8 Good Reasons for Not Borrowing a Fortune to Attend College
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
I’ve spent a good bit of time with interns and students recently. Many of them don’t even realize why they are at a university. They work up to three part-time jobs just to pay for their education, and most don't understand how little effect it will have on their future success. Do we really believe that going to a university for up to four years is shaping our lives for the better? It’s not that I am against universities; it’s just that there are more up-to-date models that can give you a lot more benefits.
A university is made up of a lot of passive learning and written essays -- which means that a good chunk of what is learned is also forgotten. You must learn in an environment where your energy levels are high, and the content is linked to your emotions. Below are eight reasons why I believe you don’t need to waste thousands of dollars on attending a university:
1. Debt is your enemy.
Your biggest enemy when you are young is debt. Debt stresses you out and gives you fewer options if you accumulate too much of it. Debt is the enemy of your success. For the price we are paying for a university, we could do so much more. You could:
- Travel the world
- Attend a Tony Robbins event, and design your life
- Pay pennies on the dollar for online education
- Work for free for 12 months at a company like Google
2. You can create your own rules as an entrepreneur.
University teaches you how to follow someone else’s rules and to be part of the industrial age. As we move out of the information age and into the spiritual age, the old ways of learning how to follow the rules and be a factory worker don’t apply.
The whole reason people go to a university is to get a good job, but the fact is that entrepreneurs make more money than anyone. How much you earn is based on the value that you create. The impressive thing about entrepreneurship is that there are no rules. You make up the rules and as long as you solve a problem with a product or service that the world needs, you win. Entrepreneurs rule the world, and there are no qualifications required. Anyone can start an online business or find their own lane in the business world. Give it a go!
3. Everyone’s got a college degree.
When you go and line up for that dream job at Price Waterhouse or at the next Tesla, remember that everyone else has a similar degree as you. The recruiters will most likely ask the standard behavior questions along the lines of “tell me about a time when you have overcome X problem.” If you reply with an answer like “well at university we read about X problem and learned that it could be solved with Y,” you’ll be laughed out of the room. Answers need to come from experience. The challenge with a degree is that all your competitors have one, and you want to stand out.
Put together a 12-month plan of what you would do if you were hired, be confident, demonstrate real world examples where you crushed it, communicate like Steve Jobs, and you’ll be much further in front of the pack.
4. The money is better spent on travel.
Traveling the world is so very important for your development and learning. Seeing new countries and experiencing different cultures helps you see problems from every different angle. After all, business is about finding a problem and solving it.
Many of the best companies worldwide came to fruition through entrepreneurs who got an idea in another country for a problem they could solve back home. University typically costs more than $100k, and this money could help you travel to so many amazing destinations. Think about how much you’re spending on a university and whether the value is really there.
5. You can learn from experts online.
With websites like Udemy, you can find your favorite entrepreneurs or thought leaders and learn from them directly. I’m about to take Gary Vaynerchuk's and Jake Ducey’s course. Both can teach me exactly what I want to know without the fluff and without wasting years of my life to get to the point. Their experience is already proven, and they are global leaders at what they do. Can you say the same about your overworked, underpaid, university lecturer? I doubt it.
6. Experience is worth more than paper certificates.
Guess what? Some of the biggest organizations in the world, like Deloitte, are starting to disregard university qualifications. Yes, they have their place, but experience is much more valuable. As an entrepreneur, would you rather employ someone with five years of working on Facebook's marketing team or someone who has studied at college for four years and has no experience?
Employers are looking for the right mindset, a good work ethic, great communication skills, and most of all, the ability to make revenue and sell to both customers and stakeholders. These skills come with practice in the real world, not in some fake classroom environment.
7. There are new models of learning available.
The university model is often decades behind in the concepts that are being taught. There are brand new providers who offer an online university expereince. Global leaders and prime ministers teach the content through video. Imagine having Barack Obama teach you about negotiation through online modules. Wouldn’t that be cool -- to hear real world stories on how negotiation really works? Before you spend your life savings, have a look at the other options out there. Ask yourself the question “who is teaching me these educational concepts?”
8. Famously successful didn't need college for their achievements.
Have you ever seen Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs thank their university alma mater for all of their success? Probably not, because it had nothing to do with why they were successful. It was their creative minds, their relentless approach, their work ethic, their spectacular ideas and their boldness that made them millionaires.
University has some value, but it needs a massive overhaul. The old way of spending four years of your life living on college grounds, eating junk food and getting drunk at frat parties is the outdated way of doing things. You deserve better, and you can be more successful than you ever dreamed if you take action rather than passively observe.
An easier way to learn is through books and seminars where you can immerse yourself in the content and learn from high achievers. Think about what I’m saying and see if it makes sense to you. It’s worth thinking about and pondering on for a while before you go and blow thousands of dollars.