7 Reasons You SHOULDN’T Go To College

40 years ago we had a great education system. Learning was affordable and employers offered higher paying jobs to those with degrees. Not anymore.

The average annual college tuition is over $50,000 per year and employers are measuring candidates less on knowledge and more on portfolio or experience. Young adults need to start thinking for themselves instead of enrolling because “my parents want me to have a degree”. Furthermore, it's putting our young adults in massive debt. Two thirds of the graduating population to be exact. School loan debt now ranks #2 at $1.2 trillion only to be surpassed by mortgage loans.

The golden model of “go to college and get a good job” is not longer gold. It's rusty and broken.

With the intersection of the internet and a weak economy, everything has changed. Learning is free and if you're willing to work for it, you'll find yourself a pretty sweet career. The video below both made me laugh and cringe. I hope this truth telling satire makes you question your choice to enroll.


This blog post was written by an independent guest contributor.
Author Name: D Patridge.

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141 Responses

  1. What’s even worse about the college system is hearing stories from students not learning anything even with the good money they are spending. I had a friend that had to go to the dean and ask for a refund because information systems teacher could not even navigate the target website – he literally record his class to show there was no value! They gave him a refund but the professor is still employed and I would bet that all those other students didn’t get a refund. Just sad that they think a degree makes people better candidates.

  2. I definitely agree that the way our society sees college right now is faulty- it has basically become the new high school degree. But I also take issue with the part of the video that says “because you’ll be doing all the work” as though that is part of a scam. How can you expect to get an education without working for it? How can you expect someone else to do it for you?
    The ideal of a college degree is that you come out the other side with 4+ years worth of hard-earned education. The reality is that many students just pay for the “education” while they party for 4+ years, and then feel entitled to better jobs and salaries. Yes, the colleges/universities are to blame for taking money and churning out graduates, but also look at the students who will grade-grub, cheat/copy and argue if they don’t pass a class.
    If you want to work for a good education, you can get it almost anywhere. Never blame someone else because you haven’t learned what you could have.

    1. I really have an issue with the idea that students are doing all the work, too. I have been a lecturer and taught rooms full of students- it might not look like work but it requires a lot of skill to be able to do well (and I am not saying that I have ever done it well). Just because you think professors sit in their office and do nothing does not mean its true.

      Totally agree that too often nowadays students think they shouldn’t have to work for things.

  3. I’m getting a PhD so obviously college was necessary for me, but I am not someone who would ever push kids into attending a 4 year liberal arts school like I did if academia is not their thing. In fact I know several really smart kids who I think will be better off going to a trade school rather than an expensive school. However, I do warn them to pick a trait wisely and chose something that can’t be outsourced like dental Hygienist, electrician, etc.

  4. An interesting thought starter but what’s your solution? You have a great video that will surely encourage some people to not attend college. And while I do believe that college isn’t for everyone, are you suggesting that someone learn a trade or industry on their own? How does someone who does that, which is possible, compete in a marketplace where employers look for degrees? Where competition is stiff and jobs are at a minimum?

  5. College is not for everyone, but giving “reasons not to go to college” is misleading. A degree is a tool to leverage yourself into a career that requires an education. It is possible to make a good living as a plumber or a salesman, but there is a limit on the positions you can hold without a Bachelor’s degree. It is also insulting to those of us who chose to earn a degree to insinuate that we have not worked as hard as those who opt for jobs that do not require a degree. I earned a full scholarship for college and still worked full-time as a bartender to have savings. I now am a full-time graduate student with a tuition waiver, and I STILL work full-time so I don’t have to take out loans for living expenses.

    Furthermore, putting yourself into $250k debt is not the only way to get a college education. Choose in-state public schools. Choose community college for the first couple of years. Work. The argument should not be “reasons not to go to college;” rather, the argument should be “Five Possible Paths to the Career You Desire” (or whatever number happens to fit the list). The financial struggles aren’t a direct result of the decision to go to college. They’re a result of a really bad choice of school.

  6. I think even before college people would and will always believe in themselves visualise think nice and make moves B*jamin Aye0*=D!

  7. I went to college, took a bunch of extra courses I thought were a waste of time and money. I went because it was expected of me from my parents. I have friends who have taken programs that are basically preparatory or to help them get ready for college, personally I think that should happen before college. Most college students will not take college seriously because it is a time to learn and discover about yourself, and like me, my college days were a time to enjoy my freedom away from my parents. Went from fresh out of high school and into college. I partied a lot and I didn’t take my studies seriously. I really had not found myself nor knew my passion in life was so I took a program which description seemed interesting to me. It was a waste of time and money. I went on to university though and it was by far a better experience because I was more mature and responsible for my actions. It really opened my mind because I took courses that I chose and had major interests and passion for.

