10 More Reasons Why Parents Should Not Send Their Kids to College

Kevin_Covais_in_College_Wallpaper_2_1280

OK, enough is enough. In 2006 I wrote an article for The Financial Times on why I won’t send my kids to college. I’ve written, more or less, the same article for several publications including AOL, Yahoo, one of my last books (I forget which one) and the Washington Post wrote an article on my opinions on the subject.

Here is my most recent article on why you shouldn’t send your kids to college.

I hate to admit it, but I don’t really like anyone to disagree with me. I like 100% agreement to all of my proclamations. When I wake up in the morning, I want to open the newspaper and see big headlines, “JAMES ALTUCHER WAS RIGHT AGAIN!” and quotes in the articles like, “Why are we always so stupid? Why don’t we listen to James the first time he says things?” Maybe when I walk outside I want people to throw flowers down on the street in front of me and beggars and homeless people to run up to me and say, “I might be homeless but I love the way you think. If possible, can I touch you?”

But I don’t like to be touched so I would hold up my hand, take out a pad, write down some words of wisdom, rip out the piece of paper from the pad and hand it to them.

So it disturbs me when people cling to the notion of going to college like its the holiest water down from God, come to bless them. Seriously, you could walk around and say, “Jesus never lived,” and people nod their heads and say, “ok, there is religious freedom in America and what he just said is fine,” but if you say “kids should not go to college” its like you breached the highest, holiest, divine hymen of American religion.

Say it again. Say it loud and proud: “college is the divine hymen of American religion.”

One person wrote on a Yahoo message board (where the elite post their thoughts):

“the government should take his kids away.” Please, that would be great for me. Maybe I can visit my kids on holidays inside their government compounds. I hear that inside the Department of Commerce there are lots of jungle gyms my kids could play on. And there are 3D video games projected onto the walls of the State Department where Chelsea Clinton’s future kids will play. But until then, my kids who were taken from me by G-Force Government Agents can play the games. When Chelsea Clinton’s kids are old enough my kids can babysit them. That would help them build their rolodex for when they later on want to work at hedge funds or the world famous US Department of State.

Another person wrote:

“Mr. Altucher, who went to his prestigious ivy league school, wants to now keep everyone underneath him so he can reap the benefits of their poverty.” Yes, I admit it. I need everyone to be less educated than me so I can feel good about myself. If you didn’t go to the same school as me then its a gurantee you are less intelligent than me. As I write this I see I misspelled “guarantee” in the sentence before mine. I’m not even going to correct it. Because in the next version of the American Dictionary they will include “gurantee” and say as the definition: “see ‘guarantee’ “. Because thats the way I roll.

Ok, those were the spurious disagreements with my article. I don’t even honor them with an official number, like many of those “list” blogs that people hate. But now I’m going to make a list blog anyway. Who cares?

Read More: How To Be The Luckiest Guy On the Planet in 4 Easy Steps. 

10 More Reasons Parents Should Not Send Their Kids to College

1. People say: Kids learn to be socialized at college. Are you kidding me? I’m going to spend $100-200k a year so my kids can learn how to make friends with other people their age? Let me tell you about how your kids will be socialized in college and you know this to be true:

—-Your kid should put a dime in a glass jar every time he or she has sex in his first year of college. After the first year of college, he or she should take a dime out every time they have sex. They will never empty that jar. I might be exaggerating (its hard for me to do the math on numbers in four digits like this when I look back at my own experience). So assume that’s step #1 on the socialization of our children in college.

—–Do the same exercise above with the dimes but replace “sex” with “vomit”. Thats part #2 with the socialization.

—–You can also do the above exercise with the dimes (give your kid lots of dimes before they say, “ok, Dad, see you LATER!” when you drop them off in the parking lot of college.) but instead of “sex” or “vomit” say “classes I will skip because of either sex or vomiting.”

2. People say: Kids learn how to think in college. This argument was said to me by Kathryn Schulz, author of “Being Wrong”, a good friend and author of an excellent book. But she knows more than anyone that no matter how much you think you “think”, you’re going to be wrong most of the time. And by the way, does it really cost several hundred thousand dollars to learn how to think?

I would argue that college is a way to avoid learning how to think. If I want to learn how to play tennis, the best thing to do is go out on a tennis court and play tennis. If I want to learn how to drive a car, I better get behind a wheel and drive. If I want to learn how to live and how to think, then the best thing to do is begin living my life and thinking my thoughts instead of still having my parents pay for my life and my professors giving me my thoughts. See below to see how I learned how to “think”.

In a related blog post, I will also write “ways people can learn how to think”.

3. Statistics say: College graduates make much more money than non-college graduates. Clearly anyone who states this has failed “Statistics 101” in college. We might know correlation but we don’t know cause-and-effect here. Since our generation (post-baby boomer) basically everyone goes to college except people who absolutely failed high school, then of course it makes sense that achievement-minded people make more money than  individuals who are not achievement-oriented.

A better statistical study, which nobody has done, is take 2000 people who got accepted to Harvard 20 years ago, and randomly force 1000 of them to not go to college. Then, at the end of 20 years to see who made more money. My guess is that the 1000 who didn’t go to Harvard would’ve made more money. They would’ve been thrown out of the nest to learn how to fly that much earlier and a 5 year head start would’ve made enormous difference (I say 5 years because thats the average amount of time it takes to finish college. Not 4, as many think).

4. One person said: Not everything boils down to money. Specifically, one brilliant commenter on one of my posts said, “I’d say the overwhelming majority of people don’t go to college as a financial investment. They do it because they want to explore career options in an easy environment. They do it because there’s a particular career they want to be (unfortunately weekend hackers don’t often become doctors) They do it because they want to drink and party on the weekends. They do it because the point of life is not making money.”

I’m going to be angry for the first time on this post, if not this entire blog since its inception. What a stupid statement that is. If its not a financial investment then why has the cost of college gone up 1000% in the same amount of time its taken healthcare to go up 700% and inflation to go up 300%? Its a financial investment because college presidents have scammed most kids into thinking they can’t get jobs without college. So they jack up the prices knowing kids will be forced to pay otherwise suffer the perceived opportunity cost of not going to college.

Also, the commenter above says “the point of life is not making money”. I’d like to thank him for saying that. Otherwise i would’ve gone through life thinking the entire point of life was making money. I’m assuming what he really means by that statement is that its great for kids to read books about philosophy, literature, art, history, etc in an environment that encourages discussion among peers and experts. This is what college is truly great for.

5. My Experience. I think of myself as an educated person so let me tell you my own experience:

College itself was spent:

  • meeting and fooling around with girls for the first time in my life. I’m glad the banks loaned me enough money to do this. And fortunately, extreme failure and embarrassment in this arena didn’t effect me at all later in life.
  • learning about alcohol and the occasional recreational drug for the first time in my life
  • I took an enormous amount of classes in Computer Science. None of which helped me in my first actual non-academic job. In fact, I was so bad at computers after going to both undergrad Cornell in Computer Science and graduate school at Carnegie Mellon in Computer Science that my first non-academic job (HBO) had to send me to two months of training courses at AT&T so I could learn a thing or two about how computers were used in the real world. My first task at HBO was to get some computer they gave me “onto the Internet”. I ended up crashing the computer so bad they had to throw it out and I also wiped out everyone’s email on that computer. I thought they were going to fire me but they just banished me for two months instead. The only way to get fired at HBO, I was told, was to stand on your boss’s desk and pee on it.
  • I borrowed every penny of my college education. I took courses every summer (they were cheaper and quicker then) and I took six courses a semester. I still graduated without about 30-40k in loans. It took me ten years (and selling a business) but I paid back every penny of my loans.
  • On top of my courses, I worked about 40 hours a week at jobs so I could afford my expenses. My parents did not pay one dime of my expenses except for maybe my first semester of college. And for graduate school I got a full scholarship and stipend.

