Do you need college to be successful in the modern world?
This is a question whose answer spurs so much debate online and offline. On one hand, we have a large section of the population that believes that school, and especially university, is the only easy way to find success. On the other hand, there are so many reasons why college education is starting to feel more like a burden.
What’s more, there are so many examples of people who have succeeded with a college degree. So, what are some of the reasons why higher education should not be your only hope for success?
Student Debts Will Cripple You
Unless you are from a well-off family, you are about to join the debt statistics. Today, Americans owe more than $1.5 trillion in student debts. These debts will follow you for many years after you have graduated.
If you fail to land a job immediately after graduation (and most people miss out on jobs), the debt will only worsen as the government adds fees to the small loan you might have. Most students have a debt of about $40,000. This is almost what most entry-level graduates make in a year.
Many College Graduates are in Job Positions that Do Not Require a College Degree
Did you know that 15 percent of taxi drivers have bachelor’s degrees? Taxi drivers are not the only people that work in a position that does not require them to have a university degree. So many bartenders, parking lot assistants, waiters, and waitresses in hotels, janitors, and so many other people are in positions that only require a high school diploma or less, yet they have degrees.
These people in lowly positions earn up to 50 percent less of what those working in positions that require a college degree earn. But they have a college degree that has failed to land them a better job.
Many People Find Success Without a College Degree
At least 36 percent of all jobs do not require a college degree. Today, most firms are recognizing that a university degree is not the only way that employees can deliver and are letting workers with no college degrees work for them.
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are some of the most successful college dropouts. Bill Gates dropped two years after joining college while Steve Jobs dropped after six months. Had they stayed in school, they would not have employed millions of people like they do today. Their stories are well known today.
Many College Graduates are Home with No Jobs
The unemployment rate in the U.S was about 3.6 percent in 2019. But the unemployment rate for college graduates is 4 percent, a little higher than the overall unemployment rate. Recent graduates have more challenges as a little less than half of all recent graduates are at home watching TV with no job. Why is college worth it then? While you can see so many essay examples online on the importance of education, the fact remains that there are fewer jobs.
While unemployment is real, underemployment is also crippling recent college graduates where most of them hold positions that are meant for lower-level graduates. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York observed in 2012 that at least 44 percent of all recent graduates were underemployed.
Many Students Drop Out of College
It costs the government more than $1.5 billion when students drop out of college. At least 20 percent of all college students do not report for the second year of college. Not only does the government lose money, but the students also lose their money.
Trade Professions Pay Above Average Wages
Instead of going through school, writing an essay after another, and even getting samples online, most young people now prefer learning a trade profession. These trade professions pay higher than average, some even pay more than college graduates earn.
Again, trade professions only require a year or less, and you can earn while still in school. These middle-skill professions account for more than half of all jobs in the U.S. which means that a graduate is almost always guaranteed a job after training.
College Degrees May Not Prepare One Adequately for the Job
Many students, even after spending four years in college, still graduate without the necessary skills to handle their job. Today, some companies are considering those without a college degree as having the skills best suited to advance their companies.
In the four years that students spend in college, they might be attending classes five hours a week, which is less than is needed to instill the needed job skills.
College Education is Becoming Increasingly Expensive and Unaffordable
Picture a situation where most young parents are still paying their student loans. By the time their children get to college, they have paid off their loans, and now they have other loans they used to buy a house.
Tuition fees have gone up, and most of these parents cannot make ends meet. The children will also take student loans, and the debt cycle will go on and on. Some people decide to reduce the financial strain on their parents and just drop from college – this is what Steve Jobs did.
So Many Graduates Have Diluted the Value of Bachelor’s Degree
A decade ago, a bachelor's degree meant something. People would get respect just by mentioning they have a bachelor's degree. Today, almost everyone, including maybe your taxi driver has a bachelor's degree. Candidates would choose where they wanted to work, now they have to drop their papers at hundreds of firms.
Missed Opportunities and Delayed Milestones
When you have a student loan, you cannot afford to move out of your parent's house. You will have to live in their house and share costs with them. This way, you will have to delay essential life stages such as marriage and financial independence among other life goals that you might have had. If you want to move out of your parents' at age 30, then student loans are your gateway.
Some people might convince you that going through school and having a university degree is important. But, that degree is never enough. Apart from college, you need to gain new knowledge continually to succeed.