So do you need it?
Do you really have to invest a fortune in education just to get the job you need?
And I mean – a real fortune! I’m talking about an average of $25,290 at public U.S. universities and outrageous $50,900 at private U.S. universities per year.
Well the answer to that question is the one you don’t hope to see at all: it depends.
Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Henry Ford. All these successful men did not get their college degrees.
But my doctor and my psychologist have one. You wouldn’t allow someone to perform surgery on you if they didn’t have a degree, would you? Maybe you would hire an interior designer without a degree if they were really talented, but would you hire an architect to design you a house if they didn’t go through the schooling system?
It’s clear: if you aim for a profession that specifically calls for a degree, then you gotta get it regardless of your cost. The good news is that architects, engineers, and surgeons usually make enough money to pay off their college debt without much effort.
But if you want to start your own business, be a writer, journalist, or anything else that does not necessarily call for a degree, should you bother getting it?
It’s a rather extensive talk with tons of pros and cons, so let’s get to it without further ado.
1. Some People Don’t Need It
Do you know how many people go to college without having an absolute idea what they are doing there?
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They apply to colleges because all their friends are doing the same thing. They get into college and they start attending classes, hoping they would give them direction in life. One class after another, and they still don’t know what major to opt for. So they make a random pick, just because they get good grades at a particular subject area.
I’m saying all this from personal experience. Do you know what degree I got? Public administration. I liked sociology, so I thought this would be a nice blend between sociology, economy, and law. Plenty of options for me. Except there were zero options and I ended up doing something completely unrelated to that degree. I started my own business and college taught me nothing on how to maintain it. So I had to go through several online courses to learn the basics.
So let me give you an honest piece of advice: if you don’t know what you’re doing at college, just don’t go. Chances are, you won’t get the direction you’re craving for. The professors are just there to teach. They are not there to help you find your calling.
So you’ll end up attending classes you don’t like and writing projects you don’t understand. Okay; I’ll be honest: I skipped most of the projects and I hired writing services for the most important ones. That’s how lost I was.
If you were looking for reasons not to go to college, let me give you few solid ones:
2. It’s Expensive as Hell
Do you know how much money an average graduate owes? In 2017, that amount was $39,400. The overall student debt in the USA is $1.48 trillion. That’s way above the total credit card debt.
So if you go to college, you should be ready to spend a lot of money.
Even if you get a scholarship, you’ll still spend a lot of money and you’ll probably need to borrow despite the fact that the government or some institution is financing you.
I want you to ask yourself a very serious question: “Do I really need this degree for the profession I want to pursue? I mean, can I succeed without it?
If the degree is not mandatory, then you could probably find a smarter way to spend that money. A vocational course, online certification program, entry-level positions… there are plenty of options.
3. You’re Going for the Wrong Reasons
- Are you going to college because all your friends are going and you don’t know what to do?
- Are you going because your parents expect you to do that?
- Are you going because that’s where the party is?
- Are you going because you had great grades at high school and this seems like a logica step?
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These reasons are all wrong. And I’ll tell you why.
- Yes; most of your friends are going to college. But chances are, you won’t get into the same college that your best friend is getting into. People go to college and make friends with other people. You’ll have to make peace with that fact. You’ll still stay friends, but you can’t follow someone else’s journey.
- Parents have expectations. They imposed them on you since you were a little boy. You’re their pride and that’s okay. But it’s definitely not okay for you to do something just because your parents want you to. You’re your own person. College should be your choice, not someone else’s.
- College students party like crazy. But who stops you from partying if you don’t go? Here’s a little hint: fraternities look cool only in movies. In real life, they are lame. And that’s an understatement. Imagine dudes who don’t know what to do with their lives and try to find life’s purpose in beer pong. That’s your fraternity right there.
Oh; don’t even mention those high-class fraternities of so-called intellectual. Those are just rich kids who also don’t know what to do with their lives.
- So you’re smart, huh? Well you can still use your intelligence. You can get an entry-level job to start the career you want. You can get a random job that would get you enough money to start the business you have in mind. You could start an online project with a minimal investment and see where it takes you.
Your intelligence at college is good for studying, writing papers, and taking exams. In real life, you could put it to much better use.
4. You Don’t Have to Go to College Right Away
Who made up that rule that you had to go to college as soon as you graduate from high school?
I did that because it seemed like the logical thing to do, and it was the biggest mistake of my life.
If you don’t know what you want to become in life, going to college with the idea that it would help you figure things out is not the right thing to do.
Go travel! You’re young and your spirit is free. You’re not tied down to a long-term partner or a family, so you can take this opportunity and set yourself free.
If you don’t have enough money to travel to the places you want to see, you could get a job and save. Even better: you could volunteer abroad. Check out volunteer abroad programs and you’ll find wonderful opportunities to help this world and see more of it at the same time.
Take a break from this schooling system. We all know that it’s burdening you. If you do decide to go to college, you can do it at any time. A break of a year or two will make a difference, but it will be a good one. You’ll show up to college with life experience and a specific goal for the things you want to accomplish in future.
If You Know What You Want, Then College Can Only Benefit That Journey
So let’s say you know exactly what you want.
You decide to start a small business, become a writer, pursue a career in marketing, or start a website.
You don’t necessarily need a degree for these professions. But you do need education.
Right now, I’m a business owner with an irrelevant degree. This education did not teach me the things I needed to know. But if I opted for a business major or even took an MBA, I would be set for a more successful start.
When I started the business, I had zero knowledge about how small businesses worked. I didn’t know how to write my business plan, so I turned to a writing service again. I had no idea how to do accounting, so I paid tons of money for consultations and bookkeeping. I didn’t know what to do with the marketing approach, so I had to hire a team.
The good news is that I had a good starting capital to hire more people than startups usually hire. So it eventually worked out. But you know what? I still needed to upgrade my education because I wanted to know what was going on. I didn’t want to be an investor; I wanted to be a proper business owner.
If I had a chance to go back and choose, I would definitely go to college. But I would choose to study something I love. I would choose to study something related to the future I saw myself in.
This is my most honest tip for you: figure out what you want first! If it takes a year or two, take the gap. When you visualize that bright future, it will be time to invest in it. Maybe you’ll go to college or maybe you’ll take a certification program. Even if you don’t pursue a degree, it’s still important to get educated. With so many online learning opportunities nowadays, it’s easy to get the knowledge you need.