Better Than College: How to Build a Better Life Without a Four-Year Degree by Blake Boles

Skipping College Isn’t for Everyone

  • If your goal is to enter a licensed profession—to become a doctor, lawyer, architect, public school teacher, engineer, or other government-licensed professional—then you have a good reason to go to college. If you want to do PhD-level work—to study cancer, publish neuroscience papers, or teach university-level history—then you have a good reason to go to college. That still doesn’t mean you need to go to college as soon as you finish high school.

Either Way It’s a Gamble

  • If you pursue a self-directed, adventurous, and entrepreneurial higher education, you’re taking a gamble. It may not work out. You may have to live with your parents, and may end up going back to school anyway. If you go to college because it’s the safe path, it might not work out either. You may end up living with your parents and you may end up with lots of debt. The first gamble may teach you more about yourself than the second ever could. This is the harder one to make as just about everyone is pushing the college-for-all approach.
  • College mania threatens the lives of indebted students. With more college debt than credit card debt, we also may be risking the financial stability of our country. Don’t forget that student loan debt survives bankruptcy, so you can’t escape it short of fleeing the country.

Your Long-Term Success

  • It hinges upon a set of knowledge and competencies that have little to do with your grade point average, personal connections, or a framed piece of paper. People who lack self-knowledge may have a hard time finding satisfying work, gaining genuine respect, or forming deep relationships. People with self-knowledge, on the other hand, can find work, respect, and relationships even in difficult circumstances. While you might be able to gain the necessary self-knowledge and skills in college, their is no guarantee.

The Gap Year(s)

  • Skipping college isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. You can take a gap year or two between high school and college. During this time you can gain some experience and explore potential careers so you know what you want to study. You should learn about a profession before you go into debt studying it. You can also determine if the profession you are interested in is one that can be done be a computer or a smart person overseas. You need to look for jobs that are not rule-based, which require creativity. We live in an age of uncertainty where risk-free employment doesn’t exist. In most cases you are unlikely to gain entrepreneurial skills and attitudes in college. College assignments with an audience of one person don’t add much value.
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One Response to “Better Than College: How to Build a Better Life Without a Four-Year Degree by Blake Boles”

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