4 Brilliant Reasons To Not Go To College

Millions upon millions of dreams will be crushed by the propaganda being spewed by high school counselors, university marketing departments, and the federal government.


Forty years ago, we had a great education system. Learning was affordable and employers offered higher paying jobs to those with degrees. Not anymore. And here’s why.

Going to college was a stepping stone for bigger and better things several decades ago, but the notion that having a degree is the only road to success is one of the largest scams in U.S. history. In 2005, the cost of annual tuition was $17,233. Today, the average annual college tuition is $44,740 per year. And now, the Federal government has backed over $1 trillion (that’s a thousand billions) in student loans to young adults who are unemployed, underemployed, and will likely never have the funds to pay it back.

Stat: Student loan debt is now equal to mortgage debt and credit card debt combined.

Furthermore, next generation employers are measuring candidates less on what degree they earned and more on portfolio or experience. “Walking into an established company wide-eyed and green with a Bachelor’s degree in business at 22 is not special, useful, or smart.”, says one Silicon Valley executive. “We need young, experienced people who have walked the walk, taken some hits, and know how to make something from nothing”, he adds.

But even more scary is what’s coming down the pipeline. According to Billionaire Mark Cuban, our future will include a bursting of the student debt bubble, a significant drop in college tuitions, and an outright collapse of America’s institution of higher learning.

What Does This Mean?

Young adults need to start thinking for themselves instead of enrolling because “my parents want me to have a degree”. Furthermore, it’s debilitating our youth by starting their lives with an unrealistic burden causing stress, anxiety, depression, and even divorce. Here’s an indication of how burdensome student loans have become:

About one-third of millennials say they would have been better off working, instead of going to college and paying tuition.

Ultimately, those who lack practical skills for today’s economy (even with a degree), will be left indebted, impoverished and living in mom’s basement for the majority of their working lives. That’s hard to believe for many future students of higher education but the fact is…

Stat: Nearly 85% of college graduates will return home jobless.

So in natural entrepreneurial fashion, I have provided you with my list of: 4 Brilliant Reasons To NOT Go To College. 

1. Self Application Will Always Beat Education

One of the biggest lies we love to believe is education equals success. It almost hurts as I watch underprepared students dive into denial around graduation time, and instead of taking a course on personal leadership, they say “I think I’m going to get my master’s degree” only to graduate 3 years later with an extra $80,000 in debt and the same inability to make it in the workforce.

Sadly, college won’t teach you to be successful.

The university system has sold us an illusion of self-application. Students have been told the magic ticket to a good life is “go to college and you’ll get a good job”. No need for leadership. No need for maturity. No need for people skills. No need for honing passion and drive. No need to learn negotiation. No need for personal application. Just follow the yellow brick road and you’ll get there. Wrong.

Success has almost nothing to do with education.

Success is about personal development, self-control, integrity, communication skills, relationships, a learner’s heart, and boatloads of uncontainable passion. And most importantly, successful people know we learn by doing, not just learning to do.

Remember: Passion beats talent any day.

2. Starting With Debt Leaves Your Dreams Dead Until You’re 40

Debt has a way of weighing people down. In Proverbs it says, “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.” The early years of adulthood were intended for people to build, not dig themselves out of a hole.

In recent studies, young adults are not buying homes in their 20’s and 30’s anymore. Instead, they’re waiting until their debt-to-income ratio is healthier. And by their early 40’s, they’re finally beginning the meaningful portions of life. Furthermore, having a heavy debt burden in your 20’s has shown to push off children and marriage, increase stress and anxiety, and cause a built-up resentment toward life that continues to put people into chronic depression.

Fact: Student loan debt is the only debt that can’t be removed if you go bankrupt.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. For example, I’m 31 years old and I didn’t go to college. I hustled my way as a struggling entrepreneur in my early 20’s and over time, finally made it click. I now own a 7-acre farm, our family has zero debt (except a tiny amount on our mortgage), I’m going on my 7th year of marriage and I have two wonderful children. To me, life feels how it should be.

But no matter how you spin it, debt has negative consequences. Think carefully before committing yourself to tens of thousands of dollars in student loans just so you can “get a degree” or hang out and party, because partying is the last thing you’ll be doing for the 20 years that follow your graduation ceremony.

3. Many of Today’s CEO’s and Managers Hire Off Of 3 Variables

Picture this. Two identical candidates walk into your office for a job interview. The only difference between the two candidates is that one has a resume with four years of experience, the other has four years of college.

Which person do you hire? If you’re under the age of 40, your answer is likely the first.

Young managers know this generation’s learning curve is so steep that it’s nearly impossible for a university to understand the trends, create a curriculum around it, and teach it all before it changes again.

So to keep up with the speed of change, they’ve begun hiring off three variables:

1. Experience – How long have they been in the business? Who do they know? What companies have they worked for? And most importantly, how much success have they had? Which leads us into number #2.

2. Portfolio – What proof of results can they show? Do they have solid endorsements or references from the past? What are their previous projects or successes and why? Who have they worked with and how did that turn out?

3. Personal – Do they fit the culture of the company? Are they approachable, responsible, punctual, and have integrity? Can they communicate well? Is their appearance and personal brand mesh with the company’s environment?

While a part-time job or internship might help with the above criteria, a degree will not. It’s your decision: will you jump in the deep end, gain some experience, build a portfolio, and create real-world personal development? Or will you pay for information and learning that you can likely obtain on the internet, for free? Your call.

4. Entrepreneurship Is Becoming A Real Solution:

I’ve seen too many people hate their life because they hate their job. But as we all know, the current education system built us to be employees, not entrepreneurs. Consequently, people fear going out on their own. Shockingly, many of us will take a $100,000 in debt in hopes for a career where we could be fired any day, over taking a loan for $10,000 to try to launch their own business. Sounds crazy right?

My friend once said to me, “I’d rather work 80 hours per week on something I love, than 40 hours per week on something I hate.” I would continue with, “I would rather make less money and have no debt, than maybe more money and owe creditors $60,000.”

The big dilemma. People don’t know how to start a business.

This is why I launched StartupCamp.com (this site you’re on). It’s my mission to help people chase the dreams and ideas that drive them. I spent over 1,000 hours developing a complete curriculum around how this happens. Take a look.

FREE Class: How to Start a Business in 30 Days!

While this may seem like a sales pitch, it’s not. It’s a healthier solution to an obviously broken education system. So, if you have a dream but just don’t know where to begin, consider a more affordable path to creating the career you want. It just might be the start of a new life for you.


Do you have school debt? How much? Would you do it again or do you regret your decision? Let me know in the comments below.


Dale Partridge
Dale Partridge is the Founder of StartupCamp.com. He's also a keynote speaker and author of the Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling book People Over Profit.


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  1. “Shockingly, many of us will take a $100,000 in debt in hopes for a career where we could be fired any day, over taking a loan for $10,000 to try to launch their own business.”

    Just what I’ve been feeling since I graduated high school and decided not to go to college. That $100,000 in student loan debt is guaranteed you’ll lose, while the $10,000 investment you could earn back.

    Even where I’m from, where tuition is free and you “only” have to take out loans for living expenses and materials, you still end up with a hefty debt (it took my dad over 3 decades to pay his off and he wasted 5 years of his life on a degree he doesn’t use).

  2. Mikayla Mondy says:

    I spent 3+ years in school from the time I graduated in 2015 to now. I recently dropped out because I felt like something just wasn’t right. 3 years and $50,000+ in debt with no knowledge to show for my time spent. I realized it was a waste of time when I had the urge to start my own business and learned all the information I needed from articles and YouTube streamers within 1 month after that I never looked back. Do I regret going for as long as I did? YES. Do I regret not finishing? NO
    If I had the chance to do it all over again I would go apply for a loan after graduating high school and start my business with that.

  3. SaraCa. says:

    I make crap money working for a hospital for the past 14 years. When I was younger, after high school, my dad just passed away. I did not have the money to go to college, even part-time. So, it was an endless cycle of low paying jobs with no experience in anything. I finally landed a decent job, working full time, but the pay for a hospital is still not great, but I do have my tuition paid for, so at the current age of 52, I decide to go back to school to study in cybersecurity, because I like computers, and teaching others, and computer forensics. It is hard, but I am almost finish. I have always enjoyed going to college, the people, young students, it just make one feel alive. I have no student loan debt. There are many jobs out there for trade skills, etc. Most of the High School did not go to school, and they are all still struggling pay check to pay check. They don’t have the time or too tired to go to college. My older brother went to college, and it was paid for from his job. When he had children, right away he put aside money for them. Both his kids graduated with zero debit. No student loans. One majored in Chemical Engineering, the other in Architect and yes, both have great jobs over $70, 000 plus all the perks. It’s great to be on the foundation of self-employed, having your own business. My parents did. And after dad passed away, her mom is struggling. It was a successful business. But, after 50 years, time to retire and close up shop. Mom now is drawing social sec check for $600. per month. Really??? After paying into the Social Security Rip off system. !!! All us kids help her out as much as we can. So, I feel going to college to learn and have the experience is better.

  4. nabeeha says:

    I believe there is a huge difference in DEGREE and KNOWLEDGE. You can get a degree by simply cramming the books. But you cannot get skills and knowledge by cramming. You have to gain skills from experiences, and knowledge from the books in order to excel in any field of life! College is not the only way to be successful. What i have noticed is that young students choose career by seeing how much they will get paid for, they don’t choose the career they are passionate in. And then you end up cramming through college, gaining lots of debt, no skills and don’t find a job! of course no one will hire you if you don’t have the skills. Being an entrepreneur i hire people on the basis of their skills, degree is our last preference!

    So dale is absolutely right!

  5. M says:

    I wish I never thought of going to college. That would have saved even more of my time and effort. There is nothing about college that you already can’t obtain yourself. For free. Are you looking for knowledge? There are better places to look for it. Knowledge doesn’t matter to employers anyways. Are you looking to find a good job afterwards? No first job will ever match your investment. It will take years before you see any financial progress if you are lucky. College is equal debt for majority of us. No college means debt-free life. They take advantage of young people because they don’t know much. Easy customers. Once they are in their thirties, they wake up and realize what they have signed up for, but it is too late then.

  6. daniel DEBOLD says:


  7. Heather P says:

    Honestly, I regret going to college so much. I went for 2 years because my parents wanted me so badly to be successful and get a degree. College is NOT for everyone, I’m very very smart but college just isn’t for me. I was depressed, anxious, unhappy and lastly, broke. Tuition is no joke.

  8. There’s really a lot of reasons not to go to College right now. Now there are many online courses, after which you can get a good job. Thank you for touching upon this topic!

  9. Josh Robinson says:

    Wow thx

  10. Amen! I have been preaching this “sermon” for over 30 years! Every guidance “counselor” I knew convinced me to be a teacher. The only way to that goal was college, right? After getting that degree (in 4 plus years) I was able to obtain my first teaching job only to realize I needed a second job if I ever wanted to have a family or a decent vacation. It was then that I realized I made more money my junior year in high school (at 17) than I did my first year teaching school…as a young entrepreneur! Why could no “counselor” ever see that in me? Fortunately for me, I was on scholarship and graduated with no debt . However, some institution was paying for me to take core classes as well as badminton and camp counseling, not to mention “creative movement”. What a joke!
    I borrowed $5,000 from a bank and started a small business and paid off the loan in 2 years. Since that time I have started multiple businesses and have never been asked what my degree is in. Imagine that!

    Dale, keep up the good work! Help spread the message!

  11. Max says:

    I have no idea how old this thread is and if anyone will respond to me, but I’ll give it a try anyway.

    I’m 22 years old and have battled a lot of depression in my life. Not to sound arrogant but I like to think if myself as someone who is more intelligent than the average person. I spent 3 semesters in college right out of high school, decided I didn’t know I want to do with life and took time off school until this year. Now in the middle of my 5th semester of school, I feel insulted by the school system. I’ve always got A’s and B’s without trying. That hasn’t changed, but I have received poor grades for not showing my thought process for mind numbing problems. On top of that, I feel I can achieve my goals (being happy and helping others) without going to grad school and ending up 10s of thousands of dollars in debt. I can continue in school, or leave after this semester and have a nice living situation for cheap rent, borrow a car from my parents, and have a job that’s decent paying (for now) and I won’t be able to move up the ladder…but the people are great and I can always take time off when/if I need it. Any suggestions?

    • Craig says:

      Max. What are you studying in college? Unless you want to be a medical professional or an engineer, you are wasting your time and should quit immediately, even if you have already paid your tuition. I am an engineer and am so bored at work that I am considering going to trade school, since skilled trades pay better than engineering…..and the jobs are INTERESTING!! What a concept!

  12. Damon says:

    This is a good article. I’m basically in a position where I changed majors 3 years in. If all goes to plan, I’ll be gone in another 2 1/2 years. I want to major in CGI, is this worth staying for?

    • Joe Kabes says:

      Hello Damon,
      I have been in your position with changing majors. After much thought and prayer I realized my heart wasn’t truly in it and changed. For me, it was the best decision I could have made. I am by no means an expert in the field of CGI, but I can tell you that it often pays to pursue what you are passionate about and stick with your strengths. I have provided a link to an article on CGI that I found. I hope it to be helpful. Thanks and good luck! Future of CGI

  13. Sarah says:

    Hello. College junior here, crying in my apartment because I have no idea what I want to do in life AT ALL (like 0% know what kind of career) and am currently stuck between dropping out and working my butt off to start paying these bills or sticking with school and continuing my suffering of not knowing what to major in or what to do. I know the answer seems kinda clear: drop out and save yourself from the misery. But I’m scared. So so scared. I don’t know what to do (if I had the money, I’d join this startup camp asap). All I know is that while I’m at school, I’m taking classes for a major I’m not interested in, growing more and more in debt, and my mental health is getting worse and worse with every semester that goes by. I’m just scared that not getting a degree is going to be detrimental in the future (sounds ridiculous but the whole “college is obligatory to be successful” trope was engrained into my naive mind in high school by family, friends, and teachers). I just don’t know what to do anymore and I feel lost.

    • Ben Sturgill says:

      HI Sarah, thanks for you sharing and being so honest. Many people find themselves in just your spot, so please know you are not alone. Please allow me to make a few suggestions if I may. First, find a mentor. An older person you respect and trust and process where you are with them. Sharing honestly and seek their guidance to make sure that what you are studying will help you achieve or at least be better prepared for a future you’re excited about. Secondly, consider Dale’s latest book: https://shop.startupcamp.com/products/find-your-calling, it will help you in this journey. College age is a time of great self discovery. Pressing into learning more about who you are and what brings you to life. As you become more clear about the answer to the question of who you are, the what will become more clear as well. I believe this will help you in feeling lost.

  14. Nice

    • Ben Sturgill says:

      So glad you liked it!

  15. Dale, I am so glad I discovered you and your tweets/articles! (actually my wife did…but I will take the credit). I have forwarded so many of your words of wisdom to both friends and family.

    I am a 60 year old business owner with 4 adult children. Two graduated from college at the top of their class…with no debt! Although my oldest son graduated from a respected school of business in Texas with highest honors, his best job offer after college was from a company where he had worked previously. Their offer was double those that did not know his work ethic. My third child did an internship for a non-profit in New York at the age of 18 and has now been on staff in leadership for the past 4 years (with no degree). Partly due to his lack of debt (ZERO) and his ability to save and give, he is able to live in NYC and help change the world. My youngest has pieced together a good resume because she has followed the counsel of this article. She is now using her gifts and talents in and area that she is passionate about…debt free!

    Although I have a degree, I am so grateful that it was all on scholarship…and I still doubt it’s value. I have always told my children that a degree might get you a job, it will never get you a promotion. It requires a great work ethic and dedication.

    Please keep preaching this message to young adults!

    P.S. Your tweets on being a great husband and father are spot on! (and scriptural !)

    • Joe Kabes says:

      Hello Larry,
      Thank you so much for sharing your testimonial! Hopefully it will inspire others to follow in the same path and subscribe to Dale’s teachings. Thank you and Keep sharing those words of wisdom and leading well!

  16. Hey I’m 20 nd I dropped out of my university coz I don’t like it, now I’ve convinced my parents they had a trust in me dat I can do anything but I just said them dat one day I’ll b a millionaire ,I just hav single thought in my mind , to b a millionaire so can u just help me through dis ..

    • Ben Sturgill says:

      We would be happy to help! Our monthly program walks you through each step. You’re not too young to start and the cost is nothing compared to college. The question is…what are you passion about?

  17. Jayson Terrell says:

    I love this article and want to use it in an Argumentative Essay in school but I don’t see when it was written can you tell me when you wrote this?

    • Dale Partridge says:

      I love that you’re going to share this in school! I published it in December 2014 but it has been updated multiple times since then. 🙂

  18. Briar says:

    Hi Dale I thought your article had a lot of insightful things to say. I’m a hs senior and have absolutely no idea what I want to do for a career. I’ve changed my mind so many times. I think I’m just trying to think of something that I’m interested in so that my parents will be happy. My passion lies in running and if money didn’t matter then I’d love to be apart of it whether that be an assistant coach or maybe an athletic trainer or I don’t know. I also love being outdoors and exploring national/state parks and different trails, so something like wildlife rescue or search and rescue or something I’m not really sure. I know what I’m passionate about, but it would never get me into college (my dad never went but he’s pushing me to go) and I’d be afraid that I wouldn’t get a job that payed well. Long story short I’m a confused hs senior who has passions that aren’t available for “higher education” and I don’t really know what to do/what I want to do. Sorry this is so long 😅

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Briar, I always admire such an honest response. High school is tough and deciding what to do with the rest of your life is even tougher. The fact that you’ve sat down to identify the things you’re passionate about is already one step ahead of most people, believe it or not. Keep an eye on those passions. My belief is that in the coming years out of high school, they will develop into your calling and I hope you are able to find a way to enjoy what you do and make a living with it. 🙂

  19. Courtney says:

    I’m about 86k in debt with student loans and making 42k a year. I dug myself a hole thinking that college was a must when all I’ve really wanted to do is open a boutique! I wish I would have started working towards my business many years ago. Now I’m 28…

    • Totally get that, Courtney. But its not too late – 28 or 82! Just start. 🙂 Also, if you can, look into getting some or all of your loans forgiven. Many are applying!

  20. “Many of us will take a $100,000 in debt in hopes for a career where we could be fired any day, over taking a loan for $10,000 to try to launch their own business. Sounds crazy right?”

    OMG. Yes. It’s crazy! But it’s so normal you feel like there’s great logic in there somewhere. Thank you for pointing out the irony.

    • Of course, Marcus! Thanks for reading along here – there are many things we do without truly thinking through them. I’m guilty of it as well! Just trying to think through one thing at a time. 😉

  21. Courtney says:

    This article has gotten me thinking about the future considering I am about to graduate from high school. For me, I am less concerned about college expenses because I have supportive grandparents willing to pay anything for my education. I am more concerned about what it is I want to persue. I am a very indecisive person and want to have a job/study a topic that I am passionate about & I worry I may not find it. That’s why going to college without having a clue what I want to study, changing my major a couple hundred times, and then graduating with no job at the finish line really frightens me. I just don’t want to waist time and money having no idea what I want to do with my life! I feel that the pressure is really on & if your not going to college now a days… then what are you doing?
    Any advice!!

    • Courtney, I totally get that. Remember two things: 1) While you might be feeling a lot of pressure to make a decision right away, don’t let that pressure control you. Set aside that pressure from time to time as you remind yourself that living a life that responds only to the pressures of the world around you is no longer your life, but theirs! 2) The best way to get an answer is to start looking for it, rather than waiting for it to come to you, right? So, sit down with trusted people, friends, leaders, family, and start asking them about what they value in you. What do they see as your best assets, your most apparent gifts? That might help you begin to see a picture of what you could study, pursue, and research programs that fit you best where you are right now. You got this 😉

  22. ASIA says:

    I’ve been trying to explain this philosophy to my parents forever… HA. My dilemma currently is that I’m filled with so many dreams I don’t know where to start. I feel the world is so corrupt that everything I’ve dreamed of accomplishing requires A) Money, lots of it or B)Connections X3 . I’m 19, soon to be 20 this year, and I’ve worked my butt off. I know I’m far more advanced than the kids I do know in school being scammed. I have lots of experience, credentials, and learned skills some don’t even obtain until their late 20s. So what do I do from here? Build my foundation with a job, yes, but then what? How do I release all these dreams and aspirations of mine with no money or connections?

