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  • Tiger parents: what job do you want your kid to end up doing?

    Inspired by a recent post from a "tiger parent" who was worried her 4.0-GPA kid wouldn't get into the "dream school"...

     

    Tiger parents: what is it that you think this intensity leads to? If you think the world will end if your kid doesn't get into Harvard, what job/life/etc do you see them getting after Harvard that they wouldn't have available to them, otherwise?

     

    It just seems like this almost super-human level of achievement and intensity is poorly correlated with eventual career success. My med school class had plenty from the Ivies, but also plenty from Northcentral East Dakota State Ag College. My engineer-spouse says that some of the best engineers come from places like Iowa State University.

     

    It doesn't seem (to me) like there are achievement steps to unlock beyond what is accessible to the "average" (or, perhaps: "above average") college grad.

     

  • #2
    Bump - I would have expected this post to generate a little interest. Maybe it slipped through last night while we were all doing last-minute Christmas shopping ;-)
    Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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    • #3
      I went to state medical school.  I learned that the knee bone is connected to the shin bone just like the Harvard medical students.  I probably paid less tuition.

      I guess I do not get this whole dream school thing.  I am not sure if it is student or parent driven.  Probably a combo.

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      • #4
        I hope to not do medicine

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        • #5




          It doesn’t seem (to me) like there are achievement steps to unlock beyond what is accessible to the “average” (or, perhaps: “above average”) college grad.

           
          Click to expand...


          If they want to be powerful in business or politics then surely that is a great move. Harvard Law especially for politics. 4 sitting SC justices went there, no big deal, most presidents followed by Yale. These schools are about the social network (cant help myself) and prestige. For things like Law and Business it is decidedly not like Medicine. Where you went to school does impact at times greatly your earning potential, connections, etc...

          Its not necessary but if you're already performing at that level I really fail to see how it would hurt you. That would be how I approached it. Is it going to make any difference at all? Could it possibly help in any way?

          Now I personally dont care about it, but you'd be delusional to pretend anything other than not only would it not hurt, but could help quite significantly. Even if only for signaling, which Im sure most have learned by now that competency is the bottom rung in the real world, its signaling, perception and who you know. All things Harvard certainly wouldnt hurt you with.

          I get the idea, but a bridge too far.

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          • #6
            Far better to help the kids find their talents and interest. My eldest was rebellious, but a talented artist. Not typically a lot of money in that, but we invested in her interests. After some experimentation she found that a major in graphic design combined with some self taught programming skill was marketable. Combined with hard work she now has a great six figure career.

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            • #7
              There are a number of careers where the prestige and social networking helps. Business, law, but also a number of science disciplines. Becoming a professor of physics is WAY more feasible - regardless of publication record - if you got your PhD at Harvard or Princeton or MIT than at Northwestern or Brown or UFlorida. The names and reputations of your mentors and their recommendations matter a great, great deal, in the physical and biological sciences. The social networking - fraternities, secret societies, etc. - and the role they play in getting graduates into business is not to be dismissed.

              That said, I think tiger parents miss the fact that when they "mechanically" force their kid into an Ivy without that kid's own special talent, the kid can lack the focus and drive for any particular field to truly excel. It can be difficult when you have straight A+s in every subject, varsity this and that, play violin at Juilliard prep, etc. to actually know what you really love and what you're really good at. Sure, some people will hone in on the highest paid/most secure type jobs - as many people who eventually became doctors/dentists/lawyers/businessmen did - but that's not always the path that will actually make them the happiest and must fulfilled.

              I would submit that it may be better for the parents to guide their kid in the middle school phase to excel across lots of subjects but then really try to see what the kid is inclined towards. And it's OK if they get A- and B+ in a few subjects if they're really developing their future career interest.

              I've had friends like this - one who knew he loved computers in middle school and planned a career in computer science, got B+s here and there in some subjects in high school, got into Columbia, and now work for Google - which I understand is his dream job. I'm not sure getting straight A+s and being the editor of the school newspaper and playing Rachmaninov's 3rd piano concerto - and eventually going to Harvard - would have put him in a necessarily better position towards that goal.

