any sense of career goal while they’re still in high school. 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.

Below, learn the fastest, easiest way to fill out large numbers of scholarship applications.

Take my 3-hour video class MAKE THEM SAY WOW: How to Write One Brilliant Scholarship Application Essay and Use it Over and Over Again

Parents, it is actually possible for kids to set career goals while they’re still in high school. 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 more than 100 reviews of it on Amazon at:

(Tell your friends.)

You can see why financial advising professionals love LAUNCHhere.

You can see the top 9 questions parents are asking me about LAUNCHhere.

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.

Do you have specific questions for me about debt-free college and career for your kids?

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What about you?

Have any of the problem statements above hurt you or someone you love? What ideas do you have for getting through college debt-free and into a great, fulfilling career afterward? Let’s share stories. Comment below, or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook and comment on this post there.

Do you have friends who are parenting kids ages 12–22? SHARE this post on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin right now.

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 and move directly into careers they excel at and love. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, USA Today, Parents Magazineand US News and World Report, and on CBS News.

Jeannie also helps students apply to law, medical, business, and grad school at her website You can follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.