What to Do When Your Children Refuse to Attend College


as a parent, you certainly want the best for your children. While a college education is important, it is only one of many roads to success.

Use the following tactics to convince your children of the value of a college education:

  1. Give Him/Her a Chance to Explain. Be glad that you’ve raised a teen that has their own ideas about life and wants to carve their own path to success. Give him /her a chance to explain exactly why they believe that chasing a college education is the wrong direction for him. Of course, try to keep an open mind. 

  • As a parent, hearing, “I don’t want to go to college right now” can seem like the end of the world. However, refusing to attend college right now still leaves the door open for your child to get a degree in the future.
  • After twelve consecutive years of schooling, it’s understandable that your child wants to take a break from academics to focus on finding out what life’s all about. 
  • Strive to be supportive and listen with an open mind. 
  1. Come to an Agreement. If your son or daughter’s mind is made up about foregoing college this year, meet him or her halfway. 
  • Allow him or her to take a year or two off from schooling in order to pursue different dreams. If your child tests the waters and finds them to be deeper than he or she expects, they’ll probably return to school. If your child is successful without school, celebrate his or her success.
  1. Provide an Incentive. If you truly believe that your child’s only true shot at attaining a successful career is by attending college, entice him or her to your point of view. Offer a financial incentive or another type of reward that he or she can earn with solid, specific academic progress
  • If you offer an incentive for your child to attend school, he may attend only for the reward. If so, he may lack the academic effort, waste his time and throw away your coins in the process. If you tie the reward to specific academic goals, you’ll ensure that he’s serious about school. 
  • Will your child be living at home? If so, consider offering a $3,000 bedroom makeover if they enroll in college. Offer a new car, reduced rent, a new home./


It’s only natural to want the best for your children. And college generally is the best route to success for most individuals. However, it’s important to understand that college is only one of many paths to success in life. Your role in your child’s success is to support and encourage them to chase after their dreams. Ultimately, they have  to decide on the path that’s right for him or her.


Trust in your parenting skills. You’ve raised a talented, intelligent, and self-sufficient young adult. It can be hard to let go, but you’ve instilled in your child the values you deem important. As he/she goes through the trials of life, he’ll stay true to those values with or without a college degre.


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