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              • #8




                If they want to be powerful in business or politics then surely that is a great move.
                Click to expand...


                Sure, I buy that.

                I just don't get the effort:reward.

                I mean, there are only 9 SC Justices, only ~500 congressmen, a few tens-of-thousands of business people making big money....but >1M physicians in the US.

                If you had that kind of ambition and aptitude, is there really opportunity to do markedly better than if you just relaxed a bit, went to a state medical school, and went into ortho or GI?

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                • #9




                  I’ve had friends like this – one who knew he loved computers in middle school and planned a career in computer science, got B+s here and there in some subjects in high school, got into Columbia, and now work for Google – which I understand is his dream job. I’m not sure getting straight A+s and being the editor of the school newspaper and playing Rachmaninov’s 3rd piano concerto – and eventually going to Harvard – would have put him in a necessarily better position towards that goal.
                  Click to expand...


                  This is exactly my point/question. Spouse and I have friends who work for Google. Yes, some went to Columbia/MIT. Some went to xyz State U. It's well-reported that Google can't find enough bodies to hire. Maybe the MIT grad gets paid a little more, but it's not an order-of-magnitude more. So why do it?

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                  • #10
                    The world won't end.  Personally, i think either 1) a lot of parents are living their unmet dream through their child 2) they want bragging rights.    my kid plays sports and we see this behavior all the time...parents living their dream....not their kids.   if your kid is happy, healthy and can adequately support him/herself...who cares?

                    want to hear a real #tigerparentproblem.  so my kid was heavily recruiting for colleges. heavy. he told every single Ivy school to quit bothering him. some were worse than others...they kept not only calling him, but would call me at work.   I had to tell them to quit calling me too.

                    Also, not every Ivy can support field of study. if you want a Bachelor of Science in Poultry Science....i think you need to look elsewhere.

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                    • #11
                      I want my children to go to a school/program that is well rated for a 'field' of study they wish to pursue.  UofI-Champaign for computer engineering for example or Northwestern for Journalism.  Not all programs of a big name school are great (English major at University of Chicago) from an undergrad perspective.

                      If my kids don't have a specific 'field' of study they want to pursue, then the community college is literally within walking distance of our home that they can attend in the interim (or 2 years which ever comes first).

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                      • #12
                        We have to admit that times have changed.  A college degree used to be a ticket to a well-paying job.  Now it's not.  It then makes sense that WHERE you go to college matters even less in many/most fields.  I learned this while in residency, as I met many "successful" professionals (not medical) who went to their local state schools, places I'd never heard of and didn't realize were options when I was in HS.

                        Having seemingly unlimited funds for education makes part of the decision easier.  If finances need to be considered (esp if loans are expected), even more reason to consider your bang for your buck -- given your child's field of interest, as well as aptitude and motivation at that time.  My current thinking (10yrs out from this decision) is that I'm not sending my kids to college (or at least not a 4-yr university) unless they have a solid plan, and then I will only push for private schools if there is a good reason to.  The debt load is just not worth it the way it may have been for our (non-medical) cohort.

                        Curious if anyone else has come to feel this way too.  Never would have imagined feeling this way if you'd asked me 15-20yrs ago.  We used to make fun of kids who went to state schools -- now that seems to be the smartest strategy for most.

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                        • #13
                          Interesting discussion. I don’t have a specific job, however will expose them far more towards entrepreneurial education. I feel that our economy has made and is making a tremendous shift away from the employed, get a pension/401k, work there for 20-30 years and retire model. We are already seeing less and less of this between frequent job switches, the gif economy, etc and suspect the pendulum to continue to swing that way. I feel that our current educational system makes people poorly equipped for this model currently and will do my best to supplement this.

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                          • #14
                            I think the concern from the prior poster on this matter was more about squandered potential rather than getting into school X.  School X was simply a manifestation of realized potential and goal achievement, not as the be-all end-all.