The way I got educated in reading, philosophy, history, art, etc. was fully on my own time. After leaving graduate school I took relatively easy jobs as a programmer on campus. I spent hours every day reading books, and then at least another hour or two a day going to the campus library and reading criticism on the books I had just finished.

This was the entirety of my liberal arts education. And it was all for free and has served me well since then. And I was actually paid while I was doing it.

If you can’t read a book without being on a college campus and paying $100-200k a year for the honor of being there then you probably shouldn’t be reading books anyway. Or at least wait until you learn the value of a dollar before making that extreme expense.

6. Parents are scammed. If you are a parent and wish to send your kids to a college then, just to summarize, here is what you are paying for:

  • your kids are going to have sex 1- 5 times a day with people you probably wouldn’t approve of.
  • your kids are going to drink, smoke pot, probably try LSD and other drugs before you even get home
  • your kids are going to cheat on most of their exams. When I first started college I wanted to be a psychologist. I read every book on psychology. In Psych 101 I got a D- on my first exam, which was graded on a curve. Apparently the other 2000 kids in the class had access to older exams which were stored at all the fraternities and the professor never changed the exams. I had to ultimately drop Psych as a major. My dad said, “why do you want to major in Psychology anyway. Girls won’t like you because you won’t make any money as a psychologist.” I said, “but then I’ll never know if the girls like me for money or not?” And he said, “Girls won’t like you because you have money. They’ll like you because YOU ARE THE KIND OF GUY who can make a lot of money.”
  • your kids are going to make connections with other like-minded individuals (people focused on drugs, socialism, sex 24 hours a day (not a bad thing), people cheating on exams, and people with rich parents who will help your kids get jobs at Goldman Sachs).
  • your kids are going to think they are smarter than you almost immediately.
  • while you are working 60 hours a week and borrowing money to send your kids to college, your kids will be sleeping good chunks of the day, relaxing on the weekends, and enjoying the blissful pleasures of the lazy life for another four years until the real world hits.

7.Alternatives. See my just-published post on alternatives to college

And by the way, I know my title said “10 Reasons” and I only listed “7”. I didn’t learn to count in college. But maybe you can help me fill out three more reasons in the comments. I had a great time in college. And although I worked very hard I managed to enjoy the beautiful nature around Ithaca and really appreciate being away from home. I graduated a year early so I could save on tuition. In order to graduate early I had to maintain at least a 3.0 average. Unfortunately, on the last day of classes I realized I was heading for a 2.999 and would not be able to graduate. I had to go to my Fortran (blech!) professor and beg him to upgrade me from a D+ and a C-. Fortunately, he did. And I got my degree.

Related Posts:

8 Alternatives to College

I’ve Been Completely Humiliated by Yoga (I put this in “related” because its definitely an alternative education for me at the moment)

10 Things I Learned Trading for Victor Niederhoffer

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  • http://jerrykhachoyan.com Jerry Khachoyan

    I kind of have to agree James. Not entirely though as some professions require you to go to college (ie doctors,lawyers,etc) but I definitely agree that college isnt “needed”. Being in college right now, I speak firsthand. I spent most of my freshmen year taking “GE”s that honestly were really annoying and a waste of time. Yeah I learned some cool stuff, but hey, if I wanted to learn that stuff I would do it for FREE at my home! Or better yet, I could always drop by the lectures of many colleges to sit & learn and nobody would notice, again for FREE! And using the argument that “you can study whatever you want to do in life in college” is BS. I want to trade. I don’t see any trading classes! Luckily, I have some interest in Political Science so most of my (recent) classes have not been torturous/boring (even though it is still a pain in the ass having them).

    Honestly, the only reason I am going to college is to have a Plan B just in-case trading doesnt work out (which it will). Luckily my first year was payed off by scholarships and like you I will be finishing early (I will be done in Fall 2012,started in Fall 2009). So the risk/reward here is kind of good. Plus, being at a school with a name (UCLA) I guess is good lol.

    I tell people all the time. If you want to go to college, either go to a state school where the tuition is way cheaper Or go to community college where you can save so much money by transferring. The fact that People would want to go to private colleges (or worse, for-profit colleges) really blows my mind. Why the HELL would you want to pay 1.5-5X more for the same piece of paper that I will get? Make ZERO sense (unless there is full financial aid or some other reason like that).

    Just my 2 cents.

  • http://twitter.com/MorninTrader Rob

    On point 3. I read some article that claimed if you used the tuition amount and put it into a low risk fund, that it makes up the difference, and then some, of the million more earned in a lifetime.

    College is important for a lot of different professions. I went to school for computer science and without the degree I wouldn’t have gotten 6 figure job offers when I was in my early 20s. But I’ve also got plenty of buddies with college degrees in english, finance, art, drama. They’re 30, working shit jobs that they could have gotten without their expensive degrees.

    In the end, isn’t the real point that life is what you fucking make of it. College or no college… If you come home, smoke pot and play video games instead of engaging and expanding your universe, then you’ve created a real disadvantage.

  • http://twitter.com/jayzalowitz Jay Zalowitz

    I made the decision on going to college based upon what the cost would be with scholarship.

    All said and told, i would have had to pay for what i had to pay for (food and board) I probably would have gotten the same level of jobs (barring my last internship). All said and told, I didnt get stiffed half bad.

    Now if you will excuse me I am going to go try and find a job (thats the real hard part lol)

  • Purewater

    I tend to agree college is a waste of time and money especially if you are getting a degree like philosophy or history.

    You might like this article, this guy does the math of how much you could earn by investing the college tuition instead of going to college…comes to $5.5 million.

    http://www.solitudecanyon.com/thoughts-from-the-canyon/is-going-to-college-worth-2-3-million-

    • Purewater

      Oops, wrong link above

      http://tinyurl.com/6bcv2yh

    • I’m a farmer now

      I value history and philosophy over all other majors, if one were to go to college.

  • Gmrbluee

    James, would you have gotten that HBO job without having college on your resume? Would you have gotten all the opportunities and brakes in life that you did? Maybe yes, maybe no. I would rather risk going to college and looking back at it later and think “I didn’t need to spend 100k on that”, than risk not succeeding in life and thinking “would it have been different had I gone to college?”.

    I guess for me then it comes down to where the pain of regret if i’m wrong would be smaller. (by the way, I think for many people the same subconscious decision applies to the decision of having or not having children).

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I don’t know if I would’ve gotten that job or not. I’ll tell you the story of that job. I had 5 people interview me. I blew every interview. I don’t think anyone asked me what college I went to. They asked me if I could program a Mac. No. Could I program in Unix. No. Did I know about interactive TV. No. Did I know object-oriented programming. No. Did I know C++. No.

      Dejected, I left the building. I went to Bryant Park, with my nice little suit on, and I went over to the chessplayers playing there. Might as well get a game in before I got banished back to Pittsburgh (nothing wrong with the burg, just tired of it). So I played a strong player there and won (Asa Hoffman). When I was done I looked up and my future boss’s boss’s boss was watching the game. Turns out he was a 2000 ranked chessplayer and watched the game. We took a walk around the block talking about life. Got along. Then I got hired at the lowest salary anyone ever was offered at HBO. I took it.

      • Marc

        So James….your current success (which is very subjective), can be said to be based mostly on fate right? Yes, a lot of what happens to us in life is fate. However, similar to our own deaths, it can be accelerated by our own choices. So yes…maybe a woman can become an A list movie star by becoming a prostitute and end up sleeping with a Hollywood executive, but she can also guarantee a better chance of success by working hard, gaining the knowledge neccessary and putting herself out there.

        I’m in sales and my current position had nothing to do with college. However, getting my first job in this industry did. I also am a commercial pilot and had aspirations of becoming an airline pilot (pre-9/11). You need a college degree to get that job.

