Author Topic: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.  (Read 7910 times)

treetopsarggg!

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College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« on: August 24, 2014, 11:07:45 AM »
I love my grandpa. He is a great saver and is pretty much the original mustachian influence in my life. My parents have never been great at making or saving money--my grandpa has been graciously bailing us out of desperate financial situations ever since I was a kid (well, more of a kid, anyway). And, I just found out that, if I choose to go to college, he has set up a fund to pay for the ENTIRE thing (food, rent--everything I need for those four years). When I thanked him profusely for the offer, his reply was this: "Just promise me one thing... promise me you will get your education."
I realize that I have and incredible opportunity here: I don't have to risk anything financially by going to college... or do I? I can't help but think about all the controversy surrounding the advantage of a college degree these days, not to mention all the other ways I could spend those four years (working hard to develop a skill-set and grow my stache). I feel that, even if I wouldn't be paying for college, what I choose to do with this next chunk of my life will be a choice between between a lot of FU money and, well, a lot of uncertainty. I am convinced that my grandfather will be proud of me in the long run if I deliberate, and choose the path that is really right for me.

Is there any facet of this decision that I am not properly considering? I would love to hear your stories on education, and whether college (attending it or not attending it) helped or hindered you on your journey to FI.

Joel

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2014, 11:15:32 AM »
You're 18? Go to college. There's only a handful of careers out there left that go to people without a college degree. More and more of your peers will have college degrees. As long as you choose to study something worthwhile, you are better off going to college.

plank

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2014, 11:23:32 AM »
Go to college if you know what you want to do.  If not, then wait.  I went when I was 18 and was directionless and not emotionally ready.  If I had waited a few years, I would probably have gone into engineering or accounting or another lucrative field instead of just coasting by getting C's.

/my 2 cents.

LadyStache

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2014, 11:34:36 AM »
Go to college. Choose a major that will lead to a career that you think you will like, that is in reasonably high demand and will lead to a suitable salary for you. You could even continue to grow your 'stache while you are in college by taking on a part-time job and saving 100% of your earnings (since your grandfather will be paying for your living expenses while you're in school anyway). You can also seek out internships to help develop your skill-set. My case may be unusual, but I think I make 2-3 times more with my degree than I would be making without it.

Frankies Girl

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2014, 11:41:58 AM »
That is wonderful that your grandfather is going to pay for your college and wants you to go. Don't underestimate the value of a college education free and clear - in the right field, you'll be more than 4 years ahead than if you just started working at some lower paying job.

That being said, you need to do some serious thinking about what type of career you could be happy or at least moderately engaged in for the next 10-20 years that will get you the most "bang for your buck." Engineering, computer technology, chemistry, hard sciences, etc... are going to go much farther than a liberal arts degree. Do some research on jobs/careers in fields you might be interested in and do ask around even places like this forum for what a degree in "subject" will really be worth. Google will pull up wildly inaccurate ideals for stuff that don't translate into real world situations a whole bunch (like my area - graphic designers supposedly can make big bucks but it's really rare and difficult to find those unicorn jobs - LOTS of talented friends making less than 30K a year - that is the norm in this field despite what the googles say).

Working towards a degree that will actually get you a great job and set you on the path to a lucrative career is a better use of your education and time.


Noodle

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2014, 11:52:09 AM »
College is not just for preparing a career or getting ready to earn money. Although people talk about it less these days, college is an amazing opportunity to hang around for four years with people who think for a living, to have access to books and experts and equipment that the average Joe does not, to build relationships with people you would never have met otherwise, to try out activities at minimal cost that might turn out to be incredibly meaningful...and to be able to do that knowing that you're not mortgaging your future is an incredible privilege. If your skills and interests match up with a major that's lucrative as well as satisfying, lucky you! If you find yourself led toward something less profitable, you will be hugely ahead of the people you'll be competing with for jobs if you're not saddled with debt. I am not a high-earning, early-retiring STEM Mustachian. But I have had the privilege of a career that I like and am good at and makes the world better, and that is also a perfectly good college outcome.