    • Make money and build connections, Asia! Seriously. Start with whichever one is most in-reach for you and go from there. If you’re as motivated as you say you are, then make some moves. Big ones. 🙂

  23. laura says:

    Most of our kids don’t go to college because we are “poor.” They all work, and save like crazy. I have one, however, that is very mechanically inclined. He has bought his own lathe and a milling machine. He makes steam engines, and other fascinating things. I believe that were he in school he would actually be doing more, but he likes to learn on his own. He is not a huge fan of CAD which is what they use today He prefers creating these things bit by bit. I am “worried: that this gift of his will not be used to its fullest. Many people today do not respect you if you have no college degree. We also have one that is very dyslexic and draws like Picasso. Another plays a whole bunch of instruments and all are highly athletic. They are all self taught pretty much……….but without a degree they are looked down upon. How do you get people to a tally take you seriously when you have no degree behind your name? I have a degree and I do believe that it has helped me some, but my parents paid for it. I can’t do that for my kids.

    • It really depends on a career’s direction! Luckily, there are a LOT of programs and scholarships that exist to help someone who is driven and strategic in a career path when college is a necessary part of that. Otherwise, internships worldwide are more and more open to non-college students and sometimes even older people who are forging a new career path. Staying in the stream of research helps reveal the options that are out there! Keep the hope for your kids. Just because you can’t literally fund their dreams now doesn’t mean you can’t support them.

  24. Shelby says:

    Wow! What a great article, wish I had found it sooner!
    I’m a senior and have about 6 credits left and I went to the internet to see if anyone else felt as unfulfilled as I do.
    I started working in my field of interest when I was 18 and worked my behind off to move up, now I have a job that is technically a degreed position and I truly enjoy it. So I have found myself wondering…what the hell was the point?
    I work in the financial industry and they genuinely did not care that I didn’t have my degree because they already knew my work ethic and they knew I paid my dues. The only good so far to come out of my college career? Realizing I’ll never push my kids to go.

    • Thanks for sharing, Shelby. You’re not alone. I think an incredible gift is that you have a position that you enjoy!

  25. Daron Bougie says:

    Stop pressuring 18 year old children to go to college! I felt that pressure, and I went to college before I was ready, taking out osap loans for everything!

    I took Fine Arts for a year, failed a course because I was immature, then decided I wanted to do something else so I switched to General Arts and Science for two years, I did really well, but, it was the biggest scam! I should have gone to the adult learning center and done these courses for free! This program is advertised as something to take if your unsure of your goals.

    I then took two years off and paid my monthly student loan payments. My debt after that was huge, and I was working minimum wage at a coffee shop and living with my mother. I thought ok! I need to pick a program I believe in so I can get a job I love and pay back this debt faster! I found the program, worked my butt off and left the city I was in for a program studying Ecological Restoration.

    I did great my first year. Second year I was dealing with Family issues, and needed time off. Basically, I took a year off, and then when I went to apply for OSAP I was told I was being denied for another full year.
    I was under the impression that as long as my grades were good, and I had been ok’d by my program coordinator, that I would be fine to reapply. Stupid rules got in the way of my education, BUT, being encouraged/pressured into going to college right off the bat is what actually caused the problems I ended up having.

    I’ve actually had problems with Anxiety since I was a child. This led to substance abuse problems. I went and got assessed for it after I graduated from General Arts and Science, and basically was told I should start making life choices for myself, not other people like my parents or boyfriend at the time, and that is where my anxiety was coming from. I still at this point did not realize I had substance abuse problems…I thought I was an occasional social drinker…..yeaaaah right! I’ve dealt with this now and I’m doing great but I also know other things I didn’t know.

    I now know that I have a Hiatus Hernia and Gallbladder issues. The hernia can mimic anxiety attacks. And can make dealing with anxiety causing life issues worse! As well, i have some food issues that cause me to be low energy and have affected my organs. Dairy and meat make me drowsy and just tired…..Wouldn’t it have been nice to have worked a few years out of high school and possibly have figured that out before taking out huge loans for school! After finding out about the food problems, my mom tells me I used to puke up rich dairy as a small child….ugh!

    Knowing those things would have helped me deal with so many life issues in a much better way. These aren’t big health issues by any means, but they are something that a person needs to understand about themselves before they take on a life long decision. We need to be able to understand ourselves before we are told things like “if you don’t go now, you never will”. We need time to think before we jump head on into the college system!

    In the end, I started to make my own life choices, but that year off from the Ecology program really ended my schooling, I haven’t been back, I have a 2 year old now, and another one on the way, and in about a year, I won’t qualify for Osap indefinitley. I’ve always worked! Aside from my first year at fine arts, I’ve always worked very hard while in school! I’m not lazy, I just can’t pay back my student loans now! I fell for the dream being offered. I thought well I’m smart enough, so something good should come out of this, and no, I’m just smarter but won’t get a great job using my years in college as a point on my resume. It’s going to be all me now coming up with some way to start something great.

    I know this entry is long, but I feel parents and prospective students need to hear these stories. College doesn’t always go perfectly. And on loans, you have no control over your life during or after. If you have a slip up, you need to stop, pay off whatever loan you have and save money. Only go when YOU have mapped out how it will be paid for. Do not just trust that it’ll be ok because your doing your best. You can get flushed right out of school whether your smart or not. Personally, I think school should be affordable enough for anyone to save up for no matter what your taking. Your grades can do the Talking after that. Free would be best, but affordable works too!

    • Thanks for sharing that, Daron! I think it’s such a valuable addition to the conversation here and your voice absolutely matters, especially in the midst of the clanging gongs of culture’s norms. It’s about judging college-goers or just criticizing higher education, but opening up the freedom that other options exist and they very well MIGHT be better ones for a lot people.

  26. I completed my high school in the year 2016 . After the high school I wasn’t interested to go to college. Where teaching with no concept . I gone to college was about to 4 months , then I stopped myself . My passion is to become professional in stock market and doing business . Now I’m learning by myself by many online website . Pls give ur suggestions.

    • I wish I could give you the help you’re looking for, Sujin! My main suggestion would be to research online educational tools, which is what you’re already doing. Find a mentor, and keep it up!

  27. Amy Melton says:

    Dale, your article has caused me to re-think so many things! I am 20 and getting out of the Air Force about 2 years early. I have HR, organizational administration, and leadership experience in those last two years that have opened quite a few doors for me for potential jobs that, in my opinion, are decent. I could start working for advertising/marketing/consulting agencies (I actaully have interviews and offers for said agencies) and be making about 40,000 a year (not much I know, but remeber I’m 20, with no college, and completely starting over). Some of these companies will allow me to promote quickly, which is great. But, if I want to do something exceptional, like start a business or invest in branding myself, what things can I do to ensure I have the information to have the most successful outcome? I can see myself doing many things, and being fullfilled and content with a slew of careers, how do I know which to persue? Originally, I was going to take on one of the jobs mentioned above and start school. I started doing research when I came across your site and a couple others who voiced pretty much the same things you have. I guess my point is, where do I begin to carve my path? What books should I read, people should I pay attention to, and how can I guarentee the payoff? Thanks again for putting this site up, it’s amazing how great is feels to know you’re not alone in your doubts, especially when all of society is telling you the opposite!


    • Hey, Amy! I’m thankful you read this article and decided to share! Your thoughts are ones I am familiar with and that’s really why my wife and I decided to write the Find Your Calling books. Take a look at them in the shop; I think they’d be very powerful for you in this season!

  28. Lauren says:

    I went to school for 1 semester, then realized I had know idea what I wanted to do and what my goals are. I decided to dropout 2 weeks into the second semester and I thought my family was going to kill me. I wanted to work and be able to move out and I couldn’t do that while I was in school. College teaches you the books, but I wanted to learn about life. Iv been on my own for a year now and iv learned more about life in 1 year than I could have ever learned while in school. Sometimes I think my mom is still upset I dropped out, but she’s actually the one that sent me this article.

    • Sounds like it might be good movement forward, Lauren. That’s awesome! I hope that’s the case for you and your mother. Keep learning, keep growing.

  29. Mr. Partridge – I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated your article because this subject is something that I’m passionate about as well. After graduating with a lot of debt and realizing what it meant to start out my career with that kind of burden, I wanted to do something to help others avoid the same experience. I recently started a company, CUED-In, in order to help high school students find the best college/career choice for them financially. We are in the beginning stages of developing an app and web-based software that fosters communication between students, school counselors, and parents while informing users about post-secondary education (if they want to pursue a career that requires further education) and/or career opportunities. We hope to provide high school students with a better understanding of what kind of debt they’ll incur at a certain college balanced with the salary they can expect to make in their given field. In this way, we’re working to foster a generation that is making wiser choices about whether or not they should go to college and/or which college is the best fit for them. We hope to have the software in schools at the start of the next school year. Again, I really appreciated your article and just wanted to let you know what I’m doing about this issue as well. Thanks again for your article!

    • Seth, that is awesome! Giving them the knowledge now helps them make the right decisions later. Wiser generations! Love it, man.

      • Dale,

        Thanks so much for commenting. http://www.cued-in.com is a big undertaking but needed now! I would love to talk sometime and get more of your perspective? Thanks again.

  30. I’m 32, was homeschooled and encouraged (almost demanded) to not do college. While I’m thankful for the lack of debt, it should have been balanced direction in career. I have a strong work ethic so getting work was not a problem, but getting ahead in a career was. Now, I have loads of debt in medical and dental bills because I never had benefits. I launched my business last year and am getting to do my dream job, but it’s not getting me ahead because I’m already so far behind. There’s days I wish I had stuck with a career and been where a lot of my friends are right now, but then I’d have never stumbled onto my passion. They’re Able to take vacations and own a home, and having my passion is great, but it doesn’t always pay the bills or cause catch-up by your thirties.

    • Yes, totally agree Amanda! Just because college isn’t the best template for everyone doesn’t mean we don’t need one! Instead of being given direction by our parents, we should be taught about how to find it and re-find it when we misplace it. 🙂

  31. Corey says:

    I am Currently 18 years old just graduated high school and no idea what I want to do in life. My parents aren’t pushing education on me nor are they telling me not to go to college either they are letting me decide what I want to do but I’ve honestly no idea as to what I want to do for an education or what job to search for. I see all my classmates already getting into colleges and it makes me feel the need to decide my career choices fast but I just don’t know what I want to do.

    • Corey, I totally get what you mean. Direction and self-discovery is actually very, very hard to do alone. Not everyone wakes up one day knowing what they want to do most in life. In fact, most of the people you know getting into college, picking degrees, and moving to new places don’t really know either! But I think a great next step for you is to start meeting people that do know what they love to do most and ask them how they found out. Read books, Corey. Consume what you can so that you give yourself more chances of encountering what makes your brain light up. 🙂

  32. Great article.
    I’ve long thought our education system was out of date. I find it sad that it didn’t teach me very many life skills. I was blessed with an exceptional father, he gave me a kick up the arse and got me into the workplace quickly and with some great ethics and foundations.
    I’ve been working with big boys toys for a very long time now, and I’m just beginning to earn a living through riding my motorbikes. Couldn’t ask for more.

  33. Dereck Fandel says:

    Although I tend to agree with your article and much of the processes for younger manager when hiring talent, I still feel a 4 year degree is superior to those without, and here’s why…

    I started out in college (city college) right out of high school. Paid cash and with help of my parents; however, 2 years later I dropped out and continued to just work, through the school of hard knocks. At 27, I was hired by a top teir company without a degree. They took a huge risk, but I pulled through and became very successful. Much of what you described, who I knew, what I’ve done, relationships, etc…came into play. I knew there was one thing holding me back though, for personal and career advancements, my 4 year degree. Wiith the help of my company and loans I finished my degree in 3 years, racked up $50,000 in debt and accomplished a long term goal for myself. 3 years later, I had 98% of paid off too. Proper discipline is everything. You can say I’m a one off, but so are you at age 32* with no debt and a small business that is successful to you and your target audience (which I’m one.)

    Now, in 2014, I became a regional sales manager for my company. Without the degree, this would have been a less than 1% chance of happening. At this level, experience and leadership was not the only thing they would consider for hiring this type of leader. Dedication to a degree came into play. My point, the entry level sales job or operations job or analysis job may happen without a degree, but longterm advancements takes more than experience. Leadership is not taught in schools, or on the job; it is developed from early years of up bringing and positive influences around the individual. Sure, something’s can be taught/ coached, but most of it is built into the character and morals of the individual.

    Lastly, for the sake of my child, a degree is mandatory prior to experience. What does that mean for us though? My child can work part-time and get an education as I did and many other do. It doesn’t have to be brand recognition education like UCLA, Stanford, Harvard, or Arizona State. A simple State school, Jr. College to start out and some other options for universities across the country should be provided in his/her decision making processs. There are so many good schools that are still $15,000 – $20,000 a year. i.e Northern AZ University. University of Reno NV, Cal State San Fresno, etc. For me and most of our children should seek the higher education to reduce the “what ifs” later in life and potential pitfalls that will come up. Do you want to be just an employee or low level worker? Or do you prefer to excel in career advancements throughout any organization? Let’s check off the box and get your degree!

    Good article and perspective,

    • I totally agree that there are times when a college degree is vital! It’s not the template for everyone, but it doesn’t mean it’s a void template altogether! Not at all. Thank you for sharing this, Dereck!

  34. Heather Crabb says:

    I’m more confused than ever. It seems like the smart trend right now is to avoid college but I just can’t do that. Even if my kids will owe more than they can pay back, the education is more important to me. I’m not saying everyone should go to college, some folks are better off learning a trade. But I don’t regret my education degree. Without it, I wouldn’t know how to put an intelligent sentence together nor would I have a career. Thank you for the article though, it certainly opened an important discussion.

    • I am so encouraged to hear this opened up a conversation for you! That’s where so much clarity and sometimes a solution can be found. 🙂

  35. Alanna says:

    I definitely regret going to college as the most I have made is about $27/hour inconsistently as I’ve made lower wages on permanent jobs. The higher pay I’ve made on temporary positions. I agree that college does not teach you to do your best in the corporate world. I am just happy I decided against my graduate program a few years back. I feel like I only went to college based on just thinking that was the only route to take and also being encouraged by friends, peers, and family. I do not recommend college to anyone!

    • Yes, thank you for sharing that, Alanna. Of course college isn’t completely avoidable for some with certain aspirations and intentions, but for most its a huge burden and actually something that can KEEP us from our dreams rather than catapult us toward them.

  36. Robert says:

    I have two degrees from college, an associates degree in one subject and a bachelors degree in IT. I don’t regret going to school and they helped me grow as a person and in my career. However I do have student loan debt. I think the ideal situation would be for you to pick a useful degree with a high job placement rate, and then for schools to have a mandatory finance class in the students first semester so that they can understand how money and debt work. I sure didn’t understand money and debt when I first started college over 10 years ago. I just figured I could basically get in as much debt as I wanted and it wouldn’t matter by the time I graduated because I would have so much money laying around that I could just pay it off. Not true.

  37. Emma says:

    Hey Dale, I’m 17, on the brink of going to college, and I’ve felt in the last few years that college is more of an obligation to me than a dream. I’m the eldest of soon to be six children, and FAFSA isn’t giving me a damn thing. The college I’ve always thought of going to isn’t giving me a large scholarship either, although I’ve been above average academically my whole life. My mom is a hard worker, and tells me that she will work three jobs if she needs to in order to help me pay for college, and I know she would, but my question has been, “Why should she?” Why, if ‘higher education’ is so important, is college so unaffordable, leaving people with staggering debt that lasts a lifetime? I’ve been raised to think that college isn’t an option, that its a necessity if I want to be successful, but I can’t find the want-to or ambition to go, which brought me here. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to be like my mom, still paying off debts and working herself to the bone her whole life for a degree she barely used. What should I do?

    • Emma, thank you for sharing your heart and concerns here. And for visiting the site! And after reading your comment, it actually sounds like you know what to do. You know college isn’t the only way, and I don’t think someone as bright and tenacious as you has to settle for the culture template of ‘what’s next.” Take time to research internships, apprenticeships, job opportunities, online learning, or even starting your own business. Yep, even 17-year-olds can do it! College isn’t all bad, but do the work to find out if a degree from an accredited institution is necessary.

  38. Zaire says:

    Personally, I have about $7, 500 in student loan debt. It’s quite sad actually since I left college and starting working full-time (needed to help support our family.) I completely regret attending college for a few reasons. The main one being that it was an all-around waste of time and money simply because I was being taught things that I already learned in high school while in my Freshman year (the only year of college that I finished).

    • You’re not alone in this, Zaire! And while debt can feel so weighty no matter its size, do know that yours is relatively low and that it won’t be able to hinder you for long as long as you create a plan to crush it. You can do it! You’ll learn a ton and most likely even be able to help others through their own debt issues and college/higher education confusion. Even then, your regret will eventually diminish if you choose to use this experience as leverage for shared wisdom. 🙂

  39. Princess Mom says:

    While what you’re saying about hiring managers makes intuitive sense, I think the credential is worth more than it should in most hiring decisions. What I’m seeing is my contemporaries who just jumped into programming and tech (long before Silicon Valley), who have 20-30 years of experience in the industry are being held back now by a lack of a 4 year comp sci degree. That’s some B.S. right there.

    I think we’ve come to the place where there is such a glut of 4-year-degree-holders that HR managers feel that having that degree must be better than not having the degree. If so many have one, what’s wrong with you if you don’t?

    • Totally agree, truly. It takes deep research and real wisdom to determine the steps along a great career path. They’re not always what you’d expect OR what you’ll hope they will be! I love your response here, thanks for sharing it.

  40. Wyatt Mailloux says:

    Hey Dale I read your article and I found it outstanding It feels we can relate because that’s exactly how I feel about post-secondary education.

    My Father sternly believes the only way I can move on with my life is to get a college degree maybe I place some blame on myself Maybe I should be a bit more honest and tell him what he NEEDS to hear instead of what he WANTS to hear I don’t know what I do with my life just yet and I am not willing to get thousands of dollars into debt just to please him and go for the sake of going.

    I’m 20 years old and your 20s are still the time to be discovering yourself as a person Will I go to college someday? Possibly but thanks to this article I know there are other options out there

    • Wholeheartedly and wisely pursue those options, Wyatt. College isn’t bad, but its not really the only way to a successful future depending on what you’re hoping to do or want to learn. Glad you found some encouragement here!

  41. Olivia says:

    Hi, I found this article very interesting as well as very sad. I am 19 and a sophomore in college currently. I am one of those people that is stressed about the loans I have taken out to complete my education so far. Unfortunately, the career path I am interested in requires a Master’s, which means I will be in school for roughly 5 more years, adding much more debt to my life. I feel very stressed about this, but my problem is that I am pretty sure this path requires a degree no matter what. I love to learn also, and I think I would feel lost if I wasn’t going to school. Not to mention how society looks down on people not getting a higher education. I just can’t bear the thought of bringing so much debt into my adult / eventual married life. I don’t think my brain is mathematical enough for entrepreneurship, and I really enjoy learning anatomy and psychology. I guess I feel stuck where I am at. I hope someday the education system can change for the better, somehow.

    • Olivia says:

      I forgot to mention I love what I am learning for my degree.

    • Sometimes the career path we’ve chosen or have been called into needs higher education! There are very smart, intentional ways to prepare for that debt. But keep your head up! Ask questions. Make sure you’re sharing these burdens with people that can help you walk & talk through it with wisdom in knowing you.

