Tag Archives: alternatives to college


As a follow-up to my previous piece, “Unschooling Rather Than Highschooling”, I want to bring you up to date on my two kids’ unschooling sagas as they continue to choose to chart their own course as young adults. Neither Eric or Emma has chosen to go to college (though Emma has taken several community college and university extension classes). Instead, they have continued to launch their own projects, some successful and others significant failures, but all profound learning experiences moving them along their developmental paths.

It’s ironic that neither has chosen to enroll in higher education given the family pedigree. Their four grandparents all have college degrees, including one PhD. Their mom has two Masters, one in public health and a second in marriage and family therapy, while I have two Bachelors, one in speech and the other in computer science. Aunts and uncles are highly schooled as well. Certainly their parents and the entire extended family had the expectation when they were born that they would go to college. My partner Sally’s parents even starting significant college funds for them when they were born.

Trying and failing… some people say there is no better way to educate oneself. Yet we have a conventional education system for our youth built around externally orchestrated programming for success. Educators and savvy parents collude to prepare students for successful testing to get into the best possible college to guarantee the best possible chance for success on the job.

Both our kids have chosen not to go with that program. Here are some of the projects they’ve undertaken during what would conventionally be college years for many of their peers.

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Considering If and When to Go to College

A year ago hedge fund manager and author James Altucher announced in a provocative piece for Yahoo Finance Tech Ticker, “Rethinking College as Student-Loan Burdens Rise”, that college, particularly right after high school, may not be a good investment for most students and their families that often are paying the bill. Says Altucher…

There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that motivated kids are going to make money whether or not they go to college… So teach your kids how to be motivated. Teach your kids how to sell a product, build a network of connections. That’s going to be far more valuable.

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