In this episode, Sara and I are chatting with Pam Roy, who offers research-based and important information for parents about education and career planning. We talk about how the world we’re working in has changed and evolved since we were in college and how to position our kids for a successful future. This episode was recorded in response to the recent news about the college admissions scandal.

Here are a few relevant posts to check out on Pam’s blog:

Preparing Students for Success in the New Economy

No Time to Lose: We Must Broaden Our Children’s Exposure to the Real World

A Generation of Students Caught Between Two Worlds

Modern Parenting: The Downside of a One-sided Balance Sheet

The Dollars and Sense of a College Degree

Big Ideas

  • A college degree does not necessarily make a successful adult.
  • Human beings are not standardized, and our world needs all the different types of human beings.
  • Many jobs require a very specific skill set, but not a degree.
  • Millennials are getting to make choices about their work-life balance.
  • Debt curtails choice.
  • There are many different pathways to success today.
  • We have many choices today that we didn’t have five years ago.


Pam: “I started my blog because I, myself, went back to college. And while I was at college- I have three daughters who are now eighteen, nineteen, and twenty-one, who are also either in the college process or in college. So lots of college, college, college, all around me.”

Pam: “I found in my experience at college that something was happening where education was operating in a silo, separate from what was happening in the real world. And this I was very curious about. Why weren’t they teaching about what was actually happening in the real world?”

Pam: “I began exploring the economy. And the changes in the economy that had come about because of the technology. And this whole new world that’s been changed because we have smartphones and clouds and all this new way of operating and automation taking over a lot of it.”

Audrey: “In a lot of other countries they do things differently. Kids have a bit more of an ability to think about other things they could possibly do, and  I know a lot of high schools have some really cool programs where you can explore auto mechanics, welding.”

Sara: “If we start with the end in mind, if we stop and say, ‘ what is a successful grownup?’, our definition isn’t going to be ‘for your degree at Harvard’.”

Pam: “We are undergoing the greatest transformation human civilization has ever known. We’re no longer working in a physical world. We are working in a cyber-physical space.”

Pam: “Human beings are not standardized, and our world needs all the different types of human beings.”

Pam: “All these pathways have opened up since our industries have unbundled.”

Audrey: “The problem has become when we’re trying to cram everybody, the squares, the triangles, and the hexagons, into one round hole.”

Pam: “We have this idealism, born of an old idea, and we’re not stepping back and realizing how much our worlds have transformed, what that means for the new economy, and the fact that our kids are entering an era that looks much different from what we knew.”

Pam: “We’ve raised a very sick generation. There are so many that commit suicide.”

Pam: “The work-life balance for these millennials- they’re choosing it! Seventy percent choose their work-life balance.”

Pam: “When you have debt you do not have choice.”

Sara: “We can cultivate our kids’ interests at a very young age.”

Pam: “I did that Coursera course, on the Science of Wellbeing, from the Yale professor, Dr. Santos, and she talked about reference points, and how critical it was to wellbeing to have alternative reference points.”

Pam: “It’s not saying college is bad. College is an ‘if and when’ decision now.”

Pam: “It all starts with interests and strengths. That is the key.”

Audrey: “Everything that I learned to do, that I do today, I learned outside of school. With the exception of learning to write.”


Pam’s Website

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Coursera course on the science of wellbeing:

Articles about the College Admissions Scandal:

Related posts and podcasts

Ep. 59: 5 Ways to Help Kids Thrive in Middle School and Beyond

Ep. 77: Comparison is the Thief of (Parenting) Joy

Conversations Before College: Who You are Matters More Important Than Where You Go

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