Postponing College — A Better Route for Some
It could be the most troublesome educational decision a student and parents make: whether or not to defer college for a short time after high school.
- The right decision means academic success and educational accomplishment.
- The wrong decision can result in many complications/frustrations and take years to resolve.
Some Parent’s View
Postponing college for any period of time is unthinkable. Parents fear that if a student takes a break from the educational routine, the routine will never be regained. Their child’s mind will become lazy — unwilling to re-enter school. The value of education will fade into the darkness. With dire consequences. These parents believe it’s better to send their student off to college, no matter what the student’s readiness or attitude is toward learning. The hope? “College will straighten them out.”
They take the risk, even though they recognize unmistakable warning signs. For example, the student avoids talking about where to go to college and makes no plans to get there. This disinterest also shows itself in up and down performance in high school courses. When asked why he or she is going to college, the answer is, “Everyone is going,” or “I guess, to get a job.” The parents write this off, saying, “He’s/she’s immature. College will straighten him out.”
The not-ready-for-college high school student shows, at worst, a negative attitude, or at least, disinterest and boredom. What’s behind it?
- These students resent that they must make decisions about a confusing array of colleges and what to study when they get there.
- Or they maintain an attitude of, “Let’s just get this over with.”
And then parents must ask themselves, “Do I really want to pay tuition and fees for a student who is bored or even hostile about the next four — or most probably more — years?”
College won’t straighten them out
College, as a whole, is not very sympathetic to the student who is either a) unprepared or b) doesn’t want to be there. These students most often rank at the bottom of their college class, or at the top of the Academic Censure list. And the financial loss? You’d be better off buying a new car every year and pushing it off a cliff.
Minimal grades in the job market
Minimal accomplishment can be worse than no accomplishment at all. A young person in a job interview may someday face a person evaluating his or her poor-to-mediocre college transcript. What does the young person say then? “Well, I guess I just wasn’t interested in college,” or “I guess school wasn’t my thing.” To which the interviewer might ask, “Do you generally have a problem with learning about new things?”
Postponing college takes clear thinking and careful planning
Put the “time off” to good use. Employment may help your child focus and mature about what he/she might want out of life. Often unexciting jobs and a dose of what it’s like in the real world can spur interest in college to get a better job. This isn’t an easy process, but it can be effective.
Taking a break
The same holds true for the student who has started college but finds that he or she is not mature enough to step up to the challenge. Now the decision should be whether or not to take a “leave of absence” — to do some growing up and maybe gather some experience about the real world.
Transcript as credentials
Remember that when a student is getting ready for that first job — starting a new career — nothing is more important than a college transcript showing accomplishment and achievement. And nothing is worse than a record that indicates an unproductive person.