I’ve delayed writing this article for a long time where dropping out of college is a controversial topic. I want to know your thoughts so please comment below. Let’s see if I’m right on track or if my logic is way off the mark and I’m crazy. The world is changing, and the answers today are not the same as the answers from 20, even 10 years ago—and they are not as cut and dried as they used to be. Am I right?
I will never forget the time in my life when I was getting ready to go to college. It was so exciting to leave the home nest and live with a group of friends.
If you’re about to start college, there are so many feelings you could be experiencing– excitement, happiness, optimism, you might even feel ecstatic. Or, perhaps, you’re feeling anxious, nervous, and unsure about whether you’ve made the right decisions about your major or what school to attend.
But, the biggest questions you should be asking yourself are:
- What are your opportunity costs?
- Is college going to teach you the necessary skills to compete in the market place?
- Is college going to give you an ROI (return on investment) on your money and time?
- Are you going to get a good Job by obtaining a degree?
- Does your profession require a college degree? (lawyers, doctors, etc)
Let’s start there.
First off, you should know that I do have a college degree. I got my Bachelors in business and an MBA. I spent my hard earned money to get both degrees. I did not go into debt nor did I have some huge amount of money. I started a simple window washing company that made enough money to put me through college.
I would go to school and work whenever I had gaps or vacations.
To make matter worse. I figure my MBA cost me around $190,000 because I cashed out my Apple stock and paid cash for my MBA. I originally purchased Apple at $42 dollars per share. (Apple’s stock hit $700 a share after a split.)
Please note: After reading this…do not do anything stupid until you have given what I say some consideration. Also all you mothers out there, please don’t hate me. I know you just want your kids to have the best chance in life. You grew up being taught that college was the way to make it big in this life. I get it!
I’m getting tired of watching young kids go into crazy amounts of debt and wasting six years of their lives just because they are being manipulated into thinking that college is what they are supposed to do. I’m going to lay out seven reasons you should not go to college. I might even suggest you drop out.
1. A Degree Is No Longer Special.
Have any of you watched “The Incredibles?” Buddy gave some great insight into the problem of saturation.
Everyone can be super heroes, everyone can be super. And when everyone is super..hahahaha. No one will be!!!
Everyone is getting a college degree, or at least, they seem to be. A college degree is no longer special. When I hire someone I want to know what they can do, not what kind of paper they paid for. Degrees are a dime a dozen.
Plus, you have to consider what is happening globally. Look up how many students are graduating from college in India and China. Back in the day you were just competing against people in your local town or state. Not anymore.
Which leads me to point number 2.
2. The Job You Want Is Being Outsourced Over Seas…or worse…to a software program
This is a harsh reality. Just the other day I was standing in line chatting with a couple of students from Arizona. One of them was pursuing accounting. I immediately asked him why.
Software programs do all the accounting for us. So basically, accountants spend time punching numbers into a computer for a fee.
With companies like upwork.com, accounting jobs and other mundane jobs will soon go overseas. You can pay someone $4.00 an hour to punch in a couple of numbers compared to $50.00 an hour here in the USA.
A big shift is happening and it is all because of technology. This has opened up the door to global competition.
Is your college degree any better degrees from India, China, or Bangladesh?
If not, then what makes you think you can demand five times the wage? Does that make sense?
Simple everyday jobs will be and are being outsourced.
3. You’re Broke and You Can’t Borrow Your Way Out Broke. (this is my favorite)
So this might be on us parents; the majority of college kids are broke and have absolutely no idea how to make money.
Since when is it ok to go into huge amounts of debt and spend hours upon hours learning things that Wikipedia and Google can answer in 30 seconds?
Think about it…
Mike Rowe said it best
“We are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That’s nuts.”
We have this all backward. The moment our kids graduate high school we teach them to go into debt and pay for something that is supposed to teach them to make money.
It’s like we are all taking stupid pills. Students immediately become dependent on Government loans the day they graduate.
Parents we can do better than this. What is worse than debt?
According to State by State Data Seven in 10 seniors (69%) who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2014 had student loan debt, with an average of $28,950 per borrower.
This is crazy!
Before you even graduate from college we are teaching you to borrow money from the government to purchase something you cannot afford.
