Episode 29

College - Is It The Right Choice for Everyone?

  • Video
  • Stories
  • Contribute

In this video, I discuss one of the topics suggested by fans about parental responsibility. When it comes to your children’s education, I believe that they should be encouraged to follow their natural ability. If they want to have a college education, they should have the ability to get one, but it’s not the right path for every child. Many of the most successful icons of business dropped out of college to follow their dreams, and I think it’s a mistake to lead children to believe that in order to be successful, they have to go to a traditional four-year college. Sadly, many young people who were promised the world when they started college, can’t get a job when they get out or are stuck in a job they dislike. If children were allowed to follow their natural ability, they would probably be far more successful human beings. It’s an interesting topic. Tell me your story. 

Your stories

See All
  1. Watched, Listened, Learned and Teach!

    by Janece Dear Judge Judy, I work as a hospice nurse (my calling in life). I meet and work with so many people of all ages. I tell people I have my "Judge degree" from watching Judge Judy and often I find myself helping others by teaching what I learn about the law from your show. My daughter is 18, getting ready to graduate high school, and now filtering through colleges, unsure what to do and where to go. I am a single mom and concerned about how to guide her. Thank you for your words of advice and wisdom on the college topic. I can't wait to show her this! And thank you for being who you are and true to yourself and others. I sincerely admire you. May God bless you as you have blessed others. Janece, Southlake, TX
  2. Wish I would have known....

    by Heath I feel I was duped by society into thinking I needed a college education to be worth something. My first degree is in education. I taught, but realized that teaching wasn't for me. I went back for a second degree in engineering, because I felt I needed a different degree to get a decent job. My second degree opened many doors for me. As a husband and father of a baby boy, I look at my baby boy and his mother, and my career is no longer my priority - my family is. I now know I would have been a great electrician, plumber, HVAC technician, etc. Our society does a disservice when it says it is better to be unemployed with a degree in Arts History than it is to be a successful electrician or plumber. I tell my son now that I will be just as proud of him if he becomes an electrician as I would be if he becomes a renowned college professor. What makes an adult successful is supporting yourself, your family, and hopefully enjoying yourself along the way. You can do that without college.
  3. Step by Step

    by Joe I was a poor student. In 1980 I was given a chance to attend a surgical technician's program in Indiana. I graduated, worked for about a year. I owed about $1000.00 ( a lot of money then) so I joined the Army and became a medic, was sent to Germany as part of President Reagans cold war build up. I attended night school with the University of Maryland on post. After the Army, I was accepted to a Physician Assistant program in Maryland, which at that time was only an associate degree and for me, free on the GI bill. I returned to work, kept going to night school, earned a BS, then a masters degree with no student loan debt along the way. I've had ups and downs, worked Indian Hospitals, farm towns, inner cities, border towns, the Korean DMZ, you name it. I don't recommend University for probably 80% of the people I know or meet on a day to day basis and I don't recommend it to friends or family, it is a rip off. Technical Schools, then maybe university as negotiated with your employer.
  4. College is Different Than In The Past

    by James In the 1950's and 1960's college or university was seen as something quite elite that only a small percentage of the population went to. If you were academically inclined or if you were very wealthy you would go. In fact it was the norm for many people to drop out of school early and go out and work in the real world. The opportunities to do that are now much more limited which has led to what is sometimes called a college bubble. College is now seen as a prerequisite to employment for most fields now which is a huge shift. My own experience is that i like university and think everybody can gain a lot from it. I do engineering which is a fun degree. What i will say is that because so many people go now because everybody is expected to go for employment somewhat detracts from some things university could be.
  5. The relief of dropping out

    by Susan School was a place of torture as far as I was concerned. It was boring, crowded, smelly, and full of pressure to do stupid things. I dropped out of high school in the last month of grade twelve and have never looked back. One job after another suits me just fine. I've been a secretary, weighed and graded scrap metal, handled explosives, planted trees, reported for a local newspaper, worked as a hotel desk clerk, and many other jobs. Each one is interesting and exciting in a different way; each has its difficulties and triumphs. Chances are I will never be rich in money, but my wealth of experiences is still building and I'm over sixty. Sometimes it's tough and I wish I'd stayed in school. Most of the time I'm glad I didn't.
  6. Getting an education on the job

    by Joan My late husband, Michael, never went to school. He always worked a part time job even at a young age when he was really to young to work. When he went to school he past every test but his attendance was terrible. As he got older he worked along side his dad at a tool store. He was a sponge. His uncle was a very smart business man. The two men discussed the fine art of business & Michael was always listening. Soaking it all up. He grew up to be a fabulous retailer. Everything he touched turned to gold. Unfortunately he passed to young 49. Michael would never have learned what he had in a class room setting. He listened & watched his father & uncle discuss the ways to conduct business along with the fine art of getting discounts by buying & paying at certin times. Only hands on education worked for him.
  7. Learning on the job

