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HOT TOPIC What is your life like without a college degree?

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BlakeRVA

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First, let me say the purpose of this thread is not to convince readers to either attend or avoid attending college. As MJ has said before, the forum is not the place where major life decisions can be made for you. This information is not to base YOUR decision to either attend or leave college on! There are not cookie cutter paths in life. Your path to success will most likely look different than everyone else here. While this can certainly give you perspective on what to expect, you must ultimately decide what is right for you. No one else can do this for you. Weigh out the pros and cons for yourself and base your decision on that. Do not assume that you will drop out of school and be a millionaire like X, or if you move to this location you will have financial freedom like Y. There are no shortcuts to success, only a series of good decisions based on the individual and hard work.

So why the thread? It seems there are no shortage of stories of people who went the 'conventional' route by attending college who then received a coveted high paying job in their desired industry. But what about all the folks that didn't go to college or never finished? Where are they now? I would like this thread to serve as a resource that answers these questions by giving readers a perspective of what life is really like without a college degree. This can be a place to share the successes and struggles, the funny and ridiculous stories of what your life without a degree has been like.

So, if you are living without a college degree feel free to share stories or answer some of the provided questions below to help people get perspective.

Questions for anyone:
- Did you find it difficult to find high paying work without a degree?
- Do you feel you would have had more opportunities if you had a college degree?
- If you are a business owner, did you have any trouble receiving loans from investors or banks?
- If you could, would you go back to school, if so, why?
- Do you feel you have had to work harder because you do not possess a degree?

Questions for drop outs:
- If you dropped out, how far along were you and why?
- Do you regret not finishing?
- What did you do after you left school?
- What was your initial reason for attending college?

These questions are not exhaustive, so please if you feel there are some important or helpful questions to address, do so. I look forward to hearing everyone's perspective.
 

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Jake

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Questions for anyone:
1.Did you find it difficult to find high paying work without a degree?
2. Do you feel you would have had more opportunities if you had a college degree?
3. If you are a business owner, did you have any trouble receiving loans from investors or banks?
4. you could, would you go back to school, if so, why?
5. Do you feel you have had to work harder because you do not possess a degree?

1. No. I networked with people while I was deployed in the military and received a job offer for 120k or so. I found a better company that ended up paying me around $200k.

2.Probably. More money? No

3.Bootstrap

4. I go for free for an easy visa and money I signed up for. No intentions of receiving a degree but helps build my network.

5. Definitely not. My suppliers don't ask for my credentials.
 
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DST

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Second year into marketing management. I'm dropping one class this semester to ease up while working on my business, and hopefully I'll drop out from it all when it takes off. I would rather have a few good grades and take a semester/year more rather than having mediocre grades (its marketing after all, not STEM lol).

I've learned much more from from books I've read myself rather than the overpriced school books that are assigned. The school opens up doors for future employment but thats about it. I love what I'm studying but I don't want to get tied to the rat race. The school puts us in a slowlane mindset. Professor have said several times things such as "we're training you to become middle class", and while lecturing us on some b.s. model he said "This is really important to know. A lot of you will be doing this exact thing repeatedly for the next 45 years. And I'm not kidding".


But now that I've been here and seen the subjects I see how vague it is and how little practical info most students actually learn, which has given me lots of confidence to go on on my own. My business will be up and going in about a month, and then I'll see when it takes off.
 

loop101

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From my years of working for other people in the IT field, I would say that if you are going to work for someone else, you should get a degree. 99% of the IT jobs "require" a degree, and if you don't have one and still manage to get hired, they will offer you 30%-50% less than the normal rate. The degree may not mean anything to you, but it means everything to the person hiring you.

If the person hiring you has a degree, and they offer you 100% of the going rate, they are admitting that they were a dumb a$$ for getting a degree. Which they will never do.
 
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James Thornton

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In the graphic design world, no one gives a shit about a degree, only your portfolio and skill set. Probably different in the world of dentistry.

The obvious trend is that self-educated designers are more skilled, which makes sense. It's an industry where the tools change faster than a school curriculum could keep up with, but the internet keeps up just fine.