        So economically….you are somewhat correct. But then again….parents with a few bucks could invest in their childs future at birth and just tell the kids to have fun and be a slug all their lives because they would never have to work. How many millions does $10K turn into in 50 years?

        College is a “well rounded” experience. Is it worth $200K? Individual choice. But there are alternatives to that. Scholarships, grants, corporate programs…etc. I’m never going to tell my kid not to go to college because it’s not right economically. But then again James….you aren’t doing the most for your life economically if you aren’t in the highest paying job, making the best stock market investments or wasting time responding to us “lesser” folks on this blog.

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          No, was not fate at all. Hard work. I worked 20 hours a day, 7 days a week for many years. Had nothing to do with college.

          • Marc

            No…the chance meeting in the park. That had nothing to do with supposedly working 20 hour days either. But….a lot of people learn to play chess in college lol.

          • Colin

            hahahaha oh perfect response to every article written on this site… lol

          • Fubar

            re: The “achievement meme” run amok, postmodernism’s ugly underbelly.

            Short answer:

            The finance industry is full of well educated, greedy scum whose arrogance is only matched by their narrow-mindedness and selfishness.

            Every big bank should be made illegal, and their owners tried for treason against democracy and human decency.

            Long answer:

            “Chance meeting”? BS. Life is about patterns, not illusions.

            | College is full of illusions and anti-patterns.
            |
            | College reflects and magnifies what is wrong with the world.
            |
            | There are many evil people in higher education. They exploit students, and devalue real learning.
            |
            | The “democracy of the knowledge commons” has been ruined by grotesque fakes.
            |
            | Throwing huge amounts of money at corrupt higher education is gasoline on a fire.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pursuit_of_Happyness

            “While downtown trying to sell one of his scanners, he meets a
            manager for Dean Witter and impresses him by

            [—>] solving a Rubik’s Cube during a short cab ride.”

            What this might tell people is that for entrepreneurs, (the new word for “non-conformists”) getting real good at chess and demonstrating that skill in public is as likely to lead to valuable social contacts with potential employers as is accumlating huge college debts.

            College is a magnet for all sorts of good and bad things.

            The case had been made many times that the bad has increased by enormous porportions.

            As enabled by corrupt politicians, college administrators have become artful swindlers (supporting bad banking practices, bad immigration policy), but horrible people devoid of any real principles. What they are “modeling”, in terms of thought, ethics, behavior, organizational culture and institutional climate, is a disgusting and horrid “lesson in life” that pollutes the minds of the many young people exposed to it.

            College is both disgusting in its adoption of corrupt state-capitalism and its lack of concern for social justice.

            In other words, it reflects and magnifies society’s downward spiral, and makes the bad worse.

            College is by the sheeple, for the sheeple.

            College administration (and to some extent faculty), is for the wolves.

            Again, this is a very sick, predatory, narcissistic model that is not improving the world.

            The mindless nature of many of the “pro-college” comments on this blog is a perfect example of the kind of educated thoughtlessness and carelessness that college breeds.

            The organizational culture of colleges is extremely hostile to contemplation, deep self-examination, or the kind of rational-critical thinking that was the historical foundation of intellectual life in western civilization.

            Those things are almost accidental in college anymore.

            Not to mention the appalling lack of spiritual authenticity and depth.

            That which was high has been replaced by the low.

            This is the price of the postmodern dismantling of “universals”, and not replacing them with “something better”.

          • I’m a farmer now

            Fubar: I can’t argue with a thing you have said. I am a “lowly carpenter”, this is not how I feel, rather how many in society view those in the trades. I have had the best life. After my mother passed away from cancer at 44 years old I had to quit HS to support my two younger brothers. I went to work as a carpenter’s apprentice at 16. I didn’t know it at this low point for me but this was almost the best thing that had ever happened to me. My mentor an older yankee gentleman not only showed me his trade, he showed me a way to think about the world, a way that provides for people not as fortunate, considers the environment, values individualism, and takes from the past to make the future better. Every project that we took on was looked at from many different angles. He was never in a hurry but with his high skill level came an automatic efficiency of materials and effort. He would explain to me why he did things a certain way and how this would affect the future of his work. I came to realize that this is what set him in a different category from most builders (and most people) ….he cared about the future.

            Eventually my brothers graduated from HS and decided that college was the next step. One got a “full scholarship” to Bowdoin College the other ended up attending Hobart & Smith College on scholarship. Both were treated very differently from the start by both surrounding students and the faculty…word of their scholarship staus had gotten out plus they weren’t sporting all of the baggage that tells this society that they are one of “them”. Upon completion of their second years (this happened to both of my brothers) they were told that some scholarships were dropped and that they “luckily” could be approved for loans. Both brothers took on these loans, not realizing what this meant to their futures. Hefty sums were racked up by nineteen yr olds without much contractual wordly experience. In the mean time I had built my own home with no bank involvement (my mentor told me “at all costs never a lender nor a borrower be.” (He gave freely, when he could.) When my brothers “graduated” both Bowdoin College and Hobart & Smith told them that they would receive their diplomas when the loans were satisfied (meaning no diploma until you pay). Fine examples of capitalism…institutions drawing in innocents under false pretenses and the eventual ruthless outcome.

            My brothers are very successful people (this is not a measurement of goods when I say this), they would give the shirt off their backs to any in need and are great well rounded people (a miracle given that no parents were in the picture). They are still paying these “schools” money to this day even though they have nothing to show except for the experience of living on the wrong side of capitalism (like most of us)…is there a right side? It doesn’t matter in the long run because I built them both solar homes that are built with the future in mind and they are now both excellent carpenters themselves. Also- I have been given a new interest-philosophy by one of my “educated” brothers. Incidentally he was going to be a financier. He was saved by the lousiness of his school and I was saved by the good graces of an old carpenter who has passed away but who’s techniques and perspectives I employ to this day. My son is my apprentice now.

            Colleges are like any other corporation, the bottom line and profitabilty are their indicators of success, NOT people, value, teaching. The future means little to corporations and people mean less.

      • Paulpaul728

        I am currently majoring in computer engineering at a top university. I will graduate with close to 90k in debt, but I know OOP, C++, C, Ojective-c, Java, UNIX, networking, algorithms, data structures, embedded systems, lots of calculus, and physics. It’s no fing game here and I rarely have sex because there are few women and I have no time. So fck off. You didn’t know that stuff because you didn’t keep up with technology. You got lucky!

        • dy

          My dh knows C++, Java, and Unix too. He has always been passionate about computers and taught himself. The resources were free on the internet or books from the library.

    • country farmer now

      You have swallowed the pill then.

  • http://twitter.com/RexR Rex Riepe

    Sarcasm and pot shots! I apologize wholeheartedly for my earlier post. I had mistaken your blog for a serious blog.

    First off, just because something has a cost doesn’t mean everyone approaches it as an investment.

    Second, you’re arbitrarily drawing a line in personal development and then belittling others who are doing the exact same thing. I could use your same arguments for–

    –Well, let’s take a break here. If you only got so many ad hominem attacks to use in your lifetime before people just altogether stopped taking you seriously, would you really spend them on this topic? I mean, really?

    Anyway, where were we? Right. A 15-year-old should drop out of high school because they could make 18k a year flipping burgers or flipping furniture on Craigslist. Between inflation and rising retirement ages, that 18k will be approximately 489 million dollars to retire on if they invest it right. They’d be stupid not to! They’re just going to waste their senior year of high school anyway. Besides, I’m an entrepreneur, and nobody has ever asked to see my high school diploma.

    Does any of this sound familiar?

    It’s all a matter of personal judgment. You think folks are ready for the world by 18 and don’t need High School 2: High School Harder. And a lot of people disagree, pass up the burger flipping job (cost, opportunity cost, whatever, whether it’s the $800k you’re claiming or not) and go to college.