    I am a mother of a 12 year old now and I’ve told him that it is his choice to go to college or go straight to university AFTER he knows where his passion lies. I encourage him to really get to know myself and I do my best to motivate him to do his best. Right now he’s aiming for the NHL and at the same time is considering going the Canadian Forces. I tell him he needs to feed his interests so when the day comes for him to decide what to do, he can follow his heart.

    Don’t get me wrong college is very hands on, however, that time of a young person’s life is critical and should be spent on self discovery. It’s no fun going to college when you don’t know or aren’t sure if you want to be in that chosen field.

    Quotes on education from past famous people and great leaders all have a high esteem about it, but it’s sad education systems have become more about money. There are even teachers/instructors who are there just for the money.

    “Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.” John W. Gardner

  8. and if to think that a person has no college degree its hurt too much, if it doesnt matter anymore for seeking job, try to make all possible to give what wants,
    cause we have our youth years once a life

  9. Soo what ARE the 7 reasons? Because the only one I see is that it’ll put you in debt. What’s the alternative though? I would love to see a list of jobs you can get without going to school.. because I just haven’t come across these in the job search yet.

    1. I think the 7 reasons are included in the video?

      I know this question was posted 6 months ago, but there are plenty of jobs you can do without a college degree.. in fact I’d say learning how to market yourself (marketing) effectively is probably the most important skill any young people should learn, which doesn’t require a degree.

      I live in the UK, and most marketing/copywriting/web developer roles do not require degrees. As my colleague once said…”you either know how to code Ruby on Rails, or you don’t… you either know HTML, CSS and SEO or you don’t”. A degree is irrelevant for those kinds of roles, I’m pretty sure a Salesforce Architect/Administrator doesnt require a degree either.

      There are roles out there, people just aren’t looking hard enough.

      If anyone is wondering what else you should do other than go to college.. I’d say.. start building skills the kind of employers you’d like to work for are interested in…

  10. This is stupid. You should encourage people to do whatever they WANT to do. I don’t really see how it’s your place to post something like this, other than you clearly didn’t go to school and now you feel the need to defend yourself. What people choose to do with their time is no one’s business except the person’s time who is being spent. Education is what you make of it. Maybe you should ask a surgeon if they feel that their education wasn’t necessary. I personally would prefer to pay someone that I know invested time in studying for whatever they are getting paid to do.

  11. I will begin by saying that I have a masters in Higher Education and would encourage EVERYONE to go to college if they have the chance. College is an opportunity to expand your horizons beyond what work and family life can offer.

    Your implication that everything can be self taught is relatively short sighted. The problem is people don’t know what they don’t know. Especially today with so much misinformation on the web I would never encourage people to just go learn from the internet. I can only speak from my experience, but if I were only to recreate other people’s work in my job I would not be employed very long and that is what an internet education would afford me.

    However, since I am a professional in higher education I have seen personally those students who are only there to party and blow off class. I would amend your post to “7 reasons you shouldn’t go AWAY to college.” Too many students put the value of their education on the residence halls, frat parties, and student unions to realize that these have very little to do with the quality of their education.

    My son will definitely understand the the dollars and cents of his degree. I will never co-sign a loan for him when he can go to the community college down the street for much less.

    I will say, if you can get a professional job before going to school then go for it, since most offer some kind of tuition reimbursal.

  12. I tried to go to college several times but wasn’t mature enough to stick it out. I’m now older and wiser, holding down two jobs, knowing in the field I am in I could do much better if I at least took the courses I needed to become certified. However, I do see that much can be done, especially taking on a physically intense job that one learns by trade and do very well. I have always thought that was a better way anyhow. Not everyone is cut out for college. I think I am one of those people…

  13. I completely agree with this article. I was never going to be a doctor, lawyer, and cringe at the thought of being a teacher. I now work as a trade show coordinator. I’m 26, Make enough money to support myself and enjoy life, and my 4 yr Bachelor’s Degree was a waste of time and money. Young people buy into the old lie, and tradition that you need to go to college right after you graduate. I can’t name 5 things I learned in college that helps me in my position now.

