Ask the vast majority of parents about their hopes and dreams for their children, and it’s likely that going to university will come out somewhere near the top. And rightly so. It’s an excellent environment for all young adults to grow and opens up the world full of opportunities. However, for parents with teenagers looking to go to university shortly, there are a few things you should know. The student landscape is very different now than it was 20-30 years ago – read on to find out more!
Debt is hard to avoid
Today’s average student leaves university with an astonishing amount of debt. And the figure you hear bandied about by college boards are often way lower than the reality. In some cases, students are leaving college with six-figure debts, when you take into account interest, collection charges, and deferred payments – particularly if the attend an Ivy League college. If you want to give your child the best start in life, try and find a way to reduce these astonishing costs, either by offering financial support or setting up a savings account for them.
Top universities are not always dedicated to teaching
Schools are supposed to be dedicated centers for learning, right? Well, not quite. In fact, the big research universities get more prestige for working with graduate and Ph.D. students than they are with undergrads. The result is that your child might be taught by teaching assistants and outside lecturers, rather than professors, who spend a lot more time with researchers than undergrad students. So, while you might have dreams of your child ending up at one of the big Ivy League schools, it might not be as good for your teen as an alternative that is purely focused on teaching, not research.
Student life can last longer than you think
In an ideal world, your child will attend college for 3-4 years, and come out armed with a degree that will help them find a job. But it isn’t always the case. In fact, research suggests that only 52.9% of students who enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities graduate within six years. It’s due to a variety of reasons, from part-time students to students staying on to get a Masters. It’s worth thinking about as a parent because there is a good chance you will be supporting your child for a little longer than you might think!
The university may be more of a business than a school
More schools than ever before are being run as a corporate entity rather than a school. And there is an easy way of finding out – check the salary of the university president. If they are being paid a six-figure sum, similar to that of a CEO, it’s a good sign that the school has adopted a corporate model. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course, but it should set alarm bells ringing if the person at the top is not an educator, or has switched colleges every couple of years or so.
What are your concerns for your children when they go to university? Let me know about them in the comments section below!