For the Parents
Does my child really need to go to college?
What if there are other options to help my kid find their true path in life?
If I don’t encourage them to go to college, will I be doing them a disservice?
With so many changes and so much uncertainty in the world, how can I know what’s best for my kid to prepare them for all of this?
These are some of the most common questions parents are asking as they prepare to send their children into the world after high school. Perhaps you can relate?
Take a look at the questions below.
You might find some inspiring options that address your concerns for your young adult.
Is college necessary to make it in the world today?
There are countless examples of very successful leaders who didn’t finish high school, let alone go to college. So the short answer to that question is, “no.” There’s a myth in our modern culture that says college is the key to future success. At Markao, we believe that what’s truly important is education, but not just any education. We don’t believe there’s one standard way, such as college, to create a fulfilling life. Sure, college may be needed depending on the type of career one aspires toward. But we don’t believe it’s necessary. All too often we hear about students going off to college, not sure of what they want, spending lots of money and changing majors multiple times, only to discover upon graduation from college that they still aren’t sure of what they’re going to do. Or perhaps they struggle to find a job in the field they were trained in. Worse yet, too many young adults are moving out into the world disconnected from what they really care about, the gifts they have to share, and what they really want for themselves. They’re following a standardized path laid out for themselves that feels like someone else’s life.
The good news is that more and more options are emerging that are alternatives to college. Today, people can learn just about anything they want, and more young adults are interested in pursuing work that inspires them and feels fulfilling. Markao offers valuable continued learning, while cultivating skills to be self-employed sharing one’s unique gifts and talents. We believe that when people align with who they really are, and connect with what they’re most passionate about doing, they have the greatest potential to make it in the world, feeling fulfilled and being successful.
My kid has no interest in sitting in a classroom, but what if I don’t push them to go to college? Might they miss out on so many opportunities and experiences?
We believe it’s critically important to continue learning and growing. This is what we suggest parents focus on encouraging in their children. If your kid doesn’t feel good about being academically focused in the traditional way, find out what they do want? What are they interested in learning about? What excites them? If they aren’t sure, are they open to finding out? This is what Markao is all about. We understand that young adults aren’t necessarily ready to make these kinds of decisions, and often haven’t been given the tools to connect with what they really want, aligned with what they can offer to the world through their strengths. We also understand that more young adults are turned off by the 9 to 5 work day, and long for more creative options to express themselves and learn, while making a living for themselves.
The best thing you can do for your child is to step back and listen. Hear what they say they long for. Be curious about their dreams. Let go of any judgements about what you think will or won’t work. The reality is, the world is rapidly changing, and what worked yesterday may not be working so well today. No one knows what’ll be most effective moving forward, but our youth have incredible insight that just might offer some wonderful possibilities if given the opportunity to flourish. To reconcile the feelings of “what if,” we need to shift the “what if” away from “what if they don’t” to “what if they do.” In considering possibilities rather than what might be missed, we open to new opportunities and allow for greater alignment with what’s uniquely right for us and our children.
What about the college experience? I want my kid to go out into the world and learn to be on their own. College offers a safe way to do that slowly. They meet new friends, are away from home for the first time, have to wrestle with figuring things out on their own, etc., but they’re still held by the guidance of the college staff. How can they get that without going away to school?
Young adults need to feel that they have their own interests, are able to follow their own ideas and dreams, and deepen into knowing themselves. Independence is an important part of cultivating these things. Sadly, as we begin the Markao program, the college experience in most parts of the world is looking like it will look nothing like what we’ve been used to. Many students are being asked to stay home and learn online, with little consideration for how students will connect and interact.
Markao’s online program includes wonderful interaction for students learning together, and includes lots of one on one time with mentors. We also encourage students to create experiences that allow them to explore their independence, connect with others, learn from people in fields they’re interested in, and develop new friendships. They will also be working to create their own business, and entrepreneurship is one of the most potent ways to cultivate independence and responsibility while following your passions. You as parents can also encourage and support this, helping them to explore meetup groups and other common interests groups and events that help them move out into the world aligned with their interests.
I think a gap year could be really great for my child, but I don’t want them to have no plan with no learning or exploration of who they are. How can I let them have a sense of freedom, but also offer them something that will prove valuable to them beyond just “taking a year off?”
We get it. Your kid wants some time to explore the world and themselves. Maybe they want to travel and explore new places. Maybe they want to get a job and explore some career options. Maybe they just want to take a break from the rigors of homework and standards, and see what else is out there. But how can they do that in a way that doesn’t feel like they are just procrastinating from moving into life responsibly?
Markao’s program is designed to allow for the opportunity to travel, work at a job or just slow down and take some more breathing space before fully stepping into life. Through our mentoring and courses, as well as project based learning, we support students to get to know themselves better, apply what they learn to their everyday lives creatively, and see how they might bring their skills and talents to a business longing to be birthed through them. Even students who know they want to pursue certain passions working for others can benefit from learning how to “sell themselves” in the world with entrepreneurial skills. We teach students how to become self-leaders, which in turn allows them to become leaders in their work in the world. The Markao program offers dedicated, creative and purposeful work to engage in while taking some time to see what direction your child wants to pursue in life.
How involved would I need to be as a parent in a program like Markao?
Support and encouragement. These are the best things you can offer as involvement in Markao. Be curious. Be interested. Ask questions and share stories to help your students understand more of what you’ve learned that may be applicable to what they’re learning with Markao. We’ve set the program up to let it be all about the students. It’s time for them to be doing more on their own. Yet we love getting suggestions and input from parents that may be helpful as we continue to develop our program. Students will be learning skills like effective communication as well as financial management. No doubt you have some great guidance to offer, or examples to share as to how what they are learning applied to or could apply to your life. Listening to what they’re learning and following their lead to learn more is so supportive.
We also know that it is most often the parents making the financial commitment to enroll their kids in the Markao program. We encourage you to stay connected. We already know that it’s the families who communicate with each other that tend to search for alternative options for young adult education and development. Keep the communication lines open, and trust that you’ll be guided to more ways to support your child through the program.
Are you available to answer questions if we have them as parents while my child is in the Markao program?
Definitely! We will honor student privacy, particularly around their own inner development process, but we love hearing from parents and are happy to answer any questions or hear any suggestions you may have. We encourage you to speak with your child first, and keep an open line of communication with them. It’s better if they know you’re talking to us and why, as it helps cultivate trust in the overall relationships for everyone. If you’d like to set up a conversation to ask more questions about Markao and see if it’s right for you and your young adult, please schedule a time to talk with us. We look forward to connecting!