    While I applaud your efforts to highlight alternatives and even think you’re right for certain people, even me, the “La la la la” fingers-in-the-ears thing is tiresome. College is a fine decision for the majority of people that go to college.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Maybe. But is it a fine decision for their parents, particularly when there are cheaper, more worthwhile alternatives.

      Also, Rex, this is an issue that clearly touches you. You feel passionate about it even.

      The line in personal development is not arbitrary, its “personal”, as you say. To make something personal, means to find viable choices and alternatives. I’m not saying “everything goes”. Quite the opposite. Find something thats hard, that works, that educates, that improves you and the world as best you can. Find a discipline you can subscribe to. It doesn’t need to be college. It can be…alternative. And personal.

    • Fubar

      re: “College is a fine decision for the majority of people that go to college.”

      The college ecosystem is corrupt and falling apart. The above statement will become less and less true in the future.

      One of the main purposes of the corrupt version of college is to socialize people into acceptance of dehumanizing, dysfunctional state-capitalist bureaucracies and corrupt, hopeless, cynical politics and predatory corporatism.

      In other words, to being exploited sheeple.

      The net effect is that society will become more and more nasty and dysfunctional for “most people”.

      Do you really believe in a future like that?

      If so, did your “education” make you that bad of a person?

      If so, did your “education” make you that incapable of any real insight, compassion or altruism?

      If so, did your “education” make you that incapable caring about social justice?

  • Rufus

    It teaches you how to think LIKE OTHER PEOPLE… which is of little value – if we all think the same then where is the progress?

    For most people it is a waste of time and money. Spot on James.

  • NC

    This is all very true… I came to think of college as a toll booth. Pay up and have access to more jobs. I have a friend that was looked over for a really good job he was over qualified for at Phillips just because he didn’t have a degree. He started working in sales right out of high school but from time to time no ‘degree’ still holds him back.

    • Biatch

      YOU’RE AN IDIOT

  • http://fundmymutualfund.com TraderMark

    JA, I remember your 2006 article. I thought it might have been posted on TheStreet but maybe I am wrong.

  • Tom Indigo

    Wow, apparently I missed the whole “college experience” of drugs, alcohol, sex, and cheating on exams. My parents did pay for most of college and I did get $25 per week for spending money. I supplemented this by working on campus for minimum wage. After working 20 hours a week and getting an $80 paycheck, I definitely learned the value of money. It took me 11 semesters to complete college and in the end I’m not even working in the field my degree is in. But in working part-time jobs, changing majors, and working an internship, I was able to settle on a career choice that I enjoy.

  • Gap2

    While I agree that college is overpriced and a broken indicator for “learning”, I think it is easy for you to say what you are saying now that you have made lots of money and are secure. The reality is that getting a good job requires a college degree. Simple as that. It is difficult to expect an 18 year old to be prepared for your 8 alternatives to college.

  • Andrew

    James, I have alot of respect for you. I read your blog in my down time at work (I work in finance and have actually worked at the FT as well) however, what jobs can you actually get if you don’t go to college.

    Pure and simply NONE or low paid menial jobs. College acts as a symbol. If I sent in a CV to my current employer based on your list of things you should do instead of college for instance

    A section on Poker and my PnL
    A section dedicated solely to my blogging skills (I do ALOT of writing at work/research/reports etc)
    A section on stand up comedy (I’m currently taking a course on this and have performed 3x already, 1x I blew out completely)
    A section on running two charities
    A section on lets say starting a start-up which failed completely but I learnt a ton but didn’t achieve anything

    Would I get an interview? No is the answer. No one in the City of London would look at me even if I networked unless I was the son of Lord Rothschild.

    To even paraphrase my boss ‘I’m an elitist, why should I hire some kid from a ‘university’ which was a Poly when I was at Oxford.’ Do ya know what. I cannot blame him. Its too high risk.

    You’re clearly successful and sure your kids may do fucking awesome without college but unfortunately and factually its needed in life. Yes its expensive but look at the people who run the country plenty of them have college degrees and before you start pulling out BS names like Bill Gates, Richard Branson (who is actually from a decent middle class family/went to a top public school in the UK) etc and so forth. Think about this for a second 97% of F500 CEOs have college degrees and of that percentage around 67% have a further degree (LLM, JD, MBA, PhD etc and so forth)

    So I’ve no idea how on earth you propose people actually get jobs because most people do not have what it takes nor do they want to become entrepreneurs. People need to demonstrate things via signals and if we take any of the points I made above if you are actually REALLY good as a poker player, comedian, blogger, charity founder or start-up entrepreneur yes you will not need college but the fact is alot of people are educated who are successful!

    Education will always matter. All the biggest companies in the world will hire Ivy League grads and society will always respect them no matter how much college tuition rockets (I agree its a freaking rip off for a piece of paper which looks like an absolute mess) but thats the way of the world.

    Are you honestly telling me if someone had those sections on their c.v and you as a HF manager saw it land on your desk one monday morning looking for a junior. You’d give that person and then possibly hire them. I don’t believe you.

    • Fubar

      College breeds moral and spiritual laziness, exploitation and social injustice, and INTOLERANCE.

      IT IS EVIL.

      IT IS UNEXAMINED ASUMPTIONS AND HIDDEN AGENDAS.

      How many of the people responsible for the current levels of corruption in the world went to college?

      100%???

      Education is part of the structure of corruption and exploitation (state-capitalism).

      You complete lack of mention of such is the best reason why people should *PROTEST* the swindle that higher education has become by OPTING OUT OF THE SCAM.

      The educational establishment will continue to become more rotten, more corrupt and more of a swindle until people become outraged and demand improvement.

      • Calling the BS

        See my above comment. It is not college that breeds this, but parents like YOU who breed this atmosphere of social injustice and intolerance. People not fighting for what they believe in is what breeds this. People not voting for representatives who actually represent the things that you want to see in the various arms of the government.

        “How many of the people responsible for the current levels of corruption in the world went to college?

        100%???” This statement clearly shows NOTHING. It could just as easily be read “How many of the people responsible for the current levels of corruption in the world breathe, or have blond hair, or have teeth?” Or any other absurdity that you wanted to replace it with. How many of those people are not challenged to justify their actions by an apathetic public? ALL OF THEM. Apportion blame where blame is due – it is the current generation of “adults” who have no concept of how good they had it, how hard their parents worked for them, and have no appreciation for it regardless. The blame belongs squarely on those parents who sit their kids in front of a TV and expect the TV to babysit them. The parents who make sure that their 12 year olds have cell phones and personal laptops.

        • Fubar

          Unfortunately nothing you say makes much sense as far as I can tell.

          The Nanny State (including the educational establishment) does not want people being independent, or exercising self-reliance or self-responsibility.

          A long and wandering effort was undertaken by the education establishment in the late 1800s to destroy the economic viability of its natural opposition – politically independent small farmers and the businesses that support them. It was in the interest of various organs of State Capitalism for the educational establishment to do so. (John Taylor Gatto)

          http://books.google.com/books?id=-q4BPeGQ0jcC

          “Beyond the hundredth meridian: John Wesley Powell and the second opening of the West ”
          –Wallace Stegner

          http://www.secretofoz.com

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JAK_members_bank

          If you haven’t noticed, the vast majority of businesses, including small businesses, are almost completely dependent upon, and held hostage to, the vast network of the global economy, including the internet.

          Jungian archetypes are similar to the myths of the ancient greek gods. Dionysius was the god of primal urges. Prometheus was the god of industry. Hermes was the god of information and the god of deception.

          So, postmodern culture reflects the archetype of hermes: information and deception. Information has no intrinsic value, it has become a “mere” commodity.

          The great and long human search for meaning (which is what education basically is about) has been reduced to the level of a mere $.

