Choosing a college is different today than it was a decade or two ago. Someone said to me, “I think we need to stop pressuring kids to pick a path at 18. Take general courses, then find your passion. I was 40 before I finished my degree and determined what I wanted to do.” I agree we don’t need to pressure our teens. However, the reality is times are very different than when we went to school.
A friend of mine has a niece, Jill, who was adamant that she wanted to go to school to be a cosmetologist. Jill wouldn’t entertain the idea of anything else. After graduation from cosmetology school, Jill discovered she hated being a hairstylist and the makeup artist jobs were few and far between. Now Jill THINKS she wants to be a teacher.
Her parents have already paid thousands of dollars for an education Jill wants nothing to do with. How can they be confident that being a teacher is right for Jill?
I hear this same story from other parents. They have kids who started down a path that wasn’t right for them and it ended up causing a financial burden. I was one of those kids who didn’t start on the right path. Fortunately, it didn’t create a significant financial burden for my parents as it was more years ago than I want to admit. That is not the case now, as we have seen an all-time high of student loan debt.
Competitive Job Market
Today we hear about labor shortages and companies everywhere needing to hire. That doesn’t mean, however, that there are people trained in the right areas looking for work. While there is a need, the fact is the job market is still very competitive and people in their 20’s are still today having a hard time launching their careers. In fact, research shows that 2/3 of college grads struggle to launch their careers.
This, combined with the high cost of living, means more kids are moving back home. A recent study shows that 50% of students move back home after college graduation. Many of these kids plan on living at home for at least two years. You can read more about the study here.
So, while we don’t want to pressure our teens to decide on a career, we have to help them. We can provide them with experiences to help guide them. Kids can only make decisions based on what they see, hear, or do. The college grads that didn’t struggle knew the major they picked was right for them, had at least one internship, and no more than $10,000 in debt.
If you are not helping your teen find their future path in their high school years, you are opening yourself up to costly debt and a child in their 20’s who is living at home and feels lost about their future.