I like the concept of bucking the trend of college being the end all. As we discussed earlier, there are alternatives to college and getting deeply into debt. I like this man’s challenge. It seems most of the critics in the article make the unfounded statement that rich people got that way because of their education. I challenge that and say perhaps they got rich in spite of their education. Most who have “made it” got there not because of a particular formal education but because of who they were, their character and attitude. If not, every educated person would be rich!

Wired recently featured a story about Y Combinator (the Y=Generation Y) which they called “boot camp for startups”. It isn’t a replacement for college but the odds are a significant number of the chosen few either didn’t go at all or dropped out. In fact, the “drop outs” are so numerous and respected that there is a whole website devoted to them: The College Dropouts Hall of Fame. And. Do you think this is a new concern? Check out this 1962 Time article about famous dropouts, including a couple of astronauts:

Astronaut Carpenter twice flunked out of the University of Colorado. Yet last week [1962], when Colorado gracefully gave him his B.S. in aeronautical engineering, President Quigg Newton aptly explained: “For years to come, his example of courage and character, and of what a man can make of his life if he wills to do so, will serve as an inspiration to thousands of young people in this university.” [despite the fact he didn’t graduate-SS].

There are still a few reasons to get a four year degree. If you or your child are seeking a corporate career, you might want to go ahead and get that college degree because most positions require a bachelor’s. But unless a career on Wall Street or with a high profile consultancy is the dream, there is very little reason to spend $100k for that degree. Your in-state university is probably going to take you just as far initially (especially when combined with significant volunteer experience). Whether you succeed or fail once you are in the door is completely up to YOU and not those four years in school.

There’s been a lot of heated discussion around this topic. What do you think?


by Steven Schlagel