6 Comments

  1. On some level, I’m glad they tried to give the kids college money instead of something frivolous, but you’re right that it’s no surprise that the kids weren’t into it at all. Even though I knew I was going to a good college practically from birth, I don’t think I would have been motivated at age 11 by any size college scholarship. Paying for college didn’t seem like something I would ever be doing, because I just didn’t know that it’s an expensive thing that comes with big bills. I wonder if the problem is that kids today (or for the past several generations) aren’t good with delayed gratification, or if it’s just that the prize didn’t seem fun or like something they need. Oh well!

    • I’m glad they tried, but you hit the nail on the head with wanting a fun prize. If student loan debt is really the next bubble, this little experiment seems to illustrate the fact that there’s definitely a gap between how and when students and their families conceive of tuition costs. Whether or not costs come down (they should!), it’s probably a conversation that needs to be happening sooner and more often.

    • You’re right on. At fist blush, I was pretty excited about this switch in prize offerings. But as soon as the first sentence came out of the host’s mouth, I knew it had a flopped. It’ll be interesting to see if we can find a way to meet kids where they are and still teach delayed gratification.

  2. Interesting idea! But yeah, while I’m sure the parents might be on board with the grand prize, I doubt 11-year-olds even think about paying for college when most of the 11-year-olds I know don’t have to worry about paying for, well, anything. Maybe if they did a grand prize where 1/2 of the winnings go to investing in the future while the other half are instant gratification the kids would be more excited? Or even making it a gradual thing – each year raise the amount that would go towards tuition credits as the child nears college? It’s a great idea but just like any other advertisement or incentive, those in charge of the fundraiser need to think of their audience.

    • Yes! It was almost like the head of the company read an article saying kids need to learn delayed gratification, and with this one switch, it would be taught. It’s going to have to be more gradual, like you suggest.

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