Why go to college? Most young folks rarely challenge conventional wisdom regarding education.
Whenever I read a piece from Ramit Sethi I leave feeling sort of stupid. I love it when someone challenges conventional wisdom. It just sucks because the reality is that the truth can piss you off sometimes. Fortunately I’m very open-minded and love viewing common topics from a different angle.
Ramit highlighted four pieces of conventional wisdom on education that are wrong in a post on saving money on education. I want to just highlight two of these points quickly.
“Elite” colleges are simply for rich kids whose daddies got them in, and they coast until they get their 6-figure job
Do anything possible to graduate without debt! Better to go to that state school than the expensive school!
This got me thinking because these are thoughts that I believed at some point in time. That was while I was still confined to the college environment and nothing else. I’m going to move away from these myths as Sethi has done an amazing job himself with crushing them. I want to get into what the guest author had to say about alternative methods for success in the business world that doesn’t come from a higher education.
The guest author in the same piece goes on to share his advice on gaining real world skills and replacing knowledge acquired from college. The advice is similar to what I’ve preached here before:
Read great books.
Take business courses from practitioners.
What’s the point of sharing this? I’m sharing this with you guys for a reason. Many of you reading this are debating between higher education and what to do after college. I want you to make the best decision possible by using all available resources. The nuggets mentioned above can help you with making your decision as to what to do next in life a little easier for a few reasons:
Shift your mindset.
College is not some job making factory. Just because you earned a degree in one field it doesn’t mean that you have to spend the rest of your life working in that field. College also doesn’t guarantee riches or even a job for that matter. When I was in high school and someone told me what program they were applying to I would ask, “what job will that be?” I just didn’t know better.
It’s also important that you shift your mindset when it comes to attending graduate school. If you hate your current job or if you feel bored with your current situation, more education is not always the best option. You can try one of the three ideas from above: read different books, take practical courses, or start some sort of a business on your own.
There’s more to college than just the classroom.
You shouldn’t be afraid of putting the books down and leaving your dorm in college. You do need to do well in your courses and it helps to understand the material thoroughly. Once you take control of the academic side, it’s wise to get out there and meet some people. If you don’t take the time to use college for the networking opportunities that come your way, then you might struggle once you’re out of the college environment.
Focus on self-education.
“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” — Jim Rohn
Just because you have this piece of paper it doesn’t mean that your work is done. You can learn so much on your own that no textbook can every teach you. Through reading personal finance books and trial-and-error I learned more about money management than any of my finance courses ever thought me.
I always love when someone challenges conventional wisdom, especially when it comes to education. What conventional wisdom would you like to challenge about college?