Even though I went to college, got a degree in Marketing, I still believe you should not go to college (at least not anymore) for the reasons most people believe.
My mom talked me into college, even though I already had a little business going out of middle school and high school. It was successful – I was developing graphics, logos, and websites for companies. By the time I graduated college, I probably developed 300 websites.
When I was in college, I completed the degree in 3 years. You could say I was highly motivated to get my degree. Some terms I even had to request special permission to take more than 18 credit hours because they thought anyone that would do that is absolutely crazy. I think one of the terms I took up to 22 credit hours and all went well. I graduated in 3 years – thank you very much and see ya later!
I did attend a few job places during my last year at college just to test out the waters. I only applied to 2 jobs. One job in particular was that I wanted to work at Full Sail University teaching graphic design, but since I did not have a teaching degree I was not accepted. I am of course glad that didn’t work out because now I teach the subjects I want to, when I want to.
So even though I do have a college degree, I feel like much of the time spent there was a waste! I don’t use any of the things I learned in college – in fact most of my education for my current business was acquired through seminars and DVD training from experts. This is where the first pit-fall of college comes in.
Now I do believe that for some people college is a must. In fact, for many it is a necessity – but for some people who are motivated, dedicated, and can see the bigger picture of the world… you will be just fine without college (these days).
Preparing for the Real World
Most people say that college prepares you for the real world. In school, we are taught that getting straight A’s (being well rounded) is a great thing. In college, you get a great education in many different areas making you more appealing to businesses around you… (this is what is being said at least).
Unfortunately this is very untrue. Currently in my company, we hire people who specialize in one specific skill or talent. I am sure you do the same thing when you go to the doctors…
Don’t you want a doctor who practices medicine full time? Or would you rather have a doctor that repairs cars on the weekends, teaches guitar lessons on Tuesday, and cleans houses every Thursday and Friday? I am sure you want a specialist…. I know I would if it came to saving my life or having surgery.
Your Salary is Not That Much Better
The salary that you make out of college is an average of $45,000 – this is from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). It is up 5.3% as of this year. This sounds great doesn’t it?
I don’t want to throw a wrench in your plans, but a plumber makes $52,950 .They earn more than most other professionals – like carpenters who earn $44,520 or painters who earn $38,590… but they didn’t have to go to painters college to get there.
Although your salary is more likely to increase faster with a college degree if you get positioned in the right employment opportunity or company – most people don’t stick to the same job for more than 5 years anymore because the company dies, gets bought out, people move, etc… so your wage increase potential is not a rocket ship with a college degree.
Long-Term Cash in the Bank
You may be thinking that a college graduate would be making more money then a plumber in the long term over their life. I did a little break down comparison for you so you can see the total amount of money earned in a life time from an average college graduate ($45,000) vs a plumber ($52,950).
To keep things simple, the college graduate would be starting right after college (which is a few years after the plumber). They both would make the same salary income throughout their life and invested the same way (earning 5% on their total money earned).
The end result would be that the plumber would make more. I understand that a college graduate may have a better rise or climb in a company so if you compensate for this, then okay they might be making the same amount.
Looking at the numbers, the difference is minimal in my opinion.
Waste of Time
When you look at the above figures of the total money earned over time, you can see that by losing a few years of your life it can cost you greatly! I budgeted a 5 year loss because it takes time to settle into school and to find a job (unless you are one of the lucky few who nails a job right out of college).
This extra time-lag costs you a great deal of time. Not just in time you would have spent going to college, but opportunity. Opportunity cost is one of the biggest costs you need to watch out for.
What other things could you have been doing with your time? It could be starting a business or learning how to invest.
Student loans are a huge expense when you go to college. Although great education is expensive, you don’t have to get a great education at a University. You can get one on your own for just a few thousand dollars on getting the same text books and training material. There are people now (experts) that will gladly teach you subjects they are experts in for just a handful of dollars per hour.
The average student loan debt is roughly $29,400 – for some it can be as high as $90,000 or more!