  42. Darion says:

    When I was still in school, I was shamed by my teachers for saying I didn’t want to go to college and some even tried to pressure me to joining a few by giving me college applications and telling me that I had to fill them out as a homework assignments (which I got out of by a very angry note written by my mother.) I never had any thing I wanted to do that would require college to do them. As of now, I want to be a Mary’s Maid, but that does not require any bit of college education to become one. I barely managed to get through high school with acceptable enough grades to pass and graduate, so what would happen to me by going to college? I would probably flunk out. I always felt like I was doing something bad by not going to college but this article has made me feel better about my decision. So thank you Dale.

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Darion! I totally experienced shaming for it as well. This still happens, too! I’m so glad this article could be an encouragement for you! Keep crushing.

  43. Betti Wilson says:

    Sometimes it happens that you need a degree in a certain profession, so it is important for students to get it at any cost. However, many of them are working, and they can not attend classes. For such students, there are special services like this https://www.thrivingwriter.com/college-application-essay/ . They will help you write a term paper or thesis at a reasonable price. I would have thought that this is a good alternative for working students.

    • Yep, totally agree, Betti! There are many reasons that college will be a necessity to people who choose certain professions.

  44. Nolan says:

    A Different Side of the Story
    I would like to present a different point of view. The decision of weather to attend college has been an ongoing controversial debate. It is estimated that 20.5 million students are attending American colleges and universities in the fall of 2016 (NCES 2016). The percentage of high school graduates choosing to attend college has decreased gradually for a number of years. From 2009 to 2014 there has been a 4.2 percent decrease in students attending college after high school (New York Times 2014). This trend is occurring despite the overwhelming evidence supporting the value of a college education.
    There is an abundant amount of evidence endorsing the financial rewards obtained from attending college. According to Brookings research, each year of post-secondary education results in a 10 percent increase in annual income (Norris 2014). College graduates with a bachelor’s degree earn 66 perfect more than people with only a high school degree. The average lifetime income of a four year college graduate is 1 million dollars more than someone with a secondary education alone (U.S. Department of Education 2015). There has been widening income gap between the population of people with a college education and those without one in the last 50 years. The average income for people without a college degree has steadily declined during the same time period. An additional financial reward of attending college is financial security. Those without a college education are more likely to be unemployed than those who attend college. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 the rate of unemployment was 2.8 percent for college graduates with a bachelor’s degree and 5.4 percent for those who did not attend college (Nykiel 2016).
    When making a decision to attend college, make sure you look at the long term financial advantages rather than the short term costs.

    • Totally agree, Nolan! There isn’t a one-size-fits-all, but its very important to deeply understand the options before making a decision!

  45. Love the argument Dale!

    There is nothing better than to hear different perspectives on the subject, and there is no doubt in my mind that college is NOT for everyone.


    The importance of knowing who one is before making the decision of picking a college is soooooo important. But more importantly picking a major that could end up becoming a life career can be stressful and take years without proper guidance.

    Luckily I have come up with a solution so hear me out…

    The 5 Pillars of Self Awareness

    According to recent studies, up to 50 percent of students enter college as undecided and 75 percent of students change their major at least once before graduation. Furthermore, Forbes magazine projects that the cost of college will rise exponentially by the year 2021.

    With this being said, I am not against college. In fact, I am a huge advocate of students going to college to pursue their dream career because studies show that those who go to college have a higher income and usually live a happier overall life!

    The problem that I have is how difficult it can be to choose the right college and even harder to make the decision of a lifelong career path, straight out of high school.

    Over the past 5 years I have been on a venture seeking what I found to be the most important personal development skill needed to make this big decision that students have to make. My solution is the development of self-awareness.

    Countless years and hundreds of books later I have put together what I call The 5 Pillars of Self Awareness. These 5 things; Mindfulness, Insecurity, Happiness, Confidence, and The Human Potential are aspects of personal development crucial to making the “right” decision. ESPECIALLY when it comes to picking ones future endeavors, example being; students picking the perfect college pick for the next 4 years.

    Once a student is able to develop these skills they not only will be able to make great decisions, but will also have a clearer vision of the career path that they choose to follow. These are skills that although are most practical in the real world; are not taught by the modern school system.

    Students are unable to adequately prepare for the college years simply because they do not know enough about themselves.
    It is my goal to influence students across the world on this life altering journey to becoming more self-aware. Although easier said than done, “with the right strategy, repeating success is effortless”- Tony Robbins.

    I have high hopes to prepare every student the necessary strategy to implement these skills. Thus enabling them to develop a clear vision of where their future will take them.

    I tried to make this short but I have such a strong standpoint on this subject that I end up on a rant every single time lol…If anyone has read to this point I thank you.

    -Christian Axios

    • Thanks for sharing that, Christian! Totally agree that self-discovery and self-awareness is the key that helps us determine how to make any choices in life!! Especially the huge ones. 🙂

    • Destiny says:

      I am a student in high school and we are currently writing debate essays on if we should go to college. As for myself i do not think college as as wonderful as it seems. This site has helped me a lot. You have a brilliant mind

      • Dale Partridge says:

        Thank you Destiny! I’m glad you enjoyed the article 🙂

  46. Zach says:

    I’m in my fifth year of college now. I originally went for business, switched to engineering and am now calling it quits on engineering. 85% of my time spent in classes / studying is a complete waste of time. I can learn as much, for free, on my own using the Internet. I always like a challenge, but this isn’t a challenge. It’s a cute game put on by college corporations in the pursuit of profit. I’ll now be 30k in debt and am going work on what I’m passionate about till I die. I’d rather fail at doing what I love than succeed at doing what I can’t stand to do.

    • And if you’re doing what you LOVE, the odds are that with a little practice, you’ll MASTER it. Keep going, Zach!

  47. F gh says:

    My situation is quite hard. College education here is free in one of the best colleges, im going to graduate this year from highschool but my problem is:
    1- I dont know what i want to do, i still didnt or had the time to experiment things that i think im. Interested in .
    2- If i will go to college , i don’t think i will pursue a regular job, i will go just to have more time and to be exposed to as many ideas as possible to maybe figure out what i really want to do, plus i will get a degree that will allow me to work and have monrey to sustain me until i find what i really want to do
    3. I really hate the education system, i love learning but i hate the way they make it into requirements and projects so i really wont enjoy it

    And if i dont enroll to college this year, i might miss the opportunity to have a free education…

    • Thats a hard situation, for sure. I’d meet with some trusted friends and work this out, ask them to ask you the hard questions, and really ask for honest feedback. Look as honestly as you can at your life and your vision for it.

  48. Lisa Woolley says:

    YES! I love this article and it says everything I have been thinking for years. Education in the United States is a very clever marketing strategy that sadly many have come to believe as truth. When I finished high school in 2000 in the Northeast I was met with the pressure to go. The problem was that I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I didn’t qualify for financial aide or loans and we didn’t have the money to go. I could have gone to community college but i was ready to fly the coupe and instead made the best decision of my life: I took a year off and travelled to the farthest place I could – New Zealand. At the time I was told I was wasting my life and was making a huge mistake – I was a smart girl and people didn’t understand. If I had believed those lies I never would have experienced adventure after adventure. For some people life is about a career whether it be entrepreneurship or working up the ladder. For others, life is a series of moments and experiences wrapped up over a lifetime that maybe don’t make sense til the end of a life lived well. More than anything our youth need to understand that the way mapped out for them is not the only way. It’s also ok to not know what you want. Rather than spending money when you don’t really know or sitting at home waiting for a lightbulb life defining moment, just take a step and do something. If you are a hard worker you will be surprised where an entry level job can take you. Through it you may figure out what you really want to do. Thanks Dale for sharing this and I hope your wisdom will spread to many of young people.

    • Thanks for sharing, Lisa! I appreciate your honesty and openness! Glad to see you fight for truth in your own life and in the lives of others! Keep crushing.

  49. Samantha says:

    I am only 16 and all of my teachers continuously say that if i dont go to collage then i will not have a good paying job and i will most likely work in mcdonalds all of my life. The problem is that school is not for me. I am always stressed out and always worried that i will disappoint my family if i do not go to college. But after i read this article, i am a little more at ease thinking about my future, and that i actually can go my own way other than college.

  50. Cheyanne says:

    Hi there. I really liked your article, which is kind of ironic because I AM IN COLLEGE RIGHT NOW. I’ve always loved school…until I got here, anyway. I loved learning anything and everything, and I still do, but it isn’t fun anymore. I’m generally unhappy with the decision I’ve made to further my education, at least where I’m at right now. For the past four years I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression, amongst a few other annoyances. I thought it was because of my home life, y’know, because it wasn’t the greatest, but I also just really disliked being around people in general (still do). I’d always shut myself in my room and refuse to talk to anyone in person because it actually scared me. But I thought coming to college would help me get over some of that. I thought that by coming here, I’d finally be independent and free and able to do whatever I wanted and those decisions would make me happier. Sometimes that happens, but not usually. I’ve found that the classes, the professors, other students, and my fear of everything has made my anxiety and depression worse. I’m not sure what to do anymore because I have no motivation. At this very moment I’m skipping my French class (mostly because I’m dumb, I don’t know) and I keep telling myself that it’s okay but clearly it isn’t. I guess I’m just asking for advice… I apologize that this has become more of a journal entry than a question lol. Thanks!

    • Thanks for sharing, Cheyanne! I’ve been there many times – thinking, “How did I get myself here? Am I allowed to leave or is that called giving up?” Its all about discernment and intuition in these cases. Its hard to look from the outside and determine what the best course of action for you is. Meet with someone who you have seen and known to be wise, trustworthy, and a good listener–and ask to meet. Share, be open, and see what comes of that.

  51. Aderopo Egbeleke says:

    Without a doubt your article is one of the best if not the best have read in my entire 38 years on earth. For the first time i can say that there somebody that speaks to the whole world because your advice is applicable to any context.

    I am not American and do not live in the US but i can relate to all what you said. I am a human right activist with more than 10 years of experience, well documented and can be verify online. My dream job is to work with any international organization such as ICC, OPCW, ICJ ICRC among others but my experience did not count because my undergraduate degree was in Agronomy; not a single interview even for jobs in my Country. I decided to pursue a Master degree and it took me four years before i got a scholarship to study Human Rights, Gender and Conflicts studies in The Hague. When i got the admission, i was happy thinking that now i am just five minute walk away from all these organizations in fact my department do visit ICC and ICJ regularly. I busted my ass and came out with a merit (85/100) and top 10 of the whole batch of 175 students, i was so sure that it is just a matter of time to get into the dream bla bla bla. Trust me 3 years after graduation, the stuff still remain a dream and end up exhausting all my savings .

    However, after a year of sending application for jobs and even thinking of going for another masters, i stumbled on an opportunity that reflects the main message of your article. I visited my school to collect a reference letter for another MA degree in Germany from my supervisor and i met this girl from Uganda coming out from Board of Examiner panel, she failed the plagiarism test in one of her assignments. So i looked into the report and i sat down with her to correct all the highlighted area and she was cleared. Later i got a call from her that there are two other students having the same problem if i can help them and they will paid me. They both paid me 100 euros i am i helped them to correct the stuff, this led to a chain of new people contacting me before they submit their assignment which eventually made me to subscribe for prepaid plagiarism checker, making my work faster and besides it add to my knowledge as i am dealing with different fields

    As at today, i make nothing less than 1,300 to 1500 monthly from this services tax free because most people contact me online as a result of referrers. Now am thinking of floating a website and expand it to a big time business. But the problem here is, i still want to work with the UN even if it is for a year because that is my dream. That means probably doing more courses or what . Will be glad to read your response

    • Thanks so much for sharing a bit of your story here. I think its really all about the understanding that there isn’t just *one* path to pursuing a dream. The cultural norm should be thrown out. Fight to keep your vision for your life from being short-sighted!

  52. Alicia Metcalf says:

    Great article, I’m currently a college student at a community college and I hate school tbh. I want to work instead but my mom and some family members want me to stay in school. I want to be a dog trainer and my community college doesn’t offer classes for that so I feel like I’m wasting my time attending this college. I did find a program that will help me start my career in dog training but I’ve been hesitant to do because I know my mom will not let me go through with it. For once I want to make my own decisions without consulting my mom first.

    • Owning your decisions, passions, and direction is a huge, important step to take in like, Alicia! That doesn’t mean you have to do things alone, but bringing in a trusted team of people (advisors) will help you make the right decisions, rather than the biased, fearful, or pressured ones.

  53. Nicolette says:

    Dear Dale,

    I appreciate your opinion and statements a ton, this article is now one of my favorites! I agree with so many things said, I loved it so much I am now following you on social media to follow up on any other inputs you might put out there. I am on my second year of college and have struggled this year with taking it serious. It makes me unhappy and just feels like a ball of stress. I feel as if people go to college because we are trying to prove to our loved ones that we can make something of ourselves or that society influences us to go in that direction. I am doing research on making a decision on if I should suffer through school or drop out and find a different scenario. That is how I ran across your article, so again thank you for the words!

    • I truly hope you find the direction you’re looking for! Thank you so much for your kind words, Nicolette.

  54. Sam says:

    Great article! I agree totally with this thinking. All kids right out of high school don’t need to be herded like cattle into these Universities. Where I live (not sure if everyone experiences this) you have the pressure from the schools, where is you child going to school, pressure from family and friends where is your son/daughter going to college. Yet all these parents asking are ones that have taken on this debt of sending them off, instead of their child paying, the parents are paying for everything. Where is it written that every student NEEDS to go away to college. I particularly don’t want hundreds of thousands of debt from college and certainly don’t want my son or daughter to either because “that’s just how it is”. My daughter graduated and didn’t know what she wanted to do. Because of all this pressure of fitting in, we sent her to community for 2 years. She didn’t like it at all and failed every class. Wasted that money. Not that she’s not smart or intelligent, she is very intelligent and has great god given talent in a lot of areas. She just doesn’t know what she wants and felt like she was wasting time. She has been working at a major coffee shop since high school and has paid her way since dropping out of college. She has hopes of one day maybe opening her own coffee shop, but she is still sorting it out at 23. But has our support. We no longer pressure her about “needing” to go to college. As of now, she is moving up in management. Shell find her way. My son has 2 more years of high school. Again, he has no career path in mind. He would like to go away to college, but doesn’t know what he wants to do. The school takes them on tours of campuses, pushing you have to go to a university. Again, I’m not going into debt for the glory to say my son is going to “xxx University”. If he’s interested in moving forward with school, but has no idea of a career path, then he’ll go to community which we can afford, with out debt. Right now he is working when hes not in school and he enjoys it. Wake up parents and think, before you jump on that bandwagon of my child is going to “xxx University “. It’s all a money making opportunity that is killing our future generations who can’t pay back the debt. There is ot g er service jobs that are diminishing because you can’t find kids that want to do it because they are being herded to universities. We need trade employees. I my self am a seamstress and do alterations on wedding gowns, it’s becoming few and far between to find people that have that skill.

    • Very honest insight, Sam. Thanks for sharing this story and your heart!

  55. Tawnie says:


    I just started my first year at university. In my heart, I’ve always felt that college wasn’t for me, after all, none of the good degrees offered are even remotely interesting to me, I’ve simply settled on computer science because I despise everything else; computer science is tolerable. My dad is a firm believer in education as well, not just cause of societal norms but because 30 some years ago, he worked his way up in an engineering company without a degree, and had a fine salary. Life was going well until he quit his job to pursue a business with his friend (this didn’t go well and so he was now in the red), and after that he found it impossible to get a similar job to his old one (without working from the bottom of the ladder up again) without a degree, so he had to go back to school, graduated, and finally got a job as tech support at a healthcare company (which also pays well; even though my mom is a stay at home he makes enough so that my sister, mom and I live comfortably). With that he’s solidified his belief in college degrees and how they’re the key to opportunities in life. I wish I could show him the points you made in this article, how college is overpriced, convoluted, and how degrees have diminishing value because a degree just isn’t enough to compete anymore.

    For a few years I’ve dreamt of starting a t-shirt business, with Johnny Cupcakes and OMOCAT as my biggest inspirations. This was, however, but a dream since at the time, I still felt like I had no choice but to “follow the yellow brick road.” Simply entertaining this dream felt risky and taboo. But after spending a couple years studying and grinding out my drawing abilities during high school, I’ve developed more vivid images of what kind of products I want to make. I’d like to note that my dad is also supportive of my hobbies-he really enjoys seeing my art and gets really excited when I draw something new, but that’s all it is to him- a hobby. In terms of my future, he still wants me to get a degree in something.

    I’ve talked to my sister, who is a recent college graduate in public health (she majored in this simply because it was easier than bio-med and computer science, I’ve no clue of what her actual dream job is, or if she even has one) about how I’d rather not go to college and pursue something that a degree won’t necessarily help with, and in general I’m always met with “you can’t keep dicking around and running away, everyone’s gotta get a degree. What else are you gonna do, be jobless?” It’s this mindset from my dad and sister that has made me fear branching out, pursuing my dream job, all for some “security” that honestly isn’t even that secure anymore.

    With the several articles I’ve read from your site, I’ve started feeling more driven than fearful when thinking about starting a company. Since my parents are aiding in my tuition payment, for now I will stay in college, keep my grades up, but also try to pursue entrepreneurship under the radar. My family is difficult to deal with, but once I can prove to them that I’m not just running away and that this is something I take seriously, I know they’ll come around to support, and maybe I can get out of college before I rack up too much debt. I’ve loads of research and grinding to do, but you’ve made me feel more hopeful when I think of my future, Dale. Thank you.

    • Wow, Tawnie! Thank you so much for sharing where you’re at and what you’re processing with such honesty. I support your pursuit of truth about your calling and passions! Keep crushing.

  56. Ashley says:

    I’m on the fence about going to college. There are pros and cons with everything in life. For example I’m 25, this past year I’ve gotten divorced and now I’m filing for bankruptcy. Currently I’m living with family members, and I can pretty much only find minimum wage work. I also have significant hearing loss. Even most administrative assistant positions require an associates or bachelors in lieu of experience. I have only ever had jobs with fast food, retail, and most recently a call center. So I’m at the catch 22 where if I want to be more employable, I need a better education, or I continue to just fly by the seat of my pants and hope writing books for kindle and working two part time jobs will actually help me retire and buy a house, and a decent car one day, let alone allow me to be prepared for life’s curveballs. At this point I’m pretty sure people with a college degree are still more likely to do better in life than people like me without.

    • Thanks for the insight and honesty, Ashley! I appreciate hearing it and hope you find the clarity and direction you’re seeking.

  57. Joana says:

    Hi! Thank you for this amazing topic. I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my life since I graduated. Everyone was saying ,,you’ll regret not going to university. Do it now when you’re young, not when you’re old with kids.” And I did, I still do, because ,parents know what’s best for they kids’, right? Well, no. They don’t. And now I spent 2 years in university, and I’m still not sure if that was right decision. I want to quit. I hate it there and I don’t feel good going to school. it’s meaningless. But can I really be a waitress for the rest of my life? I just don’t have guts to quit. I need an advice.

    • I hope you find wisdom, ideas, and direction in the community around you, Joana! Keep moving forward. You can do it!

  58. Hah, wow. I love reading articles like this. I have been preaching this topic for years, having a lot of people staring at me with hopelessness in their eyes. Now they think differently, as they start to see what the educational system have turned out to be.

    I have been teaching “success without education” for years. Also as a martial artist, to my students. I saw how worn out and terrified they could sometimes be after spending hours on school before practice.

    Thanks for writing this up. We need more of it.

  59. GetReal says:

    I agree. I worked for a college (in administration) for several years. I liked the students, so I thought about getting into student counseling. Then I realized that I would probably tell half my counselees to drop out of college because they were wasting their time and money. So I didn’t go that route after all. In fact, I quit working there despite good pay and benefits, because I found the culture of indoctrination and hierarchy too depressing.

    • I’ve definitely heard similar stories before, Marta. Thank you for sharing this!