    by Joan B I dropped out of high school with only 2-1/2 credits left to go. The school I was attending wanted me to go for another whole semester to take a gym class that someone forgot to schedule me for. Having really hated going to school, I quit. All of my business classes were completed, including that dinosaur, shorthand. I loved being a secretary and worked for several attorneys over a period of about 30 years. Each one trained me in their own methods and my education was really more than I would have received in college. The last position I held was for a probate, estate planning attorney for 20 years. I am now retired and wouldn't trade my working years for any other position. No one has to go to college to obtain the education I received.
  8. career bus driver

    by Jim F. Growing up, I wanted to be a bus driver, and a radio disc jockey. I used to hang out at the school bus garage when I was 12 years old. My father was a high school football coach, so after grammar school, I would ride my bicycle over to the High School, and annoy the bus drivers and mechanics at the bus yard. Then after football, my father would give me a ride home. I was taught to drive a school bus before I had my drivers license. I would fuel the bus up, and park it. Great fun for me. I chose not to go to college, and pursued my career choice, starting at age 18. I am now approaching 60, and looking forward to retirement in my profession, with a decent pension. As a bus driver, I have driven the White House Press Corps, and seen most of the tourist attractions in the West, I have enjoyed myself in the process. Follow your dreams, be patient and humble, and take life one day at a time. I drove 11,561 days without an accident. Radio DJ? Did it 18 years part time.
  9. Real Life

    by Leslie Two of my three children have attended college with varying degrees of success. I went to college at the age of 23 after the breakup of my marriage. I married too young and then found myself with 2 babies and no marketable skills. I completed nursing school with a 3.8 GPA and I have never regretted that particular decision. I chose nursing for one major reason - I knew I would always have a job. I've told my sons to get a skill that they can make a living with. College is great, but I've seen too many people with advanced degrees that have no job skills. My friend has sent her daughter to college and law school for 6 years. That girl has school loans exceeding $100,000.00 and works as a barista at Starbucks. She has dropped out of law school without completing the courses. People need to look at the real world and get the skills they need to survive first. College is a wonderful privilege but you have to be able to pay the bills first.
  10. My Oldest Child.....his passion and dream

    by Denise My oldest child graduated this June in Pennsylvania. He is now attending a college in Delaware to achieve his goal in life. He is enrolled in the Electro-Mechanical Engineering program. We saved for college using the Educational IRA programs so we could afford to send him without having to turn to financial aid. He is doing very well and we are proud of him. He has dreamed of working in the railroad industry since a very young child. College is definitely the right choice for him, we looked up qualifications to become an engineer and most jobs require electrical or mechanical engineering. He is therefore taking both to ensure he has a better chance of obtaining his dream. We wish him luck.

  12. Sorry, Your College Money is Gone

    by Chrystal I would have loved to have grown up in a traditional family and have had the option to go to college after I graduated high school. However, my parents split when I was 5 and I spent my entire life moving from one place to another. I only went to one school for 2 years, then we would move. I had several step dads along the way and only 1 of them talked to me about college and classes I needed in high school to prepare for it. Luckily I had that advice to go on, but that was it. When I got out of high school the child support payments, in which some of that money was suppose to be put back for my college education, was all spent on raising me and on other expenses I was told. I was on my own and looking for a full time job. Got married at 22 and had a steady job for about 6 years then a harassment incident caused me to quit. My then husband give me 2 options, either find another job or go to school. So I went to our local community college and got an Associate's Degree.
  13. Is a college education for everyone?

    by Carrie I didn't go to college or university. Would it have made any difference ? who knows. I thought I wanted to be an Interior Designer. In fact , I did apply for a place on a college course and was accepted in my mid twenties, but didn't go for financial reasons. I ended up as a Soft Furnisher. Eventually having my own business. It was the best thing I ever did.
  14. College for everyone?

    by Jane College isn't for everyone. I have encouraged my children to go to college but not made it the only path open to them. They have both gone on to higher education and have been successful doing things that took them on to positions that didn't require a 4-year degree. Our son is working at a high level security position in Washington, D.C. and has only an Associates Degree. Our daughter has gone to several trade schools and a business college and an on-line program, and she is working 3 jobs and loving her life. There seems to be nothing needed to add to their happiness except on-going opportunities in their fields. College wasn't the only factor. Desire to get information however it was offered whether in trade school or in another venue was the way it had to be. They paid for most of it on their own and are happy they did. Grants and student loans are always there for them to consider and now to pay back. We helped the way we could and the amount we could but we didn't pay all
  15. Value askew?