  14. I went to college and agree with this article. I’m applying to jobs in my field and noticed that experience is more important lately. People without college degrees who have worked in my field for the past year are getting the positions that I’m applying for. It makes me sad, but I have to work hard and start at jobs that only require a high school diploma in order for me to get to a position with a salary that justifies what my parents and I paid for in out of state tuition at an accredited university. I cringe when I read the job descriptions on online applications saying that the position only requires a high school diploma, but the position right above it requires 3 to 4 years of experience and a bachelor’s degree. I used to be very involved in school and one of my positions was as a recruiter and gave campus tours. Whenever I found out people were trying to be in my major or something similar, I just wanted to tell them to just go ahead and work retail and they’ll be further ahead in 4 years than what they would be starting fresh with a college degree. Looking back today, I’m proud of my college degree and what I have accomplished at school, but I would’ve gotten a part time job instead of being involved on campus or maybe taken on less extracurricular activities. My advice to everyone: even if your parents pay for you to go to school and living costs, get a part-time job that you like. It looks significantly better than 2 internships and being involved on campus.

  15. Hello,

    I’m 19 and currently attending a local community college. I want to be a writer; I’ve been working on a book that’s been in development for at least a decade (I’ve always had a very active imagination) and I’ve been working to get it written and ready for publishing for almost four years now. It should be ready for publishing within another year, year and a half. It’s been in the back of my mind for a while now, since my Junior year of high school, that I’m not sure I want to spend time and money transferring to a four-year university. Through the research I’ve done so far, it seems like I can get by just fine with a high school education or even a two year AA degree (which I believe I can get with another dozen amount of units). And that the money that a degree would get me doesn’t mean much considering the amount of debt the degree puts me in.
    I realize that ultimately the decision is up to me, but it’s a really tough decision for me to make. College is weighed so heavily and even though I would bet the world on my dreams becoming a reality, I’m not totally sure if I want to go against what seems to be the norm. For the literary career I’m looking to be in (fiction writer), would anyone recommend me getting a degree? I’ve been telling people I’m reaching towards an English degree with a minor in Film (or possibly Psychology. I haven’t decided yet.) I’ve been trying to get a job, and if I have to work retail for whoever knows how long I will.

    Basically, I’d just like some advice… haha. Thank you.

    1. It really depends on how active you are. There are a large number of young people at college, so a lot of crazy shit happens there that could easily be incorporated into an interesting scene in a book, but at the same time if you sit in a dorm all day and don’t at the very least hang with the people on your floor, you wont hear about it.

  16. I am in graduate school because I wasn’t able to get a job in my area with my bachelors degree. Turns out, there is a much bigger crisis in my field because we are sending way too many people to college. There are way too many overqualified PhDs than there are jobs available… They’re experts in one area and that’s it. I am not against education at all. I grew up surrounded by teachers and I understand the value of knowing things to help others. Going to graduate school is just another way of sheltering yourself from the real world. I know I was, and I went through a major breakdown because of this. I teach undergrads who have no interest in what I teach whatsoever. They are only wasting their time and their money. It only perpetuates the cycle. I was so blind when I started graduate school. Even in the world of academics, it’s pretty much like it is in the corporate world (or worse, since there are less spots/ funding). You have to climb at the cost of losing your integrity and your values. This is not what I signed up for. I feel like we are so worried about people having a degree and knowing more than others, but the real problem is, what kind of citizens are we creating for this world? Sure, we know more, but we are also less empathetic and more cruel. We need to educate and nurture the soul, as well as the mind. That’s the big problem. All we are doing is getting more data, inventing more devices, generating scientific breakthroughs (I work in the science field), but really, the world doesn’t need any of that. The world needs more compassion and understanding towards one another. I cannot fathom a world where my scientific discovery, or my knowledge will be more important than helping my neighbor. The world doesn’t need another scientific breakthrough. The world needs our humanity.

  17. I would never have been able to pursue my career in international development without a college degree plus I was introduced to many intellectual and cultural ideas and classes that have been very important for my personal growth.

  18. depends. im from the netherlands and at the performatory we basically design our university program ourselves which is actually a community of professionals and learners. we’re supported and stimulated to work from our values and to get our creativity going and conduct real life projects. yes we get a bachelor degree in social innovation, or you could even go for a master degree, but that’s more a formality. it’s actually about the experience and the network.

  19. Can a video make you laugh and cry at the same time? Well this one did. After 8 years and 3 degrees, I know a little about the college business. I can honestly say that I have learned 90% of what I do from on the job training…the other 10% from my Masters Degree. The one good thing college did do was keep me out of trouble in my 20’s and opened the door for me to have the job I have now. No worries, I have a plan, my loans should be paid off by the time I retire in 2034…LOL…sniff sniff

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