  60. Tina Donmoyer says:

    Hi! I found your article very interesting and appreciated your points of view. It is a changing world, and as a parent of three it’s sometimes hard to keep up! The one thing I would like to add, is there are professions out there that you cannot have with out a degree (ex: teacher, nurse, really any medical profession). But, I’m assuming your advice is very applicable to the buisness world and gives this mother some food for thought. (Who pays for her kids education, so they don’t find themselves in debt!). Thanks again!

    • Hey, Tina! Thanks for your comment. I agree; there are, of course, always exceptions.

  61. Bobbie says:

    Would your advice be the same for those pursuing both undergrad and grad degrees in the sciences i.e. don’t pursue college or maybe go on to that grad degree? In many cases they are required to even be qualified for a job but often the income is not commensurate to the cost of education.

    • Hello, Bobbie! My article here is an argument for questioning a widely accepted mindset that college is mandatory. However, discernment will still be necessary in any decision about continuing education. College definitely isn’t the enemy, but often the status quo is. 🙂

  62. Zacheriah says:

    I would just like to say that the average annual cost of college is not $47000. Ive been doing research and the most I ever saw was $18000 for christian colleges and online colleges snhm.

    First of all your best off going to a junior college for the first 2 years and second there are plenty of state college that average $8k – $12k depending where you look. unless you can afford it brand name colleges are a rip off and not worth nearly half what they charge.

  63. Pattie says:

    I have not finished college and at age 55 have been thinking I need to go back and finish but wasn’t sure in what field as I am older and what I used to want no longer makes sense. Reading this has made me stop and think about a small thought in the back of my head that I have never allowed to bloom….maybe, just maybe, with the right direction and advice I can pull it off.

  64. AnneMarie says:

    I am a mother of a very smart and intelligent young man whom is entering his senior year of high school in AP and honors classes. He has no desire to go to college. My son is going to seminars on learning how to flip houses and plans on going down that path in life. I am a very worried mother about his life choices. Should I let him venture down this road?

    • I say fan whatever fire is already within him. If he’s driven, passionate, and alive when he learns about flipping houses, then that might be where he’ll see the most success and growth. Encourage goals! And remember them right along with him. Your support will of course be a piece of what drives him to work even harder for his goals.

  65. Ryan Tuck says:

    Hi Dale,

    I love this article of yours. I’m 24 years old (soon to be 25) and graduated high school six years ago. After I graduated, most of my friends were going off to college, but I said I was very skeptical about doing that. What did I do after graduation? I got a temporary job as a custodian that I didn’t particularly enjoy. I then got into a job training program at a healthcare company, where I would be working in three departments over the course of the next school year. I loved working in human resources as a volunteer. I chose to continue doing that for almost 4 years until I finally got hired as a part time file clerk. I still enjoy what I do. I’d take it over college any day. I’d love to go into meteorology, but it requires a degree. And a degree doesn’t guarantee a job as it once did. My question is, what can I do to make more money without going deeply in debt?

  66. Zedrick says:

    THIS is also another big reason why I don’t want to go to college I’m 13 in the 8th grade and for some reason ever since I went into the 8th grade by the way I’m starting my 2nd week in school.
    Classes like stem and college success have been trying to push me into going into college hell I don’t even want to go and they put down for one of my classes college success like wtf and I already explained to my mom that I’m not going but she Dosent agree with me because she thinks that once I get out of school I’m just gonna become a lazy bum just because I’m extremely lazy now hell my dream is to get a job make atleast 10 or 15 thousand dollars to move to Japan buy a very small apartment and start a online business but why does everyone keep pushing me to go to college everyone is my school wants to go but I don’t cause I already know you don’t need a college education just to get a good job

  67. Rosa says:

    The stress on my shoulders about school has been killing me. Since I was in the fourth grade I have told my parents “I don’t like school” … “I hate it”… So on and so forth. And till this day I still hate it. After graduating high school so many things were on my plate, 3 days after my gradguation I went to college for the summer, i was working but I had to drop out because my mother got sick and unfortunately on December 25,2016 she passed away from cancer. Her passing did some damage to me but I also realized that life is too short todo something that you don’t wanna do or to keep up with something in your life that doesn’t make you happy. But my fear is hearing the rest of my family “your not going to school!” …”your going to ruin your life ” ! …. That is what kills me the most but point is … I do not like school and everyone’s destiny is different . Is that okay for me to livr with ?

  68. Loved this. I’m 21, the youngest of 4 and all of my siblings have college debt and aren’t even using their degrees. I took a couple years off after high school to figure things out. I’ve always wanted to go into business and grew up with the mindset that you had to go to college to succeed but I didn’t want the debt. I’m pretty confident now that I don’t need to and will still be very successful.

    I started my own wedding rental business a couple months ago with two friends and just started going to a technical college in Redding, Ca because financial aid is covering tuition. I don’t currently plan to go to a 4 year but figured if I don’t have to pay, this would be good experience. I still have friends worried about me not getting a degree but I’m not too concerned, ha!

  69. Here I am, a limo driver. Never finished high school (Got my GED), never finished community college (no passion for studying). I love my job. I pickup and hang with the rich and famous (Yes Michael Jordan, Justin Bieber, Jamie Foxx, Vin Diesel, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Katy Perry etc etc. and one billionaire once tipped me $20K, yes, twenty thousand dollars) I have no debt and very little stress. I sit on my rear, wait on celebrities and make money. No college degree needed for this. Just a clean DMV and knowledge of the city. Self trained. Hoorah!

    • Andy! Such a hard-working, driven person. No pun intended. 🙂 Love it!

  70. Melanie says:

    I read the article and understand the reasons of not to go to college but where I live there actually aren’t many jobs I would have been willing to working at right outside of high school and staying until I found one I really liked. Also, I’m not a busy savvy person to begin with and even if I was the career path I want to go required a degree to begin with. I chose to go to college because I found a career path that I’m passionate about. However, I may have a degree with no job in that degree path right now but that doesn’t mean I won’t get there eventually.

  71. GJM says:

    This subject is one I care about – and am quite confused by. I am a recent college grad and just started grad school (funded).

    Long before that, when I had just graduated high school, I started a home business doing yard and garden services and selling things to tourist during the summer. It was really successful and I deeply enjoyed it. Made enough to have some free time to volunteer as a citizen scientist for a local research lab out of my own curiosity. I became good at running one piece of equipment and a professor at the lab hired me on a grant and talked me into community college. I ended up not having to pay for tuition there after my first quarter and it didn’t interfere with my business, at least at first. After completing that degree, I was offered a full ride with a okay stipend at a local college. I figured that I would be crazy to turn it down, and had been very used to living on little when I was being paid to go.

    I have learned skills in college that have made me quicker at doing business transaction and reading and understanding fine print in contracts. I majored in physics and doing math without a calculator has served me very well. I bumbled into college and sought out professors that had come out of industry. That to me seemed like the best use of the investment since they were people who had made money on the outside and would have knowledge that I could use.

    I am not yet sure if grad school is worth it only been here over the summer. I actually used my application to the school mostly as way to move to a location I wanted to live with the idea it would be a good vantage point to figure out the local economy and opportunities available for my skills. I bough a small house (out right – it is a fixer-upper) near campus with what I had saved from stipends during my undergrad with the idea that it would be a good rental if I failed out. Still don’t know if that actually was a good idea.

    I have held a solid rule to never take on debt and save a high percentage of my income every month. Don’t take on responsibilities until I know I can afford them with both time and money with a high margin for error. It seems the have worked so far, although it has actually just felt like a series of accidents.

    When I was in high school I thought you needed a plan to be successful. College seemed like that, but I didn’t want to go straight after high school, and I am glad I didn’t. I am 26 now and think if I had made college a priority back then it would have held me back. Still I had the privilege of living at home while in community college and that really kick started my adult life.

  72. Lidewij says:

    Hey, what a great website and wonderful video. I’m 27, never went to college or university because I didn’t know what I wanted to do and don’t have the right qualifications yet to start. My dream is to work with animals and therefore I have always wanted to study zoology.
    I very much agree with your points on why uni is mostly not needed for a career, but the thing is that most zoologists are very academic and usually have at minimum a bachelors. Even then it is still a very competitive field to get into.
    I feel like if I don’t go for a degree, I won’t stand a chance. I feel inadequate. But at the same time I would rather do it my own way, like studying on my own and trying to get experience. I’m just scared to not be taken seriously.

    Have you got any advice for me?

    ps: the steps that I have been taking is starting a blog on conscious travel/volunteer work and I have done volunteer work in Bolivia working with rescued wildlife.

    • Jump in, get a job, build some relationships, and if they need you to get a credential later, get it! But there’s nothing more powerful than building relationships first.

  73. Peter says:

    The real problem is our children and some parents think an education guarantees them and their kids a rich and successful life this is not true.
    I have found that you do not need a college education to be rich and successful in life what you need is drive and determination.
    Find something you love to do and then go for it you can work for someone else to get to really learn that job and then open your own company and work for yourself or at http://domyhomeworkfor.me/computer-science-homework-help.
    i know many truck drivers that started this same way and now they own their own truck companies.

  74. Ashley says:

    Hi Dale,

    I totally agree with this article. I have lived my life thus far pursuing my dreams instead of going to college. And I abhor the idea of having debt.

    Until recently. I am 25 years old and am about to enter my sophomore year of college. My question/concern is for the jobs where it’s necessary to have a degree to get a job like social work, or psychology. I want to be successful, live debt free, and make enough money to take care of myself and family, but also others including my parents. I have several book outlines that I plan to pursue, and two small business ideas. But, I’m also in school to gain a degree in psychology because I want to help troubled teens and eventually have an organization for this purpose.

    The idea of piling up debt is nauseating. So my question is, is there a better way for people like doctors and lawyers who must have a degree and training? Do you have any advice on this matter?

    Thank you,

    • Hey, Ashley! I think that if your primary goals are to help troubled teens and start your own organization, a degree is not necessarily a requirement to see those dreams come to life. I’ve seen it happen!

  75. Educate yourself or go from job to job trying to make it. At least in school your learning and networking and not just wasting your life running after pokemon on 2016. Its a better investment than a car or house because if you go for the right degree,you can successed. People have to want more out of life and sometimes college helps lead the way.

  76. Monica Rollino says:

    Great article! Could not agree more. Thank you for being bold and writing about this.

    As an educator (High School teacher) I tell this to my students on a daily basis- College is not for everyone. I think they are a little taken aback when I say this as I am a teacher educating them, however, it frustrates me and saddens me to hear my students tell me that they are taking out massive loans because Mom and Dad want them to go to College. Or that they are going to College because it’s the next thing you do after High School. It’s simply a huge misconception.

    This is my response: God gives different talents and abilities to each person. It’s what makes us unique! Find what is yours, even if it is not pursing college, and run with it.

    I love to hear students who boldly tell me that they are taking a year off to work, save money, and get experience. Or to figure out what they want to do before they decide on a College. So many students have no clue where to go or what to study in College, yet they take that unfortunate step in attending a University for the sake of it. On top of that, how can a young teenager possibly make such a big financial decision that will cost him/her years to pay back?!

    Countries like Sweden have a significant rate of students who graduate from High School, and who decided to take a gap year until they apply to Universities. You’ll find young Swedes working abroad or doing internships until they figure out what they want to do. In fact, it’s the norm. Very smart.

    When I was in College, I worked 3 jobs, volunteered at an inner-city school, and searched day and night for the right type of school I wanted to teach at. I used those 4 years as a tool to find my vocation.

    It was so frustrating to see other students who had no appreciate or respect for their College education and who were just there for a good time. Or meeting College counselors/professors who looked at you like you were just another number. We have simply forgotten what College is about.

    College is a privilege, but also, an education and experience, is a privilege. I don’t look at my degree as a piece of paper that cost me a lot of money. I look at my degree as one of the most precious and valuable experiences I have earned. It has got me to where I am today and I am grateful for that. However, we have to remember that that was my personal choice to commit myself to four years of studying and finding my vocation. Similarly, others who do not have the passion for further education, can reach their potential and vocation by doing something else then College and feel that reward or privilege.

    Please do not attend College as any other path or like Dave explains, “Just follow the yellow brick road and you’ll get there.”

    It’s a serious decision and commitment. It’s yours and only your decision. God will surely help you find what it is for you to do in this life.

  77. LaTasha says:

    As a college graduate I agree with everything you said here. I could write a book about the problems in education.

  78. Zedrick says:

    I may be 13 in the 8th grade but I had already planned out my life I even decided to ditch college I’m gonna own a business make enough money to move to Japan and become a permanent resident there the reason I’m ditching college is also cause its gonna take up so many years of my life

  79. travis says:

    I just stumbled upon this article. I myself have a unique perspective. I am 37 years old, fixing to go back to college. I have been in my industry for 15 years and worked my way from the bottom to the top. I eventually became business partners with my boss.

    When the oil markets crashed our business was hurt badly. Still operable, but hurting. I decided I was sick of this boom and bust cycle. So I started looking for something within the same industry, just different job duties that were less volatile. Mind you, I have done nearly everything in this industry already. I have plenty of experience.

    After getting several job interviews and told I had an impressive resume, I never got a job. Finally I asked the last hiring manager that interviewed me, why I cant land a job. He specifically told me I did not have enough education. He told me that even though they are confident I can do the job with my past experience, the fact was that my educational background lacked in the form of electrical and mathematics.

    Remember, I have 15 years of experience. But it still came down to the fact that I do not have an educational background. He said they are confidant I can do the job. But my lack of education overruled their confidence.

    So, I have decided that I must get that piece of paper that shows an instructor gave me my knowledge. Because that piece of paper overrules my 15 years of experience.

  80. Kilty says:

    I’m so happy I found this article. I’m currently 21, living with my fiance. Ever since I left home due to bad tension between me and mother, she had been doing nothing but pressuring me about going to school. She also had gotten others she knows pressuring me as well. She doesn’t want me relying on my soon to be husband but he got a good job and had told me to do what I want cause he knew college was not on my to do list, but was willing to put me through it if I decide to. Honestly, I’ve always felt like college wasn’t the smartest choice for me because in the art industry, education is not always what they look at. Also, I’m not willing to let myself fall into this deep pit of debt. Also, thinking about going to certainly depress me knowing that I’m not sure what I want to exactly do as far as a career. Life is tough but you learn as you grow and college certainly isn’t going to teach you about that. I’m glad I read this post as it sure did reassured me that my decision to not go was not a bad one. But, it certainly made my nagging mother disappointed when I told her it’s my life, my decision, and I don’t need her trying to tell me how I should go about it. I know, her being a mother, she worries and I hate worrying her.

  81. Haha! So good to see and read this article! All of my clients get this info, and what’s all what I stand for. Sad hyped up educations and fake success-path concept.

    I’ll spend my mind-energy on my own education!

  82. Amanda says:

    This article is wonderful. So happy to see many others think the same as I do. I never aspired to go to college. Having wanted to be a photographer I never felt it to be necessary to major for it. After graduating high school I moved to another state and waited tables at a very nice restaurant, that even
    The Navy will dine at. The place I live now have an annual art show, and I decided to attend it. I ended up selling many of my photographs! I felt so accomplished and proud. I was one of the few people who sold half of their merchandise.. Someone who didn’t go to college! I got my foot in the door at just 20 years old. I often get asked “did you major in photography?” I say no way, because I refused to be graded on someone else’s OPINION on what they expect my art/view to be. Photography is a passionate art. I agree with what you said “passion beats talent anyday” I hear a lot that those in college do not really love their major, they just went in because their family/others say “they are good” it’s great to be good at something, but do you love it? Maybe it’s just me, but those who don’t have passion are always if not mostly envious of those who do have passion. College isn’t for everyone. Certainly not me. great article, thank you!!

  83. Thomas Surrett says:

    I worked full time and was unemployed for a year and a half to finish my bachelors degree in business administration after a plant shutdown. I graduated with a 3.02 gpa. I studied abroad in Guatemala too. I went to the second largest private university in the state of Tennessee. It has made zero difference in my life thus far. I am 34 years old with $76k in college student loan debt. I started off with a duplex while living in one side and renting out the other. My dream was to own lots of real estate but I thought a degree would be a good investment one day. I’ve got zero ROI so far and when I send extra monies to navient or Wells Fargo they out that money towards the next payment instead of the principal. How great is that? I regret everything about my college degree especially the debt. I have basicly ruined my life and my family with this huge burden. My mamaw was the only person to ever talk down the idea of college. She said, ” it’s a racket.” She was right! I need a finincial miracle to escape the hole I am in now. God help me!

  84. I think we all tend to get stuck in our paradigms and think that since everyone else is doing it (all the “experts” say we should) we just fall in line and head to college. I know I did – to the tune of 6 years for a BS and MBA. I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way for today’s generation, so I wholeheartedly agree with trying many different things until you find something you enjoy, something you’re good at, and something that creates value for others.

    Great article Dale.


  85. Samantha says:

    Thank you for the really helpful and insightful article! It is very comforting to hear understanding people with this viewpoint, as I am a senior in high school (graduating in 2 months) and I’m really wanting to take a gap year to save up money, figure out what it is that I want to pursue for sure, and travel without the burden/stress/anxiety of debt… but I feel like I am being pressured by family and friends to just go straight to college and take out loans like it is no big deal and that I am being treated as if it is irresponsible for me to not jump straight into schooling that I cannot pay for when I don’t even know what it is I want to do…

  86. Threatened by society says:

    Hi Dale
    I am 20 years old this year and still have not gone to college, it has never been a possible opportunity for me and I don’t plan on starting my life in debt.
    I work full time and study everything I need to know off the internet.
    I would like to start my own business one day.
    My passion and drive is high and I believe it is possible. But what will I fall back on if all of it goes up in flames? What job will I get with a good salary with the experience I have and the non existent degree.

  87. jerry Nwosu says:

    What a remarkable article! Keep it up dale.

    I carried out few survey and found out that lots I mean lots of people are really wanting to go to college. They are ready to do or give anything just to be there. This are some of the rely by some college student.

    Why do you go to college?
    * To get a decent job.
    * To prove to my pair and parent that I am a go getter.
    * To get a degree.
    * To have more knowledge and understanding.
    * To have connection.

    For me, I’m pursuing my career as a developer(a software developer) and it a lot of fun(I’ll be starting my company very soon;) . I haven’t gone to college yet and I don’t think I still want to , its not that its late or I’m to old I’m 18 but I don’t fancy it. I have lots of friend and colleague who inspires me a lot everyday. College is good, if you can afford it and if it won’t hinder you from pursuing your career then go for it but, if it won’t help you boost your career then, I don’t see it as relevant.
    Lastly, if you choose college, after graduation you get a job (if lucky) and start running the company for someone else. But if you choose to be an entrepreneur you will run your business and employ college graduates. So, be wise if you know your path follow it. Stick to FOCUS (follow one course until success) and it will land a smile on your face . But if you are doing it because every one else are/is doing it you will end up frustrated. Just like amanda’s brother.
    In conclusion, please don’t waste your precious time going to college because it doesn’t worth it.
    Keep it simple. GOD LOVE YOU.

    Jerry 🙂

  88. Hey Dale. I do sales by day and run my my own company nights/weekends. Your content has been very helpful for getting my own LLC off the ground. Thank you!

    I love this article. My wife and I have discussed the problems you brought to the surface in this article many times. We have 4 boys. How are we going to pay for college 4 times???

    Have you considered hosting a Start Up Camp for 12-18 years olds? Showing students how to develop their God-given gifts and how those gifts can innovate and enhance our economy would be flat awesome! Also, helping parents know how to develop these traits at home would be incredibly valuable. I think you have just scratched the surface with this idea.

    Thanks for what you’re doing! Don’t let the naysayers get to you. I have a bachelors and a masters degree. However, I agree that education can (and should) come in different forms (even within the same family. All my boys are uniquely wired and gifted!).You’re trying to expand our framework for education and the naysayers hear you saying “college is a bad idea.” Keep challenging the status quo brother!