It breaks my heart that the cost of college these days means that a lot of young adults have to give up the opportunity, or build their lives around debt repayment for years to afford it.

If you don't think you'll take it seriously, or you need a break from academia, by all means take some time off and get yourself ready so that when you do go, you're all in. Or if you're just not the kind of person for whom college is a good fit, then, yes, talk to your grandpa about other options. But otherwise, I say go for it!
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 11:54:03 AM by Noodle »

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2014, 11:55:30 AM »
I can't even count the number of people that I've heard say that they wish they had gone to college.

I've yet to hear anyone say that they wished they hadn't. Although, some of those said they wished they got a degree in something more useful. But even then, even the people with less than stellar degrees have still gone on to be light years better off than those with no degree at all. And even some of us with bullshit liberal arts degrees have still done pretty well for ourselves, even better than the STEM grads we know. Ahem.

Go to college. And don't wait just because you don't know what you want to do. If you've lived in the same place for 18 years and you don't know what you want to do, then spending another year or two or 18 in the same spot isn't going to help you make up your mind. You can't make up your mind because you haven't been exposed to enough things. College can help expose you to things and careers that you've never heard of.

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2014, 11:58:13 AM »
And one more thing. I would like to pass along one of the best pieces of advice that I have ever received. A favorite professor of mine once told me when I was having trouble making a big life decision that "if you're ever in a spot where you can't decide between two options, always take the one that will give you more options later on."

Going to college will give you far more options. Not going will severely, severely limit them.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 12:13:59 PM by Tetsuya Hondo »

surfhb

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2014, 12:17:02 PM »
This is a no brainer!    Not only will you be more educated you will have an incredible fun experience.   

Go be amazing!

Btw.....the only controversy on getting a higher education is the costs...this variable is not in your equation.   
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 12:29:08 PM by surfhb »

ltt

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2014, 01:15:30 PM »
You'd be crazy if you didn't take your grandfather up on this!! 

But, please, do your grandfather and your family a favor.  Go into a field of study which will help you and your family down the road.  We all know that the STEM areas of study will be in high demand. 

Does medicine interest you?  This is a field that will be in high demand also, and you can easily transfer those skills to anywhere in the world.  (Not sure how the Affordable Care Act will play out in all of this yet.)   

I've always been a saver and didn't go back to college until 10 years after I graduated high school--I  personally think waiting that long was a big mistake.  My parents were very happy for me.  I also, with the support of my husband, studied for my MBA.  I currently am a stay-at-home mom (but do take care of all our investing).  Even though I'm at home, having a degree in Finance has definitely helped with the personal investment decisions I've made.

I know this is a personal decision for you, but you are being offered a wonderful gift.  You can never have too much education in my book--no pun intended.  Good luck to you.

Otsog

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2014, 01:23:05 PM »
Btw.....the only controversy on getting a higher education is the costs...this variable is not in your equation.

+1

The benefits may have diluted over the years, but there are still unequivocal (on average) benefits to post secondary education. Having no costs really simplifies the cost/benefit equation.

Suit

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2014, 01:43:13 PM »
My vote is for college too

Cassie

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2014, 01:49:25 PM »
No one ever regrets a college degree.  It is something that can never be taken from you!

hyla

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2014, 01:54:21 PM »
While I agree with folks here that college degrees are important, I don't think it's always best to go immediately after high school. 

I have quite a few friends who went to college at 18, didn't really know what they wanted to study, and either dropped out or graduated with a degree they didn't really want a career in.  Now, most of these friends are smart, hardworking people who afterwards worked for a few years, figured out what they really wanted to do, and went back to school for that.  They've made it work, but probably would have been better off working first and only paying for school once.  I also know plenty of folks who went to 2-year school for things like auto repair and paramedic and now have good jobs they enjoy - 4 year college is not the only way to success.

