James Altucher, hedge fund manager and successful entrepreneur known for his podcast and as the author of The Power of No, recently produced a video with Business Insider on why you shouldn’t go to college.
Altucher largely focuses on the practical points:
- College degrees aren’t very good guarantees for jobs, and all indicators point towards this trend growing
- College is really expensive, and college debt is a terrible thing to have
- College isn’t particularly good for networking, especially when compared to the alternatives (even world-travel is better!)
- College isn’t particularly good at training you for a job
I’d rather have a surgeon who did a thousand surgeries operate on me than one who got a random education.
- College education tends to be years behind the real world.
He also notes that he would support “whatever [his children] want to do, except college.” These are strong words in the age of the Cult of College.
Altucher largely focuses on the (very important) practical points of a college degree helping somebody get a job. After all, the vast majority of students only attend college so they can get a job (don’t believe this? Ask the average college student if they would choose to go to college if their chances of getting a job were no higher — in fact, lower due to time sunk! — than when they started).
Is college a good investment? Lots of public intellectuals and authors will admit that it isn’t for everybody, but few have the honesty Altucher has to simply say, “no, it isn’t, when compared to valuable alternatives.”
What defines “valuable alternatives” depends on what the young person wants to achieve. If they want to be a writer, they should write and work with writers. If they want to launch a business, they should work with businesspeople. If they want to become an academic, they should go to college. If they want to do travel, they should travel.
There are plenty of options out there to help people structure their time that they would otherwise spend in college. Praxis is one. UnCollege’s Gap Year is another for one looking to travel. Enstitute is another. There are plenty of options out there. What matters is actually taking the time to ask, “What do I want?” and weighing the options.
Chances are, college isn’t the best way of getting what you want.
Watch Altucher’s Business Insider video below to see why: