Nearly Half of U.S. Parents Want More Noncollege Paths

WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to the Family Voices study — a recent survey of U.S. parents conducted by Carnegie Corporation and Gallup — 54% of parents of children aged 11 to 25 in the United States would prefer that their child enroll in a four-year university immediately after high school. However, 46% of parents say even if there were no barriers to their child earning a bachelor’s degree, they would prefer another postsecondary option.

Parents who are bachelor’s degree-holders themselves (66%), have Black children (67%) or identify as Democrats (70%) are especially likely to prefer enrollment in a four-year university for their child.

Though many community colleges offer associate degrees that develop skills for a specific career path — such as paralegal or dental hygienist programs — parents are twice as likely to say they want their child to complete a noncollege-based skills training program (16%) rather than enroll in community college (8%). Noncollege skills training programs include apprenticeships, specialized technical training and trade school.

The remaining 22% of parents prefer that their child pursue a path that does not explicitly involve formal postsecondary education, such as starting a business, performing volunteer work, joining the military, securing a paid job or taking time off to pursue their interests.

Nearly Half of Current Students’ Parents Want More Options

Among parents whose children are enrolled in middle or high school, 84% say they are “satisfied” with four-year college, two-year college and vocational or technical skills training programs as options for their child. However, in a separate question, nearly half of these parents (45%) agree or strongly agree that they wish there were more options available to their child.


Via Nearly Half of U.S. Parents Want More Noncollege Paths – by Zach Hrynowski April 7, 2021 — Just Sayin’

2 thoughts on “Nearly Half of U.S. Parents Want More Noncollege Paths

  1. Interesting. College was good for social life, but my most recent alumni magazine shows Duke is fully engaged in the coronavirus panic-demic, with faculty members volunteering as Mask Police to enforce mask wearing and social distancing. Traditional gathering places have been closed, including the Duke Gardens. They shortened spring break, and many of the classes are virtual.

    Much more recently, I took a photovoltaics course at the local technical school and loved it, because it was so relevant and practical, with hands-on learning how to set up a PV system.

    Although my initially liberal arts education certainly broadened my horizons and taught me how to think and write critically, in itself it was not “practical” from a career point of view. Later, when I decided to go to medical school, I had to take two years of science lab courses and found I loved the sciences.

    I guess my point here is that it’s never too late to learn. Life itself is educational, if you allow it, and teenagers should have the option of finding their own paths.


  2. Interesting, Katherine. I had the exact opposite reaction to my university years. I hated it – years of memorizing and spitting out facts without any emphasis on analyzing information or creativity.


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