There's also the self-starter factor. People that don't need their hand held are going to be better at figuring things out.
 

HugoMoreno

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If you dropped out, how far along were you and why? First year, because the teacher told me college won't make me rich
- Do you regret not finishing? No
- What did you do after you left school? Start studying everything I could on business/psychology
- What was your initial reason for attending college? Sheep mentality
 

sparklyshadows

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I just turned 21 recently and I decided that skipping college was the right decision for me straight out of High School. While I don't have enough time behind my actions to really properly analyze whether or not the choice was a good one objectively, I can say that so far I'm super glad that I decided to forgo college.

- Did you find it difficult to find high paying work without a degree? I didn't work much in the corporate environment- mainly just for small businesses, so by small-business standards I managed to find decent pay jobs without a degree. Most places don't check your credentials so I'll admit to saying I was a student when in actuality I was not.

If it so happened that I had to find a job in the future, I would probably say I had a degree even though I don't- some might find it unethical, but at the end of the day it's about whether or not I have the skills to do the job and whether or not I can provide the promised value to the company. If I can provide the same level of competency if not better, as someone with a piece of paper to their name, then I see no reason to let an inaccurate measuring standard of skill stand in my way.

Statistically, most jobs are filled through referrals anyway where credentials more often than not are not checked.

- Do you feel you would have had more opportunities if you had a college degree? No, I feel like going to college would have stunted my growth and reduced the amount of opportunity available to me. As an entrepreneur, I am constantly researching new ideas and educating myself which allows for a lot of fruitful opportunities to present themselves to me. Opportunities that not only allow for further learning and growth, but have the potential to be way more lucrative than any opportunity a degree could you.

- If you are a business owner, did you have any trouble receiving loans from investors or banks? I'm not qualified to answer this yet as none of my business ventures have required loans, but I feel as if in this matter, success would talk for itself. If I'm able to show that my business venture is successful on a small-scale with potential for growth if I get the funding, then I think any college-degree obstacles that pop up should be easy to navigate through.

- If you could, would you go back to school, if so, why? No, I would never go to college. Unless you want to become a doctor, there is literally nothing you can't learn on your own. All college does is teach you conformity. It prepares you for the "real world" where your goal is to win the rat race. Real learning does not take place in schools. Half of what is taught is wrong, the other half is drivel. If anything, school beats out the passion for learning by transforming learning into a means to an end rather than as an essential part of having a healthy and well-rounded brain. The focus in schools is always on how you have to do this, or do that, or listen to so and so's advice so you can get that great job in the future or make x amount of money and be able to buy that house on the corner, when the real focus should be on learning purely for the sake of knowledge so you can become a better person and make better contributions to society and perhaps even innovate (a word that is beaten out in the currently existing schooling system).

- Do you feel you have had to work harder because you do not possess a degree? No, on the contrary I feel like I have to work less and if anything I struggle to motivate myself to develop a better work ethic. I moved out of my parent's house almost a year ago now and I live in one of the most expensive cities (Live near SF, my city currently has higher rent than a lot of parts of SF), yet I've managed to survive on my own and live a pretty lavish life for my age group while putting in a quarter of the effort a fellow slowlaner would have to put in to maintain the same standard of living slaving away at a full-time job.

My boyfriend dropped out of college and lots of times I've heard him skim over the dropping out part in conversations with old acquaintances and such, however I honestly think that it's something to be proud of. I find great joy in proudly announcing that I never went to college to people and for added amusement, there is nothing better than hearing the room go quiet and see people struggle to say something while desperately trying to control the horror in their eyes =D

To forge a path for yourself that is different from that of the herd's, takes a lot of mental courage- there is the constant nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you made a mistake and that everyone's predictions about your future are going to come true- but to push past all those society inflicted mental barriers and strive towards the ever blossoming flower of success, is a huge success in itself and one that we should give ourselves credit for :)
 
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wade1mil

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I was in a job interview a few months ago. I told the interviewer that I created an algorithm after reverse engineering Google's system that allowed affiliate marketers to use AdWords. I told him I coded the entire thing myself using PHP and it made me a decent chunk of money. He then asked me the most important question to determine whether I was worthy of the job or not. "What does PHP stand for?" He was more concerned with whether I knew what PHP stood for than the software I coded using it. I told him I don't remember because, quite frankly, it doesn't matter what it stands for. I can't say that this is the reason I didn't get the job, but I noticed a drastic difference in his demeanor after I answered that question.