Going into debt is a common disease that should be avoided at all costs. The borrower is a slave to the lender and it’s a hard cycle to break.
If you can borrow so much money that easily at age 18, what is going to stop you from living in debt the rest of your life?
Those who have graduated with huge debt over their heads know what I am talking about.
Don’t do it.
“Its far too easy to borrow money for college. Did you know that there is more outstanding debt for student loans than there is for Auto Loans or Credit Card loans ? That’s right.
The 37mm holders of student loans have more debt than the 175mm or so credit card owners in this country and more than the all of the debt on cars in this country. While the average student loan debt is about 23k. The median is close to $12,500. And growing. Past 1 TRILLION DOLLARS.
We freak out about the Trillions of dollars in debt our country faces. What about the TRILLION DOLLARS plus in debt college kids are facing?
The point of the numbers is that getting a student loan is easy. Too easy.
You know who knows that the money is easy better than anyone? The schools that are taking that student loan money in tuition. Which is exactly why they have no problems raising costs for tuition each and every year.
If you think that colleges have your best interests in mind, you’re wrong.
A lot of colleges are in survival mode and they need students who can borrow a lot of money to pay their high salaries and costs.
Colleges, college professors, text books, and curriculum are part of the problem.
There is a lot of money being pumped into expensive colleges. They are all scrambling to get students because they will die without them. Teachers, deans, presidents are all under pressure to get more students to pay for all of their crazy expenses.
The reality is, students being able to take out loans is job security for professors, deans, and directors.
It’s a problem.
4. Degrees Do Not Guarantee Job Security
If you want job security the last thing you want to do is depend on your degree. The more value you create in yourself, the more valuable you will become in the market place.
Here is a great quote from a college grad. He was asked. “What’s your greatest struggle right now?”
“What’s your greatest struggle right now?” “Job security. I had one job for eighteen years, and right as I was starting to get lulled into a sense of security, I got laid off. The next job I had for two years, then I got laid off again. At my new job, I’m not even listed as an ’employee.’ I’m listed as a ‘consultant.’ So it would be very easy to get rid of me. And one of my kids is about to start college.”
I ran a simple test this last week where I submitted my resume to 3 companies; Qualtrics, Domo, and McKinsey & Company.
I wanted to see how hard it was to get an interview by submitting my resume through their online system.
All three jobs were in the marketing field. I have a pretty good resume that would blow 99.9% of college students out of the water.
Guess what? I got the standard email of denial. Maybe it wasn’t a standard email—that would be worse.
It was eye opening and kind of bothered me. I hate rejection. It also made me sympathetic to all you job hunters who have been denied over and over again. It’s kind of depressing.
Here I am, a businessman who runs three companies, speaks at marketing conferences all over the USA, who could easily make millions for a company and, I have an MBA. And the online selection system denied me.
I would like to think it was because I am overqualified, but who knows?
I now know why I create my own value for the market place.
If I really wanted to work for those companies, a simple resume submission with my credentials would not work.
You need to provide value and then show them the value you’ve provided.
College doesn’t teach this.
5. You’re Being Brain Washed
You have been trained to sit down, be quiet, listen to your teachers, and get good grades. It has been going on for 12 years and they want you to continue to be a robot for eight more. They brain wash you to believe that as long as you do this you will have a successful life.
You’ve been drinking their Kool-Aid. The world will pay you to be different, create, think, and add value. If you don’t want a job that pays little and has absolutely no security, fitting in is not a good thing.
“His grandmother and I are raising him. I worry about putting him into the public school system. I was a teacher for many years. I’ve seen so much confidence destroyed by the standardized system. Every human is born with natural curiosity. I’ve never seen a child who wasn’t inspired. But once you force someone to do anything, the inspired person is killed. I dropped out of school myself in 7th grade. So I know. I taught a GED course for years, so I’ve seen the end results over and over. I’ve seen so many kids who have complexes and insecurities because they were forced to do something they weren’t ready to do, and then they were blamed when they weren’t able to do it. What we call ‘education’ today is not organic. You can’t take something as complex as the human mind, compartmentalize it, and regiment its development so strictly.”
