Why College Isn’t Worth It

Whopping amounts of young people are deciding that, for them, college is not worth it. But is there more to it than’s young misadventure? In society, getting a college degree has become seen as mandatory. We’re taught that after graduating high school the next step is to immediately begin college. We’re also taught that a college degree is a key to securing high-paying jobs and successful futures. The truth is that this is not always the case. In fact, now more than ever, young people are questioning whether or not it’s worth going to college at all. Studies have proven that a vast amount of young millennials don’t seem to think it is. Despite the disadvantages of not going to college, they’re choosing to postpone and even opt-out of the college experience altogether. And, considering their reasoning, you might want to reconsider if college is worth it to you.

Benefits of Not Going To College

Choosing to skip college may seem like a bit of a bold idea at first but it actually has its benefits. These are some of the reasons students’ age millennials are deciding not to go to college.

Financially Freeing

There are some pretty big financial benefits to not going to college.

1. Skipping college can save you loads of money.

In the last forty years, the cost of college has risen by over 1000%. The amount of student debt with the Federal Reserve reached over $1 Trillion back in 2018. These shocking figures give an idea of just how much more costly higher education has become. This is the most common answer to the question “what are some cons of going to college?”

2. Avoid getting stuck with massive amounts of debt.

The average American attendee walks away from college with considerable amounts of debt. And when you hear that up to 50% of all college students in the states have at least $30,000 in student loans, it stands to reason that many believe it makes a college education not worth it.

3. The money saved for college can create a brighter future.

So it’s no surprise that young people approaching college age are hesitant to get themselves into more debt than they can actually afford. Instead, by taking jobs right out of high school, they’re able to accumulate money to put towards their futures in other ways.

Life and Job Experience

For many, the appeal of not going to college is not just about the money. It’s also about experiencing what the real world is like and seeing what it feels like to be part of the working world.

4. Apprentice and internship positions can get you far.
  • Choosing to work right out of high school and take apprentice or internship positions allow youngsters to skip the four-year college experience and go straight to learning on the job. In countries like Switzerland, this is already more common than youngsters choosing to go to college.
  • There, over 60% of the students leaving school goes straight on to work in practical trades.
5. Experience can overpower qualifications.
  • The skill and experience gained from hands-on work like that have become highly sought after in the job market. 
  • Many college degree holders finding that employers are often more interested in candidates with exposure to similar work environments and relevant job experience.
6. Good character building.
  • The experience of holding down a 9-5 job can instill a deeper sense of independence and preparedness for the ‘real-world’. 
  • As opposed to the college experience which can be rather sheltered, leaving many graduates shocked to face some of life’s harsh realities.

Sometimes Self-Mastery is Best

It goes without saying that some careers do require a college education. Anything in the medical field for example. But the fact is that careers like this are the exception. Other fields, especially in the more creative fields, can actually be more effectively self-taught.

7. There are other means of learning.
  • Hands-on practice and things like workshops and courses allow students to master their crafts by learning at their own pace and from multiple sources. 
  • Multiple teachers prevent one’s education from being skewed by a singular teacher who may have a rigid way of doing things.
8. Everyone learns differently.
  • Young people pursuing careers such as these often learn better in more relaxed, hands-on environments.
  • Learning may even occur faster in these settings than in more formal college ones. With less than 10% of students learning at their optimum level in the latter.

Time for Some Clarity

All too often, young people get to college-age and pick something to study without fully knowing what they want to do with their lives yet. As a result, the dropout rates are pretty high.

9. Gap Years Can Be Fun and Beneficial.
  • By choosing to postpone college and taking a gap year instead, it can give a person time to get clear about what it is they want. 
  • Alternatively, working during a gap year may also give youngsters the confidence to decide to go straight into the workforce. 
  • The extra free time one gets from not being in college gives way to explore different options that may be better suited to the individual.

A College Degree Isn’t a Prerequisite of Being Successful

Now, society would have you believe that deciding not to go to college ends all your chances of success. But in truth, the world has changed and the idea of what success means is different for every person. Not only that but the world we live in is constantly evolving.

  •  Now, more than ever before there are career paths that can not only be done without a degree but can also be rather lucrative. So, if that’s the only thing driving you to go, college is not worth it.
  • There are also countless famous entrepreneurs who’re living proof that it’s possible to be both successful and educated regardless of whether or not someone went to college.

Why College Isn’t for Everyone

Around half of the American college students drop out before completing their four-year degrees. This goes to show that not everyone is cut out to thrive in the college environment.

  • Extensive studies have shown that only 5% of people surveyed felt that lecture halls were their prime learning conditions.
  •  An astonishing 75%, on the other hand, stated they learn best from hands-on, practical work. 

What’s more, is that college wasn’t actually designed for everyone to attend. Before the 1960’s schools were focused on teaching kids practical skills they could take with them into jobs and apprenticeships. Unless a person wanted to practice medicine, for example, it was believed a college education was not worth it. Only afterward did schools begin ushering students into the college system, a decision that has been financially catastrophic to many who have gotten little use out of their expensive degrees. 

Why is College Not Important?

In the long run, as long as you’re learning and pursuing your own definition of success, a college degree isn’t important. 

  • We live in an age where information and education are more readily available than ever before. From online courses and webinars to classes and workshops, the options for learning do not end with college. These alternate options allow individuals to grow in learn in several areas rather than committing to one major for the four years it takes to obtain a degree. 
  • College may be presented as the answer to life’s big questions like “what does my future hold?” or “who am I?”. In reality, if a person doesn’t already have these answers, all the college environment will do is add immense stress. Unless one is wanting to work in a field that requires a degree, then college just isn’t essential for that person.

Why Don’t Millennials Believe College is Worth It?

Millennials are paving the way for Gen Z on the college-free route. More and more young millennials are asking themselves “is it okay to not go to college?” And many of them are going on to prove that it is.

  • Young millennials are breaking away from the societal mold. Nearly 20% of would-be students ages 22 to 28 stated they’d likely take a gap year before college. Another 20% indicated they’d choose to forgo the college experience altogether. They’re determined to avoid the massive amounts of student debt that often comes along with getting a degree. 
  • Over 70% of these surveyed millennials have considered one of the many alternative means of education. This figure has grown exponentially since 2017 alone, by almost 20%. This is no doubt due to the growth of technology and the increased accessibility of education because of it.

Does a College Degree Matter?

As we’ve stated throughout, the evolution of technology and the internet age has been rapid. As a result, there are careers and job positions that didn’t exist as little as five years ago. So, how important is college?

  •  A study by the World Economic Forum exhibited this change in 2016 already. This means that by the time a student graduates college the world may have changed. And the problem with depending on a college degree is that, at some point, it may become irrelevant. Learning multiple things from different alternative methods of education can keep a person savvy and adaptable to new opportunities.
  • A study by Georgetown University back in 2012 showed that degree holders weren’t immune to unemployment. With the rate then being as high as 8.9%, a figure that’s sure to have risen as a result of the financial difficulties that accompanied the 2020 pandemic.

Ultimately, it’s up to every individual to decide what is right for them and what path they want to follow to get there. College is not for everyone and that is perfectly acceptable. It is up to you to decide if college is not worth it. Choosing an alternative means of getting an education that suits you is smart and financially beneficial. College should not be thought of as an experience to be had or missed. Rather it should be considered as a possibility. Hopefully, in time, high schools can begin to teach students about other opportunities that could be considered for their futures as well.

Helen Vlasova
Helen is the co-founder of admissionsly.com, a career guidance website for students and young professionals. She has a degree in English from the University of Michigan. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and traveling.

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