We Haven’t Saved for College

The other day, my sons had to pick which classes to take next year, which will be their junior year of high school. (How they let itty bitty babies into high school, I’ll never know.) Their peers have begun going on college visits, and I know we should start thinking about them as well.

But we never saved for college.

As I have for many of my parental shortcomings, I blame having triplets. We could barely keep our heads above water just paying for daycare and formula and diapers, there was no way we could spare anything to put into a college savings account. I certainly didn’t have the mental or emotional capacity to think it through and figure out what our options were. And though our financial situation improved over the years, it was still not something we could prioritize, and then, well, it just got to be too late.

One of my sons wants to go to school in Oregon, another in Virginia. I have no idea how much these schools would cost, but I can guarantee it’s more than it’d cost us to send him to LSU with a TOPS scholarship, which thankfully, they should all qualify for.

So do I doom them to a life of student loans if they want to leave the state? I only paid mine off (for a general studies degree from LSU, mind you, not for like, law school) last year, and I graduated in the twentieth century. So you can see how I might not be eager to subject my children to that.

Scholarships exist, yes, but when I tell my kids that they need to do some extracurriculars to look better to colleges, they just say nothing interests them. And because our financial situation is much better than it used to be, I don’t know how much financial aid they might qualify for. 

It’s all so scary. 

If they all end up at LSU, I know it’s not the worst thing in the world. College is what you make of it, and I’d be a hypocrite if I said they couldn’t go there. Plus, they’d be close enough to home that I could see them more often. But I’d also love for them to leave Louisiana and see what else is out there.

In two short years, they’ll be graduating from high school, and in a way, I feel like I’ve failed them. I assume things will work out in some kind of way and that they will end up as functioning members of society in the long run. I can only hope. 

I know college isn’t the only option. I would be thrilled if one of them wanted to learn a trade instead. There will always be a need for electricians and plumbers, after all. Or to go to community college for a year, maybe. Even take a gap year and work. 

As selfish as it is to say, I hope I’m not the only parent in this situation. It would make me feel infinitely better to know we aren’t alone in this. 

saving for college

Pam Kocke
My name is Pam, and I live in Algiers Point with my husband George and my identical triplets Linus, Oliver, and Miles. I work from home as a Happiness Engineer for Automattic. I enjoy reading and photography and sewing (and blogging!)


  1. Making them learn to think critically about their education, career, and financial future is -NOTHING- to feel bad about, Pam! It makes sense for kids to pursuit interests while also learning what they don’t want to do (through actual working jobs). It’s society that tells us college after high school is “the path” but it’s not the only one, and we know that humans don’t fit into this one size fits all model of life. Learning a trade that they could be employed with and then pay their way through college if they decide that’s right for them makes a lot of sense. Our oldest is a year ahead of them and we’re just starting college tours of *cough* state schools. Ultimately, life is an educational journey. It does not start or end with a diploma.


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