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Should I drop out of college and use the money to fund my business?

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I am currently enrolled as a freshman at a university in Louisville. I have a business plan for a mall-based retail shop. There are two other investors; they would both put up approximately 25% each. I would put up 50%. (One would be a silent partner, while the other would be active.) If I were to put my studies on hold after the spring semester, the money from my educational fund, in addition to some money from a trust fund, would be enough to cover anticipated costs. When I've talked to business owners, the response has been mixed. Those who graduated from college say it's absolutely essential. Those who dropped out or didn't go say that a college diploma doesn't mean much when you're working for yourself. The other investors (one of whom graduated college, while the other dropped out of culinary school) say that because the business is my idea and I would be majority owner, it's up to me. However, the active partner has alluded to the fact that he wouldn't mind getting the business up and running as soon as possible...I could always return to school if the business failed. Opinions?
Isn't there an obvious clue in this question? You say those who graduated from college say it's absolutely essential, and those who dropped out or didn't go say a college diploma doesn't mean much when you're working for yourself.

So if everybody who's been to a place says it's great, don't miss it; and people who haven't been there say it isn't, whom would you listen to?

I've been to college and also started several businesses. I've run one of them for years as it grew, and I say this is a no-brainer. If you quit, you might have business success, but you'll have less of a life. Education is not just about business, it's about being human, living, understanding . . . and it's also just great for business.

Most companies won't take people without college educations above a certain level. Do you think that's just prejudice? Or stupidity? After all, people without an education are cheaper. What does that tell you?

I didn't learn anything in school that helped with business . . . except common sense, how to think, how to decide, how to analyze, how to communicate . . . I was an English major. Sure, maybe you can get that along the way, but would you want to? Why give yourself that huge disadvantage?

I've paid the bulk of five other college educations now, for my five children, without any hesitation. None of them majored in business, either. Education is so much more than just business.

Does the lack of education hurt your business? Usually. Not always. Does it hurt you, as a person, to not have an education? Always. If you have no choice, then you have no choice. If you have a choice, get your education.


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