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The UnCollege Blog

10 Reasons Not to Go to College (At Least Not Yet)

1. It’s absurdly expensive.

The cost of college has skyrocketed in recent years. Attending a decently-ranked university can easily cost upwards of $100,000.

What’s even scarier: according to the Wall Street Journal, college graduates who take out loans leave with, on average, $27,000 in student debt. Moreover, this is debt that they can’t default on.

2. You mistakenly think it will prepare you for career success.

School teaches obedience and discipline. If you think about it, the most successful students are the ones who do their homework, and do it on time.

Yet employers are looking for something that schools don’t teach. They value people who are self-directed: who can set goals, take initiative, and succeed at work (not just in school).

3. Getting a degree =/= getting a job.

The New York Times calls recent college graduates “Generation Limbo.” More than 44% of college graduates under the age of 25 are either unemployed or underemployed, which means they are forced to take jobs that don’t require a degree.

And if you have student debt, how are you going to pay it back if you’re making little to no money? (The Tumblr blog “We Are the 99 Percent” helps illustrate this tragic reality.)

4. Everyone else is doing it.

Almost 15,000,000 students enroll as undergraduates each year. Going to college no longer distinguishes you from the crowd. Instead, a college education has become ubiquitous.

How the hell do you plan to stand out?

5. It’s what you “should” be doing, but not what you want to do.

You’ve been told your entire life that college is the logical next step, but you don’t actually have a reason as to why you’re going. College doesn’t excite you nearly as much as does going out into the real world.

6. You haven’t seriously explored any other options.

Attending a 4-year institution is far from the only path to take after high school, despite what your college counselor (or parents, peers, and teachers) might tell you. In reality, you have a spectrum of options, from taking a gap year to entirely designing your own education.

7. It’s not a choice between attending college and working at McDonald's.

Despite the way they’re portrayed, normal people can and do succeed without going to college. Their stories are just not as widely publicized as are those of Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg.

Here’s a tried-and-true route: get an unpaid internship in a field you’re interested in. Learn as much as you can, and then leverage your experience and new network of professional contacts to get a paid internship. Then use that experience to get a full-time job. And repeat.

8. Most people learn more outside of the classroom than inside of it.

For some people, learning via textbook is tedious. They prefer learning by doing — working, exploring, creating, or otherwise doing things in the real world. Others have no problem learning out of a textbook. Instead, it’s the one-pace-fits-all atmosphere of school that bothers them.

A classroom setting is optimal only for a small number of people. Maybe it’s for you. Maybe not. Figure out out how YOU learn best.

9. There is an incredible (and increasing) amount of resources available. For free.

Almost any knowledge you could possibly hope to gain these days can be found on the internet. If not, you can get in touch with someone who has this knowledge (or knows how to get it) by using the internet. Magical.

“You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for a buck fifty in late charges at the public library.” — Will Hunting

10. Curating your own education can be cheaper and more meaningful.

You can pay lots of money for the curriculum and social experience that college provides, and have it delivered on a silver platter. Or you can do it yourself, creating an educational experience that you actually want to have, often for a fraction of the cost.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, give this one a read:

Starting Your College Application? Consider a Gap Year




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