Debunking the College Myth

An unfortunate reality in America today is that there is the perception that you need to have a college degree to get ahead. This misconception is bolstered by companies that require degrees for many job positions that really have no need of a degree. A college degree just pretty much says I can sit in a chair for years on end having someone tell me what to do and I don’t care to think for myself very much. So every 18 year old kid that is graduating high school around this time of year is told that he or she must now spend $100,000 or more going to school for four years just for the privilege of working for the rest of their lives. Sounds like a great deal doesn’t it?

I’ve always believed that there is very little that can’t be learned from reading a book or hands on experience. I read in a book once that if you read 4 books a year on an area of expertise, after 5 years you will be one of the most knowledgeable people in your field. That’s not an exact quote but the idea is still the same.

One of my coworkers already has a bachelor’s degree and he is not using it all. In two years since graduating from college he has yet to work in his field. The solution he came up with? Go back to school and give them some more of his hard earned money to further his education. I’ve seen this so many times from people that I work around. They’ve already spent a fortune on schooling that got them nowhere and the college myth is so ingrained in their heads that they think more college will take care of the problem.

I’d like to propose another way of starting out adult life for high school graduates. For the entrepreneurial minded ones anyway. Take two graduates and tell one of them that they need to go to school for the next four years for business administration and that it will cost them $100,000 to do it. Now promise them that at the end of those four years they might get a job in their field. The second graduate is going to go a different route. This one is going to start a business with maximum allowable expenses of $25,000 a year for the next four years.

At the end of the four years the first graduate has spent $100,000 on schooling and now needs to begin to repay it. The second graduate has spent at most $100,000 and that is the most that he could possibly be in debt as well and that is only if his business failed completely and he didn’t sell one single item and didn’t have one customer for four years while racking up $25,000 in expenses each year. That’s not a very likely scenario. What is more likely is that the second graduate has much more experience running a business, real world experience, and is likely now making a decent income off of his business after four years of operations. And if he’s not then he is no worse off financially than the other graduate who sat in a class room for four years being taught out of books that he could have just purchased himself and read.

So to everyone graduating high school right now, if you want to start your own business then why wait? You don’t need a college degree to work for yourself.