          Further evolution is needed in which morals/ethics are reintegrated into the culture of “rationality” and “systems” of the modern world.

          Various proposals for such “holistic” or “integral” paradigms have been made over the last 75 years.

          Breathing or having hair are not significant causes of psychosocial phenomena.

          The entire purpose of education is to shape people’s thoughts, for better, or for worse.

          To shape ideas is to shape culture, which shapes ideas. This is called a “feedback loop” in systems theory:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_leverage_points

          Education is part of the structure of State Capitalism, and it has a specific role in perpetuating the interests of those that benefit from the system.

          That you fail to see that is simply a testimony to the power of brainwashing of mass media and the educational establishment. Or basic ignorance.

          Here is one of the classic statements on the issue, by the father of the “deep ecology” movement (1970s):

          —excerpts—

          http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Illich/Vernacular.html

          Vernacular Values by Ivan Illich
          [Note: These essays from CoEvolution Quarterly were the basis of most of Illich’s book Shadow Work (Marion Boyars, 1981).]

          Cuernavaca, April 12th 1980

          Dear Stewart,

          Three years ago you asked, what had become of my plan to write an epilogue to the industrial age. Indeed, that is what I had promised in 1973 in the introduction to Tools for Conviviality:

          During the next several years I intend to work on an epilogue to the industrial
          age. I want to trace the changes in language, myth, ritual and law which took
          place in the current epoch of packaging and of schooling. I want to describe
          the fading monopoly of the industrial mode of production and the vanishing
          of the industrially generated professions this mode of production serves.

          Each time the West put a new mask on the alien, the old one was discarded because it was now recognized as a caricature of an abandoned self-image. The pagan with his naturally Christian soul had to give way to the stubborn infidel to allow Christendom to launch the Crusades. The wild man became necessary to justify the need for secular humanist education, The native was the crucial concept to promote self-righteous colonial rule. But by the time of the Marshall Plan, when multinational conglomerates were expanding and

          [] the ambitions of transnational pedagogues, therapists and planners

          knew no bounds, the natives’ limited needs for goods and services thwarted growth and progress. They had to metamorphose into underdeveloped people, the sixth and present stage of the West’s view of the outsider.


          Development based on high per capita energy quanta and intense professional
          care is the most pernicious of the West’s missionary efforts – a project guided
          by an

          [] ecologically unfeasible conception of human control over nature,

          and by
          an

          [] anthropologically vicious attempt to replace the nests and snakepits
          [] of culture by sterile wards for professional service.

          The hospitals that spew out
          the newborn and reabsorb the dying, the schools run to busy the unemployed
          before, between and after jobs, the apartment towers where people are
          stored between trips to the supermarkets, the highways connecting garages
          form a pattern tatooed into the landscape during the short development
          spree. These institutions, designed for lifelong bottle babies wheeled from
          medical centre to school to office to stadium begin now to look as
          anomalous as cathedrals, albeit unredeemed by any esthetic charm.

          —end—

          Ivan Illich clearly saw what was coming decades ago. Yes, he was a nonconformist priest and an austrian, and thus probably had some “libertarian” influences that made him suspicious of centralized state powers.

        • Dy

          In other words: “You’re all wrong. My views and opinions are the only ones that are right. I know how to raise your children better than you do.”

          Though I agree with you on the comment of corruption and college graduates. That’s just silly. If 90% of high schoolers go on to college, does that make the 10% the only moral ones?

      • I’m a farmer now

        You are right Fubar, but to gain the respect and confidence of many people that share your ideas (that’s why the are on this site) you should rely on facts (many interesting ones that you have presented) and your excellent writing ability to sway people more gently. I used to be annoyed at comments with no foundation (as you are) but to win minds you have to charm them and educate them. The system counts on bullshit to baffle.

      • me myself and I

        let me guess, you must have been home schooled and are a vegan?? You must also like to make your own clothes and don’t believe in gov’t??..the only thing ‘corrupt’ about college is the tuition and the cost of the books..If you wind up with some great professors and such you can have a terrific time in college…but I think you must have dropped out after one semester huh?? Guess you should have been home schooled for college as well…Granted there are instructors out there that teach the ‘my way or the highway” aspect but I had some really great profs and they would almost go out of their way to make the classes interesting and open and would encourage ‘thinking’ on the part of the students. So I will always have respect and admiration for them.

      • MartinS

        Man!! This guy Fubar is on a roll with tirades against “college.” Maybe he never went to one, or perhaps he went to a very crappy college where he learned nothing and wasted his time. If he had gone to one good decent college (and paid attention) perhaps he would have had a good learning experience (or not!! Without self-motivation, open-mindedness, and eagerness to learn no college would ever work). I went to Caltech and had an extraordinary college experience (graduated almost 20 years ago, BS/MS in Computer Science). Of the many things we were taught is to have critical, independent thinking, and to “question everything.” Not for the sake of creating conflicts or disagreements, but to elicit discussions and conversations, and to exchange ideas and different points of view. And at the end of it all, to distill and discern information and opinions, and come up with the known facts and the most plausible and relevant theories and creative thoughts. Everybody was entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. All my collegues and friends in the industry are doing very well so far (even in this economy) because we are highly-skilled professionals, due in part to our college degrees and experience. Yes, there are psychos, murderers, liars, thiefs and really corrupted people who have college degrees; but that does not mean their “college education” made them that way. You are barking at the wrong tree buddy!!

        • MartinS

          “collegues” was meant to be “colleagues”

        • Matthew

          As a college graduate with an engineering degree, I understand I am leech. Helping improve the next iPad by .01% is not worth a salary greater than 90% of the population while farmers who feed everyone and have very specific and complex trade knowledge (especially sustainable farmers) are barely able to break even.

          I don’t feel bad, because I know the bankers are stealing far more than I am. At this point the people have spoken, they’re okay with being stolen from the competition is just to see how much one can take, before the gigantic ponzi that is American society collapses.

        • Matthew

          As a college graduate with an engineering degree, I understand I am leech. Helping improve the next iPad by .01% is not worth a salary greater than 90% of the population while farmers who feed everyone and have very specific and complex trade knowledge (especially sustainable farmers) are barely able to break even.

          I don’t feel bad, because I know the bankers are stealing far more than I am. At this point the people have spoken, they’re okay with being stolen from the competition is just to see how much one can take, before the gigantic ponzi that is American society collapses.

        • Fubar

          re: Of the many things we were taught is to have critical, independent thinking, and to “question everything.” Not for the sake of creating conflicts or disagreements…

          lol.

          so to demonstrate the high quality of your snob caltech education, you do exactly the opposite, and engage in conflicts, insults and ad hominems.

          very convincing. thanks for showing what a college education is actually about.

          you and your friends are doing well because of the myth of snobbery, and luck. most of you probably came from affluent famlies with high parental education levels. you probably never learned to actually take a stand on principle against a stupid crowd of snobs.

          think about it. in previous generations, most inventors did not have college degrees, yet they mastered complex mechanical/chemical processes and designs. maybe you heard of the Wright Bros.? Leonardo da Vinci? etc.

          All those brilliant college snobs you used to hang out with apparently didn’t bother to think about ACTUAL (not theoretical) ideas or facts that were “outside the box”, and that didn’t support their unexamined assumptions about the necessity of college degrees. oops.

          The IT industry has had an 80% project failure rate, for decades. the scam is all about snob academic credentials and myths of expertise.

          So far, I see no evidence that you have the guts to look at the truth instead of bullying.

