By Brett Farmiloe
Is a university degree really necessary for a successful professional future? Here business people discuss the pros and cons.
Do you need a college degree to succeed in business?
1. College is not necessary, but it can teach useful skills
“College is not required for a successful future in terms of credentials and education. The real benefit, however, is making industry connections and having a respected institution on your resume. College won’t necessarily make you a more competent professional – that’s almost entirely up to you.
“College teaches a person to be more independent. Transitioning from the structure of high school to a place that lacks supervision and hand-holding can be difficult, but college prepares for the workplace. If you have college assignments, no, you’re constantly reminded to do them.
“For someone who already has a drive to learn, is organized, and has the ability to get tasks done, they’re already ahead of most college students. They should instead find a mentor and determine what credentials are essential to their industry – THEN, college may be required depending on the profession.”
– Gates Little, altLINE Sobanco
2. The Internet has brought education to the masses
“I dropped out of college and became a successful programmer. With the advent of the internet, college is no longer the only place to learn valuable life skills. You can take courses from reputable universities at places like Coursera. Not only are these courses free, but they are probably better than what you would get at your local college.
“After two years of college, I dropped out and got a menial job as a programmer. I learned a lot and progressed quickly, and by the time my friends finished college I was able to get higher jobs than them.”
—Holger Sindbaek, Online Solitaire
3. A successful future requires education, not college
“As an educator and community builder, I teach at several universities where I bring my experiences and stories to the curriculum with the hope of encouraging, inspiring and motivating my students. I have found that as students go higher, they discover related disciplines and learn, defining and realizing short and long-term dreams of success that build on each other and create a fulfilling future.
“For some, this process requires a traditional or online college or university, where an organized chapter-by-chapter approach builds on existing knowledge. For others, success means starting a business, raising a family, traveling, or pursuing industry-specific skills. And for many, it’s a mix of approaches and continued learning that brings lifelong success, which may or may not include college.
—Jen Miller, Rhea HVAC
4. College may not be necessary if you have high potential
“While many people will agree that you should go to college for a brighter future, college isn’t necessary to be successful. We have many successful people in our society who dropped out of college or didn’t bother to go to college. An example is Paul Allen, a college dropout who went on to become a billionaire NFL owner, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs also dropped out of college and eventually became successful business and media moguls.
“Even so, that doesn’t mean college is useless. Through college, you can build expertise, gain more knowledge, and even build social connections that will help you in the outside world. The point is that those who dropped out or didn’t go to college also have a chance of succeeding. In these cases, a college degree is an added benefit, but not a requirement for success.”
– Kate Dawn, Escape Room Data
5. Hedging a trade is a good choice
“I work with teams and leaders, so I often hear from employees that a high school counselor stopped them from pursuing a career in crafts. They were smart people and got good grades, so the advisors mistook them for college material. And now they want to get a driver’s license in unionized jobs and maybe run their own construction, plumbing, electric car and wind generator repair business as general contractors. Eventually, desk jobs bored her and were not life-affirming. These jobs come with licenses and certifications that often serve people better than a four-year general college degree — and at perhaps a tenth the cost or more.
– Dianne Crampton, TIGERS hit series
6. College enhances your earning potential and networking
“I firmly believe that college is essential for a successful future. According to the APLU (Association of Public & Land Grant Universities), a college education improves a person’s job prospects and earning potential. Bachelor’s graduates are half as likely to be unemployed as high school seniors, and they earn $1.2 million more over their lifetime.
“However, not only your income will increase. Attending college allows you to learn side-by-side with like-minded peers, making lifelong friendships while gaining a wealth of knowledge. I don’t think I would have been as open as I am today if I hadn’t shared my education with people so diverse.
“People think college is pointless unless you’re looking for a nine-to-five job, but as a travel blogger, I’ve learned more about the world through the different people I’ve met, which inspires me has to learn more.”
– Aiden Higgins, The broke backpacker
7. Employers see college as a wise investment
“The opportunity to impact your community and increase job stability and satisfaction are just two of the many benefits of attending college. It’s also common for job descriptions to mention ‘bachelor’s degree required’ or as a recommended qualification,” according to the Association of American Higher Education Employers value a college degree; 87% of employers surveyed said college was “definitely” or “likely” worth the investment of time and money.
“A bachelor’s or associate’s degree in the undergraduate course combines general educational requirements with subject-specific training in a field of study that interests you. With these degrees, you acquire both general knowledge and specialist knowledge in your chosen profession.”
– Brad Burnie, spaceships
8. Today, only certain career paths require a degree
“It’s no secret that attitudes toward higher education have changed significantly. When assessing ROI for college, prospective students must assume that if they commit to attending and earning a degree, they will end up with a higher salary or better career opportunities.
“While there are several career paths that require a specific degree, such as For example, in engineering, medicine, and law, many no longer do. The internet age has enabled other opportunities to learn and make a great financial living. Boot camps, other work experience, and simply learning from other online sources have proven useful for professionals in fields like communications and marketing. There is also a great need for artisans, which offers significant opportunities for success.”
—Kelli Anderson, ResumeSeed
9. College makes you competitive
“Yes, college is important in a very competitive job market. A college degree greatly improves a candidate’s chances of getting a job. A degree can mean the difference between a well-paying job and a low-paying job. And many employers now require a master’s degree for associate degree-level jobs. A college degree gives you an advantage in the job market over a candidate without a degree.
—Jennie Miller, MIDSS
About the author
Post by:Brett Farmiloe
Brett Farmiloe is the Founder and CEO of Terkel, a Q&A site that converts small business insights into quality articles for brands.
Connect with me on LinkedIn.