If you have a fairly good idea of what you'd like to study and how it would translate into an enjoyable career, by all means take your Grandpa's generous gift and go.  If you're not really sure what you are interested in, I'd work for a few years first to figure out what direction you want to head in and then think about going to school.  Even if he values education, I doubt he'd object to you taking a few years to make sure you know the education you decide to pursue is the right one.   

Roots&Wings

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2014, 01:58:13 PM »
My grandfather also gave me the gift of a college education, and it was an amazing gift :)  Although I didn't know what I wanted to do when initially started college, I took a wide range of classes my first 2 years (for AA degree) then was better able to hone-in on what I might like to study further/potentially do for a living. 

Ultimately ended up with MSc degree from a UK school (where costs were much less than US), and now I basically work my dream job (although it will be incredibly nice when I'm no longer financially obligated to work for a living).

Another vote to go for it!


Cpa Cat

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2014, 02:08:34 PM »
If you aren't sure you're ready for college or you aren't sure that you want to do college, then don't go. Just tell your grandfather that his offer is appreciated and you hope that he will hold on to it for you until you are ready. Tell him that he's offered you an amazing opportunity and you just want to make sure you don't waste it. Then tell him what your plans are - to work, to gain maturity, to explore some interests.

Whatever you do, don't waste your grandfather's money. Don't get drunk the day before your exams. Don't go to frat parties instead of class. If you choose to go to college on his dime, then take it seriously and use the time wisely.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 02:10:12 PM by Cpa Cat »

plank

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2014, 02:14:11 PM »
If you do delay college, delay it with purpose.  Use that time effectively to explore possible career fields.

Alabaster

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2014, 02:21:55 PM »
I could spend those four years (working hard to develop a skill-set and grow my stache).

That's what college is. 2-4 years (depending on high school credits) of hard work to develop a skill set that you can then leverage. I recently graduated with a CS degree. It took me three years and I'm earning probably 3x what I would otherwise start at. Even if I don't work for much of my life, those three years of investment are paying off very well. It makes the journey to FI significantly easier.

I went on scholarship. You get to go on a privately financed scholarship from your grandfather. Do your research, find a field you can live with that makes your time investment worth it, and then go for it.

P.S - be wary of taking on a dual or triple major, study abroad opportunities, or the like.  You'll probably find significant pressure to over extend yourself. Your peers will likely go for these opportunities and you might feel a little blan not going for them. However, in my experience, the scheduling never works out as well as the advisers promise it will. You end up with a course here and there that you needed to take at a specific time that you simply can't. Often, a single course not being offered at the right time can put aggressive schedules a full semester or more behind. Go in knowing what you want from college, and take it.

P.P.S - If you go to a research university, and you like research - milk it. My uni had lots of opportunities for students to get involved with research.  Those who took the initiative to get involved (it won't fall into your lap) had a lot of doors opened for them. I pissed away these opportunities because I didn't want or need those particular doors opened, but  I recognize the huge opportunity for people who do want to continue in academia or research sciences.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 02:33:13 PM by Alabaster »

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2014, 02:31:11 PM »
If you do delay college, delay it with purpose.  Use that time effectively to explore possible career fields.

I fail to see how delaying will help someone to explore career fields.

College is simply the most efficient way to explore the broadest possible variety of career fields through taking different courses, talking to different professors and other students, going on internships, using the school career counselors, etc. You don't get that anywhere else.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 02:38:49 PM by Tetsuya Hondo »

RichMoose

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2014, 02:46:42 PM »
On the surface it looks like a no-brainer. Take Grandpa up on his offer and go to college. But, I would say it depends on where you are from and what you're interested in taking in college. In my part of the world, I would recommend most young people take up a skilled trade and do business courses as well. Guaranteed fast track to FIRE up here.

larmando

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2014, 03:57:31 PM »
+1 for college. As an extra note, you can always work during college, sometimes even on related fields to your chosen degree (this is very easy for example in computer science, but possible also for other studies). Many people have to, in order to limit debt or to afford extras, but in your case you could do it and have an amazing 100% savings rate, to super-power your future stache.... what could you want more?

