Each year, increasing numbers of students enroll in institutions of higher education. Graduating high school and heading straight to college has become the path that everyone is supposed to take. In fact, we have practically reached the point where all of society looks down with disdain, contempt, and disgust upon any individual who chooses an alternative to attending college. This is not right. While a good fit for some, college is certainly not required to be successful in America. I contend that most people in our society should actually not attend college at all. There are myriad reasons that make college a bad idea, and I will enumerate several of them.
Student loan debt is the elephant in the room. A model that produces well over a trillion dollars in national student loan debt is simply unsustainable. America has a full-blown student loan crisis that, if not addressed, will inevitably lead to a collapse of epic proportions. When so many members of society are loaded down with the burden of student loan debt, new business ideas are unable to come to fruition due to a lack of any capital. When so many people are in such severe debt, purchases which stimulate the economy must be foregone. The biggest problem with this ridiculous amount of debt, however, is the immoral mindset that it creates. It is absolutely immoral to unnecessarily borrow such exorbitant amounts of money. If borrowing enormous sums of money for college is acceptable, than it must also be acceptable to borrow enormous sums of money for other unnecessary things. This generally means financial disaster in the life of every college student. Student loans are detrimental to society, and the entire concept should be done away with.
Of course it is possible to cash flow college through hard work, savings, grants and scholarships, but is a college degree really valuable enough to replace experience in the real world? Four or more years spent in college could be used honing life skills and gaining valuable work experience. Four years of real work experience could easily lead to the same money making opportunities that a college degree would give. At the company I currently work, a four year business degree would win me a managing position. I don’t have that business degree, yet I have spent the last four years working my way up the ladder and am now in that same managing position. A college degree is rarely more valuable than real life work experience.
The lack of real life work experience in our college students is often directly caused by college. Attending college is the easiest way to postpone a career. Rather than begin working and finding ways to earn an income, many people choose to put it off by going to college. This severely injures our economy. By sending every high school graduate off to college, would-be entrepreneurs are being stifled. Creativity is not valued and new ideas are not needed when colleges promise a ticket to success.
Perhaps the biggest factor in my decision to take this stance against so many people going to college centers on the concept of knowledge. The whole purpose of going to college is to gain knowledge, but that knowledge simply isn’t as valuable as it once was. With the creation of the internet and smart phones, six thousand years of comprehensive human knowledge is now instantly available at our fingertips. Colleges and universities were originally founded as havens for knowledge. Now, the internet serves this purpose. It is no longer necessary to attend a college in order to gain knowledge. Every bit of information taught in every college course can be accessed through a simple search on the internet. Since knowledge is not as valuable as it once was, the creative application of knowledge is what is now important. And this is not something that can be learned in a classroom.
I have made my case for why college is often a very bad idea, but there is a caveat. College can be a good choice for those individuals who possess extraordinary intelligence and motivation. College should be reserved for these elite individuals who need to surround themselves with like-minded intelligent and motivated persons in order to keep us on the cutting edge. College should also be reserved for those entering into specialty fields in which employers have a definite set of standards that need to be met. Only these two groups should be attending college. Anyone who attends college because they don’t have the self-discipline to self-educate, or in order to postpone a career, or simply because everyone else is doing it, is doing a disservice to society.
If everyone goes to college, a college degree becomes worthless. This is the trend occurring in American today. By continually sending all of our children off to college each year, we are playing into a viscous cycle that demands more and more education. This naturally means more and more debt, and less and less real life work experience. Let us as a society break free from this trend, leave college to the elite, and start devising strategies for success that don’t revolve around a college degree. Society will be much better off if we can produce generations that are able to think outside the box rather than mindlessly conforming to the societal norm of years upon years in college and thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt. College is not necessary to succeed, and it is imperative that Americans stop believe this lie.