                            The reason I push my kids and will continue to push my kids is not so they can get into Harvard.  For various reasons I prefer they don't actually go to Harvard.  The reason I do this is so they can realize their potential.  Regardless of if they go to state U vs Harvard you've at least succeeding in instilling a work ethic and well-roundedness that will yield success in their future.  People peak at different times, which is why we have all seen very successful and smart people come out of non-Ivy league schools.  Same holds true in the NFL, where we see a substantial percentage of rosters (and hall of famers) made up of late round and free agent picks, not from the University of Alabama.

                            I think if you approach your kid(s) with the mindset of how to maximize their long-term potential then you're setting them up for success.  If your goal for them is Harvard (and the like) then I think you have missed the bigger picture.  The Ivy leagues do not necessarily optimize an individual.  For various reasons you aren't necessarily surrounded by more gifted students than, say, the honors program at your local state U.  Further, they are notorious for grade inflation, where the most common grade given at Harvard is an A.  Heck Yale even refuses to give its freshmen grades.  This type of coddling doesn't prepare their students for the real world.  Meanwhile, the kids who are peaking later (or who were overlooked by the Ivy's or who simply decided to go to a higher value school) are learning the definition of grit as they grind it out competing in their honors classes at State U.  So you'd think that a degree from the Ivy's would signal quality to the marketplace when in fact the signal is far less clear.  The only thing you can say about an Ivy degree is that a grad likely had a fair degree of success in high school, and that's about it - at best.

                            So I don't care if my kid doesn't go to an Ivy type school.  Where they go to school doesn't necessarily mean or confer long term success.  I'd rather them go somewhere that will enable actual long-term success - and not the success attained from secret handshakes and a name on a piece of paper.  Give me a cum laude grad from a state school over a generic Ivy grad any day of the week.  I'd rather that they were constantly tested, never made to feel entitled, and never were actually entitled.  That's what enables long-term success - over generations I might add.

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                            • #15




                              I think the concern from the prior poster on this matter was more about squandered potential rather than getting into school X.  School X was simply a manifestation of realized potential and goal achievement, not as the be-all end-all.

                              The reason I push my kids and will continue to push my kids is not so they can get into Harvard.  For various reasons I prefer they don’t actually go to Harvard.  The reason I do this is so they can realize their potential.  Regardless of if they go to state U vs Harvard you’ve at least succeeding in instilling a work ethic and well-roundedness that will yield success in their future.  People peak at different times, which is why we have all seen very successful and smart people come out of non-Ivy league schools.  Same holds true in the NFL, where we see a substantial percentage of rosters (and hall of famers) made up of late round and free agent picks, not from the University of Alabama.

                              I think if you approach your kid(s) with the mindset of how to maximize their long-term potential then you’re setting them up for success.  If your goal for them is Harvard (and the like) then I think you have missed the bigger picture.  The Ivy leagues do not necessarily optimize an individual.  For various reasons you aren’t necessarily surrounded by more gifted students than, say, the honors program at your local state U.  Further, they are notorious for grade inflation, where the most common grade given at Harvard is an A.  Heck Yale even refuses to give its freshmen grades.  This type of coddling doesn’t prepare their students for the real world.  Meanwhile, the kids who are peaking later (or who were overlooked by the Ivy’s or who simply decided to go to a higher value school) are learning the definition of grit as they grind it out competing in their honors classes at State U.  So you’d think that a degree from the Ivy’s would signal quality to the marketplace when in fact the signal is far less clear.  The only thing you can say about an Ivy degree is that a grad likely had a fair degree of success in high school, and that’s about it – at best.

                              So I don’t care if my kid doesn’t go to an Ivy type school.  Where they go to school doesn’t necessarily mean or confer long term success.  I’d rather them go somewhere that will enable actual long-term success – and not the success attained from secret handshakes and a name on a piece of paper.  Give me a cum laude grad from a state school over a generic Ivy grad any day of the week.  I’d rather that they were constantly tested, never made to feel entitled, and never were actually entitled.  That’s what enables long-term success – over generations I might add.
                              Click to expand...


                              Agree with this 100%.  Combined with net value of the tuition you pay for, this seems like the smartest strategy.

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