In a job interview, my brother was asked if he had a four-year college degree. He said he was in the Marines for nine years. The interviewer said thanks for the service, but he wants to know if he has a college degree to prove that he can stick with a job for four years. Bro, he was in the Marines for nine years. Even in college, nine is greater than four.

I know quite a few people with bachelor degrees that are idiots. I know a handful of people without a degree that are brilliant. People think a degree makes you smart. Smart people without a degree get the shaft, and stupid people with a degree get the benefit.

</rant>

- Did you find it difficult to find high paying work without a degree?
Extremely, but I have a pretty broad skill set and have a hard time selling myself.
- Do you feel you would have had more opportunities if you had a college degree?
More opportunities in the job market absolutely. Without a degree, more than half of the jobs that would support my lifestyle are unattainable due to the fact that I don't have a degree. Do I want this? No. But there have been a few times in my life where I needed a job to pay the bills and couldn't get one that paid more than $12 per hour.
- If you could, would you go back to school, if so, why?
I've thought about it, but doing so feels like I'm giving up on my dreams. If I were to go back to 18 years of age, I'd go to college to:
  1. Get the degree that, for some reason, people think proves your intelligence
  2. Build my network with smart and trustworthy people
  3. Experience college
- Do you feel you have had to work harder because you do not possess a degree?
No.
- If you dropped out, how far along were you and why?
I have all of the credits for an AA in business management and computer information systems. I never applied to get the degree because I don't care about stuff like that. Having it makes no difference.
- Do you regret not finishing?
I regret wasting my time during those years. Not so much not finishing.
- What did you do after you left school?
Worked and played pro baseball.
- What was your initial reason for attending college?
To play baseball.
 
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hughjasle

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Questions for anyone:
- Did you find it difficult to find high paying work without a degree?
No - I knew how to sell myself.
Do you feel you would have had more opportunities if you had a college degree?
Yes, but those opportunities that I don't care for though. (aka jobs)
- If you are a business owner, did you have any trouble receiving loans from investors or banks?
Loans - haven't tried but i know the answer would be yes. Investors - I don't have investor money but get asked by many that want to work/invest with me and none of them care that I don't have a degree whatsoever.
- If you could, would you go back to school, if so, why?
I can, and I still don't care to go back. No need.
- Do you feel you have had to work harder because you do not possess a degree?
No, but i do work hard. I have worked hard at everything I've done from jobs to business. It's just who I am I guess.
Questions for drop outs:
- If you dropped out, how far along were you and why?
I think I have enough credits for a degree, just don't care. I dropped out because I lost the passion for my original career path (dentistry)after spending countless hours 'shaddowing' what my future would have been. I found out I just liked business and didn't care as much for the dentistry side of things.
Do you regret not finishing?
Not one bit.
What did you do after you left school?
Got a job while I figured out my next step.
- What was your initial reason for attending college?
I wanted to be a dentist and own multiple practices.
 

OscarDeuce

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Questions for anyone:
- Did you find it difficult to find high paying work without a degree? Only at first, but in those depressed economic times (early 1970s) lots of people with degrees were flipping burgers. So overall, no. I was usually in the top income range for my age group.
- Do you feel you would have had more opportunities if you had a college degree? That depends. If you're talking about a specialized professional degree (MD or JD) probably. For anything else (including engineering, computer science, etc,), no.
- If you are a business owner, did you have any trouble receiving loans from investors or banks? Yea, but not because of anything to do with education.
- If you could, would you go back to school, if so, why? I did, and it was a waste of time and money.
- Do you feel you have had to work harder because you do not possess a degree? No.

