DEAR GRANDDADDY- A Teen, Parent, and Educator Advice Column BLOG #76

Dear Granddaddy, why do high schools only focus on sending kids to college? Jesenia- mom of a high school student.

Bestselling and award-winning author, speaker, educator, and TV host.


Jesenia, that’s a good question. In the United States, high schools get ranked by how many kids they send to four-year colleges and universities. And we all know that old saying, “What we assess, we address.” Thus, it makes sense that high schools push the college choice for their students.

Many people believe that the expansion of kids enrolling in college is the next wave of democratizing America. Many average high schools in the United States have around eighty percent of their seniors heading off to college each fall, however, here is some food for thought. Why does a nation as smart as Switzerland only consider about twenty percent of its high school students to be college material?

Now, I’ve always believed that there are many roads to Rome. Similarly there are also many roads to a successful and happy life. There is nothing wrong with a technical certification at a local community college. And there is nothing wrong with apprenticeships or on-the-job training, where one gets paid to learn. And there is nothing wrong with joining the military, either, if that is the route one wants to choose. Heck, not only is there nothing wrong with these other routes, but in some cases, they’re actually a very good idea, or even a brilliant idea. Remember, college is pretty expensive.

But for many people, college is the right choice. However, because it’s expensive, it has to be approached in the right way, where one does not get buried in debt just to get a degree that they may or may not use.

Coming full circle now, perhaps high schools should find additional ways to measure their successes rather than just one yardstick that only includes a four-year university. In addition, your child, too, should keep looking for ways to be successful that fit his or her needs and personality. Jesenia, good luck with whichever road you decide to take to Rome. I’m sure in end it will all work out.

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Dan Blanchard is a bestselling and an award-winning author, speaker, and educator who has appeared in several of the world’s Top Ten Podcasts, and over 100 television and radio shows. He now also has a weekly TV show of his own. To find out more about Dan or to submit a question to him, please visit him on his website at: