As a parent who wants only the best for their child, it can be pretty frustrating to be restricted by external circumstance, and even worse for it to cause resentment, especially in a society that encourages following the mainstream choices like sheep. We are here to tell you that although expensive foreign universities do have a lot of benefits for your child’s future, they also have certain cons that may just tip the balance against them.
Firstly, it is essential to be honest both to yourself and your child, about what they should realistically aim for, given your budget. Not only will this save your child the time and energy by focusing it towards universities that are both good and affordable, but it will also help you manage future finances more effectively. You can now begin to convince both yourself and your child of how refraining from foreign education may actually turn out to be the smarter option.
The expense of a university is not the only factor that defines its value to your child. Its also necessary to make the right career choice, one that fits with the child’s personality, which would actually be a much better predictor for success. An expensive degree in a discipline that is despised by your child or the result of a poorly informed decision would also lead to disaster in terms of career success. These factors can usually be judged when looked at with the framework of the payback period, which we have discussed in previous articles.
Just a piece of paper
The fact of the matter is that the university degree is only a piece of paper. It derives its worth from the experiences that it entails. Although a good degree would help you out with some factors, it is very much possible to attain these on your own with perhaps a less reputable degree. These include solid communication skills and a well-connected network that helps you grow in and out of the professional field. Something that we have heavily emphasized in the past is the importance of a learning mindset: something that no university degree can substitute, although some can help instill, but which can still be developed independently. There have been countless examples of people who studied at local universities at a cheaper cost but went on to found exemplary startups, or study Masters in the best universities in a fully-funded program, or make economic policies that brought about great reform.
If the above still did not satisfy you, by all means, exercise your liberty to explore the countless scholarship options available out there, ranging from being based on academic merit to sportsmanship. The universities that offer these also range from Pakistani ones like the LUMS National Outreach Programme to the Ivies. Of course this requires being well informed in advance to avail opportunities as they come to you. But be careful when considering aid in the form of loans, as it is generally risky in the long run.
There are also some factors that matter only as far as certain careers are concerned. Increasingly, many careers require hands on work experience more than they require work degrees. No wonder multinationals have begun to remove the degree requirement for potential recruits, relying instead of customized tests. So for example in Computer Science, it is not uncommon to see people with only an A Levels certificate earn more daily than a business graduate does with a degree from Pakistan’s best university, only because he has mastered his art.
We hope our words, at the very least, convinced you that the future is not as bleak as your paranoia might have led you to believe. This is only the beginning of the realizations you get as you delve into the world of smart work.