As parents, we spend a lot of time worrying about the college “investment.” We want to get the most for our money, and we want the dollars we spend for school now to become life-style sustaining incomes for our children later. More and more high school graduates continue on to college at least in part to increase their potential earning power.
Today, though, I want to spend a little time discussing the non-monetary benefits of investing in a college education.
- Transition. This can be the ideal environment for your child to make that transition from adolescent to young adult. College students are on their own, yet still have the support of their parents and the college faculty and personnel. This is the time students can choose to reinvent themselves if they want. They can also explore different courses, majors and extracurricular activities they haven’t yet had exposure to. Your child can test their new boundaries, make life decisions independently and discover who it is he or she really wants to be. College is a time your child can develop his or her own morals and values that will guide them during adulthood.
- Maturity. A lot can happen in four years, and for most students, grappling with balancing school, work, friends, and family for the first time on their own forces them to be accountable to themselves. I challenge you to compare the child you send off to school freshman year with the adult in cap and gown you see 4 years later.
- Passion. Hopefully, your son or daughter will spend the next four years identifying a field of study they love. For most students, college is the first opportunity they get to really delve deeply into the field or subject that makes them want to get out of bed in the morning. College can be a huge opportunity-and catalyst-for your child to be able to take on big, wonderful challenges in their future.
- Accomplishment. There are typically few times in one’s life when you really feel you have completed a life-changing undertaking – and college graduation can be one of those rare moments. Diploma in hand, your student gets to take a moment to revel in the fact that he/she worked hard, got the grades, managed a hectic schedule, and accomplished the goal that all other schooling has lead up to! Ideally this will motivate your child to take on the next challenge of excelling in a career that will make a difference.
So when that first college bill shows up in your mailbox, think back on this post. I hope it will remind you of the value of a higher education that can’t be measured in dollars and cents. Maybe it will numb the sting of mailing that hefty check to the college a bit!
All the best,