        • Fubar

          re: Of the many things we were taught is to have critical, independent thinking, and to “question everything.” Not for the sake of creating conflicts or disagreements…

          lol.

          so to demonstrate the high quality of your snob caltech education, you do exactly the opposite, and engage in conflicts, insults and ad hominems.

          very convincing. thanks for showing what a college education is actually about.

          you and your friends are doing well because of the myth of snobbery, and luck. most of you probably came from affluent famlies with high parental education levels. you probably never learned to actually take a stand on principle against a stupid crowd of snobs.

          think about it. in previous generations, most inventors did not have college degrees, yet they mastered complex mechanical/chemical processes and designs. maybe you heard of the Wright Bros.? Leonardo da Vinci? etc.

          All those brilliant college snobs you used to hang out with apparently didn’t bother to think about ACTUAL (not theoretical) ideas or facts that were “outside the box”, and that didn’t support their unexamined assumptions about the necessity of college degrees. oops.

          The IT industry has had an 80% project failure rate, for decades. the scam is all about snob academic credentials and myths of expertise.

          So far, I see no evidence that you have the guts to look at the truth instead of bullying.

  • Theo

    My two (or three) cents,
    1) I agree that you don’t NEED to go to college, especially if you want to work for yourself. You mainly go so that you can work for someone else. And let’s face it, most people are going to work for someone else.
    2) College doesn’t just mean a bachelor degree program at a private liberal arts institution. This did get me digging to find out what the breakdown is. I came across the following for stats from the US DOE in 2009 (http://tinyurl.com/6ky3syd). By far the most widely held degrees are in business/management and education….hmmm

    And on a personal note, I am sorry to hear that you didn’t learn anything from your computer science classes (not even object oriented programming!?!?). I use skills from both my comp sci and math classes almost everyday in the “real world”. I also met some very interesting people in college, including a number of people who got me really excited about entrepreneurship. Until I went to college, I had never met anyone like that and I will frankly say that it changed my life.

    In the end, the Dead Kennedies sum up one side pretty well:

    No, I’m not here to learn
    I just want to get drunk
    And major in business
    And be taught how to f**k

    But it doesn’t have to be like that.

    • Fubar

      re: “And let’s face it, most people are going to work for someone else.”

      Except that the “educated” idiots running the corrupt system of state-capitalism are sending most of the middle class jobs to Asia???

      Even if you are lucky to keep your job because you are in the “creative” elites, the rest of society is going to get more and more unpleasant to live in, be near, etc. (for most people)

  • Msbiztoo

    I was a university business professor for 8 years until I decided I was too “conservative” to get along with the rest of the hippie-pot-smoking-liberal-sleep-with-their-students faculty who filled students minds with so much garbage, I could barely sleep at night just thinking about it. So I quit and started a lucrative business of my own and retired at 50 using skills I learned ON MY OWN. But…my point is that I TOTALLY AGREE with you and would like to add one more point to Why Kids Should Not Go to College. Namely, that they just DON’T CARE…they are only there because they think the “have” to be and because it’s a way to get out of the house so they can have more sex and booze. BTW, Tom Indigo is an ANOMOLY, but I’m proud of you, Tom!

  • Jkmoore

    Having graduated from college in 2007 ( a relatively recent sample) I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think it depends on the person(kid), but for the most part college is a giant socialization pool where kids are exposed to everything their parents tried to shield them from while in high school. But instead of having a solid parent to discipline them, they are free to F up as much as they want and seemingly only pay the consequences with grade results. Girls, alcohol, drugs, skipping class.

    If it teaches you anything, it teaches you how mature you really are at the time. If you are weak you learn the hard way how to be strong. If you are strong, then your parents didn’t prepare you well for college, they prepared you well for life and so you might as well start it. Of course this is all very revealing, because I was weak, abused alcohol, skipped way too many classes and felt I gained little as far as learning in college. I was a political science major, but learned everything I know about polisci/philosophy/economics reading works from thinkers and authors that were never assigned at this liberal school.

    I did meet my wife in college. I consider that the only worthy reason for going. And, of course, the whole college=job thing is hard for any young man to ignore. I wish it weren’t true, I’d of rather spent 4 years interning at a business, hedge fund, governor’s office, or think tank.

    Man…it was fun though! (Go Tar Heels)

  • Onemoreopinion

    Part of the problem is our low expectations for kids. Kids go into college on their parents’ dime and act as if it’s a continuation of high school without the supervision. There are generally no expectations other than “be safe and have fun”. That is a stupid way to approach college. The rest of your life depends on what you do there. Young people should go into college with an idea of what they want to do when they graduate. The parents should lay out the expectations they have for their children. Examples include “Your grades drop below X and the money stops” and (almost a quote from end of “Blind Side”) “If you get a girl pregnant out of wedlock, I will come down here and cut your … off”. They should understand that they are expected to get scholarships or cover most of the costs themselves.

    Most colleges don’t cost 100-200k/yr. However, if you can’t afford to send your precious offspring to Harvard, tell them to frame the acceptance letter and go to a college that THEY can afford (with perhaps limited parental financial support). We have taken away the responsibility involved with a higher education and turned it into 4 years of overpriced fun. And at the end of their “education”, they don’t have jobs, have no initiative, and expect to move back in with mom and dad until they “find themselves”. Horse hockey.

    Although not everyone knows what degree they are shooting for in the beginning, there should be a definite direction. If one doesn’t like that course, college is the place to change directions. It is a tool that can help you if you use it correctly.

    By the way, my college experience was way different from yours. I decided, while in high school, that I wanted to go to medical school. Therefore, small college with excellent education and high expectations from professors that cared. Long hours in classes and labs and studying. No alcohol or drugs and limited exposure to the opposite sex. My friends couldn’t understand why I couldn’t go out with them and why a 2.5 GPA wasn’t good enough. Despite the lack of a true “college experience”, life turned out just fine and I gained enough life experience from life itself.

  • http://www.soloflexforever.com Garett

    Interesting viewpoints throughout. Should one or their children go to College or University? It depends on many things, and is not black and white. The cost of this level of education has gone through the roof and there are other options, such as going into trade school or the military, where one can be paid to learn up front. A qualified tradesman can usually make a decent living, and after a stint in the military, additional college education may be covered. All the while having good financial habits whatever one does they should manage their money properly and learn and apply knowledge towards investing.
    People returning to school to become more marketable or change professions is not uncommon. Not all that go to college are guaranteed to graduate, they are however, guaranteed debt, and lots of it, if they have to borrow to get their schooling. Of those that acquire advanced degrees, many do not get careers in anything close to what they were educated in.

    • Fubar

      An idea I read recently:

      Teacher’s salaries should not come from taxes in the traditional model.

      Instead, each educated person should pay a small percentage of their income to their teachers’ income pools (perhaps managed by non-corrupt/non-profit banks such as JAK?).

      Good teachers will produce more successful students, and those that make more money later in life will enrich their teachers.

      Incentives drive quality improvements, motivate self-criticism, and lead to the development of scientific methods to measure increased education quality.

      The current educational establishment is a bad product of a bad idea: the Nanny State.

      Everything that comes out of it get more rotten over time.

      In systems theory this is called “no positive feedback loops”.

      The Nanny State is contrary to human nature and the workings of the universe.

  • nombo

    Where are you getting this $100-200k a year figure? Tuition at state colleges is usually under $10k. And if you don’t pay for your child’s heroin the room and board won’t be too bad. In college, I had a credit card that I could only use to buy groceries, so I never had any way to buy booze or drugs unless I got a job of my own and paid for them myself.

    Liberal arts educations don’t really do anything, that’s true. But just because the standard operating procedure is to give one’s children free money doesn’t mean you have to. You don’t have to pay for five years of college. When you tell your kid that they’re out on their ass after eight semesters, they find a way to graduate on time. Even lazy 18-year-olds with no aspirations respond to incentives.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=760187588 Kaha Kriheli

    You are a very smart person! Maybe you can find success in a film instead of books then!?

