The education system is broken. It’s about putting people in boxes. It’s about defining you and confining you. It’s about trying to shove you in between someone else’s lines.
It’s about what grades you make, not what difference you make. It’s about how well you mimic and mime and memorize, not how much you craft and contribute and create.
It’s about chasing degrees, not launching careers. And right now, it’s hurting more people than it’s helping.
A lot of people are too afraid or too invested to admit this, but the honest truth is sometimes SCHOOL is not the best place to LEARN.
And where this is crystal clear is America’s college system. Elevated for generations as the ultimate in achievement and the unquestioned gateway to a lifetime of success, college no longer meets that mythical bar.
Parents, educators, students and politicians need to come to the stark realization that most of us learn way too late:
Higher education is no longer the bastion of knowledge, learning and discovery that’s been beaten into our heads since birth.
On the contrary, choosing to go to college more often than not leads to a lifetime of rework, rebuilding, and remorse. High school? Sure, the basic building blocks are important. But after that….
You need to STOP going to school. Here are 8 reasons why.
1. It’s going to cost you too much money.
The cost of higher education has increased more than 500% over the last 30 years, making this the most expensive time in history to get a college degree. Most states have decreased their per-student spending on public higher education, and while Federal aid has risen, it’s not enough to make up for the state cuts and enrollment increases. Tuition has gone up far more than inflation, and the ripple effects of that outrageous sticker price reach into nearly every aspect of our daily lives. To make matters worse, the proportion of undergrads classified as “low-income” has increased to 49 percent over the last 10 years. The average cost of Community College – which spend less on their students than many public primary schools, where nearly 50% of the students are low-income, and where graduation rates are some of the lowest in the world – is nearly $20,000/year. At the other end, private universities cost nearly $50,000/year.
2. You’re going to have a TON of debt.
Last year was a record year of student debt at $1.3 Trillion. It’s going be $5 Trillion in five years. And everyone knows, student loans have awful terms. Most people spend their whole lives struggling to pay off that debt (more than 40% of borrowers can’t even make payments), limiting their professional choices and compromising their personal happiness. And worst of all, the people who have the least are feeling it the most — 60% of people who own student debt have a net worth of under $8,000.
People of all ages and races and backgrounds are being crippled under the weight of student debt.
3. It’s going to take you too much time.
It takes people an average of SIX years to finish college. And even at flagship universities, only 36% of students actually finish a four-year degree within four years. Obviously, the more time spent on campus the more financial burden and impending debt, but the hours alone may be the most damaging expense.
If you love what you’re studying then great, that’s time well spent. If the coursework rightly correlates to practical skills you can unleash in your chosen career, even better. But sadly, for most of us, that’s just not the case.
We spend so much time sitting in classes we don’t care about, to get a major we never plan to use, to get a job we never wanted in the first place! Imagine how good you can become at what you REALLY loved if you spent those six years focused on it. Grinding on it. Cutting out all the distractions and diversions and devoting yourself to discovering your passion or improving on it. If you spent those six years working with inspiring mentors and talented experts and trusted confidantes who could teach you and help and guide you… How great could you become?
4. It’s not going to get you a job.
More than 4 out of 5 college graduates don’t have a job when they graduate. And that doesn’t even take into account the millions of people who are UNDEREMPLOYED — meaning they have accepted jobs that are well below the expectation of their hard earned and high-cost education (more than half of recent college graduates feel they are underemployed). This is even true for fast-growing fields and “attractive” majors, including Business (85.1%) and Engineering/Technology (81.6%).
The abysmal employment rate for recent college graduates is due to a number of factors, including passive ‘career services’ departments, irrelevant coursework and outdated curriculum, and little to no substantive connection with hiring employers.
But the core issue? Skills. There are nearly 6 Million job openings in the U.S. right now, the most in history. So, why are there 7 million unemployed people and why are 80% of college grads jobless when they get their diploma? Because only 20% of of applicants have the SKILLS needed to get those jobs.
The gap is clear and compelling.
5. Even if you do get a job, you’re not going be ready for it.
Even though 96% of Chief Academic Officers at colleges across the United States believe their school prepares students for the workforce, only 11% of business leaders agree with that statement. That means nearly 9 out of 10 of YOUR FUTURE EMPLOYERS don’t even think that pricey education was worth it! That’s crazy. Most of what we learn in college classrooms is not used, or useful, in work or life.
Training and re-training of fresh grads and new hires is historically one of the top expenses for employers across every industry, and the lack of connection between ‘majors’ and ‘curriculums’ with actual real-world job work is finally reaching its boiling point.
There is not a jobs crisis. There’s a skills crisis. And colleges are the #1 culprit.