  89. Mallory says:

    I would just like to point out that on reason #2 it says “Starting With Debt Leaves Your Dreams Dead Until Your 40.” Correct grammar would either be to say “your 40’s” or “you’re 40.” Might be annoying but as a businessman you must know presentation is crucial!

  90. Lauren says:

    I’m 19 and everyone around me is in college or randomly successful (someone from my high school made it to broadway and another is living in a palace in Europe… although, they both are rich so whatever). My family is constantly telling me how I should be in college or how important it is or how I AT LEAST need to take geneds. It makes me constantly feel like I’m worthless just because I’m not in college. Unlike what your article says, they say in today’s world you CANT get a job without a degree. But I have no idea what I want, I’m a writer/painter/and musician and I have no desire to go to college. I keep looking into it and hoping te desire will come but it makes me feel sick. I also have an existential nihilist point of view and wasting my time and energy on college (when I already have anxiety and depression with ADHD to boot) sounds POINTLESS. Sorry for all this, I just feel lost and I don’t know what to do. I hate feeling like I’m a useless person just because I’m not in school??? And people treating me like I’m stupid for it, but I don’t want to go!!!

    • I would start by trying to find out what you are passionate about. You’re not stupid for thinking this way. 🙂

  91. This is a great article. I went to college for 2 years after high school and I have done nothing that remotely involved my degree. While I never have had a job that made me a lot of money I have always made enough to survive. Funny thing is … I see some of my high school friends who went for 4 year degrees and even further who haven’t done any better than I seem to have. I do think that it was important that I went to college because some of it prepared me more for life than high school did but I don’t necessarily believe college is the be all end all to have a good job.

    I currently work as a 911 dispatcher but am working on the side to build my baby blog and absorb as much information about finding multiple ways to follow my dreams and passions rather than working for other people. I am also a single mother and I am bent on taking my 11 year old daughter on this journey with me teaching her as much as possible about starting a business and working hard to get where you want to be. She wants to be a veterinarian so there clearly will be school involved but at least she will understand that there are alternate ways to follow your dreams as well.

  92. Jay DuSold says:

    Hey man I have been trying to contact you with no success! Love the article. I am writing on some of these issues right now and was wondering the resources you used to make the claims you make under the third point. You say, “So to keep up with the speed of change, they’ve begun hiring off three variable”. How do you substantiate these claims.



    • Good point! I’ll try and go back and add a citation. Thanks, Jay.

  93. Suzie says:

    Good article. You have some great points. Not everyone is cut out for/should be in college, but I don’t think I have the right personality to be a successful entrepreneur either (ISFP on the Myers Briggs). I’m 30 years old, and I started college in my mid 20s. I started out at community college at 24 because it was way more affordable for me and I knew my parents couldn’t/wouldn’t help me pay for it. I got my A.A., transferred to the university of my dreams but then lost all motivation after the administrators scrapped my field of study – Folklore Studies. How discouraging! I don’t regret going to college, gaining that knowledge, or having those experiences for one second, but I don’t know how I’m going to pay for all of my college debt, and I don’t even have a B.A. to show for it! And I still don’t know what to do with my life. I went to college because I love learning, and because I feel I do better in a more structured environment. I started working in retail at 19 and am still doing so. It’s not a passion but I like where I work now and it helps pay the bills – at least what I can pay! I have bad credit right now (collectors on my back) because of debt I accumulated while attending (the more expensive) university. But for years, I’ve been wanting to take some kind of artsy classes, like painting, pottery, yoga or belly dance. I know it’s not practical, but it’s what I love – physical artistic expression. Lately I’ve been interested in picking up my knitting and crocheting again. Though I had a passion for literature in school, I don’t think I’m that great of a writer. It is not uncommon for me to have difficulty in finding just the right words. Perhaps I’m too much of a perfectionist, I don’t know. I’m just lost. Any advice?

    • Start with trying to find your passion. What keeps you up at night? What do you want to fix in this world? Thanks for the comment Suzie.

  94. claire downey says:

    honestly ihave no idea what im doing in life and ii got accepted into college but i have no idea how to afford it and i have no idea what to do at all thanks for this article its kind of shedding some light

  95. Megan Oh says:

    Hi Dale,

    You make such an interesting point here regarding the education system. It did cause me to pause and consider if I valued any of the three degrees I have. Honestly, first thought was I did not value the one I use every day (the first one I got). Second thought was no I value them all. Third, thought was how much I am an avid learner and if someone could have paid me to go to college and learn from the rest of my life I would have done it. So this leaves me wondering how to actually make that happen, and I think your site, resources and books can help. I just wanted to share my thoughts. Thank you for this post.

  96. Hey Dale,
    I loved reading this article and think you have many valuable things to say. Although I went to college and graduated without student loans (thanks to scholarships and hard work), I would have to agree with your logic. However, I would not have had the same opinion 6.5 years ago when I entered the University scene… I was raised knowing that college is where you go immediately after high school, regardless of whether or not you have the money to do so. I was fortunate enough to earn scholarships, like I said before, but i still didn’t graduate “debt-free” because I was forced to work as an employee and trade my valuable time for little money. But I did it anyway because I truly believed that if I didn’t have a college degree, I would end up pregnant, jobless, and in a miserable, hopeless situation…. fast forward 5.5 years later (the time it took me to get my degree after changing my mind 3 years into my college career), and you’ll find me married, with a baby, saving up to buy a house, just barely making ends meet, and still working for someone else who coincidentally isn’t associated with my field of study. It has only taken me a year to realize that if I want something I’ve never had (time and money freedom), I got to do something i’ve never done (start my own business and be rid of my employer). And that’s what I’ve been working on for the past 6 months. So I think you’re right… college is not always the best route to go, and even though I loved learning about my degree, I think I would have been better off going into the workforce and /or starting my own business. But then I’d also argue that I might not have realized that was what I wanted if I didn’t go through the halabaloo of school and being underpaid and overworked… It’s hard to say. But I definitely appreciate the wisdom of this post and pray that it may help people when they need it most. Keep up the great work!

  97. Jean Harrison says:

    This article, particularly reason 4, just turned a light bulb on for me. I had been debating on staying my own company but was unsure if I could support my self on it. I was considering going back to school instead, for something “marketable”. The thought that I could have less debt from a business loan than tuition seems so clear now. I believe I never directly compared the two till now.

    Thank you for your thoughts,

  98. Casey says:

    I am very interested in opening my own business for dog training (including obedience and multiple dog sports). I have many ideas and am very excited to start it. I am 17 and a senior in high school and my dad has been telling me to apply for college. I don’t want to because I do not learn well in class room environments. However, I do plan to take online courses on dog training because I would like to be certified and I need to learn about dog behavior. But the business side of it, I don’t feel the need to go to college and spend more time and money I could be spending on my business. I tell my dad I’m going to a community college for 2 years even though I know I most likely won’t go. I have some opportunities to learn information that will actually help me instead. I rescued a puppy last year in february, and I have been taking him to training classes last summer and a few months ago, and I’m starting another one with the same trainer in a few weeks. She runs her own business by herself and is successful. I told her my interest and she said that I could work for her over the summer! And this would be a great time to learn information about dogs and the business side of it too. Also, my neighbors friend offered to mentor me as well! So these two opportunities are far more exciting and in my eyes beneficial!
    whoops that was a lot but I’ve been struggling trying to explain to my dad about what I want to do. (he says I wont make money for dog training especially if I don’t go to college) I always tell him that I would rather earn less and work more doing something I love than working less and earning more doing something I hate.
    (also I was going to do this with my friend but she plans on going to a four year college for industrial design. she says she wants to get a good job to save up…but I can’t wait for her to get out of college, pay back her loans AND save up money. I want to start now. I guess this just isn’t for her.)
    I am very interested in signing up at StartupCamp too!
    Thank you so much for this post, it’s great!

    • Thanks, Casey! It sounds like you would do great at StartupCamp.

  99. Aly says:

    I love this! Both my boyfriend and myself are 27 years old and have only a high school degree. He owns a very successful business, in which I work for. We are both debt free besides our mortgage and are making more money then most of our friends who did attend college. It is definitely possible!!

  100. Meg says:

    This post has summed up exactly what I’ve been realizing and feeling since I graduated from college. I came from a very poor family. My dad and two older brothers didn’t graduate high school. My mom got sick and couldn’t attend college. I seemed to be the shining hope for my family. I attended college with extremely low self esteem and any idea of what I wanted to do in life. Obtained my BA in history from a private college costing about $44k a year!!!! Ouch! And when I graduated I had no job. I ended up back at home working at a grocery store, just like when I was in high school. Barely making enough to buy food after my bills were paid. There was zero guidance for a future while attending school. No one taught me personal finances or leadership skills. I envied my brother who decided college wasn’t for him and decided to move away from home and gain a skill. He is debt free besides his car. I have collectors calling for school loan payments. I have a real passion for helping people. It lights me up and I plan to start a business doing so. It’s something I should have done 8 years ago. But the pressure to attend a 4 year college outweighed any ideas of becoming my own boss.
    But isn’t that what most of us want? Be our own boss and live a happy life without the 9-5 drag? I’m tired of working to survive. I want a job that I love and allows me the freedom to be with my family and travel. I used to volunteer all the time. I don’t have the time or energy to do so anymore. I want to get back to that.
    Anyway, long story short… Great post, I agree 100%

  101. Arlin says:

    I totally respect your opinion and I do realize that as the decades go by , degrees are becoming less significant. My brother is 16 years old and a sophomore in high school, he thinks the same way. I usually criticize his ideas but this article opened my eyes to his concept of actual success . He believes in being self employed, working hard towards his goals and staying motivated. I in the other hand I do believe in education, for me college is a dream and to be honest I am more concerned on how I am going to afford it, as opposed to how I am going to get through it (meaning academically). My brother already knows that he wants to be an entrepreneur and that he will open his own business, he even has a plan on how to be successful. I am going to forward this article to him and thank you from now on I will start to believe and support his dream. As for me in the other hand college is a dream and I believe that when you want something so badly even if you fail, there will always be that sense of at least I tried. I plan to major in psychology with the intentions of later attending medical school and become a licenced psychiatrist. At the end I plan to open my own mental health clinic, in order for me to fulfill my dreams and develop a sense of purpose there is not other route but college and medical school.

  102. Andrew Winberley says:

    Hey Dale. I’m gonna try to keep it short and sweet. I will soon be 19 in March. I graduated high school in 2015, & ever since haven’t really done much. I’ve researched quick and easy ways to make money & nothing besides getting CDL’s & driving a truck, but that’s not necessarily my objective in life. I live in the heart of the country and literally the most povertous county in all of Missouri. I’m full of ambition such as wanting to make it big and be successful. But, the only question to everything my brain proposes is “HOW?”

    • Thanks for commenting Andrew! We’d love to have you at camp.

  103. Alana Borsa says:

    i have about $130,000 in school debt for a bachelors degree. I always tried to be a good kid and do what adults told me. Parents said go to college or I won’t be able to start a clothing business, so I applied to colleges. Got accepted to a private for-profit one. Counselors said to sign up for loans to pay for school, so I signed up. Now, at 28 years old, I have learned from experience that adults don’t always know what’s best for kids, and kids shouldn’t always do what they are told.

    I regret going to the college that I did and having to learn the truth the hard way. And it turned out that most of what they taught us in school I already learned in high school by taking side classes. So I really didn’t learn anything new. I certainly didn’t learn how to get a job in my field of study. But I did learn that I would’ve gotten a job without a degree. I l also earned that degrees are not needed for every job. Certifications and licenses, yes. Experience, definitely. I still have no applicable experience to get a job, let alone start the business that I dreamed about since middle school.

    So, now I signed up for StartupCamp to learn actual stuff. So thank you Dale for creating this option for us. I feel like I have a second chance to get this right.

    • Thanks, Alana! Way to common of an occurrence. Glad you’re now a camper!

  104. Koen says:

    As I do not know much about the US, I don’t know how far I agree with you, but I think it makes sense. But does this go for all countries? And does this also go for regular university courses, especially the hard sciences? I have a little remark on one of the things you said. You said you can probably learn all the things you learn at college for free. But I don’t think that’s the case. You can’t really ask too complicated questions, while on a university you could ask your teacher, since he’s probably an expert on the case. And I don’t know about US universities but I think you’ll learn some skills when studying.

    • Not sure how far it goes outside of the U.S. But science will always require college. But outside of that is my main concern. Thanks for the feedback Koen.

  105. michele says:

    While I agree with your assessment, I have found myself wondering if I’ve made the right choice to leave college to gain experience. Over the last 15 years I’ve found myself in the same situation time & again… training my boss because he /she has a degree & I do not. It’s maddening & now has me contemplating going back to finish college. I personally think getting a piece of paper that will allow me to proceed is ludicrous but, after being told I’m at a dead end without a degree I’m feeling as if I don’t have a choice. Any advice?

    • Hard spot to be. At the end of the day, it’s our personality that makes us successful, not a piece of paper.

  106. Alice says:

    Much to my mother’s chagrin, I’d rather be an entrepreneur than a college graduate. I have had four really great mentors and am currently in phase one of my business plan. College wasn’t in my future because “Corporate CEO” wasn’t on their list of majors, and I knew that was the only job I wanted. I’ve been working with these mentors for over 10 years, learning,asking questions , and paying attention. They are a great influence and their successes inspire me. If this is what you want to do, find people you can learn from, ask for help refining your business plan, and create a job you can’t get fired from. Many college graduates are working low wage jobs because we need entrepreneurs creating more positions. Be part of the solution. Best wishes!

  107. Hey Dale, great great great article. I recently started a bow tie business called Papillon Chic. I am 15 years old and in just 2 weeks I did $400!!! Right now being 4 weeks since I started I have made a total of $600!! I sell mainly in person at school and recently opened my website https://www.etsy.com/shop/PapillonChicBowTies. You are a great guy and when I get some more money I will definitely start your program. I feel like I should not go to college but I haven’t gained the courage to tell my parents yet.

    • Austin, you have got the entrepreneurial spirit in your bones. It’s such a gift to have it naturally as you do! Make sure you always honor you parents and keep your work ethic strong. Give them a reason to believe you’re better off without college for the career path you’re choosing. 🙂 Behind you on this!

  108. landi says:

    I teach in a college. I enjoy the work, but if I were my students’ age today, I wouldn’t choose the path I’m on. Even if I had full scholarships, it wouldn’t pay. More important, though, it becomes more and more depressing to see young people who are on a treadmill.

    Sometimes I do the unthinkable: I actually tell students that they–well, some of them, anyway–don’t “need” to be in college. I even talked a few students out of going to graduate school, even though they would have succeeded–in graduate school, anyway.

    I think that if a student is clearly motivated toward some career that absolutely requires a degree, then they should go for it. Or, if they are in jobs that require degrees for promotion, being in school makes sense. On the other hand, all of those students who come in with the vague idea that college will get them a good job, or any job at all, really ought to do something else for at least a couple of years. If, at that point, they decide to pursue majors and degrees that aren’t very marketable, they will make an informed decision to do so.

    One thing I find really ironic is that even though I am teaching in the subject area in which I earned my degrees, most of what I teach was not learned in the classrooms: I learned those things through my own reading, research and life experiences.

  109. Kariz says:

    I could not agree more with this article. I’m currently working my 4th year as a registered nurse. After the first year, I began to experience what most nurses would describe as “burnout”. I coudln’t believe I could actually have “burnout” after such a short time as a nurse. I toughed it out for 2 more years. I decided maybe the fact that I was working a cardiac floor with adults had something to do with it. I moved on to the neonatal intensive care unit. The degree I was required to have to work as a registered nurse is an Associates Degree in Nursing. There has been a push for RN’s to acquire their Bachelor of Science in Nursing due to reimbursement to hospitals and so much other political stuff that I won’t get into detail about.

    I started my BSN 6 weeks ago. I’ve never been more miserable in my life. The content I am writing about is not being graded. I had 8 points take from a 9 page paper because I failed to cite my references correctly (I forgot to remove one of the author’s credentials in my reference list on an article I cited). It feels like a joke. I can save an infant’s life, I know exactly what to do in the moment of cardiac arrest yet my intelligence is only being evaluated on whether or not I can cite a reference in the correct APA style. Not to mention, I didn’t want to take out a student loan since I still owe from my ADN, so I’m paying for this bachelors degree with my hard earned nursing money.

    After having enough of the pointless homework and deciding I was essentially wasting my time and money, I made a plan. I have formlated a plan for a business, it has nothing to do with the healthcare field but it fulfills my need for compassion and doing something that feels rewarding. I want to thank you for providing such helpful information. The first step I’ve decided to take is to learn as much as I can about entrepreneurship, I have read your book and it’s inspired me to pursue my dream. Thanks again!

  110. Bruce Grimm says:

    Hey Dale,

    I just introduced my first child to the world a week ago… Nothing compares to this feeling of instant love. I agree with you on all counts. As I started my second job out of college it hit me, working for someone else on his or her time sucks.. I want nothing more than to work for myself, and provide for my family controlling my schedule. You mentioned about having an idea, what if I don’t have one? Is this course only for someone who has an idea already?

    Also, why should I buy your course over the appsumo course? Just looking for your feedback to figure out what is the best route for me to reach my goal as soon as possible.



    • Hey Bruce, sorry for the delayed response. Congrats on the baby. Your life is about to be awesome. Lots of people start our course without an idea. But by the end of Module #1, you’ll have the knowledge required to choose a realistic business idea for you and your family.

      As for Appsumo, that course is a scam if you ask me. I know I am biased but it’s not their core business. Our school here at StartupCamp is. We would love to have you Bruce. I’ve looked at all my competitors and I can assure you, there is nothing better out there.

      Hope to see you at Camp!

  111. Bridget says:

    I agree that college is not a one-way ticket to success. I am a 22 year-old 5th year senior at a public university and I really do believe that somewhere along the way the belief in the power of a certain university seal on a diploma has overshadowed the value of real-world skills. There is also some sort of myth that everyone needs the “college experience”.
    I cannot recommend enough the power of community colleges and commuter universities especially when students are unsure what they want to do or even if they want to be in college. To put it simply, the “college experience” is overrated. The idea that I will only be well-adjusted if I live in a dorm room with a stranger for a year and take COMP 101 with 6,000 other kids makes absolutely no sense. I wish more people my age( and younger )realized that by avoiding this “experience” that YOU ARE NOT MISSING OUT ON ANYTHING and are probably saving quite a bit of money.
    I also love that you allude to the fact that college does not equal work-place skills. These are skills that some universities even seem to quash or under-develop. I strongly suggest that all college students take an internship or job in a field they are interested that is outside of academia. The workforce, in my experience, is a world of difference from the classroom and it saddens me that some people have to experience this disconnect as fresh graduates in their very first “real” job.

  112. Adam McCaulley says:

    Let me start by saying I got a degree and then had to come back home at the age of 23. While living at home I didn’t have a job for over a year. I beat every video game out at the time. It was crazy becasue that had never happened before. I always had something to play but not now. I was really bored and was applying for around 5-10 jobs a day during this time. Finally while living at home the first time I got an okay job. It was extremely physical and basically ruined my knees. Seriously I probably would have the same knee damage if I had been a baseball catcher for 30 years. I was about 15k away from paying off my debt. Then I lost that job and luckily was able to get a job at wal mart. Now mind you I was now 27 years old and never had a job that required a high school deploma. Yes I worked with people who were still in high school or never graduated. So not seeing another way to go I desided to go back to college. Sigh. I wish I had never gone. While I went back I racked up a new 65k in debt which now combined with my wife’s debt totals over 110k if you include my mom’s loans for me it is around 165k. I finally found a job in my field and make about 28k a year. I can barely make our loan payments and a car payment. No way in hell can I pay rent. Both my wife and I live with my mother and will never own a house at this rate. I doubt I’ll ever pay off this debt not before I die. Every year it seems I still owe the same. I just can’t get ahead. There are only 2 reasons to go to school really if you’re going to be a doctor or lawyer. If I could sell my degree for 150k I would do it and clear most of my debt.. notice I said most. Ugh college what a crock of shit.

