20 Reasons Traditional College Isn’t Necessary To Be Successful

female graduate thinking of paying school fees

Attending college seems to have become a socially-expected and even demanded life-step in today’s world. We’re encouraged from a young age to excel – in preschool, school, high school, and then college – because, of course, that’s the way to success and happiness. But there are a few bohemians among us who ask, “Is college required for success?” And it turns out that there may be some valid reasons to question the traditional loyalty to college.

The truth is that college is not a required step for all careers. With a specific set of skills, talents, and hard work, you can be successful in life without a college degree.

Read on below for some reasons why college is overrated for many people. 

1. College doesn’t teach you how to think.

At college, you get exposure to many different people who challenge your worldview in new ways. However, it’s not necessary to be in a brick-and-mortar university to meet people. You’ll find yourself in unique environments throughout life where new ideas and thoughts will influence you. 

Additionally, a significant part of our educational system does not encourage critical thinking. For a long time, people have believed that everyone must be armed with at least a bachelor’s degree to succeed. But, the truth is, what people really need to go after is lifelong learning and constant self-improvement. That’s what’s going to determine success.

2. College debts.

Let’s face the truth: The average American student graduates from school with quite a significant amount of debt.

With each passing year, college degrees get more and more expensive. As a result, many graduates are putting off starting their own lives, families, and business all because college debt has made it impossible to live their own life.

Those who can afford college hope to make a lot of money after graduating. Unfortunately, not all degrees pay back. Barak Obama’s once noted, “Folks can make a lot more by learning a trade than they might with an art history degree.” Indeed, his words ring true.

Getting a degree doesn’t guarantee you a high-paying job upon graduation. And the debt can linger on your life for a long, long time. So, is the experience worth the opportunity cost? 

3. Education is inexpensive. College is not.

Nobody argues that education is essential. But is college the only way to be educated?

In today’s age, information is at your fingertips. Online sources offer university courses for free. But, do you realize that the same material you learn in college courses can be discovered for free on the Internet?

Carry your book with you and listen to great books on your daily commute. Teach yourself and never stop learning.

If you can’t learn any other way besides going to university, that is your option. Otherwise, consider your other options to educate yourself.

4. A degree doesn’t guarantee anything.

Thousands of young people join college believing that they will land their dream job and make good money once they graduate. But, unfortunately, they don’t realize that getting a degree doesn’t guarantee anything – besides bills. 

Leadership, decision making, management are skills that take real-life experiences and a lot of years.

So, don’t fall for the lie that going to university is your ticket to lifelong success.

5. You don’t find your purpose in college. 

Do you really “find yourself” by going to college? Unfortunately, it seems as though studying in a reputed college has been the only acceptable and normal route for teens to transition into successful adulthood.

College is marketed as a haven where young people can find themselves. But college campus is not the real world. You might get a degree in elementary education, but the day you find yourself in a room full of noisy kids, you might regret the path you took.

You can only find yourself by doing things in the real world. To solve real-world problems, you need to develop skills in the real world. Find yourself and what you are worth by putting yourself in challenging situations. Try out new ideas and projects, and pursue your current passions. Then, you can consider if a university degree is essential after you’ve found your true desires.

6. Employees are after talent and skills. 

Many college students believe from their hearts that their degree is what’s going to get them hired. But is it true?

Employers reveal that hiring is not based on education alone. Instead, it’s more on their experience. Why? Because traditional college doesn’t prepare you for a job, it only gives you the fundamentals.

Yes, college does educate you, but it’s not the only education that employers value. Employers realize that today’s graduates haven’t been conditioned to think outside the box, and therefore, they look more for experience and talent.

7. Resumes have become ridiculous.

Most employers don’t care what your resumes say. As long it sounds good, few hiring managers would take the time to look deeper into resumes. Those who do are mostly trying to analyze what experience you have to offer.

So ultimately, your college degree is just a tick in the box. There’s absolutely no other reason for it besides that the position requires a college education.

woman waiting for interview indoors

8. Not all positions need a degree.

It sounds simple, but people forget that most positions don’t require college. 