Questions for drop outs:
- If you dropped out, how far along were you and why? Triple threat here! High School - 11th grade, Engineering School - final semester, Law School - after the first year (yep, there's a story there but that's probably another thread)
- Do you regret not finishing? High School - No, Engineering School - No, Law School - Might go back some day.
- What did you do after you left school? High School - worked as a lineman for a utility company, learned to fly, worked as a contract pilot for a Government contractor, took some other...ahem..."freelance" flying jobs (pretty sure the statute of limitations was up many years ago), started a couple of businesses, eventually got a corporate job. Engineering School - was already the head of the engineering department for a fortune 1000 company, became CEO of a mid-size software company. Law School - started a consulting company and a TV production company and some other odds and ends.
- What was your initial reason for attending college? I thought it would advance my career but my career advanced to the point that while I was hitting the books for a final in one of my electrical engineering courses, my wife said "You know, when you get your degree, you will barely be qualified for an entry level position working for...you!"

Cheers,
O-2
 

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Option

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- If you dropped out, how far along were you and why?

Three months in, Economics.. Because the books I found online where more interesting then my curriculum.

During one of my classes I ran an opportunity cost analysis.. (The class was about exactly that)

Spend 4+ years (equivalent of 10.000 working hours) and $40.000 for a diploma supposedly guaranteeing me a ~$50.000/y entry level job at a bank.
or
(Worst Case Scenario)
f*ck up 4 ventures straight, blowing $10.000 at each single on of them... And get TONS of experience.

Or the other equation...

Make $4.000 a month at an entry level job, working 160 hours, doing something I probably hated
or
Sell 10 x $400 product a month...

Ok it might not be that simple but it was totally OBVIOUS to me.

I quit the next day. (And it is actually that simple..)

- Do you regret not finishing?

No. For me, I didn't like the curriculum at all.
While at the same time all the good GOLD stuff was available for FREE online :)
I could literally just sit in my house and keep studying FOREVER. So why go in debt for something that is FREE?

- What did you do after you left school?

Lets be honest. I was to optimistic. I was arrogant. The first I did was totally f*ck up.. Ofcourse :)

Procrastinate. Start a business. f*ck up the business. Go on a meditation retreat. Travel. Read. Got a sales job. f*ck up the sales job. Start a business. ...
Growing wiser :)

- What was your initial reason for attending college?

I guess it was due to family pressure. I really felt like I had to go to college. Especially my grandfather really wanted it.
I am very glad that I had the strength to tell him I dropped out and was going to start my own business.
That it was my burning desire to do so. This was a bold statement, one I will never regret.
It was hard for him but he accepted it, he just wanted an easy life for me.
He died three months later. I told him the TRUTH just in time..

The future implications of not foregoing college education I do not know yet.
I didn't go out to try and get a job. Just did sales. That is enough to keep me afloat.
By learning copywriting I am pretty sure that my job applications would blow my competition out of the park.
But I prefer working on my own stuff fulltime.

What I am sure of is that I am debt free, savings in the bank.
That I entirely quit drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. In college I might have continued doing that. It was hard for me to quit.
That I am very happy. Good habits in place, I wake up in LOVE with working on MY stuff. I LOVE learning more about business.

Blazing my own path, even if it means being broke, gives me a confidence and a sense of freedom that makes me feel totally alive.

I guess in the end you should just be honest with yourself. Do what fits you. Do what life asks you to do.
Not in a passionate, fluffy kind of way, but in following your truth, and then working like hell.
Because if you feel like you are in control, your happiness will skyrocket, you won't need TV, party's, socializing, cigarettes, sleep, rewards...
You can have 'm.. But the mere act of controlling your destiny will give you greater pleasure then anything else.

So f*ck regret... You want a degree, go get one... You want to drop out, drop out... Be bold.

You have food on the table... You have a shower... You have a bed (or couch)... You have fresh air...

Seriously life in the first world is like a continuum of complete bliss. Just recognize it and indulge in it.
Working like hell on YOUR business, Eating healthy foods, Working out like crazy, Reading amazing books, Having a warm shower, Watching the sun come up at 6am in the morning with your loved one... How good can it get?

tl;dr My life after college is freaking great.
 

