4 Positive Thoughts for Your Non-College-Bound Child

If college isn’t in the cards for your child, fear not! Mighty Mommy shares four considerations that will shed some positive light on the situation that can help both you and your child forge ahead to a bright and hopeful future.

Cheryl Butler
9-minute read
Episode #513

As the holidays wind down, not only are families catching their breath from all the shopping, baking, entertaining, and managing crazy “to do” lists, those with high school seniors are gearing up to focus on another monumental period—deciding on where to enroll in college.

This is a pivotal milestone for families, I can attest to that with my eight kids, but just as seniors are excitedly filling out their college applications there are many classmates who have decided college is not in their future, at least not now, and my son is one of them.

To be honest, this comes as no surprise as my soon-to-be high school grad has never been scholastically inclined despite his insatiable desire to learn new things. He’s a Boy Scout and a true explorer. If he could spend all day long building things and figuring out what makes machinery and other intricate objects tick, he would, but at this point in time he doesn’t want to further his education in a classroom setting.

I shared this news with several of my friends who have college-bound children and immediately sensed their disappointment. What? No college? What about when everyone is going “post” crazy on social media with their kid’s final acceptance choices? What will I post—a “woe is me” that one of my sheep strayed the flock and will now be subjected to a life of eating cold beans from a can because he won’t have a college degree to help him have a living space with electricity and running water?

Guess what? Not all kids go to college. And that’s okay, too. In fact, sometimes it’s the best decision that can be made.

I’ve been down this path with my oldest child and now my sixth child and, believe it or not, the world didn’t come to an end. In fact it was the beginning of some wonderful opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t have happened if college was their first choice.

If college isn’t in the cards for your child, fear not! Mighty Mommy shares four considerations that will shed some positive light on the situation that can help both you and your child forge ahead to a bright and hopeful future.

4 Positive Considerations for Your Non-College Bound Child

  1. Parents Know Their Kids Best
  2. Alternate School Options Available
  3. Success Is More Than a Degree
  4. College Will Always Be There

A closer look at each follows.

1. Parents Know Their Kids Best

Parents know their kids better than anyone else. They know their quirks, their habits (good and bad), their strengths and their struggles. Although our kids are receiving lots of instruction and guidance about how they should handle their future after graduating high school from teachers, counselors, peers, coaches, and other adult influences in their lives, these people haven’t lived with our kid for the past 18 years.

Sure these people are influential and are getting a glimpse of what makes our child tick, but they aren’t living our daily lives, from hassling them to get up out of bed to catch the bus, hounding them to do their homework, or listening to their daily commentary about how much they loathe geometry and what purpose is it going to serve them if they want to be an entrepreneur.

When your child is either on the fence about going to college or absolutely positive he wants no part of it right now, you as the parent can be his best resource and voice of reason because you are closest to him and know him inside and out. He might be receiving extra pressure from sources at school and the other influencers mentioned above, but this important decision in his life is one you can help him feel confident in.

While my son is respectful, completes his work on time, and attends school every day without too much fuss, his heart is totally not into it, and he absolutely looks forward to the weekends and vacation time where he doesn’t have to be in a classroom environment. He’s also still a bit on the immature side of his peers and much more of a homebody than my other kids—neither a winning combination for campus living.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.