  113. Lee Bowling says:

    As someone who never truly did well in high school, and someone who struggles through college because nothing truly interests me enough to put in the work of it. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. Luckily I went through the military and they covered my tuition costs for my school to which I did not put for the effort I truly needed to. I made mistakes with credit cards in the past and am recovering from that situation now, and I did take out some student loans as income while I went to school, but it’s not only around 7,000$. I have pursued multiple different careers and could never truly find my passion. There are things I love and am truly passionate about. And I would love to make it as a business. But have no direction on how to achieve what I want. What does these classes truly offer? I am a physical learner but if there is something that can grasp me it can take off. I am an extremist and constantly on a roller coaster.

  114. Alyah says:

    Hi, I hope you’re still replying to people!! When I was in high school I really disliked the standardized testing and the structure in general. I am a smart girl, my mind is just more inclined to a free nature rather than memeorizing information that I won’t really use. Anyway, after gradation I was going to go to community college but it didn’t feel right so I took the year off. Problem is, I still don’t know what I want to do. I have absolutely no clue what direction or anything that I would love to do as a job and it sucks because I’m ready to get moving. Financial aid should be able to cover most for me as my family doesnt have money…im wondering if I should just go to community college to be getting soemthing done as I wait to figure out what I truly love- because I have no clue. What do you think?

    • Alyah! The goal to make choice. Start somewhere. But don’t stand still. Purpose lies in between your greatest talent and your biggest passion. Don’t do anything until you define this.

  115. Jinjin says:

    Thank you so much for writing this article!
    I grew up in an immigrant family, and we’ve lived frugally for many years. i’ve always wanted to travel the world one day and because travelling can be expensive, my parents told me to just work hard, get straight A’s and get a university degree. I followed that rule throughout elementary and middle school.
    Then came along high school. Suddenly good grades weren’t the only thing required anymore, community involvement became the next big thing and I was trying to get involved. My family didn’t understand this volunteer hour thing because back in China, they don’t have volunteer hours. back there, if you got good grades, that was the sole thing that got you into university, and likely a decent job afterwards
    I’m currently in gr.12 and post-secondary applications are opening up in a few months. Like the last person who commented, it’s an expectation in my culture that all children will go to reputable universities. my parents have been stressing so much over my grades, that at times i feel like i’m being defined by my grades. they keep telling me that now is the time to research post-secondary options, but i don’t even know what i want.
    i’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer when i was little and still want to pursue something in the arts. but since my whole family came from an engineering background, my dream doesn’t even qualify as a career to them. i’m still struggling to find out how to get to my goal.

  116. Tobie hace says:

    To dale….
    I really agree with you but my parent don’t understand I want to be a photographer I love to create but they love my brother because his more brilliant than I am and tho handsome too..But how can I live my life happily without the issue of going to college..

    • Tobie. Time to grow up. You are an adult. Set the boundary with respect and honor to your parents. But this is your life, your time, and possible your debt.

  117. Mark Reynolds says:

    Your articles are very inspiring! This article is exactly what I’ve been thinking ever since I got my degree. I learned more working than I ever did in college and now I’m in debt. If I could go back and try again I would.

  118. Eusebio Martinez Jr says:

    Dale, this topic is so timely and so important due to the current landscape of higher education, the rise in entrepreneurial opportunities, and the lack of those who are willing to impart sound advice and wisdom. And, this topic has personally brought me to a crossroads; I am less than one year away from my Ph.D. and I have enrolled in StartupCamp (I will explain).

    See, I drank the higher education Kool-aid all the way to this point, working on my dissertation and looking down the barrel at over $200,000 in student loan debt six months after I hear “Pomp and Circumstance” and receive my degree. This is not to say that a degree is worthless; there are those careers that necessitate one (I am not going to a doctor who has not attended medical school, you know?). Looking ahead, however, at the possibilities for using my degree is leaving me empty and downright scared. I almost KNOW I won’t make enough to make it all work.

    Instead, I am taking on another route to education. I am a camper learning the survival skills needed to make it with my own business.

    I am hoping to enlighten students and young people on post-secondary options and whether or not the need to pursue a degree to live the lives they want. And, I am hoping StartupCamp will provide me the *education* I need to make it happen (how does Professor Partridge sound to you?) :).

    I thank you for this article, as I will likely point students and young people to it as a reference, and I thank you in advance for what I will learn through StartupCamp in the coming months.

    God bless you. Enjoy your holiday weekend.

  119. Claire says:

    I really like this article because I’m currently in my first year of college and I really don’t like it. i don’t care about any of the courses I’m studying and I have no idea what I want to do. Plus the thought of doing this type of school work for the next 4 years sounds just absolutely terrible. I want to go to community college and get some sort of certification for diagnostic medical sonography since i can finish that program in 21 months with far less debt and much better pay out once I graduate. I like the idea of being part of the healthcare field but don’t want the commitment that Bachelor’s degrees require or even worse, med school. I just don’t think I’m suited to college, but i just don’t want to have to tell my parents that.

    • Good thinking Claire. But time to grow up. Tell your parents.

  120. Kyle Wilson says:

    I was homeless for the first 20 yrs of my life and abandon on the streets at age 7-8. I got a pale grant for collage but eventually dropped out; I was living in a bus in a junk yard about 3 miles away from the school, didn’t have a job and was starving. I also was very unimpressed with the professors (I thought I knew more then them, and still do). One day I worked cleaning out grease traps at a truck stop to get enough money to take a shower, hair cut and get a newspaper. I looked up the highest paying job I could; IT support. I drew up a resume at the library by coping one of my professor’s (yes, I lied), I applied, got the job and spent the first couple weeks sleeping behind the dumper out back and working as much as I could. I worked very hard and I never looked back, I had nothing to loose…. I now have a 6 figure salary and am very known/respected in my industry (the resume is real now). I have worked contracts everywhere from the Forbes #3 to the Pentagon and am about to open my own business. | The key to success is knowing where you want to go. You must always have a goal and be working towards it. You have to trust and invest in yourself. No one can teach you better then you.

    • Love this story Kyle. So awesome to have you share it here. Glad you found yourself.

  121. Anna says:

    I found this article to be a relief. Yes! Someone finally said it. The comments were equally insightful. I spent 3 years at a university changing my major multiple times because I did not feel I had a “calling” but was politely threatened by my single mother to get a degree before I could be successful. I stopped going to school when I lost my scholarship and already was barely holding my head above water financially. I looked at how much I would need in loans to finish vs. the median income of what I was going to school for… I would have been paying school debt for 15 yrs. and that’s just for the 3 semesters I had left! I had a part time job in retail and got a promotion to a full time position when I stopped going to school and another promotion followed later that year. That promotion gave me as much money as a would have been making once I graduated and I had no debt. As I was working my way up the corporate latter by boyfriend of 7 yrs was in school for mechanical engineering. He is in a field where a degree is necessary but hit rock bottom when he graduated because he couldn’t find a “dream” job as dad had promised. We have now been together 10yrs and I am working for one of the top 50 companies you want to work for according to Forbes Magazine and he talked about leaving his engineering job to join me. Although my position requires a degree, I obtained it with the years of experience I had while he was racking up debt in school. I have no debt and no credit cards. Even with this success, my family continues to insist I finish school for some reason. I hope to open my own business and stand as an example that this article defines.

    • Wow what a crazy contrast you both are! I absolutely LOVE hearing stories like yours. You are proof of how much our times have changed and our culture has such a difficult time adjusting to it. Keep at it, my friend.

  122. Nicole says:

    This article may as well be the biography of my life! I have a B.A. which I worked very hard for, and I am currently UNEMPLOYED with well over 60,000 in student loan debt. As a matter of fact, I am on hold with my lender as we speak. I worked retail all throughout high school and college (I guess my main mistake), and apparently now am technically not qualified to do anything else. I was the oldest child in my family, and so there was alot of pressure to go off and pave the way! Instead of pressuring our children we should be encouraging them to follow their dreams, and teaching them social skills that will help them network. Most importantly, they need to be taught how to manage their money properly, and live with less, something that at the age of 32, I am just now learning.

  123. Laura says:

    Every point made was right on. I wish I could go back in time and have a chat with myself. Of course in truth I don’t know that I would have listened. I have always asked, how was I suppose to know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life at 18. I understand that some people do know, but I believe most have more to learn about life before making that decision. The problem is there is a lot of outside pressure to speed up this process. I completely felt like there was no other way then college after high school. Mentalities must change.

  124. Amanda says:

    I agree completely with you. I was always told college is the only way to go, but I won’t push my kids toward that. I have many friends in their 30’s with kids who can’t buy a house because they have student loans. Me and my husband pay more each month on our than on any other expense. And for what? I have a masters degree and work a job that doesn’t even require a high school diploma. My husband took a pay cut after college when he returned to work. This is a different time to live in, that’s for sure.

    • Unfortunately, your story is the same as so many that I hear. It’s incredible you’ve realized how much our culture and times have changed and you’re instilling that into your kids. Wise parents you are!

  125. Cindy says:

    While I appreciate all of this information, I must ask…what if I’m not really “good” at creating or offering products or services anyone wants? I mean, I can’t be the only person asking this question! Entrepreneurship seems like a pipe dream to someone like me. While I am a kind, loving, and passionate person, I really don’t know what I could create or offer that would be desirable to others. How did you know what you were good at and/or if it was something that would pan out in the future?

    • Good point. Not everyone is an entrepreneur. Some are supporters. It takes consistency to define gifting. Keep at a few things that might be in your wheelhouse and let one prevail.

  126. Justin says:

    I am 70/30 on this. I do think for certain things yes college is a must, law, medicine, specialities is a must. Other than these rather specific instances. I feel programs like mograph mentor in 10-15 years will be much more the norm. A lot of community colleges are figuring this out as well, get a great education for a fraction of the cost. The pattern, which you do as well, online work and projects with a mentor/industry expert guiding you will catch on quick, for honestly next to nothing haha. If you build it they will come! And the more of it there are the more credibility these programs and I’m sure other ones like it will get from the masses. The world is getting flatter and these democratizing platforms will be upon us very shortly. Love your podcasts, they are up there the Tim Ferris ones for getting a great dialogue about lifestyle design and entrepreneurship being brought the to the mainstream. Keep it up and I hope to be on your podcast or fireside chat, much sooner rather than later.

  127. Hello, I am one year into earning my associates at a community college and so far have loved it. I am a major in fine arts and I love to be able to learn more about my talents and abilities (originally why I decided to start college was to just develop my skill until I had my heart set on a career path). But to be honest, I sometimes feel as if that if I met experienced artists I would learn more that way. What I am struggling with however is that I have always aspired to become an Art Director for a major record label or company and create/produce album artwork, poster, merch, etc. I have always had it set in my mind to go to an elite school and earn my masters in fine arts. I always saw that as the only way to get into that career field. But I’m beginning to wonder if I can start up my own business and work on my own still doing my dream. I wouldn’t be working for a company or a label but I could work with bands and artists to gain experience. Is this possible or does this sound like a strange fantasy?

    • And also I forgot to mention, reading this article made me think of my job. I work at financial aid at my college and I see how many people will pile up the loans. Being honest, it hurts sometimes to give them out and fear they might be in dept. Its a part of my job that sucks. I never want to take out student loans so that is why I am questioning my decision to continue college at a university because I question if I can actually afford it.

    • Elizabeth. You can totally start your dream. Consider enrolling here at StartupCamp. It’s WAY cheaper than college and will walk you Step-By-Step on starting your own business.

      • I actually am considering it. I still want to finish my last two semesters at college (I have always believed in finishing what I started). But coming up here soon I will be starting up an account with startup camp. Its as much as one semester at college, crazy! Thankfully the pell grant covers school. But it is way cheaper than college.

        I did have one question though. Does the start up camp give tool on building connections. I still want to learn in my field and meet new artists but I wasn’t sure how to go about it or ask an artist for their time. Also to gain connections with musicians.

        Thanks for all the help!

  128. Hello Dale, I love your article. I’m from India. And Congratulations on your success. I’m inspired by you. Especially when there are so few people who go against the wind and do what their heart says. I’ve just turned 18 and I’m about to enter college. So the admission process is going on. And yeah a hell lot of pressure is coming from everywhere- parents—especially dad. Whatever his friends tell him, he seems convinced and tells me the same things 2 to 3 times.

    I’ve been a really good student till high school. And I got 96% in our final exams. So yeah! but I still don’t quite relate myself with this whole College wave. I want to do something creative, something different. I don’t want to do something just because everyone does. That sucks! And in my country its always like “Oh my friend’s son did that from that college, and you know what now he is well off with millions in his pocket.” In my head I’m like why the hell are you comparing me with somebody I don’t even know?!. And I don’t care about money that much.I care about satisfaction, fame, happiness, joy, fun, contentment and having no regrets. I’d rather do nothing than do something I don’t love and feel miserable. I feel that god sends everyone for a purpose and I’m damn sure that my purpose was not to settle for a job in some office, being ordered by a self complex boss, just because it is safe and pays bucks. I’m sure I’ll die like that. Till high school I’ve always been that obedient child who will try to get As and full marks. I resent that working like fools to please others and working on something you don’t have passion for. My parents want me to go for engineering. I totally hate the idea. Someday I’m gonna die and then who cares what I did and what not. I’m really in a bad state of mind! I’ll follow this conversation!
    And I here I’ll get admission into a top college with my current percentage. And the college fee is very much affordable. So we have no problem of that type. My dad is like “Take a top college, whatever the course be”. I’m irritated. I feel like I want to take a time out from the place I am. I need to find myself. I know what my passion is. I’m working on it. But the college thing is getting in my way! and I feel depressed!

  129. Kate says:

    My husband and I kid that if I hadn’t gone for such an expensive piece of paper (Doctorate diploma) that I could do what I wanted to do and consider being a ranch wife like I had hoped. I have another 15 years of paying it off and the first 15 haven’t been easy. My job has changed drastically with EHR dictating my time and management. I am understanding the most important asset I have is 8 years of business ownership (of which I had one college business class in). As I determine to launch into a new career that is built on WHO I am, the rest of it provided a means of learning to help prepare me for more! But I am now building on matters of the heart, not my college credits.

  130. Brooke says:

    I agree that college is not for everyone. However, I don’t want every young adult that reads this article to think attending college is a big mistake. I am 22 years old. I started at a university at age 17 pursuing a degree in nursing. I ended up dropping out after freshman year. If I had just stuck with it I would be making double the money I make now but I was in the wrong mindset at the time. I worked at taco bell for three years of my life and my pay increased two dollars the entire time even with a promotion as a manager. I had a baby and realized taco bell wasn’t going to raise this child. I decided to attend a tech program as a medical assistant for one year. I had a job the same month I graduated. The debt isn’t so bad. My payments are about $100 per month and that’s after I deferred them and allowed them to build interest for 4 years! I do not regret my decision at all and I often tell people it was the best decision I have ever made. I now have two children. Just with my income I own a brand new car and am a homeowner. I work in the medical field and am around people with much higher degrees than what I have and they are very well off, much more than I am! I want to encourage my children to attend college. If you don’t have charisma I would absolutely encourage you to get a degree. College is not for everyone but not going to college is not for everyone either. Please evaluate your own personal place in life and your own goals before making such a huge decision.

  131. Hazel says:

    I could already relate to the topic above! There were many reasons why I didn’t wanted to do college right after high school and opted for a working experience a year after. It definitely gave me a quick head start at 18 and managed better when it comes to responsibilities. Yet, I was often torn between my freedom to learn and my parents’ expectations (imagine over the years, listening to all possible occupations under the sun before I graduated from high school).

    Convinced myself to complete a degree but never happened at all and I ended up working once again. Of course, the thought of paying up the education loan itself was a lot to handle and the conditions in my country is that, if a few months of repayment were missed, there’s no way I’m able to go travelling/work overseas. That’s straight into the blacklist.

    I do appreciate having a degree, I know when the time is appropriate getting one will be worthwhile than doing what everyone does. For now I take short courses online picking up various skills with a reasonable cost. Although the loan is still unsettled but I rather learn to discover, work through my passion and interests and be myself.

    Thanks for the article by the way!

  132. Lacee says:

    This article is so for me! Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Dale! 🙂

  133. Kennedy says:

    Hello! My name is Kennedy and I’m 17 years old, a sophomore in high school and still have a little ways to go! Before running into this article, I was pretty set on going to college but yet not really sure where I wanted to go. But yet I’m also not sure when it comes to what I want to do for the rest of my life because I have a fear that I won’t enjoy whatever it is I would do, increasing anxiety about future etc. But I’m happy I’ve seen this article and it is 100000000% worthy of a BOOKMARK! I 100% agree that you don’t necessarily need a college degree to learn, but that also depends on WHAT you’re going to do. I’m more of an artistic type of gal and I love animals as well. Before, I thought of being an assistant vet and when I started looking into what they learn and things like that and all this math and things like that, “Uh…I don’t think I’d want to do all THAT for the rest of my life..”I could always just volunteer at a shelter as something I’d do without profit. But other than that, another thing I love is drawing! What I’ve recently gotten into is drawing portraits of people and there’s nothing but improvement in each single one I’ve drawn. I also want to get into pottery and sculpting. I want to make a porcelain tea set for my little sister. About the sculpting part, I want to make little figurines, preferably angels or fairies. Each with their own little personality/style to them and when you mentioned the buisness part, I sort of thought of making a website and selling sculpters and other creations I make and things like that! I THINK that’s a little of what buisness is xD but I’m SURE I still have a lot to learn. OH YEAH! I forgot to mention, I have a goal to publish a book! I love to write fiction as well! 🙂

    When I was 15/16 years old, I felt like I was going to go nowhere in life and it sort of grew to depression and I didn’t feel motivated at all, because I felt like people like me weren’t worth ANYTHING and like you had to be something important like a doctor or lawyer or something to be successful. And I felt like I just couldn’t do it because NONE of those things were what I was interested in doing for the rest of my life…I felt like everything was over. I was done with. That shows you how screwed up these lies that you mentioned are, and I actually believed it for a time. I’m still scared to step out into the unknown, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to. I hope my mom doesn’t take personally if I don’t end up going to college, but hey, it’s better than having thousands and thousands of dollars of debt and having my parents suffer paying the expenses as well..

    Sorry if this comment was all over the place, I was typing as they came out of my head. But yeah! Thank you for reading this 🙂

    • Haha you are awesome, girl. Keep at it, you are very obviously going places!

  134. Matthew Monk says:

    Yep! There hangs my degree on the wall. There sits my student loan payment stub. Both staring at me 11 years after graduation as I start my own venture with the help of Startup Camp! Thank you Dale!

  135. Richard Longoria says:

    i love science. It’s something I have to read about everyday, and have to talk to other people about. When I drink, I can’t shut up about it. However, I feel jaded about it. I left school with a biochemistry degree and $100K+ debt. All those cool science things I like to talk about don’t do much good during interviews. Grad school is a little tempting, but I hate the idea that I’ll be in debt long after I’d make that commitment. I just want to be free. I want to not worry about debt and not make the mistake of school ever again. I want a life.

  136. Dale,
    Great write up here. I work with high school students and many are clearly caught in the “I must go to college” trap. I continually try to show them that there are other options available for them. One of the things I suggest is taking a year off (a Gap Year) and working in the field they feel called to. This helps them gain experience and insight as to weather they want to continue in that field.
    I will definitely share this article and your website with them.
    Thanks for sharing with us!

  137. Raphaël says:

    Great article and very instructive! Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge!

    I am very interested in business but am ignorant since most of the time I don’t learn concrete and useful things at school but things aimed to “measure my potential and what I am worth”.

    I was wondering, regardless of the “starting with debt” argument (which is obviously a major issue), what do you think of studying (law for example) to get a job and make a descent amount of money and then start a business between 30 and 40 years old? What are the advantages/disadvantages of starting a business when you’re young?!

    Thank you so much!