When you earn an income of $45,000 – you can not pay back your student loan all in one year. You need money to live on. For most it takes more than 7+ years to pay their debt off. For most it is a 10 year plan.
You can do it faster if you are willing to change your lifestyle like : rent in a cheaper area or get a room mate, kill the cable, cell phone, and stop going out.
For most people this is unreasonable – most are not willing to give up their current life style and trade down. I always like to say
“Do what you have to do NOW so you can do what you want to do later.”
The Education is Lacking At Universities
The education at universities is also lacking in two ways.
- Your degree could become obsolete by the time you graduate.
- Some degrees or courses are not even available for the highest technical fields (such as social media marketing)
As we become more specialized, it is difficult for Universities to keep up with modern society. In part this is because it takes time to get books and courses created and approved by the board due to the requirements they have to comply with.
Or you could spend 4 years studying for a degree that becomes irrelevant in a few years as the requirements of the job has changed. This in part happens now more because our societal evolution is just so fast. 150+ years ago, things moved more slowly. However, not we are moving at an exponential accelerated pace.
This attributes to you being not ready for the jobs available due to the pace we are moving in society or your degree is not as relevant anymore. Of course certain degrees like massage therapy, painter, or a tennis coach changes very slowly – but if you are looking to get a job in a field that is quickly changing… then be prepared to adapt and adjust quickly!
Not College – Then What?
Invest in Yourself
One of the greatest things I always tell people is to invest in themselves. This could really be going to college for some… but in general I am talking about broadening your horizons, educating yourself, attending seminars, and getting some great mentors.
When you focus on topics of interest that you want to learn, you will learn them deeper.
Spend time focusing on your health, your fitness, building up your mental focus and concentration – these are all things that will just exponentially help you in your daily life. It will make living a pleasure rather than a burden (such as when you walk up and down the stairs).
If you spend time building up your quality focus you can stay on track longer.
Think of this why some people are great at online courses and others are not? It is the quality of self directed focus. They can not create an environment for themselves internally or externally to focus on a subject long enough. Do you think they ask more questions when they attend a live class? – No… because 97% of the people in class DON’T ask questions.
Invest in yourself first and especially in your education.
Invest Externally (a Business for Example)
Along with investing internally in yourself – you should also invest externally (in the things around you).
Investing is simply the premise of putting your time, effort, and energy (could be money) into something and getting a higher return at some future date.
You can invest in a business which you would spend your time, energy, and money into and in the future as your business grows could give you a great return so long as you do the appropriate things. This would also grow you internally as you would learn many new things by starting a business.
Networking and connecting with other people can be another great external thing to do that will help you develop and evolve. It will give you access to other areas of life where you are not the expert. Having connections is one of the best ways to move forward in life. This can be connections to their customers to sell them products, or a connection to people that help them network with someone that may have the resources you need.
Go to a Trade, Technical, or Vocational School
Even if you do go to college there can still be a lack of jobs in the market place. This will depend on the degree you get and the availability, but it isn’t easy to get a job even if you have your diploma…
One of the ways you can minimize this from happening to you is to go to a vocational school. They will give you the skills to get out in the work place faster than a traditional college.
You do need to be careful as the costs for these technical schools can be just as high as a college degree – so choose wisely in what area you want to enter.
However, if done correctly they can be a great alternative.
There are so many opportunities in front of us every single day. We often get stuck living the same day to day routine because we are confined and get comfortable at what is around us.
If you can be a bit more flexible, open minded, and be willing to go out of the box to try new things and opportunities then you will survive just fine in this world.
For most, the purpose of college is to have a degree so that they can get a good job… to make good money… to have an easier lifestyle with their family.
The end goal may be to have a happy home life, but if we spend so much time and frustration on making more from our diploma, then why don’t we put the same effort into our lifestyle?
You can make money doing just about anything in this world… some people make money in art, some make it in car racing, others do technical engineering. The question you have to ask is “What is the best way for me to make money and have the life that I want?”