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Does Every Kid Really Have To Go To College??

FlyBoyJ's picture

I’ve written other posts regarding my dislike of my 19 yo SD but I thought since this is on a somewhat different subject thought I’d start a new thread.  A little background, DW and I have been together for 8 years married for 1.5. She has two girls, 23 and 19. I have a 12 yo daughter.

Again I went into a lot more detail on the situation on my other posts, but for sake of simplicity I’ll let everyone know that I get along pretty well with the 23 yo. She can be an entitled princess at times (for which Mom needs to take the blame), but she’s smart, finishing her bachelors degree at a very good university and most likely will actually go somewhere in life. 

The 19 yo on the other hand, and again in the interest of full disclosure, I cannot stand this “kid”, is literally dumber than a box of rocks. She barely made it through high school, and the way they pass kids along these days, you know she’s really stupid.   DW of course praised her up and down for getting Cs and Ds.  This girl is a complete moron. No academic ability whatsoever and what’s even worse is she has ZERO common sense. 

We live for better or worse in one of those stereotypical affluent communities (DW lives here when we met. I want to move because I hate the entitlement but DW refuses to move because, “this is where the kids grew up”) where, “every kid goes to college”. The 19 yo is the textbook example of a kid that has NO business going to college. She’s enrolled in the local JC taking several “fun” classes like ceramics, yoga, etc. She never goes to class but instead lies in bed with her equally stupid boyfriend. 

Well DW is insistent that SD transfers to a “prestegeois college” to which I say, “why?  Simply because she’s from a rich area where kids go to fancy colleges?”  I’ve said over and over again that SD should be looking at a career in say cosmetology, hair, pet grooming, etc. DW fills this idiots head with ideas that she can become a nurse (god help the poor patients she administers the wrong dosage to because she can’t do math at all), a teacher (again poor kids), etc. 

It’s not just because I dislike SD, but I’m just being realistic. It’s a waste of time and money (mine) to be sending a girl who doesn’t study, is not intellectual or academic and who HATES school to some pricey college. Those schools should be for people who are actually interested in learning.  She needs to be focused on finding a career where she can make good money and have a steady income. There’s nothing wrong with good old fashioned blue collar work!  Heck, I have my BA from a prestigious college and I’m in construction. I couldn’t be happier!  Difference is that I did greatly enjoy learning. 

DW thinks I’m a horrible person and just trying to “hold her back” to which I reply, quite the opposite I’m being real and trying to encourage her to stop wasting time and get to work (and out of my house sooner lol). Am I out of line???

Dogmom126's picture

Not at all. And why is it YOUR money that would be used to send her to college????? She will likely drop out anyway.

WarMachine13's picture

Nope. Trade schools are good option.

Seen it here enough to say.......

Not your circus, not your monkey. Your not paying a dime I hope .

tog redux's picture

College isn't for everyone - but some kind of post-high school training is needed for a decent job nowadays.  Cosmetology, etc, is just fine.

Why do you have to pay? And if you want to help pay, why don't you have any decision making power?

ndc's picture

Not every kid has to go to college, and not every kid SHOULD go to college.  Your SD sounds like one who should not go.  It would be a waste of her time that could be better spent learning a trade or at least working, and of your money.  I echo other posters - why would it be YOUR money?  Has mom who lives in the affluent area saved up any money for her college?  It sounds like SD doesn't even want to go (except maybe to avoid working).

IF I was willing to pay for her to go to college, I'd have a few requirements that had to be met before I was ponying up for a sleep away school.  First, she would have to take a full-time load of academic classes at the local community college for at least a year and maintain a certain GPA.  I'd want a 3.0, but others might be willing to go a bit lower.  Second, she would have to be responsible for her own laundry, cleaning, etc. at home, because if she doesn't have those skills, she won't do well away at school.  Third, she'd need to have some skin in the game, which would require a job.  

That said, I wouldn't pay a penny for a stepchild I couldn't stand and who had no history of working hard at school.

SteppedOut's picture

As other posters have said... she won't get accepted to a good 4 year university. With C's and D's in high school I am surprised she got into a community college actually. 

