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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Is College in the Cards for Your Kids?

In our family, growing up, college was never really optional.  We were going, if we wanted, and we did.  Our parents attended college in the US, too, whether or not they could speak English well.

And now my children, mostly adopted as pre-teens from Russia, would be facing college questions of their own.  The effects of institutionalism, the delays of learning academic English, the social challenges of a whole new way of life… could all combine to preclude college for our kids.

It was a shocking thought.  Most of us buy into the idea that “anyone” can go to college—whether it’s community college, nightschool, online college—where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Yet, as my first child starts to get his collegiate feet wet at the ripe, old age of 15 with a prep program, I wonder if my kids have the right backgrounds and the sufficient brainpower to make it happen.

I listen in as he and his cohort discuss by Skype the “Fallacy of Affirming the Consequent”, “DeMorgan’s Theorems”, and “Categorical Syllogisms”.  He can barely say the terms, but he holds his own with halting speech.  I wonder if college admissions will pause to hear him out.

Not only his expressive speech, but his writing is not the best.  We’ve worked for years on three-point essays with five paragraphs of the pyramidal or inverted pyramidal form.  All well and fine.  However, the English itself is either stilted, or repetitive, or misspelled… with a heavy accent.

Obviously he takes after his father.

We discuss Spell Check, and organizing our thoughts, and adding an e to the end of long-voweled words.  In a pinch, I could help him, but I don’t want to.  It’s his work, and his life, and so far, he outshines the other kids by a longshot.

I think about the SAT or ACT exams, definitely sensing that the SAT’s Reasoning Test may be a longshot.  But how much better could the ACT be if combined with its writing component-?

Next, I check into the TOEFL exam (Test of English as a Foreign Language)—do my foreign-born kids need to take it?  Some of them have “interesting” English, no biggie when it comes to our families, but what about college admissions committees?  Everything I read on the topic infers that, after two years of school here, they should be fairly exempt.

I’m not so sure.  They also say that if your score on the SAT Reasoning Test is 600 or above, then it’s not necessary to take the TOEFL.

But the question looms:  is college itself even necessary, depending on the child’s given interests in life?  I start googling entrepreneurs who made it big sans college.  Not a healthy pasttime.

In my heart of hearts, I believe that a college degree “helps”, and is semi-equal to a high school degree of years ago.  If a student chooses the trade school route with a firm career in mind, that’s admirable, as well.  But whatever they do, they’ll need the motivation to achieve, not just the brilliant mind to make the grade.

Hopefully, we’re getting there.

Do you think your internationally-adopted child will go to college?

 

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4 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Greg says:

    Our 15 year old Ukrainian has been here one year (almost). She is smart and determined, but I don’t know if that is going to be enough to make it past grade 12. Actually, some days I wonder if she will make it TO grade 12. As somebody told me as I was lamenting, “you may have to change your definition of success.” Getting them out of the environment they were in and helping them to become “normal” young adults may be as much success as we can hope for. And if that is the case, I will not be the least bit disappointed.

    • avatar admin says:

      Exactly, that’s the healthy outlook, Greg! Good for you for “getting it”. I have to honestly look into my heart and realize that yes, maybe I did want some mini-me’s-! (Since that would be a good thing for the world as a whole, of course…!) 🙂 But if they’re decent people and can support themselves (please, God), well, what’s wrong with that?

  2. avatar Phyllis says:

    My husband and I were discussing that last week as we were approaching a visit from a friend to help us determine some educational options for our boys. I have no problem changing the expectation to no college. I’m fine with our son having a job that does not require a college education IF that is the best of his ability. At this point we have so many other issues “muddying” the waters, it is hard to see what is his true ability. That can explain why my hair is turning gray much faster these days. : ) Very good post. I have discussed this with 2 other adoptive mom in the past 2 months, too.

    • avatar admin says:

      Nowadays any kind of job that begins without the young person being gazillions of $ in debt is a positive thing. My question is how to expose the children to various possible career choices? Maybe they could be a great plumber, or handyman, or computer repair person… but how would they find out?

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