RBefort

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*clicking through job postings....oh, college degree preferred but must have high school diploma. How about this one? "Requires high school diploma or equivalent work experience." (10 ads later after the same thing). "To become a scientist position, must have PhD and 10 years equivalent experience." Thinks back to day I received college degree that I leave at my mom's in a storage chest, I snap out of it and go WHAT THE PHUCK DID I WASTE 8 YEARS OF MY LIFE AND 60K DOING GETTING THIS DEGREE?* These are the thoughts that go through my head on a daily basis. F that degree. Sales for life. I think it'd be a lot cooler convo starter to say you didn't graduate and pursued other things. Watch how people can't react, but when you make it, it'd be pretty badass I'd think.
 

BrandonS85

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I have not formally attended college, I went to a private college for 3 weeks to get my real estate license, ended up with a few official credit hours.

Questions for anyone:
- Did you find it difficult to find high paying work without a degree? I make more money than anyone I know of my age with a college degree for the most part. This is mostly due to the fact I had always intended to run my own business rather than work for someone else.
- Do you feel you would have had more opportunities if you had a college degree? I would likely have the ability to get a salaried position easier with one. I hope that's never the case, however I've had a few requests to interview for management positions at a few large-ish firms. These were totally unsolicited by me.
- If you are a business owner, did you have any trouble receiving loans from investors or banks? They've never, ever asked. Nor have investors.
- If you could, would you go back to school, if so, why? Not likely, I would have wasted 2-4 years of my life doing something that likely wouldn't have provided value to my business. Additionally it's very hard to say whether I would have had as good of business contacts as I formed in the first 2-4 years of being an agent.
- Do you feel you have had to work harder because you do not possess a degree? Nope, no one has really cared.
 

SteveO

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Life is not about school or formal education. It is about experience.

It is also about enjoyment. If you don't like something, don't do it.

This may not sound like a responsible way of looking at things. I believe that we take life way too seriously. This causes a lot of angst and grief. We are all going to have what we perceive as problems and heartache. How we deal with this is much more critical than our formal education.

My story is very different than most. I have talked about it before on the forum.

I grew up poor with virtually no parental guidance. Teachers were an authority figure and I did not respond well to people telling me what to do. I was in many, many fistfights and was booted from school a couple of times. I did not even complete 10th grade. My father signed for me to join the Marines at the age of 17. It was right after the Vietnam war so the military was taking anyone, including criminals. I got kicked out of there also.

By the age of 18, I was working menial construction jobs. I started my own landscape company around the age of 20. I had applied for a job with HP and someone that knew my work ethic encouraged a supervisor there to interview me. They hired me for a night shift job that was stamping plastic pieces for pen assembly. I also did janitorial work when the assembly work was slow.

Since I had a GED, I was able to start taking electronics classes at a community college. I quickly worked my way into a prestigious job in the research and development lab. There were only three non-engineers in a group of about 300 of the brightest and best engineering minds. HP only hired top prospects for R&D. After a while of working there, people just started thinking that I was an engineer. I put prototypes together for testing and just kept gaining more and more responsibilities.

By the time that I quit, I was a supervisor in the failure analysis lab. I had engineers and PHD's working for me. Kinda funny... Even moving up the chain I could not stand for being told what to do. It actually worked well for me but there was a lot of conflict in my career.

I left the good paying job to start investing in apartments. That was 17 years ago and I have never looked back. Working for yourself brings its own kind of stress but stress is something that you put on yourself. You don't need to be subject to it if you choose not to.

My wife went to school to become an attorney. She did not like it. We work together now.
 

OVOvince

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i keep what i do on the low so people always wonder when im going back to school.

some even tell me that they think i should go.

i have full intentions of going back to school someday to finish a bachelors and getting an MBA and everything before or around the age of 30, just because I want to go through a formal study process. but i want to do it after i have financial freedom.
 

Kung Fu Steve

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Questions for anyone:
- Did you find it difficult to find high paying work without a degree?

Absolutely not. I can walk in anywhere at any time and walk out with a job. Call it salesmanship, call it charisma, call it street smarts, but it seem like many people who attended university and/or got a degree don't have the ability to think on their feet.

- Do you feel you would have had more opportunities if you had a college degree?