A photo posted by Humans of New York (@humansofny) on
6. Knowledge is found outside the classroom. Or Even Better, It’s In The Palm of Your Hand
The main goals in college are to get A’s, pass classes, fit in, obey the teacher, take tests, and do the least amount of work as possible to get the grade. This makes for a terrible learning environment.
Think about it. If the goal is to learn and become better, then why is the benchmark tests and grades? They standardize everything and try to put you in a box.
We need to adjust our philosophy.
How much should you learn? As much as you can.
How hard should you work? As hard as you can.
Who should you become? Everything you can become.
If you do less than you can do and try less hard than you really can try, you will damage your life’s philosophy. College is a breeding ground for doing the least amount of work to get an A.
7. Life Is About Becoming Someone Not Getting Something.
Life is about becoming. The goal of high school should not be to graduate and go to college. The goal should be to become an amazing person who can bring value to society. We have it all messed up.
Students should learn to work hard, try new things, fail big, endure trials and try again. You’ve got to play, you’ve got to try, and you have to learn to hang in there.
Schools should focus more on who and what students are becoming. The measurement should be determined by the value they bring to society. When was the last time you attended a college course that taught you patience, endurance, kindness, character, never quitting, first impressions, negotiation, etc.?
These are life skills that will change you forever.
Measurement should be determined by the value you bring to society and the person you are becoming.
For a high school student, experience is needed.
There is no education like real experience.
When I started my first company out of college, I was shocked at how little I knew. I had absolutely no idea how things really worked in the real world.
It was a little frustrating because the only classes that applied to life were classes on motivational speaking and behavior management.
I think it was due to the fact that both those teachers were actual businessmen who owned companies.
I learned more about business in four months of running a business than I did in four years of college.
When I was an adjunct teacher at Dixie University I decided to throw grades out and let each student decide their grade.
We stayed away from text books, tests, and routines. Instead, students were allowed to choose what interested them most. All I cared about was if they were learning about real life.
There was a little more too it, but overall it was a huge success. I would have a lot of students tell me how much they loved the class and that it made them rethink what they were doing with their lives.
We were all there to learn and become better; not just get grades.
Words of Encouragement for Students and Parents.
1. Life Is EXCITING seize it!
Now, let me throw out a bit of encouragement to all you college students and to those who are stuck wondering what to do with their lives.
College isn’t all bad. I loved the memories I created, the people I met, the professors I looked up to, and the excitement of growing up. They were some of my best years and I wouldn’t change them. It was a time in my life when everything was about me. I was fortunate enough to use my college years to become better and I didn’t even have the options you currently have.
Life is exciting and despite what everyone is saying about you millennials, I have high hopes that you will not destroy everything…ha-ha!
What took 40 years to accomplish back in the day, can take months. Time is speeding up and technology is changing everything.
Youth is powerful! You do not want to waste the years when you can take the most risks. You have to learn to risk your money, time, and talents. Colleges do not have the capability to keep up with technology and the fast paced world. Your learning speed cannot be dragged down by curriculum.
It takes years to create a curriculum and years to change it. More often than not, professors teach things that are outdated and no longer apply, especially in business and marketing courses.
The life your parents lived does not have to be yours. We never had access to an endless supply of tutorials, mentoring, blogs, podcasts, or books. You do not have to be stuck to that standard. With the click of a mouse you are able to learn from the absolute best minds in any industry for free!
Do you want to learn from Steve Jobs? Google him and listen. Do you want to learn about marketing and how you can build a business? Google it and learn from those who are actually doing it now.
You have to be willing to put in the effort and do it.
I started two companies just from watching YouTube videos. What does that mean to you? What can you do? How can you take the power of your phone and use it to create value? Your possibilities are endless.
Sieze the day!
Check out my motivational videos. They are awesome!
2. Life is Not Nearly as Hard as We Make it Out To Be.
If you learn skills like work, patience, honesty, focus, and more work, things will work out.
Relax, there is a lot of opportunity to become successful.
Now for us parents. Here’s what we can do for our children:
Part of being a great parent is to be around when you kids fail. We are their lifeline.
I always knew that if things got too bad I could go home where I would find food, shelter, and love. I would never have taken the necessary risks had my parents not been there.
Parents who can provide this kind of support are doing pretty good.
Hope this helps.