Monday 29 June 2015

"Widening Your Radar" -- Part 5 of Transitioning Your Teen to Secondary (Home)School

This is the fifth post in a series about transitioning your teens to secondary (home)school. In the other four parts, I have covered topics like routine, vision, a whole new approach, and routes to your destination, but there is one more preliminary point that deserves consideration, and that's about university.

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

Is uni in your home-ed future?

Yes, I know plenty of you will disagree. You will say your child is not that kind of person, that there are extenuating circumstances with disabilities or personality issues or what-not, that you don’t have a degree and you’ve done all right for yourself, that we need to have plumbers and car mechanics and hair dressers in this world.

In order, I say: maybe not, there might be, that’s probably true, and that’s definitely true.

But notice I didn’t say that YOUR child needed to go to university. I simply said that a university education is very important. The reason 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.

For example, statistics say that an average young person of 22 will earn about £15,000 per year. At 34, the non-graduate’s earnings will peak at £19,400, but the graduate’s earnings won’t peak until 51, at which time, annual salary averages £34,500. Even if you calculate the difference in salary (less current tax rates) between the graduates’ peak at 51 and the retirement age (set to be 68 over the next 4 decades), the graduate will earn £175,000 more than the non-graduate in that 17-year period alone.*

That's roughly an extra £900 a month!

A degree can make a big difference in salary

These are the CURRENT statistics, but the future could be quite different still. That’s because the numbers going to university are soaring. Between 1995 and 2015, for example, the number of young people attending university has gone from 20% to 49% of school leavers. As more and more students opt for university, the job market will most likely start to demand some level of higher education as the norm — a trend experienced in the US where 65% of high schoolers enrol in post-school education.

It’s not a cut-and-dry decision, this university plan I mean. There are issues about funding it, about the future of online modular routes, not to mention that maybe your child just really, really isn’t cut out for higher education.

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

You don't need to know the answer:
just be aware of the questions for now.

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.

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

* Salary estimates are for men (annoyingly). Women with degrees earn 20% less of their male counterparts’ salaries in England. 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 23% less than their male counterparts.

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Suggestions, ideas, tweaks, or maybe you're just a happy Dreaming Spires student who wants to leave some encouraging words! Thanks for posting! Kat