It’s that time. Dun, dun, dun.
Just kidding! I know you probably have a million and one questions circling through your mind.
- Is going to college actually worth it?
- Is it OK not to go to college?
- Can I survive life without college?
And it’s your lucky day because this article answers every last one of those questions in detail. Spoilers alert the answers are
By the time you finish reading this article, you will be confident whether college is right for you or not.
Do I Need to Go to College to Be Successful?
The short answer here is no.
You don’t need to go to a 4-year university to be successful in life.
Now, will it increase your chances of getting a job? Maybe, but it isn’t realistic to say or think that having a degree will increase your chances of getting a job because in reality what increases your chances is skills.
An employer would rather hire someone skillful in that area rather than someone who graduated from a university.
If you want to be a doctor, nurse, lawyer, teacher, etc then yes, you need to attend a college to receive your credentials. However, anything outside of something along those lines is really up for debate.
There are plenty of people who got their degrees and went on to live out the American Dream, while there are also plenty of people who got their degrees and worked in a warehouse for the next 40 years.
Your level of success is dependent upon how hard you’re willing to work for something, not a piece of paper you traded 4 years of your life to get.
Why College Is Not Worth It
Okay, let’s first get beyond the obvious.
One of the most downplayed parts of college is the debt.
Yes, we all know that college students have debt, but let me put it in a better perspective for you.
Most articles like to say, college students, on average, graduate with about $25,000 in debt, with the higher ends being upwards of about $40,000. However, based on my conversations with my peers and as someone who went to college (and dropped out), it’s safe to say you would be lucky to graduate with less than $30,000 in debt.
I have personally known someone who graduated with around $100,000 in debt. And no, they weren’t studying to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer.
My biggest piece of advice is to first accept you will be getting a job regardless of your education status. Then, you need to ask yourself if going to college is worth having to pay a minimum of $30,000 on student loans after you graduate.
Do college graduates make more?
Because the workforce has various moving components, this requires a complex answer.
Surveys do show college graduates make more money, and of course, this sounds nice. But those surveys forgot to mention that college graduates also owe money. So, when you factor in your having to pay off student loans, you would essentially be bringing home the same as someone who didn’t go to college.
And keep in mind, this is general. Your wages are going to be based upon more than just your education status. Things such as location, the cost of living, your skills, experience, and what is in demand are all weighted factors on the average pay in your area.
To think that you will make more money because you went to college just isn’t realistic.
You’re not promised a single job once you graduate, and you’re not going to have a better opportunity to make more money than someone who has advanced skills or experience.
Let’s be real, most jobs that are looking to hire someone want an employee that will work. Most of the time, unless specified, employers don’t care about how many years you went to school. They care about how well you can perform.
Questions to ask yourself
Note, some of these questions can’t be answered until you’ve experienced them for yourself.
- Do you want to rely on earned, portfolio, or passive income?
- Are you better suited for a sedentary or physical job?
- Do you want to work the first, second, or third shift?
- What is the cost of living in your area?
- What are you willing to do 5 days a week, 8 hours a day?
- Is that company big on work/life balance?
- Is this job going to demand too much from you, physically or mentally?
- What is the work environment like?
- What are your other coworkers like? Are most of them miserable or happy with their occupation?
10 Reasons Why You Don’t Need College
For the sake of not overly repeating myself, I’m not referring to fields that require higher education. This includes occupations such as physicians, attorneys, lab technicians, engineers, etc.
Everyone has to get a job
At the end of the day, everyone is trying to pay the bills.
Whether you earn your high school diploma, associate degree, bachelor’s degree, doctorate, etc, chances are you will probably be working for someone else.
Unless you’re genuinely passionate about a certain field, why would you go to college and spend at least $30,000 just to have to get a job anyways?
In the real world, debt is one of the only things that differentiates someone who went to college and someone who didn’t.
Most graduates are faced with the harsh reality that there was no magical job sitting on the table for them right after they earned their degrees. Then, the second wave of reality hits when they realize it’s very possible that they will be working with people that don’t have degrees.
You can spend time learning a skill
It’s arguably more important to be a skillful worker rather than an educated one.
You could choose to spend your youthful years of 18-22 writing papers, learning math equations, and doing public speaking or you could be mastering a skill.
Neither decision is wrong; however, one is going to be better suited for you based on your goals in life.