Also, NO WAY should you be paying for it. If you are stop, particularly if she isn't even going. Additionally, if her mom can't pay without having you cover more of the household expenses, she also shouldn't be paying either.


amyburemt's picture

Not every kid is cut out for college. And not every kid has the ability to look towards their future. We had one who decided she wasn't going to college and is now living with her crazy bm and working at mcdonalds. She also had the opportunity for going to community college for free but isn't making the requirements.I think at some point you have to look at it like a choice they are choosing to make and honestly its their future and their life and it's on them . as parents/steps/adults, we can only do so much. 

notarelative's picture

DW fills this idiots head with ideas that she can become a nurse

Get a few catalogues and have DW look at the requirements for entrance to a nursing program. Fun classes like ceramics and yoga won't get you in. The local program requires prerequisites in biology, English, and math. Competition is fierce to get in. And to stay in hard work is required. 

Barely passing high school does not get one into a nursing program here.



thinkthrice's picture

filled OSS stb 22's head with pipe dreams of seriously being a ROCK STAR as a career!!

The kid knows a few chords and can smoke pot.  He  COULD have learned lucrative trades from Chef, but oh no!  Gir would rather he hate his dad than be successful.

marblefawn's picture

Everyone goes to college or university now. This SD, with her lousy grades, will be competing for jobs against everyone else who went. She might get in (very likely will with colleges hurting now and if you're able to pay full tuition, she will be golden to a college), and she might get through, but she won't get a job to make it worth the $$$ you lay out for her.

If she chooses a trade, it will cost a little less and she'll be one of a smaller group competing for jobs companies are desperate to fill (particularly in construction, plumbing, carpentry, concrete work, etc.) Temporary agencies are desperate to fill accounting positions, so that is a good option.

Nursing is very difficult. They study chemistry, anatomy, biology -- things that many of us avoided in high school because we didn't have the aptitude for it then. And nurses work really hard -- long hours, not enough respect, dealing with blood, feces, vomit and difficult people (doctors!) If you don't really want to do it, you won't make it.

At least in my area (northeast US), construction companies are desperate for people willing to do trade work. Also medical coding is a great field for jobs potential. She can hook up with a company that will pay to fully train her and let her retrain for different aspects in the company. If I had a kid, this is what I'd be advising. College can always come later when they won't waste the money and will make the most of it.

I get it. It doesn't sound so impressive to say your kid is a forklife operator. But clever people hook up with a company and let them to pay for their college. I wish I had done this!

Has anyone asked SD what she wants to do for a career? You can send her to college, but you can't make her learn. Maybe try negotiating with your wife if you are paying the bills. Make her invest her own $$ up front and tell her she'll be reimbursed when she's graduated and working.

This push for every kid to get a college degree has parents bamboozled. It is not backed up with statistics, but people like your wife are suckered into wanting the prestige of a degree. Ask your wife is she'd rather have a kid with a college degree and no job or a kid with a solid job that will buy her the nice things in life. If SD isn't a go-getter, the degree will just be an expensive piece of paper.

My husband is in the college business and I am a journalist who writes an annual set of articles about the college industry (because that's what it is) and about industries desperate to find workers. Trust me, no hospital is looking for a half-hearted nurse that could land them in a malpractice lawsuit.



notasm3's picture

Don’t be stupid. Just say no to wasting thousands and thousands of dollars for her to flunk out. 

Survivingstephell's picture

Here's a novel idea, give SD rules for living in your home and see what she chooses to do with her life.  All rules aimed at getting her launched one way or another.  I do know this works because many in the older generations were given that same boot in the butt to get moving.  

Totally goes against the grain in society today but the old ways still work.  smh.......

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I never had this particular worry as none of my DH's kids were college material. Despite my best efforts with the youngest (who only managed to scrape through high school due to me), she didn't even last one semester at community college.

