I have seen numerous infographics about why one should go or stay in college. The latest article I read was about Peter Thiel’s College Dropouts. If you are unfamiliar with Peter Thiel, he is the co-founder of PayPal and he gave $100,000 to 24 college students to dropout and start up their own business venture.

It is no surprise, but in the article not one dropout has earned money from his/her endeavor. One has some minimum success with earnings from speaking engagements and so forth. I think it’s somewhere around the “mid-five digit” earning range. There’s also a “six-figure” book deal in the works. That person started up “UnCollege.” I remember reading about it (and writing, as well).

I believe I have been rather critical of what our higher education institutions put forth (here and here). I am also a HUGE supporter of the higher education industry…actually, the education industry in general. Education has gotten me where I am today — well, that, my faith, my family, my friends, and soccer.

There’s no doubt about it, in my mind, that college serves an important role in developing a person in numerous ways. Simply being given $100,000 isn’t going to make someone rich overnight. Although, it would help me pay off some student loans!

These young students thought they could make some money overnight, no problem. They sure did learn otherwise. They are learning what EVERYONE should be learning…patience. No one is going to make money overnight, or at least shouldn’t be. You have to work your way up.

I’ve learned that the hard way. I have yet to get a full-time job. I don’t even have one in sight. My wife just got her first full-time job after being out of college 2-years.

College doesn’t solve everything, but it does help educate in specific fields. What college students (and high school students) do not realize is that there is SO MUCH MORE you should be doing instead of just going to class. Work internships — quit doing summer jobs “just to make money.” Do something that is in your future — don’t just do something without a goal to it. There’s nothing wrong with working to make “ends meet.” But, eventually, you are going to have to do something that actually makes your resume look attractive!

Volunteer if you have to. There’s so many organizations, institutions, companies, etc. who would love to have some volunteers help out. It’s a way to get your foot in the door. So many teachers have to wait their turn by substituting, why shouldn’t any other career have the same? Not everyone falls into their “dream job” right out of college.

One thing several coaches in my department have been talking about is the “value” of a college education. We have come to the point where it’s a degree is a degree. It doesn’t matter where you get it from. Sure…a Journalism degree from Ohio University is going to be worth something — if you can find a job in journalism. Sure…an architecture degree from University of Cincinnati is valuable. But, there are SO many ways you can get a degree and so many institutions out there…there are only a select few of “elite” institutions and degrees out there. It’s all about doing MORE and networking MORE. Those “elite” degree earners aren’t anything more if they sit around and wait. You can get a degree from ANY institution…and still be better off than someone from Harvard or Yale or Kent State or Louisville.

One thing I do know is that now that degrees are available anywhere…it’s going to make graduate degrees more valuable. Unfortunately, that means costs and debt increase. That’s why students should work harder and more during undergrad to help ease the burden of cost. Start working your way into graduate school positions while in undergrad. Heck, take a year or two off to make sure graduate school is what you want to do before you start paying for something that you’ll quit in less than five years.

I’ve made a living, it seems, off of going to school. I spent 4.5 years in undergrad — a transfer is included in there. I spent 2 years for one Master’s. I am entering my 2nd year of another Master’s. School isn’t all that bad. I’m getting rather tired of it now, but that’s because I know what I want to do and just haven’t obtained it yet. But, I have learned so much in each and every degree program I’ve been in. It may not be straight from the book knowledge…but there are friends, experiences, classmates and professors I wouldn’t trade for $100,000 and no degree.

Go to college.


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