Gerard

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2014, 05:38:18 PM »
Overlapping with a few of the things already posted, I say go (if/when you're ready), and use the fact that you have, in effect, College FU Money to take on only the part-time jobs or volunteer opportunities that will do you some good, things like working in people's labs or research groups. Or even to take the major that interests you or helps the world, rather than the one that people on the internet tell you will make you the most money later. Remember, you won't need as much money afterward, because you'll have no student debt, and because you'll be mustachian and have reasonable needs.

Jacana

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2014, 09:37:37 PM »
+1 for college. What do you want to do? You seem ambitious, so college will likely help, but the right answer may be more dependent on your preferred career path.

Have you asked your grandfather what kind of education he hopes you will get? If you are hesitant about the types of careers available with a Bachelor's, what about looking into an Associate's degree to start? I know some who got a 2 year degree then transferred immediately into a B.S. program; a lot cheaper and more flexible. I also know some who earned Associates in a field first, went to work for x years, and then returned for a B.S. (like my mom). But it's harder when you have a family and a full-time job.

That is definitely not the  4-year live away from home 'college' experience though. Your grandfather may want that for you as more of an education + life experience, which can be worth quite a lot if you take it seriously. There are skills and concepts you will learn that you may not otherwise, experience which only gives you more options and resources later (even if you think now they would be useless). Some examples: live far from home, take core classes outside of your normal interests, greatly improve your math/reading/writing skills, mingle with academics and experts, get along with roommates... Your grandfather is offering you a wonderful opportunity.

For the record: B.S., M.S., 2 semesters abroad, no regrets. Even though I am not working right now (temporarily retired to start a family), it is always a part of who I am.

GizmoTX

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2014, 01:57:24 PM »
The controversy these days is in the debt load vs. value received for the time spent in college. With a full ride, your grandfather has removed the debt load risk for you, helping you to achieve FI so much sooner. What he is saying is, repay him by applying yourself to learn something worthwhile. College definitely helped my spouse & me to achieve a million net worth by age 35, & we had just $300 between us when we married at 21 in 1969. Our degrees were STEM & MBA 10 years later.
Give some thought to the college environment & class fit, not just where your friends are going or sports or the social life. You want a place big enough that you have a wide choice of majors but not so big that you are invisible or trapped in flunk-out courses. Ideally this is a mid-sized university where the class sizes are small & taught by professors rather than TAs.
Even though you won't need the money for college, try to get meaningful summer internships that relate to your goals. These days, work experience sets you apart from those who only do academics or nothing. Summer school should be your next choice if you can't get a good internship.
Bottom line: go for it!

MrsPete

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2014, 07:13:03 PM »
This is a fantastic opportunity -- take it.  And show your gratitude to your grandfather by working hard and making the most of his investment in you. 

I understand why you're concerned about this being the right choice.  Yes, you can find plenty of "college wasn't worth it for me" stories, but consider what those stories have in common -- almost all the people who whine this particular line fall into one or more of these categories: 

- They chose to attend an expensive university -- private, out of state, whatever
- They borrowed a bunch of money, ignoring the reality of their ability to repay
- They goof off, take light semesters, change majors frequently -- and then they don't graduate in four years
- They chose a degree that doesn't lead to a real job -- or a low-paying job, or a job that's essentially impossible to obtain, or a job that's being made obsolete by technology, or similar

A typical "college wasn't worthwhile" complainer might say something like this:  I went to a fantastic, small private school because it was just right for me, and I had such a fantastic experience earning my Creative Writing degree.  I wouldn't change a thing about it!  But now I owe $200,000 (which is $10,000 more than it was when I graduated) and I'm working as a manager at JC Penny's.  If I didn't live with my parents, I couldn't make my loan payments.  The world is so hard for my generation! 

