The college to career investment decision

By College Advice

About 10 years ago, Kevin, a friend from Old Lyme called, about his son Luke.  Could you give him one of those career tests?  “Isn’t Luke entering 9th grade?” I asked incredulously.

Kevin explained that Pfizer was making noises about leaving Connecticut.  Kevin and his family would have to make a choice if that happened: he could find another pharmaceutical company and move or he could stay in Connecticut – which he and his family loved – and potentially work in his father-in-law’s insurance agency.  If he did the latter, he would face a cut in pay that would likely preclude Luke attending a high priced private college.

Kevin went on to explain that he thought attending such colleges made plenty of sense when the student was seeking a “big time career” (Kevin’s words, not mine) but if his son wanted to become a history teacher or something not requiring a highly credentialed pedigree, then sending him to the University of Connecticut would make more sense.

The timing of the conversation was somewhere in the 2005-6 range, or at least distinctly before the Great Recession, so that may have been why I was surprised by Kevin’s far-sightedness regarding the college decision.

After the Recession, my career counseling practice grew at a brisk pace and, quite often, career counseling became part of college counseling due to many of the issues that Kevin cited way back when.