  • Colin

    Haha, all this is relevant to political science, economy, history, liberal arts, english, psychology and any other random worthless degree out there they advertise you can get, and you definitely should have realized that was a poor investment… Tell me how bad of an idea it is to go to a Univ. Tech school and learn CAD, machining, thermodynamics, fluids, computer networking, algorithm classes, materials, chemistry and any other engineering class and just tell me how none of that will be helping me for my degree in my new job?

    Yeah, it won’t if I don’t pursue a job within that major, but thats my own fault, or if we want to blame someone, how about our parents for letting us go to school with no idea of what we want to do thinking we’ll be able to figure it out.
    I feel I’ll be living somewhere pretty happy and comfortably doing what I want to do especially after learning what a dollar is worth working this shotty university job at $7.40/hr and as a pool boy in the summer (actually for 15/hr…wow).

    And regards to the free time, sex, drugs, booze, and anything else you had pinned on college to be negative, that is the defining line of who deserves to be there. Obviously if you keep it to a happy medium and keep your grades up and work experience, then you’ll be the one who prospers in the end looking through those who thought they were “cool” in college by partying it up 24/7. (but if you can do that and keep the grades, more power to you… I knew a select few buddies that could do that…)

    I will agree though that kids should know what a dollar is worth but they should also be more humble and grateful for those who are paying for their tuition, especially if its their parents…

    So I basically plan to get an internship/co-op in mechanical engineering (which lo and behold are in need of…) and then go towards the ski industry with that or marine engine manufacturing/testing…

    I’m glad you went somewhere with your precious cornell and carnegie mellon (not even impressive enough to capitalize) major of Computer Science.
    It sounds like you should been the one graduating with the liberal arts degree pal…

    that’s my dollars worth..

    • Colin

      If you really want to look at it from a social view I once heard it put this way:

      You get the grades in high school to get accepted into college. (depending on the GPA and well roundedness of the individual)
      You do the hard work in college to get the degree. (depending on the degree, GPA, well roundedness, experience and eagerness)
      You use your degree to get the job.

      That’s it, and you may or may not use what you learned in school like you said, you get trained for months but thats on top of what knowledge you have, and if you already know it all, then congrats it’ll be easy and welcome to the rest of your life.

    • Fubar

      You are an idiot. Your tech job is going to be outsourced to Asia. Fool.

      Read Daniel Pink, or many others saying the same thing.

      If you do get a job in the USA, everyone that has to work with you will hate your guts because you are a pathetic excuse for a human being.

      The only tech jobs that remain in the USA will be “creative”.

      You are the opposite of “creative”.

      You are unenlightened.

      Go join the Tea Parties and finish selling out everything that used to be good about america.

  • Meli

    A good alternative to going to college right out of high school is let the kid roam wild for a couple years! Get all the partying out of their system.
    Worked for me.
    I graduated ’08, partied, had sex, smoked pot and did LDS (hell of an amazing drug, btw) for almost 3 years ;now i’m in college maintaining a 3.9 GPA.

    I don’t mind paying loans back. I want to be able to provide for myself and a family in the future.
    College is going to help me do that.

    • Fubar

      Thanks to all the “educated” people running (destroying) the world, you will be very lucky to get a job.

  • beaver assassin

    I’m glad I went to University for 6 years. I focused my learning on a particular field (language acquisition). I now have credentials that earn me $35-$100 per hour. Sometimes I try to explain what I’ve learned to others who haven’t studied the field, and I realize what a long road of understanding it has been. For this sort of thing, post-secondary education is vital.

    BTW, I didn’t go to university until I was 23. I spent my time smoking dope, making art, trying to have sex all the time, writing poetry, travelling… and earning next to nothing. All that experience, however, prepared me to embark of a search for true profession, so I can see both sides to your idea.

    Sometimes I think back and wonder what it would have been like to go straight into University and experience all the wonderful vomiting and sex (did it anyway, but would there have been more?) What would I be like now?

    Glad for the way things turned out career-wise nonetheless. Now I want to see about starting that successful business and retiring at 50.

  • Adriana W.

    As a high school junior on the path to graduation I found ‘#6. Parents Are Scammed’ deeply insulting. I know I’m not the most social flower in the bunch, but I have most definitely been raised by my parents not to succumb to such peer pressures that would lead me to have sex multiple times a day and try every recreational drug known to man just because some kid in my dorm handed it to me. Give teenagers some credit, Altucher.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Stephen.Huck Steve Huck

      Can I dislike this comment? It’s so phenomenally stupid and immature.

      • Fubar

        Moral discipline is one of the legitimate paths in a spiritual life. Young people that believe in moral discipline should be supported.

        However, the sad reality is that higher education is a scam for many people, and it is getting worse, especially for those that are weak and lack discipline.

        Offering young people an opportunity to think about a higher path, one that opens their minds to new ways of seeing society’s problems and reforming them, would be a better idea.

        Once young people see a “better way”, the old, corrupt paradigms will have less hold on their minds.

        Hopelessness and cynicism are not the answer.

      • BRC42

        So thinking that you won’t waste your time and money on getting wasted and getting laid is stupid and immature? But we should trust the kids who will party until they drop to know what’s best for them?

        Not everyone slept their way through college. Not everyone drank their way through college (or smoked, inhaled etc) Some of us worked our asses off.

        Adriana, this is a good example of people you should not listen to. If they honestly believe that everyone has to waste four years getting high or drunk etc, you’re not the one who is immature.

    • Bilbobaggins

      Self righteous, stuck up snotty little princess, well she sounds like that…..

      • GBS

        She basically says, “Don’t assume I’m an idiot,” and you say she’s a “self-righteous, stuck up snottly little princess.”

        Brainless, condescending moron. Well, he sounds like that…

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YMMTDLPHLVJFXXDLS5JRVUGGRA The Greatest

      A year or two in college will hopefully familiarize you with such esoteric concepts as “sarcasm” and “hyperbole.” Thanks for demonstrating how little credit many teenagers truly deserve, Adriana …

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZLI3OIQRBRETEJAOIBZT2KAXM _

      That’s great, I wish all college and teens were aware of how much Hollywood “justifies”, or minimizes, and validates these things. Although, our pastor’s son described his experience through grad school on video sermon that is online at eaglebrookchurch.com. He couldn’t get away from it all, he was rejected for not participating in parties and standing up for abstinence and became very lonely, it was a difficult struggle for him. I remember characters in shows saying, “I’m old enough I can have sex if I want”. Modeling a behaviour is the most effective parenting tool, so the media does the same thing. They want to “raise” our young generation according to their standards or to just sell a movie, and if you look around at your peers, its worked. How many shows are the lead characters jumping in bed after beginning a relationship, verses sticking up for waiting until their married? Most of the time they make the virgin look like a complete idiot for waiting. How many shows have an ex-gay person? (Yes there is an ex-gay community that has been there and back, but you wouldn’t know that by watching any main stream media). A lot of shows I’ve seen have a gay couple in it to “validate” the concept. Approval and acceptance are different, but disagreement is being treated as the same as a being a bigot. The political gay community spend a lot money on the media, politians, and psychological associations to rewrite their books–for example, sexually abusing a child got a new name called CSE–Child Sexual Experience, like its an acceptable thing, its not wrong at all. They’re so afraid to label anything as morally wrong based on political pressure rather than scientific evidence, and who cares about the collateral damage such as making poor decisions, ruining your health, and your future sex life with your spouse, families are torn apart due to pornography addiction and affairs and stupid ideas about marriage sold by Hollywood. Many men have to live on 1/3 of their pay check due to child support. The media minimizes it, justifies it, and sells it like its normal and expected behavior. Why? money– directly or indirectly. They’re owned by corporations who are in bed with polititians, whom as you probably know can be bought, which is why Obama’s questionable citizenship wasn’t in the mainstream press until after he was elected.