6. Sometimes the entire school itself is a scam.
Several of the leading for-profit and vocational schools have gone out of business OVERNIGHT for scamming students. Hanging hundreds of thousands of people out to dry with a collective $12B in debt, and a degree that has no merit. The list of for-profit colleges that have shut their doors in the last few years is staggering, including household names like ITT Tech, Everest College, Corinthian Colleges, Brown Mackie and Globe University. Even vocational and trade schools like the Art Institutes and Le Cordon Bleu have closed their doors. DeVry and several other for-profit schools are facing hundreds of million dollars worth of lawsuits and intense government scrutiny for misleading ads and predatory tactics.
7. And maybe most of all, you need to stop going to school because it’s just NOT NECESSARY.
Nearly two-thirds of the jobs that are available in the United States do not even require a 4-year degree. And many entry-level jobs in high-growth industries — with promising career paths — provide complete on-the-job training.
And as someone who’s spent nearly 15 years hiring people in both the corporate setting and the startup space (Procter & Gamble, GoPro & Besomebody), I can tell you firsthand that employers do not care what classes you took, what your major was, or even how great you groomed your GPA. We care if you can think and communicate; if you can analyze and anticipate; we care about what skills you have and how passionate you are to join our team, serve our customers, and fulfill our mission.
And NO… Online Learning is NOT the answer!
I know, online learning is exploding right now. The #1 e-learning site has over 20 MILLION students — more than the entire enrollment for U.S. colleges in the Spring of 2017. And yes, venture capitalists love it and they’re pouring money into it. Last year was a record year of Ed Tech funding at over $2 Billion. They love it because it’s quick to build and easy to scale — which means it’s easy for THEM to make money.
But online learning doesn’t work. Even the biggest and best online learning sites — called “MOOCs” — have over a 90% dropout rate! And most importantly, online learning cuts out the most powerful part of the learning process: the human connection. It strips away the face-to-face with amazing teachers and inspiring mentors, the true heroes of any learning equation. That in-person interaction is where true learning happens.
And this is something even the academics can agree upon. Princeton University’s entire learning philosophy states that says 90% of learning comes from experience and mentorship — only 10% from “formal” (i.e. classroom or online) training… so that 90% online dropout rate makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?
Now before you ask, yes, I did go to college. I was part of that earlier generation that was told there was only a one-way road to happiness and success. My time in college most definitely set me up for the opportunities that led me to where I am today. But I actually started working at Fortune 20 Company before I even got my diploma (making pretty good money too). And I can honestly tell you, I did not learn anything in a classroom… The College EXPERIENCE taught me a lot: the organizations I was in, the part-time jobs I had, the relationships I made, the cultures I was exposed to, the late-night conversations and the real life lessons. THAT is where and how I learned, and THAT is what we need to preserve.
Oh, which leads me to the final reason for you to stop going to school.
8. Some of the most successful people in history are college dropouts.
I am just gonna leave this short list here.
and Lady Gaga
Not to mention the founders of Dropbox, Spotify, Twitter, WordPress, Whole Foods, Jet Blue, Dell, Mattel and Hobby Lobby.
To name a few.
And most of those people were in school years ago. This is a new time, with new technologies, new challenges and new opportunities.
The college degree that once was a prerequisite of the American Dream just isn’t required anymore.
We need a new path for learning — one that starts with what you’re passionate about, and ends with a job that you love. A Path that is affordable, and accessible, and exciting. A Path that’s taught by experts who’ve been there and done it. One that teaches you the skills that you need to succeed.
An experiential, employment-driven Path.
And we are working 24/7 here at Besomebody to build it. We’ve launched our Learning Paths this month, and are conducting pilots with a select group of top Employers in high-growth industries like Healthcare, Energy, and Hospitality. The premise is simple: start with Employers and their open jobs, determine the SKILLS needed to succeed at those jobs (and at THAT company), find the best industry pro’s in that area to teach those skills, and then source the best candidates who are passionate about that industry. Our ‘product’ is a powerful enabler and tool (especially for employers, who get realtime ratings and reviews of how Candidates perform on specific skills and against specific core values), but the true power is in the PEOPLE we are bringing together.
Please check out our Paths and let me know what you think. This is new ground, and we need (and appreciate) all the help that we can get. If your company is in need of passionate, talented, skilled employees, please let me know. We’d love to try and help (there is no cost for companies chosen for our pilot.). If you are unemployed, underemployed or unhappily employed, we are building this for you.
So, at Besomebody, we’re doing all we can to not just talk about the problem, but to be a part of the solution. We believe we can crack this, and with your help, I know we will.
But in the meantime, you need to STOP going to school.
And start going to learn.
ps – to learn more about our solution to this problem, check out our Learning Paths here: besomebody.com/paths; Other ideas on how we can tackle the student debt and skilled worker crises? Comment below, or send me your thoughts here: email@example.com. THANK YOU.