“Widening Your Radar” — Part 5 of Transitioning Your Teen to HIgh-School-Level (Home)School

This is the fifth post in a series about transitioning your teens to high-school homeschool. In the other four parts, I have covered topics like routine, vision, a new approach, and routes to your destination, but there is one more preliminary point I want to make before the sixth post, which will be practical suggestions for your homeschooling journey from the 9th grade on, and that is about university.

I need to tell you a hard truth: a university education is actually very important.

Is university in your teen's future?

Yes, I know there is a new trend that argues otherwise. The cost of affording higher education is making people look at alternatives, but in my opinion, we’re not ready quite yet to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so for now, I stick by what I say: a university education is actually very important.

One of the reasons I say this is that all studies show that the earning power of a university graduate is vastly superior to that of a non-graduate, job opportunities are wider, and career paths are longer and more diverse.

A Pew Research Center report from Nov 2014 noted that earnings for those born since 1980 were much higher with a bachelor’s degree than those without. Let’s look at some numbers: the median annual earnings with a degree was $45,500,; those with only some college earned $30,000, and those with only a high-school diploma were $28,000.

Some say this gap over a 40-year working period equates to graduates’ earnings outpacing their non-graduate peers by 65%.

At one time, median earnings for high-school graduates were 81% of those of college graduates, but that percentage has dropped to only 61.5%, and the trend is for that to continue dropping.

A degree can make a big difference in salary

I know that not all children are cut-out for university. I know that there are issues with affording higher education. I know there's a growing trend toward portfolio education, fuelled by all the wonderful opportunities for getting college-level education on-line.

I know, therefore, that it's no longer a cut-and-dry decision about going to university.

However, I just wanted to urge you to think about the long-term destination of your homeschooling journey before we discuss the short- to medium-term stops along the way.

You don't need to know the answer now:
just be aware of the question!

I don’t mean to say that you have to force your child into making a decision about degree courses when he or she is only 13 or 14; I only mean that getting university on your radar now will undoubtedly influence your intervening steps, if you choose to take that route.

Next time, it will be these steps that I’ll explore.

* Salary estimates are for men (annoyingly). Women with degrees who work full time earn approximately 14% less of their male counterparts’ salaries in the US. Studies suggest the disparity is partly due to career breaks taken by mothers, and partly the industries that women tend to enter (education and health care, as opposed to finance and business). The disparity is worse for non-graduate women, where earnings are 20% less than their male counterparts.

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