An educational expert has warned parents against obsessing over sending their children to college.
“Too often the question is ‘how do I get my kids to college, how do they get 550 points?’ And everything else is sacrificed for that objective,” Sir Ken Robinson said in an interview with The Irish Times.
Robinson gained attention in 2006 for his TED Talk which has since reached a record number of 50 million views. He argued that schools are killing creativity and failing to recognise the diversity of children’s intelligence.
Sarah Gilmartin, a former UL Arts student said that she felt “100 per cent pressured” into going to college from her family and from school and that this “has played a role in that fact that I’m no longer in university now when I should be”.
“I grew up with four siblings who are ridiculously smart whereas I’m not book smart per say. I knew I wanted to go to university, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I still don’t,” she said.
When asked if she felt worse off in life for having dropped out of college, Gilmartin said, “Definitely not, I’m learning new languages and travelling. I’ll go back to a university course at some point but when I’m ready and when I know what I want to do for sure.”
Fintan Gallagher , a former DCU student, said he felt more pressure from his secondary school to go to college than from his parents.
“I’m lucky enough to have super supportive parents who would’ve supported any choice I would have made, though they definitely would’ve pushed me in the direction of attending college, in part, because my Dad never had the opportunity to,” he said.
Gallagher said that he deferred his journalism course for a year but doesn’t plan on going back.
“I think dropping out will more than likely have negative effects on my financial future,” he said. “But staying in college to finish a degree I have no interest in pursuing a career in, would have, and did, have a large impact on my mental health, which has always been more important to me than money.”