No. Although the entrepreneurship program at MIT seemed like a very good opportunity to network. But being around GlobalWealth so much I've met many of them. He's just kept the super hot ones away from me. Bastard.

- If you are a business owner, did you have any trouble receiving loans from investors or banks?

For my first business, yes. I had just climbed up from being homeless so nobody would lend me anything -- and no one believed I could do what I said I would do. It took 27 nos to get my first yes from my backer (which funny enough ended up being my father -- who was the LEAST confident in my ability).

I still needed to convince the bank but with a co-signer it was less of a struggle.

After repaying the loan from the bank in less than 8 months (scheduled for a 5 year repayment plan) the bank still emails me occasionally asking if I need money for my next project. I repaid my father a return with a four-figure percentage and bought him a truck -- and now I have a track record.

I've since learned several dozen ways to start businesses WITHOUT funding and I don't believe I will ever take a loan out again unless I wanted to leverage it for a real estate investment. Who knows, though. Other People's Money is a strong tool to leverage.

- If you could, would you go back to school, if so, why?

I would attend nothing but women's studies and communications classes where the student population is primarily women... you know... for science... and maybe a little chemistry (if y'know whattahmean!)

- Do you feel you have had to work harder because you do not possess a degree?

With or without a degree I work harder than 99% of the population. It's not the degree that makes the difference in my beliefs and values. I know plenty of people with and without a degree that don't understand what the words "hard work" mean.

** DISCLAIMER **

What you don't know is that I've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on my education. I've been in masterminds, courses, classrooms with Frank Kern, Eben Pagan, Mike Koeings, Jay Abraham, Chet Holmes, Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Denis Waitley, Brian Tracy, Stephen Covey, Demmings, John Carlton, and literally hundreds and hundreds more.

At this point I've probably spent about $500,000 on my education in marketing, psychology, business, sales, speaking, health, nutrition, personal development, leadership, fitness, advertising, and a dozens of other subjects.

I probably have the world record for certifications from all kinds of goofy places.

One thing that stuck with me many years ago was when Jim Rohn said "Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune."

My key distinctions:

  • Formal Education and Self Education are two VERY different things.

  • You can become wealthy with formal education, but you CANNOT become wealthy without self education.

** DISCLAIMER 2 **

I have a chip on my shoulder about formal education.

I've always had a problem with authority and I hate when someone tries to teach me something they know nothing about and/or haven't ever done it.

I see lots of people my age who have graduated or went back to get the next degree but haven't learned a damn thing about debt or interest rates.

I also see people with degrees in a subject who clearly partied through the entire thing and/or learned from someone who has never done that. I.E. Marketing, psychology, physicians, trainers, physical therapists, nutrition, and so many more.

My final point before more rambling is that the levels of education vary IMMENSELY. I'd prefer to seek out the best in the world and learn from them. In every subject.
 

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I wanted to get into IT back in 1998. I had a GED. I managed to land an interview with a tech support company through a temp agency. Initially, the guy that interviewed me said that I wasn't good enough to fulfill the tech support job and he sent me on my way. I called the temp agency lady and told her that I wanted another interview. With a gasp in her voice, she agreed and scheduled me for a monday interview with the tech support company. I spent the whole weekend cramming a Windows 95 book. I went to the interview, with the same guy. He asked me "didnt I interview you already?" I said yes, so he took me back for the interview, with an actual test this time. After it was over, he looked over his notes and commented on how poorly i did the first time, but now I passed with flying colors. I was hired.

I like to believe that my unwillingness to take no for an answer gave me an edge. I continued getting better and better jobs. I make a pretty respectable income now. I have no regrets on not getting my degree. I have never been asked about a degree because, quite frankly, all of the interviewers that I have visited cared more about me being able to do the job right. The folks with the degrees are many times in management positions, and they work harder and longer hours.

I wouldn't change a thing about my career choices. I wish that I had read TMF sooner, and started taking action sooner.
 

PedroG

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Some go out of their way to discourage people from going to school, but it really depends on the person, I think. School and entrepreneurship are not mutually exclusive. I have a bachelor's degree and 13 years of experience in my field, but I recently decided to finish my master's which I stopped pursuing 5 years ago. I'm also gonna be getting an MBA right after that.

