Let's face it. We live in a world where information can be found online for just about anything. What can't be found online can be found in books, and what can't be found in books can be found through internships, jobs, and mentors. This leaves a lot of young entrepreneurs wondering, "Is college even worth it?"
Ask around and you'll find conflicting answers. Some will tell you it's necessary in order to gain the skills you need to succeed. Some will tell you it's necessary to build character. And some will tell you not to waste your time.
Most studies tend to indicate that college-educated people end up making more money in their careers than those who are not, but how does that translate to entrepreneurs?
- You will make important friends and valuable contacts. A large part of your success in business will depend on who you know, and who knows you. College provides you with an opportunity to cross paths with potentially thousands of people.
- You will gain a depth of knowledge. While you can learn just about anything on your own, college can speed up the process, making it faster and easier to learn the skills you'll need throughout your lifetime.
- A college degree could open doors for you. Potential business partners, investors, and clients will look at your education and experience, and may use it as a determining factor when deciding whether or not to do business with you.
- College is fun. There is nothing quite like the experience of college. Your time in college will be among the most memorable days of your life, and you may regret missing out later in life.
- College is Expensive. Average tuition, room and board for a 4-year degree is around $80,000. 2/3 of all students graduate with an average of $23,000 in debt, and 39% say it will take them 10 years to pay off their debt. Consider that you will need money to start your business, which may be hard to obtain when you are starting in the red
- Time-Commitment. More than half of college students require 6 or more years to finish their degree. That's a long time to wait to start your business! Going to college requires commitment and dedication, and you'll need to be in it for the long haul.
- Non-relevant courses. In order to graduate, you'll need to take some courses that may not be relevant to your interests and passion. Some say you can never learn too much, but will you ever use this knowledge again? Studies say 4 of the 10 most popular majors include Social Sciences, Psychology, Communications, and English. Popular careers of these majors include Retail Store Manager, Customer Service Representative, and Administrative Assistant.
- Every year more than 2 million high school students enroll in college — 1 in 3 drop out after their first year. This collectively wastes $9 billion dollars a year
- With the amount of money spent on getting an education at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, you could purchase a brand new Ferrari F430
- The average college freshman spends over 10 hours a week partying, over 9 hours a day engaged with media and technology, including games, cell phones, TV, and social networks like Facebook, and only 8 hours a week actually studying
Should I or Shouldn't I?
The question isn't whether college is necessary for entrepreneurs, but rather, "Is college necessary for you?" Before making the decision, try asking yourself the following questions:
- Do you already know what you want to do with your life? Have you already begun building your company?
- What is your learning style? Do you learn best by being "taught", or by teaching yourself? Are you a visual learner, or do you learn best by listening? Do you have a history of excelling in school, or did you struggle?
- What do you hope to gain from attending college? Are there specific skills you know you need? Can you learn those skills by working at a job, finding an internship, researching online, or finding a mentor?
Consider the answers, and then do some serious soul-searching to really determine what's best for you. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits all answer to this question. Just do what you feel is right, trust in your decision, and never look back.
Are you an entrepreneur that did or didn’t go to college? Share your thoughts with us below.Â And stay tuned for the upcoming blog post, 100 Top Entrepreneurs Who Succeeded without a College Degree!