    by Leanne I'm your typical story of a military veteran, who is a responsible, thriving, full-time working single mother who went to college and racked up over $26,000 on stufent loan debt I still can't afford to make paymets toward, years and a few raises later. I'm facing default, and I'm an Army vereran who used my GI bill to pay my bills so I could only work part time to focus on my two-year degree. Well, shortly after graduating, my daughter arrived and naturally my financial priorities have shifted to her, leaving my student loan debt sitting there collecting interest and I feel so stuck. The VA doesnt have any programs to help me and I "make too much $" to qualify for government assistance, which amazes me. What do I do to survive financially while avoiding default? Its been looming over my head for years.
  16. Be skilled at something!

    by Jumoke Finally! As a parent I have been telling my kids that college education is not for everyone but if you choose not to go to college then make sure you're skilled at doing something. In a country like Nigeria, parents give up everything to make sure their kids go to college:the mantra is: go to college and get a degree at all cost! Sadly, the rate of jobless graduates is increasing exponentially. So, what are the parents doing? Encourage the kids to go to graduate schools but the intubation is as desperate as ever
  17. Strategy is Labor Lost

    by ad I love this topic. Strategy is labor lost is one of my favorite Abraham Lincoln theories. College is an excellent strategy and very powerful tool, but that's all it is. That being said, I didn't have the desire or the money to go to college after high school. I did want to work and I did want to do things that were a challenge. I started working at a small tv station in the same town I went to high school in; that was 15 years ago. The focus on labor more than strategy has given me options that I never would have had if I tried to unwillingly put myself through college. I am still continuing to master a craft that has created for myself a lot of travel, success, and even formal college education. Other than your own willingness to succeed, there is no surefire or appropriate way to success.
  18. College Material...

    by Ella Hi everybody! While studying in high school, forty plus years ago, my counselor uttered the words: "you're not college material." This really hurt me. I enrolled in the community college and secured thirty some credits. A few years ago, I went back and secured an associated degree in Liberal Arts. Honestly, I don't even know what Liberal Arts means. Thanks to Uncle Sam for making that happen! I wish he would bring out the natural abilities in me or some very wealthy people. We all have talents and God loves to watch us work. That counselor was right, however, I love to learn new things, especially when I studied Algebra I an II. It was like little algebra men with toothbrushes dusting the grey material on my brain. I just returned from Washington D. C. and you have to know the alphabet frontwards and backwards walking the streets as a tourist.
  19. I discouraged my son from attending college...

    by Leah Turns out he did, but he went two years to the local community college then one year at paramedic school. Despite being quite bright, my son has always been an indifferent student, so I knew college would be a waste of his money and time. But he did want to go into public service, so he knew he'd need some post-secondary training. He settled on EMS which did require three total years of study, but he was able to do it at his pace and it was so affordable he was able to not take grants or loans so he has no debt. He's working at a job he loves and making as much or more than many college grads. Best choice he ever made.
  20. Is College the right choice for everyone?

    by Lee Seems the biggest Philanthropist in the world agrees with Judge Judy! "I failed in some subjects in exam, but my friend passed in all. Now he's an engineer in Microsoft and I am the Owner." The literal World-saving, Bill Gates
  21. It's Their Life

    by Kathy Even though I have a Masters degree in Education, my 5 children have never been "required" to go to college. It simply isn't for everyone. However, in order to make a living and support oneself in today's society, SOME kind of further education is necessary. Two of mine went to college; the others received certificates from other schools. In MY America, elementary school would be for learning the basics, while high school would either be taking courses to prepare them for college, or attending various trade schools in lieu of high school. Students would graduate with either a high school diploma and then attend college to become a doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc., or would receive a certificate from their trade school and join the work force as productive members of society. Students would be taking the courses they are interested in. This is the bottom line. They have to be happy. It's a waste of money to "force" college. It's their life. Let them decide. What a win-win!
  22. The College Diploma - Is it Really Just a Piece of

    by Kunal The ever-lasting question: Does college really teach you new skills or is the diploma just a way of saying, "Even though I knew I could do your work beforehand, this paper physically proves it."? I went to a top 25 college and earned a degree in engineering. However, I soon realized that it did not do much for me as it was about a year before I got my first real job, actually two, and they were 1) as a clerk at a law firm (as I have plans to go to law school) and a personal trainer at a gym, both completely unrelated to my degree. This scenario often makes me (jokingly, but slightly seriously) wonder if I really needed to go to college. That being said, had I not had a college degree, I really do not believe that that factor would have allowed the opening of the doors to both of these job opportunities, which again brings me back to the beginning question, unless you start your own business, is a diploma your golden ticket, regardless of whether the two/four years is a waste, to a job?
  23. Grateful and Blessed Mom

