A study in 2019 showed that 2.3 million students between the ages of 18-24 attended college for the first time. If you’re nearing the end of high school, then you may be asking yourself if going to college is right for you.
First, you should ask yourself why you’re planning to go to college? Finding out if you’re going to college for the right reasons can help with your decision.
If you’re still feeling puzzled as to whether this is the right move for you, consider these six eye-opening ideas before you enroll.
So, Should You Go To College?
Below, we explore key topics to consider when deciding whether not going to college is right for you.
1. Student Loans Are at an All-Time High
Are you ready to look at the next four years or more of your life as an investment? Going to college is expensive and student loans are at an all-time high.
Last year, the total amount of student loans reached an astounding $1.41 trillion in the United States. This has increased by 33% from 2014 and is only predicted to keep growing each year.
Once you hit graduation day, you’ll need to start paying back your student loans.
When you’re deciding if you should go to college or choose another path in life, then you need to know if you’re ready for this type of investment. Some students take years trying to pay off all the debt they accumulated after college.
2. Information Transformation
One reason you may believe that you need to go to college is to buy yourself into a better paying job. You might think this because it is the way that things have always been done in the past.
Parents can also influence your decision to go to college, because they will have similar beliefs. Especially if you’re younger, you might rely on what your parents have to say about your decisions.
Today in 2020, college isn’t the only way to educate yourself. By gaining skills and educating yourself on your own, you can achieve a lucrative career without paying to go to college.
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3. Severe Opportunity Costs
Going to college is a huge time commitment. Whether you spend four or more years completing your degree, that is time that you can’t spend locking down a job in your career field.
You’re also losing out on 4 to 5 years of real-world experience in your field. This means that some of your peers will get a head start on you within certain career fields.
It also means that you’re going to be losing out on a significant amount of income. For example, if you were able to make $40,000/year during the 4-5 years you’d otherwise spend in college, that’d be worth a staggering $160,000 – $200,000 to you.
After graduation, you’re also looking at paying back your student loans, which is going to come out of your income. This will reduce the money you have to live on post-graduation.
If you’re interested in splitting the difference or want to learn vocational skills in less time, then going to community college could be a great choice too. The rates for community college tend to be way more reasonable, and you may be able to balance your classes with a part or even full-time job.
4. Capitalist Career Challenges
Universities and colleges can only offer so many different types of majors. This means that you will be learning the same skill sets as tons of other people.
Do you know what happens when you go into a capitalist society having the same skills as everyone applying for the same job as you?
It can get very competitive!
There’s only a limited number of jobs but also lots of people who want them.
College prepares you and everyone else for the job market. This is why you could be better off acquiring rare and valuable skills that only a few people have.
5. College Doesn’t Teach Wealth Building
If you decide to go to college, the number one thing you will learn is how to get a job in your career field.
From there you’re taught that you have to go to work to build your income. They teach you that working is your only source to make money and you’ll be doing that for the rest of your life.
Unfortunately, that it not the path to wealth, and this trajectory doesn’t have to be true for you.
Sadly, college won’t teach you how to build and grow your wealth. This is an essential skill that you need to be learning, but unfortunately, you will have to teach yourself.
Despite what you are likely to be taught, financial freedom does not come from a job. While a job creates income, wealth comes from stacking multiple sources of income—which is why the average millionaire has 7 (or more) flows of income
Unless you take specific classes geared towards investing money, college isn’t going to teach you how to do this.
One of the biggest reasons why you should learn to invest money is because the tax rates on earned income are extremely high compared to investment income.
Currently, the income you earn gets taxed at rates that are high as 37% (federal taxes). In contrast, any profit you make from investments held for a year or longer are considered capital gains. This type of income gets taxed at an extremely low tax rate of only to 0-20%.
6. College Doesn’t Teach Entrepreneurship
Did you know that there are 540,000 new small businesses started every single month in the United States? Entrepreneurship is skyrocketing.
If you feel like you have what it takes to go off on your own, then college might not be the right step for you.
With the internet, you can learn anything that you set your mind to, which is exactly what entrepreneurs do. If you want to start your own business from scratch or pick up a few clients/gigs doing what you love, then go for it.
Plus, having 4-5 extra years to learn entrepreneurship—and additional money to spend on experiences and self education because you don’t owe college tuition—could be the right match for you.
What Do You Think? Should You Go to College…?
Ultimately, the decision is up to you if you should go to college or choose another path in life. If your mind is set on a certain career path like being a teacher, doctor, or lawyer, then college is going to be essential to reach those goals.
For some people, college can be a great time for self-discovery. From time to time, formal credentials can be valuable. Getting a degree may also boost your sense of confidence.
Plus, if you do attend college, you’ll meet life long friends, explore new ideas, and have a whole lot of fun along the way.
What questions do you have about whether you should go to college? Ask them in the comments below.
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