Why? I enjoy learning, and while there are so many people that get an MBA for the wrong reasons, I think I'm actually a perfect candidate because I do have a passion for it. Some may say it's a waste, but I'm actually looking forward to getting a formal business education. I learn better that way. It depends on the person I guess. Some feel comfortable reading articles online, while I don't feel I've learned enough unless I read a book from start to finish.

Also, I started wondering whether I was putting limits on myself when coming up with business ideas. Like for example, as a software person I think about creating a SaaS-type business. But what if that's not where I will be the most successful? Are there other things that I'm not even considering because of the box I put myself in?

Networking is also another issue for someone like me. I don't have an outgoing personality, and it's tough for me to meet new people. I wanted to do something to get out of my routine where I just work alone on some website, and if it doesn't work, create another one.

I'm beginning to see just how important networking really is for opening your mind up to other possibilities. I think getting an MBA for me, will be a good accomplishment. You never know what can come of it: a business idea, new friendships that can later lead to business ideas and/or business partners, etc.

My employer will be covering most of the cost, so I see no reason not to take advantage of it.
 

Bouncing Soul

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One thing I have noticed in people that dropped out of college and are older (as in over 40) is a twinge of regret, even among very successful people I know. Another thing I noticed is related, I see a lot of "signaling" by these people with status goods as a way of showing "they've made it". I am a university educated engineer who was in the semiconductor industry, and the few guys like @SteveO I knew were among the best, and paid commensurately. You can even become a Public Engineer with work experience and no degree. That is certainly a viable path for techies in particular.

By the numbers, it is a mistake for most people to drop out of college. For my kids, I hope they've already got money making skills and businesses going by the time they're 18. Then they go on to advanced educations in the classical sense. Not just to get a pedigree used as society's sorting mechanism to determine who gets the jobs alphabetizing insurance forms, and those who lose (no degree) clean the toilets.

I think by the time my kids are 18, education will be a radically different system though.
 

Imgal

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** DISCLAIMER 2 **

I have a chip on my shoulder about formal education.

I've always had a problem with authority and I hate when someone tries to teach me something they know nothing about and/or haven't ever done it.

I see lots of people my age who have graduated or went back to get the next degree but haven't learned a damn thing about debt or interest rates.

I also see people with degrees in a subject who clearly partied through the entire thing and/or learned from someone who has never done that. I.E. Marketing, psychology, physicians, trainers, physical therapists, nutrition, and so many more.

My final point before more rambling is that the levels of education vary IMMENSELY. I'd prefer to seek out the best in the world and learn from them. In every subject.


This so many times over. Not saying it's the right opinion, but totally matches mine. I started one degree, basically spent that year having an education in being away from home, discovering who I really was when there wasn't all the people I'd grown up around me. It also taught me how easy it is to just follow the partying and work just being about having the skills to do something, but the driver is all really about playtime.

Regarding anything I "learnt" related to the degree top... can't remember a thing. All I know was I was spending money on a profession that would turn me into a carbon copy of everyone before and after...so I quit.

For me learning is about understanding how things work then putting them back together so they worked better. I have no idea about anything in the subjects I aced at school. I just knew how to develop a system that would hold it in my brain and piece the right bits together come exam time. That is what real education is to me. Learning the ways to improve lives (both our own and others) should be what education is about... not ticking boxes to say we make up to some social constructed definition of what is good enough.

When it was all about formal education I did well because I saw it as a game to beat, but I learnt nothing from. To judge me on my academic achievements as intelligent is easy, but it is a lie. That part of my life is nothing more than a regurgitation of phrases. My true education has come from jumping in the trenches. Getting it so wrong. Grinding and hustling to learn from every authority I could in every area I want to excel at. Well the certificates don't do look so impressive and at times it's been as scrappy as hell, but this education... it's not only made me successful, but truly discover who I am.

You can can learn about entrepreneurship at University, but you'll only be awarded wantreprenur certification. To get the Doctorate in it you need to get those hands dirty.
 

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SteveO

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it is a mistake for most people to drop out of college.
Only a mistake if you plan on working for someone or are taking specialized training for a specific purpose. The reference to "by the numbers" is simply a statistic that would match up to non-entrepreneurs.
 