In contrast, you'll never hear a person who went to an inexpensive state school and earned a degree in a profitable field saying "college wasn't worth it for me".  The real moral is, Choose Wisely.  Both my husband and I worked very hard to put ourselves through college, and we've both been solidly employed ever since.  We have "had back" every penny we spent on education many, many times over. 

Rein1987

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2014, 07:23:45 PM »
Some of my college mates make 6 digits right out of colleges. Some of my college mates cannot find a job till now. I think it really depends on individuals. However, I believe it's very hard to make 6 digits salary without a college degree.

RichMoose

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2014, 08:17:06 PM »
A typical "college wasn't worthwhile" complainer might say something like this:  I went to a fantastic, small private school because it was just right for me, and I had such a fantastic experience earning my Creative Writing degree.  I wouldn't change a thing about it!  But now I owe $200,000 (which is $10,000 more than it was when I graduated) and I'm working as a manager at JC Penny's.  If I didn't live with my parents, I couldn't make my loan payments.  The world is so hard for my generation! 

I had to laugh reading this! I hate very much dislike people that make these seemingly obvious mistakes and then blame everyone else (evil greedy corporations, the big bad government, the lucky baby boomers, Obama, Bush, etc.) It's really too bad that the media tries to portray these stories as some phenomenal hardship that this generation is facing.

Chrissy

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2014, 11:24:55 PM »
If your parents are a financial disaster, you might be able to get scholarships, allowing your grandfather's money go farther... like into grad school.

I didn't know what I wanted to do either; I had a couple of ideas, broad areas in which I excelled.  I wanted to take a year off, but my father, who paid entirely for my state university education, discouraged that saying, "Just get a degree in anything.  Even Admin jobs pay better with any kind of degree.  This is not a terminal decision; most people change their careers three times in their lifetime.  If you want to do something else later, you can go to grad school."

My father has a BA in secondary education, and an MA in Spanish.  He was a teacher, then a restaurant owner, then admin in aeronautics, then a real estate appraiser.  I got my BA in the arts, and that's what I'm still doing as my full-time job 15 years later.

Pigeon

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2014, 05:50:06 PM »
Go to college. You would be crazy to pass up a gift like that.

Google the Occupational Outlook Handbook. It is a great place to research career educational requirements, earnings and future employment projections. If you end up in a great career, consider paying it forward by saving up to help somebody else with their education.

mulescent

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #29 on: August 29, 2014, 06:04:28 PM »
I love my grandpa. He is a great saver and is pretty much the original mustachian influence in my life. My parents have never been great at making or saving money--my grandpa has been graciously bailing us out of desperate financial situations ever since I was a kid (well, more of a kid, anyway). And, I just found out that, if I choose to go to college, he has set up a fund to pay for the ENTIRE thing (food, rent--everything I need for those four years). When I thanked him profusely for the offer, his reply was this: "Just promise me one thing... promise me you will get your education."
I realize that I have and incredible opportunity here: I don't have to risk anything financially by going to college... or do I? I can't help but think about all the controversy surrounding the advantage of a college degree these days, not to mention all the other ways I could spend those four years (working hard to develop a skill-set and grow my stache). I feel that, even if I wouldn't be paying for college, what I choose to do with this next chunk of my life will be a choice between between a lot of FU money and, well, a lot of uncertainty. I am convinced that my grandfather will be proud of me in the long run if I deliberate, and choose the path that is really right for me.

Is there any facet of this decision that I am not properly considering? I would love to hear your stories on education, and whether college (attending it or not attending it) helped or hindered you on your journey to FI.

I just want to add my voice to the chorus:  go to college. 

Education does bring all sorts of financial benefits like access to more stable and better paying jobs.  However, college also affords you the time and leisure to study broadly and develop a philosophy that will serve you for the rest of your life.  College enables you to connect with world-class thinkers/scientists/scholars and really understand human history and the edges of human knowledge.  College provides personal connections that will be both enriching and beneficial. 

