Dear Zoe: Should I pay for college?

Dear Zoe:

A lot of people are starting to question whether or not investing in a college education is worth the cost. My son is quickly approaching his high school graduation. What do I do?

Sincerely,

The Tuition is Too Damn High

Dear Tuition,

I understand your frustration with the rising costs and decreasing returns of a college education. The industry values an undergraduate degree less and less now that so much of the population has one, and colleges can’t seem to control their rising costs to the point where an increase of under 5% per year is celebrated as a miracle of cost control.

I’d say you should tell your son to find his passion. Many people would argue that college is a waste of money under all circumstances; without going that far, I’d certainly say it would be a waste for your son to go to college if he doesn’t know what he wants out of life. A general degree with 3 courses from the music department, 5 from languages, 1 from the math department (only barely passed) and 2 from psychology basically means that you spend more than a hundred grand so your son could get drunk and have sex with insecure girls. If your son is even a little unsure about what he wants to do with his life, tell him to grow up and figure it out instead of asking you to shell out big bucks to enable his self discovery.

However, if your son does have a plan in mind, support him with everything you’ve got. If he wants to be an inventor, give him a garage and tools. If he wants to learn math, send him to the university with the best math department of the ones you can afford. If he wants to code, give him a computer. If he wants to learn to act, tell him to join a travelling theater troupe.

What I’m trying to say is that college is a good choice for certain paths, but not all of them. Tell your son to find his passion and follow it. Just remember that not all paths to success go through college.

Sincerely,

Zoe

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