Your problem is still your wife, FlyBoy. She's still delusional and enmeshed with her daughter and you're still the dummy footing all the bills. Have you considered what you'll do when you're older and haven't saved enough for retirement because all your income went to supporting these ticks? You are living your entire life for other people, and they dont give a poop about your happiness. Think about that.

sunshinex's picture

If I was paying for a stepkid's college/post secondary schooling, I would only pay what I KNOW for a fact they can actually achieve/attend. So I think you're absolutely right that she should go to cosmetology or something similar where she'll enjoy it and it won't be academically challenging enough to make her drop out. It's your money. Your choice. If SD and your wife have other ideas, they're welcome to open their wallets. 

mro's picture

I'm in an area with robust opportunities in vocational education.  Unfortunately they have the reputation of being for the "dumb" kids. Nothing could be further from the truth. The kids in these programs May learn differently, but they actually have to be more mature than your average college student. They have to learn very quickly to show up on time, and be well-groomed and polite, Etc.  OP's SKID won't last any longer in such a program then she will in college without a change in her priorities.

2Tired4Drama's picture

I would suggest that you go into SD's room in the morning, tip her (and her BF) out of her bed, drag her butt with you to the job site and stick a shovel in her hand. 

If she refuses to go, or her mother objects, then tell them both they need to come up with a plan for how SD will be supported in the future because you will no longer be paying for anything - including any educational desires she may have.  

Notup4it's picture

So you are paying for older SD’s education? And this one’s? And your wife is trying to make you the bad guy because you are trying to be reasonable and realistic? Wow, just wow. I can’t get over that you are actually paying for any of this. 

She shouldn’t be able to get in anyways as most universities look at grades, accomplishments, and capabilities before they accept anyone anyways- so I’m thinking you don’t have much to worry about. 


Rags's picture

My Skid was far more mature than I gave him credit for.  He graduated HS at 17.  His mom and I bugged the crap out of him about applying and getting in to college. Anywhere in he world he wanted to go and could get into we would have paid for.  He was driving us insane not doing anything about school. We were not going to do it for him.

He finally sat us down and told us that he knew college was important and that he would go eventually.  His message was that he was not ready and it would be a waste of his time and our money.  What could we say to that?

10mos after HS graduation and 8mos after he turned 18 he reported for USAF BMT.  He has been in the USAF for more than 7 years, is working on his degree in CS and has two years left on a 3 year assignement in Germany.  He was 3 years left on his current enlistment that will get him to 10yrs of service.  He has told us that since he is in for 10 he will make it a career and go 20+. 

No, not all kids can nor should go to college. The opportunities for skilled trades/crafts are boundless.  I have advised many of my work force to get their jouneyman's certifications in one or multiple trades and attend college in parallel. This actually maximizes lifetime career income.  They make great money while they are young and can work extensive over time and complete their degree so that they can transition into professional roles and continue a career long upward trajectory in income.

For those who choose not to do the dual trade/college model they still can earn a very good living.  In some cases $100K+ per year for those with top skills and work ethic.

If you don't want to support a Skid for college, then don't.  And for those who cannot get into a competitive entrance program there is always JCs or for profit schools.  Interestingly some kids who are useless and lazy during HS turn out to be very diligent in their pursuit of college studies... eventually.  When they gain clarity that no one is going to support them on an eternal quest to be Peter Pan.

I speak from personal experience.  Just call me Peter.

Happycamper's picture

I'm currently going through this now. Both of my bio kids are in college. They have scholarships and any extra my ex has helped them because he makes a lot more money than me. Now, skid and my DH thinks that since my two go to big schools, she needs to go to one. She is not a "go-getter." Both of my kids worked all through high school and took all of the advanced courses. SD has done none of that and has never been made to work. Well, DH and BM decide their SD needs that opportunity. None of us can afford it. Both parents are taking loans against their 401K, etc. SD gets to college, after the first two days, she says it's too hard so she can't have a job and do school at the same time. After the first two weeks, she's dropping all of her hard classes (core anyway) and she's down to 12 hours, has only 2 days of classes a week and still won't go get a job. Now she's quitting all together after the first semester. It's too hard and she wants to be closer to home. Needless to say, all the money that was spent on ONE semester for her could have paid for her whole technical school degree that she's about to go attempt to get. Do what you think is right. It's your money!