For your whole life you’ve been told that you won’t get very far without a college education. Well, I’m here to break your heart: they lied.
Despite your youthful indoctrination to the contrary, here are some really good reasons why you don’t need a four-year crash course in sex, drinking, and a bunch of BS classes to make something out of yourself:
Employers Hire Based on Skill and Talent
I went to college, and graduated with a degree in English literature; the teachings of which have assisted me exactly zero times in my adult life — except when I’m playing bar trivia. Today, as a successful entrepreneur, I can sum up my college experience like this: It was a great place to get wasted and laid, but it’s not an institution that prepares you in the best way for the workforce — which is why most employers today only want to know: Are you talented? Do you have a portfolio of work to prove it? Can you meet a deadline?
Emmanuel Ley, cofounder of Fashion Stork, agrees. “My hiring isn’t based solely on their education; more importantly, it’s their experience,” he says. “That’s because college doesn’t prepare you for a job, but only industry fundamentals.”
Brandon Baker, owner and head chef and NYC-based Loveletter Cakeshop, seconds Ley’s sentiment.”Some of our best employees never attended college,” Baker says. “Yes, college gives you an education, but it’s not the only education I value; especially because today’s college grads have been conditioned not to think outside the box.”
Most Resumes Are BS
Resumes have become a ridiculous concept. First, most potential employees don’t care what their resumes say as long as they’re semi-accurate and sound good.
Furthermore, few hiring managers do a deep dive into resumes. And among those who do, most are focused on the experience you can bring to the position. In essence, your college education is for absolutely no other reason besides “this position requires a college degree.”
Plenty of Successful People Don’t Have College Degrees
Let’s get something clear: I’m not saying you’re going to be successful without a college degree. Rather, I’m telling you that you don’t need a college degree to be successful. There’s a difference, and there are plenty of examples. Peep this shortlist of badass folks who didn’t waste four years smokin’ up in their dorms rooms and getting fat on Pirate’s Booty:
- Steve Jobs
- Richard Branson
- Dave Thomas
- Michael Dell
- Rachael Ray
- Henry Ford
- John D. Rockefeller Sr.
- Steven Spielberg
- Mary Kay Ash
Many Great-Paying Jobs Don’t Require a Degree
Have you ever investigated all the things you could be — and be happy doing — without going to college?
Gabrielle Loehr has; she works with people who are overwhelmed and want to be happier. “When it comes to careers, people forget many have no need for college at all,” says Loehr. “For example, any of the trades — mechanics, electricians, carpenters, and plumbers. All of those jobs have fairly good salaries and offer a great deal of independence.”
You Learn More in the Real World
You learn by doing, not by watching somebody tell you how it’s done.
“I’m a 30 year-old dropout and proud of it,” says Taylor Alexander, co-founder of Digital Masonry, an agency that specializes in crowd-funding marketing. “I’ve always told people that a degree might help open the door — but your talent, ability to learn, and work ethic are what keeps you in the room.”
You’ll Be at Least $100,000 Ahead of Your College-Bound Peers
You don’t have to be a math major to crunch the numbers and come out way ahead of your college-focused friends. You know what you can do with the $100,000 you don’t have? Not go into major debt at 18 years old.
There are lots of great ways to make money these days using the resources you already have — like loaning out your home; your car; or your personal belongings, like bikes and musical instruments. You can also be a dog sitter in your neighborhood, for example, and you can sign up to be somebody’s buddy if you’ve got an outgoing personality.
None of these require a degree.
Entrepreneurship Isn’t a Teachable Course
You also can be your own boss without a college degree. In fact, if you want to be an entrepreneur, carefully weigh your options — because you won’t learn what it takes to be successful as your own boss in college. Granted, you can learn plenty of basic skills that will assist your endeavor, but entrepreneurship is a personality trait that cannot be taught.
Alas, don’t take it from me: Inc. magazine knows what’s up.
You Use Very Little of What You Learn in College
As a writer, I learned very little of what I use today in my work in college. Blogging, for one, didn’t even exist back then, but I’ve managed to become a paid professional at it. Sure, the basic grammar course I took helped a bit, but what I didn’t already know I learned threefold at my first editor job out of college. Master the curve, or stand in the unemployment line — that choice wasn’t hard.
Most People Are Unsure Why They’re Going to College
According to fact-based research from Olenka Cullinan, CEO and founder of Rising Tycoons:
- Many business concepts are perfected by practice, like speaking, negotiations, and calling for leads.
- Most students go into college blindly, not knowing what they want to do; many will change majors at least once. If time is money, it’s a waste of both.
- 60% of US college graduates can’t find a full-time job in their chosen profession after they graduate.
Degrees Are Becoming Less Important
I’m just going to leave you with this sobering headline I found from years past: “Dear Class of 2012: Your Degree is Worthless, Now Get to Work.”
There are plenty more like it. Optimistic titles like:
- “5 Reasons Your New Bachelor’s Degree is Worthless”
- “My Degree Has Pretty Much Been Worthless”
- “How I Ended Up with $30,000 in Debt and a Worthless Degree”
Godspeed and good luck, Class of 2024.
Photo Credit: Chovee