Opinions expressed by Minority Mindset contributors are their own.
So many people think a degree is a passport to the future. The collective belief is that it’s some kind of blank check to be paid absurd amounts of money. Some would even argue that it helps make your dreams a reality!
That’s crap. As someone with a Bachelor’s Degree and a Graduate Degree, I can tell you neither has helped me get a job, earn more money, or find more happiness. On the flip side, the degrees helped get me into a tremendous amount of debt.
Times have changed. A college education isn’t a necessity anymore, it’s only an accessory. Today’s world is more skill-based than textbook knowledge-based. The market has taken crazy turns and loops and isn’t the same.
I’m sure you can tell I don’t believe in the value proposition put forth by colleges. Here are the 3 reasons I absolutely do not believe in college.
I graduated from high school with no debt. It was awesome to be done with all those annoying teachers, students, and exams. I was excited. Then, I was guilted into going to college.
Once I finished my formal education I ended up with $61,000 in debt. Of course, I received scholarships and grants, but I didn’t get a full ride. Since I was under the foolish impression that the piece of paper would matter I also took out loans.
I should note that I didn’t understand loans at this time either.
So, here I am with a degree and debt. Well, that degree SHOULD have helped me get a well-paying job, right? Wrong. I make about $50,000.
You got it! Even if I spent no money at all for 1 entire year, I still wouldn’t be able to pay off my debt. We’re not even talking about the interest accruing on the loans either.
I imagine people saying that my debt is outrageous. Maybe I’m just lucky. According to CNBC the average debt balance for graduates in 2018 was $29,800. After being saddled with that debt the newly educated folks move right back home with mom and dad. Typically they take on a job outside the field of their study and struggle to make reasonable money.
2. The Internet
If you have a smartphone, a laptop, a tablet, or a library card you have access to the internet. The internet is the land of free information. Want to learn how to code? Go to CodeCademy. Want to be a writer? That’s splendid, go read some blogs on Medium. Oh, you want to be a sound engineer? Well, maybe hop on YouTube or find some podcasts.
The avenues to information are nearly infinite with the internet. It’s impossible to believe that these brick and mortar institutions have information that is not readily available on the internet for free. If the information isn’t free it’s for a much leaner price tag.
Colleges may have excellent research facilities, but skillful networking within your community and on social media platforms will open up the same opportunities. The internet changed the business of education.
3. A Saturated Market
Everyone and their mom has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Communications, or Psychology. It’s so common that it’s not worth anything. It’s not like during the factory days where the degree secured a position in upper management. Today, a Bachelor’s Degree is as common as a blade of grass.
You must offer the market something else.
How do you separate yourself from all the other people? Simple, master a skill. Unfortunately, that’s not what college teaches you. College, from my experience, is heavily focused on giving you theoretical knowledge and little practical knowledge. Maybe the kid with a Computer Science Degree knows why the code works but the kid who spent 8 hours a day learning on CodeCademy understands how to code.
Obviously, I know nothing about coding, but you get the gist. Everyone is getting a degree because other people have it. So many people are just fitting in. To be worth anything to the market you must stand out. You must offer a unique value to the consumer.
College isn’t for everyone just like entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Understand that college can be advantageous for entrepreneurs. There are some who use their undergraduate time as a safe haven to try new businesses, learn marketing, and networking skills. On the other hand, some people just see it as a massive time suck. The point here is to explore yourself, understand what you need in order to get where you want to go.
Self-awareness is the key.