Bouncing Soul

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Only a mistake if you plan on working for someone or are taking specialized training for a specific purpose. The reference to "by the numbers" is simply a statistic that would match up to non-entrepreneurs.

Universities today are much better places for entrepreneurs, many have incubators now that can be great assets. I don't see this mentioned often but I just toured one last week and saw the possibility.

Successful tech founders tend to have MS degrees. A lot of the stuff I see about business owners is skewed by slowlane businesses and matches the genpop, but Tom Stanley's Millionaire Mind about decamillionaires also found higher than average education levels across all industries. Is the education the cause, or is it just the type of person that tends to get more education tends to also be more disciplined and go after business harder? Don't know...

Will the future fastlane population have lower levels of education? Don't know that either, but maybe.
 
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Michael W.

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Life is not about school or formal education. It is about experience.

It is also about enjoyment. If you don't like something, don't do it.

This may not sound like a responsible way of looking at things. I believe that we take life way too seriously. This causes a lot of angst and grief. We are all going to have what we perceive as problems and heartache. How we deal with this is much more critical than our formal education.

My story is very different than most. I have talked about it before on the forum.

I grew up poor with virtually no parental guidance. Teachers were an authority figure and I did not respond well to people telling me what to do. I was in many, many fistfights and was booted from school a couple of times. I did not even complete 10th grade. My father signed for me to join the Marines at the age of 17. It was right after the Vietnam war so the military was taking anyone, including criminals. I got kicked out of there also.

By the age of 18, I was working menial construction jobs. I started my own landscape company around the age of 20. I had applied for a job with HP and someone that knew my work ethic encouraged a supervisor there to interview me. They hired me for a night shift job that was stamping plastic pieces for pen assembly. I also did janitorial work when the assembly work was slow.

Since I had a GED, I was able to start taking electronics classes at a community college. I quickly worked my way into a prestigious job in the research and development lab. There were only three non-engineers in a group of about 300 of the brightest and best engineering minds. HP only hired top prospects for R&D. After a while of working there, people just started thinking that I was an engineer. I put prototypes together for testing and just kept gaining more and more responsibilities.

By the time that I quit, I was a supervisor in the failure analysis lab. I had engineers and PHD's working for me. Kinda funny... Even moving up the chain I could not stand for being told what to do. It actually worked well for me but there was a lot of conflict in my career.

I left the good paying job to start investing in apartments. That was 17 years ago and I have never looked back. Working for yourself brings its own kind of stress but stress is something that you put on yourself. You don't need to be subject to it if you choose not to.

My wife went to school to become an attorney. She did not like it. We work together now.

Almost same story, , no military, but different. I knew there was a reason I pretty much agree with every one of your posts.

First network admin cert age 16. Worked to Sys Engineer by 20. Started IT "consulting" at 21. Sold out, became IT director for a customer (Federal) at 25.

Never attended HS. Got GED at 18 taking a 6 week/2 a day GED course at a community college.

I still do not think I have made it, especially compared to some of the guys here. But I have had experience with million dollar deals, management experience and business systems. I have had the pleasure of freedom but that is now at an end and the real work begins.
 

Bouncing Soul

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BTW- I actually think one of the best arguments to not go to college for an entrepreneur is...failing is likely going to suck much worse.
 

SteveO

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...failing is likely going to suck much worse.
I don't disagree with all of your points. For me, formal education is a waste of time. Learn some language and math, perhaps other things that you enjoy, but the real learning is out in the world.

Failure is nothing more than a learning process.
 

Michael W.

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I don't disagree with all of your points. For me, formal education is a waste of time. Learn some language and math, perhaps other things that you enjoy, but the real learning is out in the world.

Failure is nothing more than a learning process.

Kind of my point. I had experience, I was running a multiple node BBS (lol) at age 12. I knew DOS, I knew Ethernet, token ring, 802.x frame and thin net systems. I knew how to manage Novell Netware 3.x systems and eventually 4.x systems where they introduced directory services (which now MS server products contain a version of).

I knew my stuff.
 

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