4 reasons college isn't for everyone
The cost of earning a college degree can be a really bad investment. Some of you may be wise to consider the alternatives.
This post comes from Len Penzo at partner blog Len Penzo dot Com.
Take camping, for instance. Or iPhones. I've never understood the allure of luxury cars or the baby boomer generation's collective fascination with Bob Dylan either.
And although it pains me to say this -- because it will probably ruin any chance I'll ever have of scoring a date with her -- let's not forget singer Katy Perry too.
Here's one more thing that's overrated: college.
I know. They told you that if you want to be successful, you've got to earn a sheepskin from one of those hallowed venerable institutions of higher learning.
Guess what? They lied.
Don't believe me? Well, here are a few reasons why you should:
For most people, college is a really bad investment. Over the past 30 years, the cost of college has risen more than 1,000%, far outpacing inflation in general. If the price of other products rose as quickly as college costs have, today we'd be paying $13 per gallon for gasoline and $22 for a gallon of milk. As the price of college continues to go through the roof it becomes more and more difficult -- if not impossible -- for folks to realize a decent return on their investment unless they pursue a technical degree, or study to become a doctor or lawyer.
That's why there's an army of shellshocked graduates out there right now with a worthless college degree and nothing to show for it other than a relatively low-paying job and a boatload of student debt.
Not everybody is college material. If they were, 54% of all Americans who enroll in college wouldn't eventually become dropouts. Look, college is hard enough for those who are motivated; for people attending who don't really want to be there, it's almost impossible. So it makes little sense for anybody to attend a university unless they're fully committed to getting a college education, especially when you consider that the average cost of tuition, room and board for a four-year college is about $20,000 annually.
The time spent in college earning a degree can often be put to better use gaining experience. True, certain professions, like medicine and engineering, require college degrees. But there are plenty of jobs out there where it makes more sense to skip college and immediately embark on a career, because on-the-job experience is more valuable than a post-high school education. And while those who decide to skip college won't have a college degree after four years, they will have accrued four years of valuable experience.
Even better, they'll be $180,000 ahead in the ledger book, assuming they earned a modest average salary of $25,000 annually over that same period.
There are plenty of relatively well-paying jobs available that don't require a college degree. According to U.S. Labor Department projections, 63% of all new jobs that will be created between 2010 and 2020 won't require a college degree. In fact, Forbes identified 20 surprisingly well-paying jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree.
Many of those listed require just a high school diploma or equivalent, including administrative services manager (median income of $79,540), construction supervisor ($59,150), wholesale and manufacturing sales rep ($53,540), electrician ($49,320), plumber ($47,750), and insurance sales agent ($47,450).
Of course, I'm not advocating that everybody skip college. I'm just saying it's not for everyone.
Statistics show that people with a bachelor's degree will earn 1.66 times more over their lifetime than someone with only a high school education.
Then again, there are plenty of millionaires out there -- and approximately 30 billionaires -- without college degrees.
Ultimately, what's most important is that you find a career or vocation that you really enjoy because when you're passionate about what you do, the money becomes almost irrelevant.
More on Len Penzo dot Com and MSN Money:
College is simply a unit of measurement that you accomplished a certain level/standard.
It took me 26 years to complete my undergrad because of relocation, working part time and raising kids. I recently completed a Masters in a one year condensed program while raising kids and working two part time jobs.
My gpa was 3.9
After three years of looking for a job I landed a temporary full time position at a university making less then I did when I was a secretary with only a high school diploma.
Now judge for yourself whether college is worth it.
The biggest return on investment resulting from my undergraduate and graduate college education was realized from; (a) the development of my mind which has since become my favorite toy and (b) the acquisition of a network of friends and colleagues which served me well and lasted a lifetime.
My college experience not only taught me to acquire knowledge through academic discipline, but to THINK critically and to become relentless in the search for knowledge and by extension...truth. This experience validated (and in many more cases discredited) some long held assumptions and world view that I'd previously accepted as fact.
I'm just NOT the same person that entered college and I'm grateful. I believe it's virtually impossible to remain the same after such an experience. Even if the entire financial expense of my college education had provided a zero ROI (it didn't) far more importantly it provided an infinite return on investment in the areas of my life that were mentioned.
Grateful, I went to college, as one poster pointed out, it taught me critical thinking and logic application. I talk to most non college attendees and there is a big difference in approach to life. Most times they are defensive about not going to college and critical of college degree holders...its almost as if they are trying to validate the fact that they didnt go. Whereas I speak to college graduates and they are non defensive and more open minded to all paths of life. They never speak of those who chose not to or couldnt go to college and treat them with respect as they should.
I have friends who didnt go and almost every conversation is a stab at my college degree (MS Accounting). I ignore them as I realize its not about me but thier own dissatisfaction with their path.
I also noticed that those who go away to school become more independent and self sufficient. Whether they make 30k or 100k they are self sustaining, intelligent, non combative, and productive. They never take subsidy or need mommy and daddy's help...which I respect regardless of major!
My point is that college is a lot more than pumping out degrees. I respect those who choose not to go as well. As long as you are happy and self sufficient and explore areas for growth like anyone else would.
I got news for those who bash college graduates, a lot of your adjectives are subjective. Smart to you is not smart to someone else. There is no absolute "smart" . What you would consider intelligent is not what somoene else might. Keep your opinions in thier rightful place...an opinion.
I agree with this article. I never finished high school in the 70's, got my GED. Worked my butt off all these years and proved myself to everyone that employed me. On the job experience teachs things that books do not. Now i have a management position in a very large company and i make over 60,000 dollars a year with great benefits. Worked with a lot of college graduates that came right from college and thought they could start at the top even though they had no experience in the field. I think colleges give them that idea.
They have validate the high cost somehow.
The multinationals are sorting people by degree earned, psychological profile and age. So, if you got a degree, are young and get along they want you. If your older, have some moxie, not a finished degree, your sunk.
The technical areas like engineering, accounting and medicine go up and down too. No guarantee there.
But, doing a good job and being productive doesn't seem to work anymore. Your just a sucker. Start your own business when your young.
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