Last year I read an article by James Altucher on why I shouldn’t go to college.
He wrote a couple more articles about the subject, and I completely agreed with all of them. The problem though, is that I had already been to college… so his articles weren’t really doing much for me. And regretting my college days really wouldn’t make any difference in my life.
In any case, I believed in what James Altucher had to say so much that I actually wrote an entire book on the topic. The book was titled ‘57 Cheaper, Smarter, and More Profitable Alternatives to College‘ and it failed miserably.
But nonetheless, there were some good points in the book that I believe more people need to know about… so I will be publishing them in this post.
So if this seems like your kind of thing, or you’re just simply curious – I will start by sharing some of the reasons why I wish I never went to college.
I didn’t learn anything I could have learnt on my own. This is a fact. Even though I went to a film school I would say that 97% of everything I’ve learnt about film making/ camera work/ and editing was done on my own.
It doesn’t take 4 years to become good enough to get a job. This is true in any industry. If you want to learn business, buy the best books you can find from people who are the best in the industry and learn as much as you can. It might take you a year, it might take six! One thing for sure, is that following a strict college structure would be more of an obstacle than anything else.
At every job I’ve worked at, they’ve never asked for my college degree. WHAT?! You’re saying that I spent three years of my life, and tens of thousands of dollars for a college degree I don’t even need?
I graduated with a film degree, but spent the next three years working in the marketing industry. Needless to say, everything I’ve ever learnt about marketing was done on my own time. All the video work I’ve done was on a freelance basis… again, I didn’t need a college degree for this.
It cost a ton of money that I didn’t have!
No one should ever have the right to tell me what I can or cannot do, and that it all depends on a useless piece of paper.
Everyone is there because they’ve been told that without a college degree, they would never amount to anything. When you motivate people with fear rather than compassion, kindness, and inspiration… you tend to drain out every ounce of passion from their hearts.
I have a ton of friends who graduated from college with a finance or business degree and couldn’t get a job. When I asked them why they couldn’t get a job, the response is almost always that there is too much competition. When I ask why they don’t get a job in a different industry, they tend to think that they can only work in an industry related to their college degree. You shouldn’t be defined by a piece of paper, and should always have the ability to reinvent yourself and work in different industries.
College professors are there because of a pay-check, they couldn’t care less about me or any of their other 1000 students!
And if you’re still reading, here are 11 better alternatives you can do… all of which I wish I had done instead of going to college.
1 – Online Education:
If I had to choose only one alternative out of this entire list, I would definitely go with online education. Not only are there University Courses and Degrees that you can take online (and saving you a massive fortune)… but there are a ton of other really valuable online platforms where some of the worlds best teachers and mentors come together to teach and share their knowledge.
Even better, you can find different platforms that are focused on niche subjects… so you have the option to learn what you actually want to learn! Lynda.com is one of the best places to learn anything from design, to photoshop, to 3D animation and film editing… at a mere fraction of the cost of college degree.
Udemy.com and Skillshare.com are two other really awesome platforms where you can learn a whole range of skills from some of the best guys in the industry. I recently took a marketing course by Seth Godin, and it was far superior to anything I’ve been taught in college.
And last but not least, when in doubt – you can simply turn to Youtube. You’ll be able to find tutorials on pretty much anything you want to learn more about.
2 – Build Your Portfolio:
Why spend 4 years to graduate with no or very little practical experience when you can spend that time building a real portfolio… which is the only thing employers really care about? This was particularly true when I worked as a freelance videographer… no one cared where I studied, all they wanted to see was my portfolio.
3 – Find A Mentor:
Send them a sincere email about how you don’t want to go to college and that you would prefer to learn from them. I’m sure they would be flattered, and at the very least… would be able to have a chat over the phone or email. If this doesn’t work with your first choice of mentors… keep trying your other options until it does.
4 – Start A Business:
These days anyone can start a business for very little money, especially if you are planning to sell a digital product or some sort of service. Of course, this is not for anyone – but I suppose that it would make sense for anyone who wants to work for themselves to play their hand at starting a business rather than spending their hard earned cash on going to college.
5 – Start A Youtube Channel And Make One Video A Week for a Year:
You’d be surprised by how many teens (and grown-ups) are making a decent living off of Youtube. Why not try and ride that wave? Find something interesting and unique to talk about and make a video a week for a year. This is a great way to build your ‘personal brand’ and to be seen as an ‘authority’ for anyone who wants to run their own business.
This is exactly what Jacks Gap did.
6 – Discover Your Passion:
Here’s a great idea. Take a year or two off to really figure out what it is you want to do before attending college… I promise you’ll thank yourself for this. Try all the things you’ve been curious of trying, and pursue the ones you fall in love with. Discover your passion, AND THEN you can consider whether or not you need to go to college in order to make a living out of your passion.
7 – Get An Internship:
You see, even if you do go to college, the one thing everyone will ask you when trying to get a job is if you have any experience. In this case, you would have to take another 6 months to a year to work as an intern (for the required experience). Why not skip college all together and spend the 4 years getting different types of internships (and a ton of experience)?
It will be more valuable, and who knows… if you do a good job they might hire you (which is what you are going to college for in the first place).
8 – Get A Job:
Ha! You go to college in order to get a job when you graduate. Why not just skip college and get a job right away? It might not be as easy as it sounds, but with some creativity and a hunger for success… I’m sure you’ll be just fine.
9 – Read A Book A Week:
If you can pull this off then I can guarantee you hands down that in just one year you will learn at least 20 times what you would have learnt in college over the course of the 4 years. The key to real knowledge is in books… and you can learn (in-depth) just about anything that you would like to. A book a week will change your life. Four years of college will put you in thousands of dollars of debt and a lifetime to pay it back.
10 – Take A Year Off To Pursue Your Dream:
Whatever you dream might be, no matter how crazy it might sound… try and postpone college for at least a year to give it try. What’s the worst that can happen, eh? Worst case, you’ve spent a year chasing your dream… learning more about the world and understanding what it really takes to be successful. Best case, your dreams come true and you never look back.
11 – Learn To Code:
Here’s a fun fact for you. Did you know that, currently, the top 15 growing sectors are all in tech? Did you know that you don’t need a college education in order to learn how to code? Did you know that most computer science courses in colleges are outdated and nothing like what you can expect in real life.
So perhaps it makes a lot more sense to skip college and spend 4 years learning how to code on your own. And the best thing, you really don’t need any experience to start learning how to code. If this seems like your thing… I highly recommend checking out http://teamtreehouse.com/.
They are the leaders in online tech learning, and will teach you anything from building websites, photoshop skills, creating softwares, and making iPhone applications. They are also trusted by some of the worlds biggest tech companies such as Airbnb, Twitter, and Zappos.
Pricing starts at a measly $25/month… and you’d be insane to choose college over this.
At the end of the day, I guess I just don’t see any reason why anyone would have to go to college. All of the tools and resources you need in order to be successful in your own way are already out there, available to you for free.
All it takes is the drive and hunger to actually put in the work.
And that needs to come within yourself, not a silly college degree.