  138. Barb says:

    I may get blasted for this, but I educate my two youngest children at home. The “no college” mindset definitely fits in with our often criticized lifestyle. It may be worthy to mention that not only do we teach our children at home, but we do so thriving on our own growing business. It cannot be denied that public school sets the standard for preparing kids for college, university, the work force. I am not telling anyone that they should home school their children, but I have one adult child who graduated from public school, attended college and now she is indebted with a degree that I did not support and did not see as an ideal educational investment. She is 21 and worries more about how to make ends meet than to what to do with the rest of her life. I see a stark contrast between my oldest and my youngest. Our boys are only 8 years old, but already they understand the idea that success depends on passion, perseverance, hard work and strong morals, and is not about a six figure income. They already have these huge ideas about inventing and innovating. I can safely assume that as long as we are on this path, our grown children will not be living in my basement! We jumped out of the box and we took our children with us. Our goal is not to have our children to take over the family business, but rather for them to have had the experience and the choice to pursue their own dreams without the pressure and consequences of pursuing a higher education. If we as adults are so passionate about this, perhaps we can instill this passion in our children.

    • Wow..I cannot explain how glad I am that you chose to share your story here, Barb. When I write about college, you can imagine I get a wide array of comments, most of which are negative, probably coming from those who are currently in college and hoping I am wrong. 😉 Really love what you’re doing with your boys. Keep it up my friend!

  139. Jason says:


    You are the freaking man for writing this! I think it’s a topic we need to talk about more and I absolutely love your stance on it.

    I went to college because my parents told us that’s how we were going to be successful and do good in life. Of course, I didn’t know any better. I listened to my parents just like many young kids tend to do. I remember my parents would tell us (myself and my two sisters) that if we didn’t go to school that we would be cleaning toilets for the rest of our lives- ha ha ha. Of course, no parents are perfect, I know that was their way of making sure we would stay in school and get our education because they believed in education and I do as well. Little did I know that they were taking me down a path that worked for their time and economy. But, this is 2015 and it’s a new time and a different economy. This is the era of the self-made individual. After it was all said and done, I have two degrees and about $90,000 in student loan debt. Did I have a great time in college, Yes. Did I learn stuff about myself? Yes. Did I l learn stuff in the classroom? Here and there. But, here’s what I wished I was taught: Sales, marketing, providing value (and what that really means), building relationships, wealth principals (big one), masterminds & mentorship, positive thinking, what failure really means, what books to read, how to leave a legacy, etc.. I learned all of that outside of college.

    Now, I’m not knocking formal education. Heck, I just got my master’s in Student Affairs & College Counseling. I think college has a place for certain professions and for those looking to work within a company as an employee. However, it is not the only way to go and that’s a message that I will continue to pass to the younger generation. We would be doing them an injustice if we told them they HAD to go to college and that college is the ONLY way to be successful. I still get a kick when people tell me they want to “go back to school” thinking that is the solution. But, I understand that the only reason they say that is because they don’t know that there are other options.

    The comments on this post were so interesting and inspiring. I couldn’t help but chuckle at a few of the flaw finders in the comments lol. It’s quite simple you all; the bottom line is that College is not the only path. Learning can come in all different settings. Many people had a great college experience and went on to get great jobs and are content. If that’s you, then this article wasn’t meant for you and that’s okay. The article is not meant to offend but to educate the reader on weighing all the options before getting into student debt. Understand that getting a AA, AS, BA, BS, MBA, M.Ed. J.D. Ph.D. and any other degree that I missed doesn’t guarantee you jack because you still have to compete with the thousands upon thousands of others who got the same degrees and are hunting for the same jobs. This upcoming May you will have thousands upon thousands of students leaving the Disney World that is college and be welcomed to what folks in Higher Ed call, “The Real World”. Here’s what they will be welcomed to- a market that want people that can PRODUCE and if you don’t have the skills, habits, and mind required to produce then you don’t bring much value to the company, which leaves you searching for jobs that pay based on the value you bring to the table and, I’m sorry, the degree alone doesn’t cut it. Let’s be honest, colleges are handing out degrees like nothing. Now, many of us worked our asses off to get it, but that’s not across the board and you have to be in a closet to not recognize that. If you can’t bring true value to the table, you will struggle to gain employment and if you leave college with debt the student loan company will care for a little while until they tell you you have to start paying.

    That’s why entrepreneurship is so critical! It’s not just about starting a business, it’s being able to be resourceful and think on your feet! The fact that entrepreneurship is still a topic being left out of discussion in colleges is crazy.

    Dale, sorry for the long post brother, but I’m passionate about this topic and you absolutely nailed it! Thank you!

    • Hey Jason, thanks for the note! It’s always awesome to receive such positive feedback (especially amongst some of the negativity I receive for posting very controversial articles like these). Ha Stoked for your future man 🙂

  140. Brianna says:

    This certainly resonates with me. My parents helped with the down payment for a small business instead of 3 more years of college. Even though I know longer own that business, it was one of the best decisions we made.

  141. Liz says:

    I love this article. Everyone I knew told me I needed to go to college, but I opted to not go because I lacked purpose. I had no idea what I wanted to do, or even what I was good at. Plus being in debt terrified me. So I worked full time, saved money, volunteered at my church, and traveled. When I turned 24, I started playing with the idea of going to college, but I didn’t want to spend money I didn’t have. I found this: https://collegeplus.org/. Collegeplus specializes in making sure students have the flexibility to gain as much work/life experience as possible before they graduate. The cost and the flexibility alone is enough to take it seriously, but factor in their amazing Leadership courses and the incredible network of driven people, and you have something I can’t even begin to describe.

    Because my education is being built on those experiences, I now know exactly what I want to do and I’ll be able to do it debt free. Doing Collegeplus isn’t for everyone (ie doctors), but if you want a great education faster and cheaper, don’t hesitate. It’s seriously been the best decision I’ve ever made.

  142. Grace says:

    Great topic. I agree that things are not as black & white as the concept that post secondary education = good/right/best decision or route.

    One thing, though: I started out nodding in agreement, but as I read on and kept having to pretend away the ironically bad grammar of the article & comments in agreement, it was a little harder to trust this stance. I think there is a lot of good on this site, but I think that having the writing checked or edited would go a long way in helping boost confidence in this advice, at least for some people.

    • Haha! I have an editor now, thankfully. Luckily, you don’t have to spell well in order to succeed in life. (; Glad you enjoyed the article content though!

      • Michelle says:

        Even if the spelling is not there, one can still understand. By the way, I have come across a multitude of college graduated with terrible spelling. It happens. LOVE THIS ARTICLE!

        • Haha yes, spelling has never been my thing. Proves you don’t have to have it to be successful though. 😉 Glad you enjoyed the article!

  143. Candice says:

    Another thing I have found with employers is that they look for volunteer experience. Especially if you are like me and come from a town of 2,500. I am about to start volunteering for a company that is within the hospital to help the elders. That is my way in without going back to school. I have already been to college and am currently not using my diploma and don’t plan on it. I feel like being 18-20 years old and trying to decide right then and there what you want to do for the rest of your life is not a good idea. I remember within the first month of high school teachers and guidance counsellors are asking you what you want to do for the rest of your life. You really have NO idea at age 13-14… I didn’t realize it at the time but now I do. My advice to anyone would be get out and volunteer in your local hospital or school.. employers that see that you have an interest or have volunteered are extremely happy and will most likely help you to land a job within there company.

    • Great advice 🙂 There’s nothing like hands on experience and volunteer work to show your commitment and passion!

    • Kennedy says:

      Well that’s good because I’m thinking of volunteering for something like that as well! 😀 Also probably some things that my youth group may do like for example there was a time where we volunteered at the soup kitchen to feed the homeless! 🙂

  144. John says:

    Excellent article, I feel the exact same way as you Dale! I am 19 years old and like most, were harped on by parents to go get an education through school because of their generational belief that college= great job and successful life. These past 8 months have been incredible for me because I just graduated HS with my AA and my college career was looking bright as I pursue my degree in computer engineering. As I’m about to start my studies at my University, I’m more and more considering dropping out due to the fact that it won’t get me to where I want to be in life; financially I’d be okay but not physically, emotionally, or socially. Later on in my journey when I launched my business 8 months ago, I truly discovered what entrepreneurship was, how beneficial it really is, how much other people’s opinions USED to affect me, and I found a vehicle where I could be happy through the four key aspects of life; physical, emotional, social, and financial. I found my purpose in life through entrepreneurship. It really start to hit me how awesome entrepreneurship was about 6 months in and now it keeps growing on me.

    I’m for education but not school; unless you absolutely need secondary education for being a doctor, lawyer, etc. then go to school. One of the many things that I was blessed on learn early on in my journey is the law of association. Before I launched my business, I was hanging out with negative people in negative environments; even within my family. But I realized that these people didn’t have what I wanted. Sure, my dad was a doctor and mom was successful within the retail/big box sales industry but neither of them made over $50,000 a year or more importantly, lived the life I wanted to live. I still have yet to tell my parents I want to drop out because they harp on the importance of my schooling. Everything in my life started to change when I changed my environment, no longer was I out partying with my broke high school friends, I stopped hanging out with people who always had something bad to say, people who sulked around in life. I chose to find new people in my area and I found successful business owners, I found people with passion and drive to be more, I found people who had a higher purpose in life. It’s so crazy how these laws work, at first I thought it was all cheesy mumbo-jumbo stuff then it started to kick in haha.

    I’m now in a position within life where I own a successful business and I am about to launch two more that will put me exactly where I want to be in life in all four aspects. All I had to do was take the first step… I learned to walk, learned how to run, learned how to jump, learned how to sprint, and now I’m learning how to travel at the speed of light!! But it all started with a step.

    If I could give you guys one quote it would be this: “Does the idea of your own death inspire you?”

    It just so happened that the day after I read this quote for the first time, I almost died. I went a little bit too hard in my workout and for my very last exercise I decided to do some suicide sprints. I went alone and ran for less than a quarter of a mile to the corner of the street before I found myself running out of energy to move… I thought I was just tired so I sat down, few seconds later laying down and getting light-headed… Everything started to turn white, I couldn’t tell what was going on, I started seeing things then realized that I was in a very serious predicament. I mustered the strength to crawl a little further back to the gym so someone would see me but only moved about 30 more feet till I fell down again, laying there helpless in the middle of the road. I let out a scream with all I had left. Still, no one around. Every muscle on my body became tight, I felt my heart beating faster and faster, I couldn’t move and things in my vision kept getting more white. I found no energy to move just my brain running through thoughts and what did I think of? My family, my friends, and I reviewed the moments in my life and realized I had more bad than good; so I believed I still needed to change that. I thought about the idea of my own death inspiring me. I told myself these exact words “I couldn’t die here, I wouldn’t die here. I have not fulfilled my purpose in life yet.” This is when I broke past my limit, I stumbled my way back to the gym about 100 ft later. Half hour later of being watched by staff, I was better. I no longer felt helpless and felt that I could go through that another thousand times if that’s what it meant for me to be successful. I believe every man has his limit, but the only way to find it, is to go past it. I realized I set myself a new limit and learned the true definition of being limitless. Not someone without a limit, but someone who will constantly go out there and find a new and higher limit!

  145. Carrie says:

    I’m of the group that was pushed into college because it’s how you get an education, a future and a job. Although I use some of the knowledge I obtained in my time there, I’ve never really held a job based on my degree and yet 20 years later the loans I was encouraged to take out still hover over me. With a 16 year old son, I’ve been encouraging a different route and specifying NO LOANS. I’m hopeful he can get a different start.

    • Hi Carrie, I really do hate to hear how so many people are in such debt from college and don’t have the success to prove college was the right choice for them. This is why I am so adamant about telling the world college is not the only place to get an education! I am so glad you are here, and glad to hear your mindset is shifting to adapt with the way our culture has shifted. Thanks for sharing your story!

  146. Taylor says:

    I am a 20 year old with a bachelors in economics, and I am now completing my masters in economics. Excuse my poor capitalization and abbreviations in this comment, I am on my phone and do not have the time to make all the necessary corrections. I have worked incredibly hard all my life in school, not because I was forced to or because it’s what the world says to do, but because education has such a strong VALUE. You reference Proverbs in the article, the Bible also discusses the value of education. One common phrase I saw throughout this article was needing experience. I have interned throughout my entire college career and now have an offer for a full time position for when I graduate in July. After evaluating many data sets as a “data analyst”, education has a strong NEGATIVE correlation with poverty, divorce, and other bad socioeconomic issues. This means that those with higher educations have a much smaller chance of poverty, divorce, etc. Going to college should be embedded. Most students go out and focus on themselves and social lives as opposed to the grades, maturing, and gaining experience. That is the issue, not going to college itself.

    • Hi Taylor, thanks for sharing your story. Please don’t misunderstand me: I am FOR education, but this does not mean college is the only place to get it. I believe if a person is not growing and learning daily, they are dying. But the major misconception in our culture and the lie that’s being told to our youth is that college is the only place to get an education and the only way to be successful, and those two statements couldn’t be further from the truth. I am definitely glad your college education is something that’s proven to be a great thing in your life, though! Just wanted to make sure I clarified where I stand on education. 🙂

  147. Conner Williams says:

    I found this to be a very stimulating and yet somewhat depressing article, for I am currently enrolled at a university. I started off out of high school at a private college, and quickly realized it was not the right fit because of tuition costs as well as the environment. I then had the lucky opportunity to earn a football scholarship to a different school, and I am now going to school for free, save for food and rent. I do, however, have about $10K racked up from my previous school. Thankfully, I won’t have to take out any more loans and I’m lucky I decided to make the change when I did, otherwise I’d be about 4-5 times that much in the hole. I have 21-22 year old friends who are doing very well for themselves without having gone to college, but I like learning and going to school, and I have chosen I path that will (hopefully) be financially viable for me. Great article!

    • Glad to hear you haven’t racked up too much debt – hopefully it stays that way! Remember: you can still get an education without going to college. Good luck with whatever you choose 🙂

  148. Kristina says:

    I happened to come across this article, sadly later then I wish. I did go to college and I know I am one of many i meet that did not need the education. I was 75-85% finished my course when i dropped out, i was so anxious and depressed It was really not healthy for me to continue. I have gotten asked why not completed it so you would have your degree? But i was not passionate about it. I have found a full time job based on my experiences , that i also love It wasnt all easy. Ironically my younger sister is now at the same point where she wants to quit college in her last year. I told her to follow her heart and her passion. I don’t regret going to college because i worked while giving me more experince was there and met amazing people. It is also those choices leading me here.

    • Well there you go! But you did follow your heart in the end, and your passion, and that’s what is important. I’m so glad you were able to take something positive away from your college experience. 🙂

  149. May says:

    Hi Dale!

    I would just like to say that I stumbled upon this article and I truly believe that it was a blessing I did. And the day I can afford the program, I’ll be sure to get it. Very inspiring and much needed.

    • Glad you enjoyed it, May! Hope to have you on the program sooner than later. 🙂

  150. kat says:

    To whom it may concern,

    perhaps you are right on one level… if your career path does not involve business, heathcare, politics, medical or the legal field (and perhaps a few others) college is not a place to go and it becomes who you know and if you don’t know, then a lot of hard work.

    However, for those who wish to have those business, healthcare, political, medical, legal aspirations they must obtain a college degree, as I have. With proper money management and working while in school, I have graduated with merely $17,000 in debt. My last quarter I committed myself to finding a full time banking job. I found that job. I started the day after I graduated. I have since been working at the bank for almost 3 years and only owe $2,000 along with $3000 on my car loan which I purchased right out of college for $16,000.

    Now please note, my position does not consider those whom don’t have a college degree.

    And I do love my job.

    I have formed job connections in college, learned from amazing professors, made incredible memories, and I would never discourage those who wish for my success.

    So, perhaps your article should focus on why college may not be right for some, but to completely discourage the young and confused from going to college does not help anyone.


    • Hey Kat, thanks for responding. If college didn’t put most people in debt that they’d be paying off for years (or their entire lives), and if it did help most (key word) people get a job in their field (which it doesn’t) – I’d be a lot more supportive of it. The thing is, our culture is being taught the same thing from 30-40 years ago that going to college = great job and a successful life, and we’ve failed to recognize how drastically everything has changed. We have moms and dads who perhaps had more success with going to school, that are having the same expectations for their children. The culture has changed, and although you do need some schooling for certain professions as you mentioned, the point is, you do not have to go to college to get an education. That is what I need people to take away from this article. There ARE other options. I do appreciate your comments though. 🙂

  151. Marta says:

    Good article…but there is a misspelled word in point number 2: “Your” should be “You’re”.

  152. Amen! My dad pushed me and pushed me to get into college after high school. I hated the idea of going to school again, and I was very much a rebel – that’s a story for another day though. At 18 I decided to give community college a shot. I thought, “Who knows? Maybe dad is be right.” Without his help, I was only able to put myself through (and to put up with) a single semester. After that I called it quits from college and continued to meander around, working jobs here and there trying to figure out what I wanted to do in life.

    Fast forward to age 22 – I worked at a restaurant, and picked up an old hobby of making jewelry. Co-workers began asking where I had gotten my jewelry pieces and I happily replied I had made them. One thing led to another, and I began selling jewelry here and there to my co-workers. At the same time, I got head-hunted by the local bead store where I bought my jewelry making supplies from. I began working for them in 2010 and started my jewelry business that same year. I left the restaurant soon after that.

    I grew my jewelry line over the years, and in April of 2014 I made the decision that I would quit my job in a single years time. I was doing local art shows around my city, and had my work displayed in a few galleries and stores. Come September of 2014 I was unable to balance my workload for the business with my day job, and left my job 7 months before my planned departure. From the time I left to this very moment, my sales have skyrocketed and 2014 was my best holiday season yet.

    Yes, it’s true that when you are passionate about what you do, you will be successful. Has it been easy? Not all the time. I work more hours than when I had a day job (though it never really seems like work), but by myself I make more annually than the average US household — I’m only 26. Many of my friends have graduated college at this point, but are still living at home with their parents and have thousands of dollars in debt. Yes, I have some debt too (due to the business), but it’s only a tiny fraction of what my friends carry, nothing that I couldn’t take care of in a year or two. My advice to those of you that might be reading this who are about to graduate or aren’t sure where to go after high school, is don’t be afraid to take a risk and go after your dream job. If you fail, at least you know you gave it a shot and won’t be left wondering “What if…” AND you’re young enough to try something else!

    • I love this so much! Your story is awesome Sammi. Love that you followed your heart, and look where it got you. 🙂

  153. Hannah Bowden says:

    I know I’ve left comments before whenever you’ve had an article about the downsides of going to college, but I feel so strongly about this that I have to leave another. I think you hit it right on the mark when it comes to this issue. I always wonder where this idea that you have to go to college to be worth anything came from? Those of us who didn’t go to college are left feeling like the rest of the world is judging us because we didn’t seek a “higher education”.
    I chose not to go to college and drown myself in debt until I’m middle-aged. And I chose not to give in to the pressure of the world to try and meet its standards of success.
    I want to point out that I’m 22 years old, have a job that technically requires a degree, I own my car (brand new & paid off in 2 years), and I’m about to make an offer on a house. I started working in the 9th grade and I haven’t been without a job ever since. This is what hard work and at least trying to make the best decisions you can gets you. And, in reality, I’d have NOTHING if God wasn’t so gracious.
    Thank you for shedding light on an issue that needs to be recognized and addressed.

    • Wow Hannah… seriously, your comment made my day. THIS is what I’m talking about. Good, old-fashioned hard work. Good for you. So glad you’re here. 🙂

  154. Jenna says:

    Hello!! I’m currently a student at the University of Akron and I agree with a lot of what you say. People jump into college too quickly which is why I took a year off to serve in AmeriCorps NCCC. The experience I gained there just may land me my next job and has helped me with the job I have right now. Thanks for sharing. Two typos: $80,000 is missing a zero and there’s a header that had the wrong “your”. You can delete this comment if you want. Just letting you know.