    by Jan Wow Judge Judy, you just pushed my buttons! This is a very "touchy" subject with me. I grew up in the fifties, had my only child when I was turning age 40, and I was just fortunate enough to have lived through this most important subject. My son had learning disabilities in school and as a result of many sad situations with teacher's who lacked compassion to his ultimate hatred of school, he was a drop out. I was saddened and honestly, somewhat embarrassed. He had the opportunity to work part time when he was 12 years old as a helper learning the tile business. His Grandfather (my Dad) took the time to express his views noting that "College was not for everyone" and he should have the opportunity to follow his dreams. Remarkably enough, when he turned 18 , he inherited $170,000.00 to secure his future education but he had already given six years to learning the tile business and he liked it. A decision had to be made, he is turning 22 with many years in the tile business.
  24. College/Education is a...

    by Martin A foundation of human value is required to develop a professional. Moral valued living is the key to being a well rounded professional. Academics is a tool used to greater our society's civility. At age nine, I was grinding fiberglass parts in my uncle's shop in his backyard, pushing a lawn mower around my neighborhood at age 10, working as a dishwasher at 14 (paying into the system as I had my ssn at that age) lying to the manager about my age, who was my neighbor. Continued working through High School, sacrificing many "fun" things my peers would enjoy. My heroes were Pete Malloy and Jim Reed (Adam-12) whom I wanted to be just like. At age 19, after experiencing what life was like trying to live it on my own, without a high school education, I returned home, achieved my G.E.D., joined the South Gate Police Department Reserve Police Officer Program. I was hired and "then" went to college. Experienced my dream without college; Personal persistence for one's goal/dream is key.
  25. Two children, two different paths

    by Ann N. I am a parent of a 15-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son, so this question has come up quite a bit lately. Both are intelligent and good students, but my daughter is so far not leaning towards traditional college. She is considering becoming a flight attendant, going to a technical school, or even joining the Peace Corps for two years after high school. She is a gifted artist and photographer, and another option is art school, photography, or another artistic field. My son, on the other hand, is talking either engineering, medical school (or a science field), or even law school so he can have "Judge Judy's job"! Either way, I want them to have something to start out on, and it really doesn't matter to me as long as they have a skill or profession that they can earn a living doing. What isn't acceptable is doing nothing to contribute to society and becoming dependent on anyone else.
  26. Make sure you choose the right dream. Make an opti

    by Judy D. Follow your dreams, but make sure they are the right dream. My dream was always being married and having a family, every young girls dream. I tried to follow my dreams too young in life. I was 16, started a family and dropped out of high school. I wanted so much to follow my dreams, but should have waited a few more years. After being married, I found out the person I married was a very violent person. He always told me I could not do anything in life and was stupid. I then decided to take my GED and enter college. I took out student loan and began my journey. Three months before I was to graduate, my husband left me, He then knew that after I graduated I would not need him. He was right. I then had to raise my kids on my own. That was not in my dream, so I had to choose to follow a different dream. And it was not being a single mother, I had to change it to being a mother and finding a job that would support my kids and myself. 36 yrs later, I have my dream, kids and grandkids and a happy marriage.
  27. Would you like fries with that?

    by espinaca My neighbor's son, now age 25 majored in philosophy at U.C. Santa Barbara. After graduation, he returned home (with dirty laundry) to Sonoma where he took a fast food job. After a year, he got a job in Napa in a law office and moved out of the house to his own place (still bringing home laundry for mom to do). He told me he was thinking of going to law school which I consider these days the refuge of losers. Last week he returned home, I assume something went wrong with the law office job and is now working late at night in a bar. College envy is a disease spreading among parents who think all will be well if their child completes four years of seat warming. I went to college, graduated with a degree in cafeteria and socializing. What a waste of my four years. But I did well, became wealthy and successful in spite of my time in academia. I could have had a jump start if somebody advised me to school out of higher, structured education. Thanks for the great video Judge Judy.
  28. Pressure

    by Daniel I am 18 years old and I have that natural ability that was discussed with music when it comes to playing the clarinet. It would be a lot of fun to pursue a music degree but I decided to opt out for the more easy and secure degree of nursing because I know I can get a job as a male nurse. I feel pressured because I want to ensure a great future after college and I am unsure that that will happen with music.

Step 1 of 2 - Tell Your Story!

Step 2 of 2 - You!

  • Female
  • Male