While your counterparts are dividing their time between going to class and parties, you could be gaining knowledge on a skill that interests you at a much cheaper cost. Not to mention, it will pay off much sooner.
You can make money right off the jump
Instead of going to trade school or a technical college, you could just go straight into the workforce.
The worst that could happen is you get paid every two weeks.
The best-case scenario is you learn at an earlier age than most things such as
- Money management
- Time management
- How to build credit
- 401Ks, 1099s, etc
- How to grow in a company
- How much things cost in the real world
- Your strengths and weaknesses
When you’re in a 4-year university, chances are you’re not learning about credit, taxes, benefits, etc because your main focus is turning in assignments. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, as it does teach time management.
But let’s remain realistic, you’re more likely to build your time management skills when you’re getting a check every week versus a letter put in the grade book.
It teaches you to make your own decisions
Deciding not to go to college is going against the grain.
Throughout your high school career, it’s shoved down your throat that the next step is college. They’re okay with you going to a technical college, but what they really want from you is to go to a 4-year university.
Don’t, unless it’s something YOU want to do.
It’s a waste of time and money to go just because someone else wants you to. Stand up for yourself and make the decision that best suits your dreams, not theirs.
You may save yourself money on therapy
If you’ve never been to college or have already been exposed to the trials of life, I’m sure you’re wondering if college is really that stressful.
The answer is no.
College itself isn’t stressful, especially when you’ve been a student almost your whole life.
What is causing them stress is the combination of the workload and feeling lost. Because many students have been pressured into thinking they need to have it all figured out at such a young age, they genuinely believe that.
This causes them to put unnecessary stress and pressure on themselves. And when everyone else around you is either in the same boat as you or “have it all figured out”, you’re not as likely to bring your concerns to them. Even when you do, it doesn’t give what it needs to give.
So, what happens? Most seek counseling.
Fortunately, some schools offer at least 3 free therapy sessions, but once that’s run out you do have to come out of pocket for the rest. I’m no therapist, but I don’t think you can work out your feelings in 3 sessions.
All that being said, you can completely avoid this stress by just not even going in the first place.
Of course, don’t steer clear from all things you think will stress you out because sometimes those situations cause you to grow and learn. However, do steer clear of situations that cause unnecessary suffering and unrealistic expectations, especially if you’re on the fence about it.
You won’t be forced to get a job
Once you’ve graduated, you’ll have about 6 months until you have to start making payments on your student loans.
This means that you won’t have a choice but to get a job. Had you taken a different route, for example going straight into the workforce, you wouldn’t necessarily need a 9-5.
If you wanted to you could take a year off, or a month off, or whatever floats your boat. But once you’re in debt it’s not about what floats your boat anymore; it’s about getting Uncle SAM his money back.
You won’t be wasting your time
By the time you went to a 4-year University and graduated, you quite literally could have started a business and turned it into a multi-million-dollar company in those same four years.
I do understand the concept of wasting time is very subjective, but one must ask themselves, is spending time writing a paper that you don’t even care about, using your time wisely?
Spare yourself from group mentality
While everyone else is relating to not realizing the assignment was due tomorrow, you could be doing whatever makes your heart happy while making money at the same time.
The college environment, before, during, and after, promotes herd mentality.
- “Everyone else is going to the party”
- “Everyone else enrolled in this class so it must be good”
- “Everyone else is going to the game”
This isn’t to say that you won’t enjoy these things, but I can’t tell you how many times I ended up in situations I didn’t want to be in because everyone else was doing it.
Of course, I didn’t HAVE to go to these events, but then there’s always that feeling of FOMO.
It’s a lose-lose situation, and it doesn’t matter how you try to get around it. College encourages you to feel more comfortable making the decision everyone else made, and this right here is the silent assassin of so many dreams.
This is your life
Some may feel like this goes without saying, but this really is your journey.
Your parents’, grandparent’s, friend’s, whoever’s opinions about the decisions you’re making on your journey are just that, an opinion. It’s nothing more than hot air coming out of someone’s mouth.
Don’t allow someone to live their life through yours because what you’re actually doing is taking the time allotted to your existence and giving it to them. Things just don’t work like that.
If they wanted to go to college, then they should have gone.
You owe it to yourself to do what your heart desires. Dream big, go for it, and don’t stop until you get there. You’ve got this!