    • That is awesome! That’s all I’m saying – think before you jump into debt. Our culture has been taught that college is the ONE and ONLY answer, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. Glad you took a leap of faith and that it worked out for you! PS thanks for the heads up on the typos!

  155. Jason Soupene says:

    Interesting article. My son would like to become an aeronautical engineer, how would you recommend him obtain his goal without a degree? Thanks for your time

    • There will always be a place for a degree. Doctors, lawyers, scientist, etc. This might be one of those career paths.

  156. Levi Lenau says:

    I went to film school to learn the art of filmmaking. While I earned a great education for about $30,000 I’m still paying quite a bit and am actually looking for deferrals. The true value of that degree laid within the networking hub they offered. The film industry largely is impossible to enter unless you go through someone who knows someone or know someone yourself who’s already on the inside. Filmmakers don’t usually look at you twice unless you’re already in the industry. No one hires you unless you’ve been vouched for by someone or recommended.

    As a result, I spent around $30,000 for a voucher. If only someone was accessible enough to get me started I could have avoided film school in large part. Most of this stuff you learn by doing. And many times, we are relearning what we’re doing with every project because everyone wants to do it differently anyways. We can always make our own films, and it’s possible to make a good one for about 15-$20,000. Thing is, a degree in this industry is pretty much worthless, your work or your friends (many times both) speaks for itself.

    • I hear you on this. In the entertainment industry, it is absolutely about who you know, and its probably the most difficult industry in the world to break into. Film is art though, and if you can create good art and know how to get it to be noticed, well then you’re one step ahead of most. 🙂

  157. Michelle says:

    I am not totally sold on the idea of no college. While I agree that education has become a business and outrageously expensive, I still believe that education of any kind, be it hands on or in a classroom, is still a valuable asset. Young people need to think outside the box to come up with a budget and a solution that fits their goals and life ambitions. Young people must also come to the realization that making a living takes time and dedication whichever path they choose. Also, not every job is fun, some are necessary positions and I for one am geateful for the people who do them.
    I would also say that the government student loan process is the same as the sub-prime mortgage lending and the fallout will be the same. However, the question is who will ‘bail out” the government?
    And lastly, I would like to ask why businesses don’t recruit on high school campuses the way they do on college campuses if many of their positions dont require college degrees? It seems to me that would be an excellent way to gain employees that suit their needs and also give young people an opportunity to see what is available.

    • Makes sense to me – I’m not sure why they don’t recruit straight out of college! Perhaps they are looking for a higher maturity level and college students seem to give off that “appeal”? But yes, I agree that education and experience can still come in the form of hands on or in a classroom, and that people do need to think outside of the box. The point is, our culture has changed drastically and we have a culture that has refused to recognize it for what it is. Thanks for sharing, Michelle!

  158. Nicki says:

    I am currently a college senior, I think this topic has pros and cons. For a lot of job areas, maybe a college degree isn’t necessary, and experience is key. Business, marketing, and other things, in my opinion, are better learned from being in the moment. I also think some degrees are pointless, and a waste of money (such as art history, unless you plan on being a museum director or something similar.) However, I want to make sure my doctor went through medical school and that my lawyer got through law school, both ALONG with clinical/real world experience. I want to make sure my pharmacist knows their chemistry, and that my psychologist is properly educated. I think you needed to be more specific on the type of college degree, rather than being so general, since I’m sure you have recieved services from at least one of these individuals before.

    • Great point, Nicki. Mostly, I rely on individuals to understand which articles relate to them and which do not. I too, would like my doctor to get the highest education available. 😉

  159. Daniell says:


    I am currently a sophomore in college and I’m starting to see these types of trends. Last year, I came to college with my intended major as English-Secondary Ed. This year, I completely realized that I do not want to be teaching at all or doing crazy interviews and being pushed toward ESL or Special Education like I was just in my first year of college… So Since I already had 50+ credits from English, I am now an English major with a minor in Earth Sciences. I currently have two jobs, the first is in my university’s admissions office, and the second is with our outdoor program and I work on the climbing wall now, but will later be able to lead outdoor trips or workshops if I show leadership skills and put myself out there. I am also certified with the Red Cross for first aid and CPR, and if I chose, can later be certified for wilderness survival and nationally certified to work a ropes course.
    I’m starting to feel like the experience I’ll gain from my job positions here will help design my future more than my degree will.

    • Hey Daniell, That sounds frustrating. I think your mind is going in the right direction though.

  160. Elaine says:

    I have debt in the six figure range from my undergrad and grad school loans. And I understand that for some people, they want a career that doesn’t require grad school level training. However, for me, it did. And I do enjoy learning. Someday I want to get my doctorate even though I don’t know in what, simply because I like learning and the structure of school. Interesting article though, and the student debt “bubble” will certainly pop someday soon.

    • sandy says:

      He didn’t reply to your comment maybe because yur right!!

      • Everyone has their own story. And some paths still require a degree 🙂

  161. Great article and it screams the truth! I know so many kids with degrees and no jobs with loads of student debt. Sadly many of these individuals don’t have a drive or desire for entrepreneurship. Also Dale what your doing with startup camp is brilliant!

    I think you should also host week long seminars with a variety of entrepreneurs and have some hand on experience. Also a 1 year school that teaches, marketing, design, business would be helpful with a reduce cost of tution.

    • Thanks Kris. Love the ideas. I have some similar stuff coming down the pipeline. Thanks for the support.

  162. Brittani says:

    I really love your video and your ideas. I admire your success and passion and I aspire to be similar one day. I am only a freshman in college. I decided to go to a community college to save money since I still don’t know what I want to do. But like you said, I’m stuck with the fear that if I don’t go to college it will ruin me and I will never make enough money to live how I would like. I am a server working two jobs and going to school and I am about to move out into my first house. It is low rent and low utilities. It seems quite affordable but I know I don’t know the half of how hard it is really going to be. I’m wondering if I am making a huge mistake by going to school and moving out. I am not being forced out of my parents home, I’m only 18. But I am ready for my independence and to get my life started as a young adult. After seeing this, I am thinking about just getting an associates degree in buisness management and going to hair school. (my Scholarships pays for my schooling completely and I have a couple thousand extra a semester) I think I want to start my own buisness and own a hair school. Do you think that this is smart and could lead to me being successful? What would you do differently in my situation? I know I am young but I don’t think it is ever too early to start planning for my future.

    • Brittani, Just remember this. A degree won’t put you ahead of many people. Go get your dream job now. You might start at the bottom, but work your way up. 3 years from now, you will have the same job or better you would have received with a degree with no debt and no wasted time. You will have the experience and relationships in place. Be brave.

  163. Steven Miller says:

    Hey Dale:

    Just wanted to let you know that your article is excellent. I already saw another article written that included Mark Cuban’s view of college education, and watched a quick documentary about some of the issues regarding college in the 21st century.

    I am a freshman in college, and ever since high school I’ve thought about the pros and cons of a college education, and in my journey I have read books such as Rich Dad Poor Dad, talked to individuals who own their own businesses and to those have achieved MBA’s from top notch schools such as Harvard and Wharton, and the conclusions are all the same: college is an outdated concept created for the 20th century, and cannot keep up with the new kinds of needs generated from 21st century business.

    Though college is very expensive, and the concept is outdated, I will say that the connections, and opportunities provided by attending college have been very worthwhile.

    For example. some colleges are trying to adapt by adding experiential learning opportunities. One of my classes in college is all about creating business plans, performing risk assessments, understanding basic business finance, supply chain, marketing, and then putting it all together to run my own actual business.

    Other opportunities included getting involved with an organization called Enactus. Enactus is a world wide social business organization that focuses on using business skills to solve real world social problems. This year I went to Nicaragua and was a part of a team that was using microloans to help spur economic growth in poor, rural areas. And the money for the microloan program came from the profits generated from my business class.

    College offers a very good place to network, and exposure to new and different ideas. It also offers a wealth of information outside the classroom in the form of professors, business accelerators and incubators, research, and other individuals who are entrepreneurially minded. Its just about switching one’s mindset away from simply getting a college degree to teaching oneself how to learn, and using the resources a college provides to help build the life you want to live.

    Thanks Dale.

    • Thanks Steve! Glad we’re on the same page. Love your thought process.

  164. Kari S. says:

    This is an issue I struggle with often. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree and no debt in 2004 because I was a lucky recipient a a full tuition scholarship to a private institution. However, I found myself graduating with a degree in a field where i saw people working long hours, constantly traveling, females not getting married or having children…and I had a “what the heck am I doing” panic attack.

    I wish I’d had a mentor to point me towards entrepreneurship back then. Instead, I enrolled in graduate school. To be perfectly honest, my program was a year of study and a year of a paid residency wear I made about $32K while still on school. When I graduated, I had $33K in debt and secured a position making nearly $50k.

    Some people might lo

    • Hi Kari,

      Interesting story. Glad you’re on the right path now. Entrepreneurship offers so much freedom without regret of a wasted degree. Keep crushing.

  165. Great article, Dale. I’m currently a freshman in college and I want to get a degree in marketing and entrepreneurship so that I can start a business of my own creation with my passion for ministries and health and nutrition. However, I think about all of the debt that is piling up every single day. It would be a huge blessing to just be able to drop out and take your course because I’m sure I could learn just as much (if not more) than with a traditional degree.
    Any ideas about how I can take the plunge someday? P.S. My parents would probably not support me at all with this type of venture and I live under their roof.

    • Wow. Ashley that is a hard situation. Every piece of financial wisdom in the world would say, “if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.” I would have your parents read this article. You can always go back to school. You can’t always have the freedom and time to launch your own business. Enroll in Camp Ashley. Enrolling in both is better than one. And our program is only $1200 for the year…

  166. Mitch says:

    “Do you have school debt? How much? Would you do it again or do you regret your decision?”

    I have more student loan debt than the mortgage of my mom’s house (which I’ll probably be living in for a while)

    Would I do it again? Definitely not! I would still go to college, community college to get the prerequisites out of the way, paying it off with a part time job. Do I do what I love, no, but I have no choice because I have to pay the bills.

    I don’t think the solution is not go to college; the solution is to take a few years off after high school to explore yourself and then if you discover what you need really requires a degree, then you won’t waste time and money.

    For-profit schools on the other hand were my demise, they offered hands-on one-on-one learning, which didn’t benefit me at all in the real world. And cost me way more than I ever dreamed of spending on education, now I’m paying it back literally two-fold with interest.

    • Or the solution is: No to college, yes to education. Especially one which you can afford. Thanks for the comment Mitch.

  167. Amanda Waldron says:

    I agree 100%. I’m currently a sophomore in college, but I made the choice to go to a community college first rather than a university, thus saving me tons of money, and thankfully FAFSA covers it all for me. I never understood why it was always the first choice after high school to just go to college and just taking random classes to see what your interested in, rather than working or getting some experience elsewhere doing what you love. I am majoring in American Sign Language getting my associates right now and would love to transfer to get a higher degree (required), but the fact that I can’t afford it and would have to take out a loan is what’s keeping me from doing that. I hope one day soon he can find a way out of being in debt and having to worry about it every day, but it’s not looking so good.

    My brother is in this situation now with owing thousands in debt from college. Unfortunately, he never had the extra money to pay the government back, so they are now taking the said amount out of his paycheck every month without his say, which sucks and I hate seeing him going through that when he has so much potential to do amazing things.

    • Love your thinking Amanda. You guys will get through it. A learning experience for sure.

  168. Dale! Thank you so much for posting on this subject! I deeply respect you, your success, and your faith. Your level of high-quality intentional self promoting and marketing is powerful. I am really thankful for the amount of authenticity and transparency in which you portray yourself. Thank you! This has probably been the greatest struggle for me in the recent year. Education is something I’ve been good at, a motivated student and hungry individual. You see, up until about a year ago I’ve spent the last 6 years pursuing ministry (without a degree) as a career. For the last 6 years, opportunity has presented itself(without a degree), but as soon as it was time for it to be a permanent(paid) position, opportunity fled and I was left scrambling to show something the years of hard work. Fool me once, twice, and finally a third time and I get it. The dreams I have are no longer for that field, I cannot accomplish me (my dreams) by pursuing that. It’s my firm belief that if you have opportunity you are to seize it and make it pay. I have the opportunity to go to school (while working full time) and get a degree in 2.5-3 years. I have some serious dreams to pursue and for me I can reasonably afford college that will categorize me in business. Six years of great experience, now it’s time to set a different direction. Thoughts? Questions? Bring em on! 😉 PS: Healthier decisions are what I’m all about. I start school January the 5th. I haven’t signed for loans. Any incentive to completely changing directions(startup camp)?

    • Hey Justin,

      Love this. Are you a member here at StartupCamp yet? Sounds like it’s right up your alley. Keep up the passion brother.

  169. Ryan says:


    I appreciate the optimistic view that college isn’t for everyone. And it isn’t. However, I would qualify your argument by saying: some dreams require a degree and almost no experience you can gain can replace it. An example would be my job — I’m a healthcare manager and auditor for a large healthcare system. My job requires a master’s degree, and a license (by law in some states) with many people in my field having a doctorate.

    That being said, my most successful friends, in terms of happiness, have no degree. Experience will trump a degree for the majority of people, but not all.

    • Hey Ryan,

      Very true. But the question is… do you love it? Will you remain in that field for the rest of your life? Do you have any debt because of it? But again. you are correct. Healthcare and most teachers and lawyers need a degree.

      • Kim says:

        I agree with Dale on this, Ryan, and I also add that a college degree should be seen as an investment. As a healthcare manager/auditor, what percentage return are you getting on your college investment? If risk is low (career outlook positive) and returns are in your favor (how long to earn back your investment), go for it. My husband and I are first generation college students. He has a master’s degree and I have two master’s degrees – all in Humanities. If I had understood Dale’s wisdom at the outset, I would never have made the decisions I made (my husband’s degrees have proven much more sound investments). As Dale pointed out, we are entering our forties in college debt. One would assume that, as a first generation graduate, I have shifted the culture in my family to value and pursue education that’s not so. I encourage my children to look for an investment when the time comes (they are still in elementary school) and consider college one of many investment opportunities.

      • Sarah says:

        I am a Teacher . As a Teacher I needed a masters degree to even get a job in the competitive state of MA that requires all teachers to have a masters degree within their first 5 years of teaching . Also, the state does not pay for it. Most elementary schools in and near Boston won’t even hire a teacher with a bachelors degree without some sort of connection . You can find other ways around this rule but in the end many just get it done ! Most of my teacher friends owe more than $50,000 to the government . Sometimes you have to do what you have to do in order to follow your dreams. I love being a teacher and it has given me the chance to live all around the world. I think it’s not so much about the $ it’s more about “is it worth the $ to you.” Is I could’ve gone a cheaper route & gone to a public state school, I could’ve applied for every scholarship out there but I didn’t and sometimes it bothers me but mostly I don’t care. I am happy living all around the world and being free. I definitely couldve done it more inexpensively but I just didn’t because I was 23 and not aware of all my options. I also just wanted to get it done so I could teach since that was my dream ! Ultimately that’s all that matters to me – happiness. The loans and everything I will figure out. I don’t know if and when I will live in the USA again (with these *amazing* presidential candidates…) Anyway what I gathered from your article is – don’t go to college to get a job you hate and that also won’t pay off in the end to get you where you wanna be in life. As a teacher I believe in college but I think everyone should take a gap year like they do in many other countries . 18 year olds should work/travel for a year or 2. That’s what high school counselors should push before college. Do something out in the world before you major in business or art (like me ) and realize while it’s all fun and good in the moment it’s not what you will be doing forever. I think taking time off helps to see college as an investment more so than just something fun that’s away from your parents’ shackles .

        • Zacheriah says:

          Teaching requirements should be reduced to an Associates.

  170. Brandy Coffin says:

    I absolutely love this article. I am saving it under my favorites to send to anyone who tries to tell me that having my own business isnt going to get me anywhere and I should of gotten my college degree. I agree, if you cant afford it you shouldnt buy it. One of my goals is to get rid of the credit card debt I currently have and I know I will be able to. I saved up money to put down on a house without realizing the interest they are going to charge me on my loan is not even worth it. I will continue renting till I can buy my house cash.

    • Brandy you’re a smart girl. Keep it up and you’ll go far.

  171. Teresa says:

    This topic fascinates me as a mother to 5 children, 4 of which are charting the courses for their adult journey. I could tell stories of all the reasons why I don’t think college is the mature or best route for many young adults. Each of my kids have had their own unique stories.

    My concern, as a parent, is – what if we are wrong? I believe my kids are making sound, choices and I believe in their potential with and without college degrees. Still, there is so much pressure to go to college and so much pressure as a parent that you are not doing the right thing by your kids IF they do not go to college.

    As a life long learner, I am a student of this un-college philosophy and will continue to follow this topic very closely. Thank you for starting the conversation.

    • Hey Teresa,

      I totally get it. And nobody will know for sure. But one thing will remain true. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.

      • Michael Delgado says:

        Hi there, I am currently 20 years old and I was offered a 6 figured job that is in the field that I’m going for. I moved far away for college and to get ahead in life. When I was offered the job I cried that night because I was so happy. But my mother and a few family members want me to wait 4 more years so that I can get a degree. I really want to take this opportunity but if I do, I’m afraid that I’ll lose some support…. what should I do?

        • Tony says:

          you better have taken that job

        • Martin says:

          Take the job.

        • Kristin says:

          Job! The schools will always be there if you decide later that that’s what you’d like to do. The job opportunity won’t.

          • mary says:

            Job!!! your family will realize how you made a good decision later on! its your life!!

        • Asia says:

          Where can I apply?

    • cherry says:

      This article is awesome. I personally have been feeling unfulfilled at my job for a long time. I stuck with it primarily because I am a single mom and at the time my son was young. The last year and a half I ventured into a networking company because of the freedom they spoke about and I realized yes, that is what I was missing. So I am now starting a blog, which is a huge step for me. I came across your page and it confirmed all the other books and speakers who have been talking about working at something you love and freedom. My son is now 22 and a college graduate. I spoke college into him because I wanted to make sure he would be in a environment with other kids his age who were go getters and be inspired to pursue his dream and get away for a bit. I believed in the college education would help him land him a job. He has been home about six months and nothing so far has come through for him and it bothers me and him because we really thought he would have something by now. The student loans are rolling in and he is getting frustrated. If I knew than what I knew now. I would probably dig deep into course he could take a low cost, online or in seminars encourage to get a job in the industry as entry level or surround himself around mentors with your mindset who could open his eyes to something and different. This website and article confirms new changes that need to be made in peoples view of how to be able to attain they’re dream job or work for themselves.

    • Donald Major says:

      I went to a state school (University of Rhode Island) and got a free ride. It wasn’t the best school, but it did the job and got me out of there with no debt. You don’t have to pay top dollar for your education, you just have to take it seriously. If you have drive, a work ethic, and are willing to pay your dues, you can achieve anything. Here is my advice:
      1) Don’t borrow money that you can’t pay back.
      2) Get a job while in college.
      3) Major in an actual useful area so you can get a job.
      4) Graduate.
      5) Get a job when you graduate.
      6) Don’t party and buy a new car and giant TVs… pay your load.
      7) Cut your expenses! Bring your car insurance to $25/month (check Insurance Panda), cut gas to less than $50/month (check Gasbuddy), get rid of cable TV (check netflix and aereo), and look to TMobile for cellphone ($20/month).
      8) Get a government job so you don’t have to pay taxes and can’t get fired… or actually work hard to succeed in the private sector.

    • Barbara Martin says:

      I graduated in high school in 2009, remembered how nervous i was to walked on a college campus, though im here i will achieve my dreams. But going thru struggles studying things i wasnt interested in but I MUST take to meet core requirements. On the other hands working double, my downfall i felt dissapointment and my dream become just “maybe” or i wish i can make it. I owned a balance and thats stop me from going back, cant pay up with just a day jobs. So, thankful I know I am on my way with building a business….


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