Study Finds THIS Influences How Likely You Are to Attend College

March 14, 2016

Higher education is not for everyone, but is it right for your child? The benefits of college have recently been called into question. Even Michael Bloomberg, former NYC mayor and alum of Johns Hopkins and Harvard Business School, has suggested that a college education may not be necessary. On the flip side, Bill Gates, a Harvard dropout, has urged students to finish college, arguing that “getting a degree is a much surer path to success.” There’s always going to be the question of whether or not college is worth it. But, to be honest, there’s a bigger determinant of whether your child ends up attending college… and it’s you.

A poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International in 2014 sheds some light on education trends within families. Of the 1,271 people surveyed, 11% responded that both their parents held college degrees, 14% responded that only one parent held a college degree, while 55% responded that neither parent graduated with a diploma.

The gap starts with divergent views of the value of higher education and its impact on future success. The survey found that 62% of those with college-educated parents believe that a four-year college is necessary to succeed, while only 46% of those from no-degree families agree.

How are these opinions formed? Children with college-educated parents are often, at an early age, guided down a path paved with extracurriculars and tutors that grant them a better chance at college. Compare this to families with no-degree parents: while these parents may also encourage their children to pursue a four-year college education, they typically do not put the same kinds of pressures on their children or incentivize them pursue a college degree. The outlook of these parents is that, as long as their children find a way to support themselves, a higher ed degree isn’t a must-have, especially given the parents’ own personal experiences. As a result, the poll found that 80% of those who had both parents to go to college also attended four-year institutions, compared to the 29% of first-generation children.

Being able to graduate from college can also be a challenging task. Of the respondents, 55% of students from two-degree families graduate, compared to 23% of students from zero-degree families. However, graduation rate is not necessarily influenced by the educational background of family, but more so by financial abilities.

Although your child’s likelihood of attending college seems to be correlated to your own education level, perhaps the assessment should shift away from whether a student’s education level is influenced by his or her parents and instead to whether the cost of college makes it a worthwhile pursuit. What can we do about the cost of higher ed to make it more accessible to all? After all, if it’s true that “by 2025, two-thirds of all jobs will require education beyond high school” (as Bill Gates claims), how will students pay for those degrees if they want to be competitive candidates for those jobs?

About The Author

Frances Wong
Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.

 




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