You don’t need to go to university to kill it in auditions if you’ve got stellar singing skills. A photographer doesn’t need to be versed in the history of photography. A salesperson doesn’t need to have passed college to talk and influence people to buy goods. Likewise, trades with good salaries, like mechanics, electricians, carpenters, and plumbers, do not need college. In fact, around half of the jobs out there do not require a degree at all.

9. Self-made experiences are respected.

People with self-made experiences over the years are often more respected than a person fresh out of college. If you work hard in gaining knowledge and building connections with experts in your field, it’s guaranteed that hiring managers will view you as credible and more respected. The day you hold a long resume full of experiences, you’ve reached a point where no one can question your education.

10. You learn more in the real world.

You don’t learn by watching somebody tell you how it’s done. You learn by doing it. A degree might assist you in opening your career, but it’s your talent, ethics, and lifelong learning that keeps you on the ball.

11. You use little of what you learn in college.

People soon find out that they use very little of what they learned in college. For example, if you become a content writer, you may use the basic grammar skills you learned, but not much besides that. On the other hand, your first job out of college will teach you more than all you learned in your years of schooling.

12. You can’t teach entrepreneurship in class.

Are you dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur? If so, you might want to weigh your options carefully because college doesn’t teach you how to be a successful entrepreneur. Of course, you might learn many basic skills, but entrepreneurship is a trait that comes only from real-life ventures.

13. Most don’t know why they are in college.

Ask college students why they are in college. Most have no idea. Many change majors at least once, which is a setback in both time and money. Research shows that many American grads don’t find a full-time job in their chosen profession. Indeed, it’s not college that determines your success, but skills that are perfected by time and practice.

14. It depends on your industry.

Is college necessary for success in life? Yes – if you are an aspiring doctor, engineer, or lawyer. But not all industries require you to show a certificate. For instance, someone in construction would be hired based on their hands-on experience rather than their education. 

Indeed, you can be successful without a degree; just keep in mind that you will need to choose a path where it’s not necessary.

15. It depends on the individual (you).

No matter what anyone else says, there is no right or wrong level of education. It ultimately boils down to one question: How do you view and measure success? To some, getting a degree may be an essential part of their definition of success. But there are many more ways to view your life. As an individual, you can find your unique kind of success that challenges you and gives you purpose in life.

16. There are trade schools. 

If you are here because you simply don’t have the resources to attend college, then there are plenty of other paths for you to take! Trade schools are perfect for those with a specific interest. It’s one of the best alternatives to traditional college that prepares students to work as electricians, nurses, mechanists, therapists, carpenters, and much more. 

Carpenter Training Female Apprentice

17. There are apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships give more hands-on experience than trade schools. Furthermore, you are also paid for your work. With an internship, the experiences you gain can help you quickly develop into an adept in your chosen field.

18. The economics of college. 

Since students are constantly told that they need a degree for job success, the demand for college is ever increasing. As a result, tuition has soared in the last years. Similarly, there are more grads than there are jobs for grads, causing a decrease in wages. Sadly, college debt and low wages don’t sound like guaranteed success.

19. The flooded degree market. 

Back in those days, when going to college was rare, degrees had high value. A good company could easily hire you. But times have changed. Now, many Americans opt for a degree. But a significant amount of them are also unemployed (or underemployed). Simply said, the college market is flooded. Getting a degree isn’t an instant ticket to a job any longer.

20. People who don’t have degrees have become successful.

You know Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. But did you know that none of them graduated college? There are plenty of people on the planet who have been successful without a college degree. Now, this doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful by dropping out of school. But the point is, college isn’t necessary to be successful. 

Last word

Is traditional college the surefire way to success? From the reasons we have given, it’s definitely not. It’s never wise to depend on a degree for success. Instead, always improve yourself, challenge yourself, and follow your passions. That’s the way to true success and fulfillment.

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