Can you find all these things without going to college?  Of course.  Are your chances of succeeding much higher when doing them is your full-time job rather than something you do in addition to your job?  Absolutely.   

Beric01

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #30 on: August 29, 2014, 06:17:13 PM »
Go to college if you know what you want to do.  If not, then wait.  I went when I was 18 and was directionless and not emotionally ready.  If I had waited a few years, I would probably have gone into engineering or accounting or another lucrative field instead of just coasting by getting C's.

/my 2 cents.

Or you can do what I did. Go to a local community college, where you can try a lot of different classes and aren't paying tens of thousands a year to attend. You try a bunch of classes in different fields (while completing your GE's), and find a field you like. Then you can get an AA degree, and transfer to a good 4-year university in the field you're interested in, that hopefully also pays well.

Many 18-year-olds don't know what they want to do (I didn't). Don't send them to a 4-year school, paying tens of thousands a year, for something they're not certainly interested in.

Left

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #31 on: August 29, 2014, 06:19:29 PM »
I want to say go to college too, I don't know why there's such a push about college being expensive, yes it is... but there are enough options to cut it down a lot. Study well, get involved in other activities, etc and get scholarships/grants and fasfa if parents don't earn enough. Even the science/math degrees have grants for them. I'd assume the others have their own, I wasn't in it so I didn't look into it.

I'd try to get money from other sources first before grandpa's, and if you need some more, then him. And if you have some left in fund, see if he would give you the rest as "startup" funds for adult life

about the people saying english/art/etc are bad degrees, they don't know what they are talking about... look at all the engineers/lawyers/etc out of work, these things are cyclical, study what you want and learn how to apply what you learn and you'll find a job or make one

ch12

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Re: College?!?!?!? Grandpa votes yes.
« Reply #32 on: August 29, 2014, 06:45:53 PM »
Go to college if you know what you want to do.  If not, then wait.  I went when I was 18 and was directionless and not emotionally ready.  If I had waited a few years, I would probably have gone into engineering or accounting or another lucrative field instead of just coasting by getting C's.

/my 2 cents.

Or you can do what I did. Go to a local community college, where you can try a lot of different classes and aren't paying tens of thousands a year to attend. You try a bunch of classes in different fields (while completing your GE's), and find a field you like. Then you can get an AA degree, and transfer to a good 4-year university in the field you're interested in, that hopefully also pays well.

Many 18-year-olds don't know what they want to do (I didn't). Don't send them to a 4-year school, paying tens of thousands a year, for something they're not certainly interested in.

That sounds great. It's what I've been telling my nieces to do. I'd like for them to get 4-year degrees, but it's really their life and their choice. Community college is a good step.

Also, I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up. ;) Most people don't.

I realize that I have and incredible opportunity here: I don't have to risk anything financially by going to college... or do I? I can't help but think about all the controversy surrounding the advantage of a college degree these days, not to mention all the other ways I could spend those four years (working hard to develop a skill-set and grow my stache). I feel that, even if I wouldn't be paying for college, what I choose to do with this next chunk of my life will be a choice between between a lot of FU money and, well, a lot of uncertainty. I am convinced that my grandfather will be proud of me in the long run if I deliberate, and choose the path that is really right for me.

A lot of the controversy is related to incurring debt, as other people have said.

Develop your 'stash during college. I graduated with more than 3 years of expenses saved up. I also worked very hard to develop skills that would help me in the future. The Student Stasher on these forums is a good example of someone who handled employment and college (and marriage!) at the same time.

Enjoy the four years. I could have graduated after 2 years (and summer school), but I didn't. I stayed for as long as I felt comfortable living off of my parents (in your case, your grandfather). And if my parents had unlimited money, I could happily (so happily) have just stayed in school forever like Victor Tugelbend. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_Pictures_(novel)

My classmates started their own businesses while still in college. It's an option. You don't have to worry about subsisting on ramen, yet you'll have the freedom of an independent adult.