      • Cherokee

        I must say that what makes a bigot is in part their opinions on the matter – there is no coloring that particular egg differently. If you “disapprove” of something and are vocal about it, you are a bigot. I am a bigot – I despise people who can’t keep their noses out of other people’s business.

        Back to the topic at hand, however, I feel as though you are grossly misrepresenting the entire college experience. Sure, there are some kids (mostly whose parents have had a choke collar around their throats from infancy) who go wild when their parents get in that car to drive home. Not all (not even the larger majority of) students behave in this manner. I find it shameful that Altucher is making these alarmist statements, and even more, making them a blanket with which to cover all students.

        Maybe parents should teach their children how to behave, instead of relying on schools to do it – if you aren’t satisfied with how children, teens, and young adults behave, you have only to look in the mirror to discover the reason. Stop blaming the media for all the ills of the world – you are still the parents, you can regulate what your children watch, you can teach them that the behaviors they see on the tv are NOT appropriate. YOU can teach your children that it is ok or not to be gay, be prepared though, for your child to be shown that you are wrong in this assumption. The balance though is teaching your children your morals, and then being a big enough person to allow them to formulate their own opinions based on experiences that they can gain throughout their educational career.

        Make sure your children know that there are many different types of intelligence, and that very few rare and blessed individuals possess more than one or two of these types of intelligence. For example: I have more historical, anthropological, and in general academic knowledge than my father. Does this make me smarter than him? Not by a long shot, as he without having gone to college has a great deal more knowledge regarding the physical world – mechanics, electronics, carpentry, and so forth. The argument could be, and has been made, that he is just as smart as I am, provided you accept the reality of differing types of knowledge and intelligence.

        Stop behaving like jealous stereotypes and open your eyes. College is not the enemy…the enemy is parents not fulfilling their own responsibilities.

        • Fubar

          re: “I find it shameful that Altucher is making these alarmist statements, and even more, making them a blanket with which to cover all students.”

          Altucher does not make any such “blanket statements”. You did not read the article with much care.

          You appear to have some kind of “template” into which you attempt to fit facts, and when there are no such facts, you contrive them anyway.

          You also do not address the full range of concerns expressed in the article.

          I have collected mass media articles that are critical of higher education for several years. Many of them point out the obvious: as the expense of college goes up, the quality goes down. A vast controversial debate in all sorts of academic journals has churned the same issue endlessly for years.

          ***
          I find it VERY odd that you do not seem to be aware that the very people that you defend (academics), are asking the questions that you seem to want to stop other people from thinking about.
          ***

          Simple question:

          How many of the people that wrote/signed the Declaration of Independence, or US Constitution, had college degrees?

          Did you know that Abraham Lincoln did not go to college (but George Bush did)?

          The damage that colleges/universities are doing to society goes far beyond the single issue of the lack of morals of young people.

          You also fail to address the pervasive way that the educational establishment, as an organ of the Capitalist State, shapes the relationship between children and parents from a very early age.

          You appear to have unquestioningly absorbed a prevailing myth of american culture (which has been dissected by James Hillman) that places all blame on individuals, and none on the oppressive, dysfunctional institutional structures that contribute to moral and spiritual problems.

          Culture is a significant influence on everyone, including parents.

          You appear to have “conveniently” forgotten that most parents are products of the public education system. I guess that such “facts” to not fit into the “template” of your ideas.
          ???

      • Bob

        Please keep your personal agenda and political messages to yourself. The article never mentions anything regarding the presidents citizenship or the gay community. I happen to agree with some of the things you say, but they have no place in this article

    • Ye352q234

      You haven’t been yet, so you don’t even know yet what you don’t know..

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Adriana, maybe you are right. But come back here and tell us what happens after your first year in college.

      • ML

        Don’t listen to him Adriana all of my friends I made and myself, in 4yrs at a normal college came out not addicted to sex, alcohol or drugs, with STDs or any unwanted pregnancies. Many do. Some people make dumbass decisions while in college. It is not hard to use common sense and make smart decisions. For such an educated man you give alot of dumb advice.

      • Leah

        Adriana is right. I have just finished my first year of college (straight out of high school) and it has been nothing like your article says. Yes, I admit, I have partied and done other things but that doesnt mean my head isnt on my shoulders. I learned how to balance my social life and studies well. As for you and every other blogger assuming that parents fork out tons of money for a college education are wrong. I work 30/hrs a week and am a full time student to pay for my OWN education. My parents are unable to pay for my education and seeing their struggles without one, i took it upon myself to personally better myself by getting a college degree. It honestly isnt hard to find scholarships you just have to get off of your ass and look for them. Hell, they have a scholarship for if you like Pepsi or Coke better.

        Another point, who said you have to send your children to an Ivy league school? I currently attend my community college and plan to transfer to a university this fall. Going there was a great way to test out college life and it only cost me about $1000 a quarter. (of which i pay none due to scholarships) It really pays not to slack of in high school. As for everything else you mentioned in your article, such as the sex and drugs, if these are the things you want to teach YOUR children about college, be my guest.

      • ReneJU

        My daughter is in her second almost third year of college, she has a small studio goes to school full time and work full time. She is not a drinker and she is still a virgin saving herself for her husband because she knows the most valuable thing in this world is her and giving herself saving it for that one man, the way I raised her, we are very open with each other and talk about sex & everything. So not all kids are out there “doing it.” My daughter values & respects herself & her body. Also after watching me struggle raising her with no college degree( I wanted college was a good student but my father said back then you don’t educate woman its a waste of money you will just be home with kids its a waste.) Yes old fashioned, so I never went to college.

        However, seeing my daughter in college though, I thought……why can’t I? So I also at the age of 45 started college to become a nurse, something I always wanted to be since I was 16. It’s a dream for me, one I will make come true. I have found not having a degree can make it tough to compete in the job market, I have had two jobs in my life that have paid me about 20.00 an hour to start but that is the max. Try raising a family in the Chicago suburbs and have your kids blend in with the other kids on that budget. I have seen my friends who were less fortunate making only 11.00 an hour. I have no idea how hard that must be and I pray I never do.

        I am LOVING school. I find my mood always cheerful as I am driving into parking lot, I love learning about sociology and my ethics class and philosophy, wow, I am loving learning all this, math I hate & wish I didn’t need so much of it to be a nurse but I will do it. I can’t wait to finish. I want to be a nurse because I want to be there for people who are feeling at their worst and I want to be there to care and comfort them. I myself have had both compassionate & nurses who had no compassion, and I know what a difference that makes in recovery or in letting go at the end. I want to be that hand that holds yours if you have no one else to comfort you. Only college can put me where I want & long to be since I was 16. Nothing else. find college very valuable.

        My son does attend a very expensive 29,000 for 18 month vocational school, but to me school is school, this school will put him also in the field he so badly has wanted to be a part of.

        That’s what education does, let’s you do and have and go places you may not have been able to with out it. My daughter by the way is going to school to be a college level English teacher.

      • Jim

         I like Adriana’s comment in theory, but in the real world I’ve seen so many angelic, sweet, moral girls go to college and act all holy the tirst few months … then end up loose, profane, and addicted to alcohol or drugs.  Not everyone is like that, but in my experience at least half of them are.  So, I have to side with James, even though I don’t want to.

    • Sdavis1010

      Haha that would give us a ratio of 1:1,000,000,000 when it comes to American teens/adolescents. The majority of ‘you’ will succumb to peer pressure and all you have to do is take a look around. You’ll probably become very aggravated about it too, I did.

    • Matthew

      Does it matter if you’re not like that? There was a chlamydia outbreak among the freshman girls that results in signs getting posted around campus. I think James did give everyone credit when he implied that people would succeed regardless of college. Every time someone posts something critical online doesn’t require a chorus of “I’m not like that, so it must not be true” replies.

      Generalizations are always false.

      As a recent college graduate James nailed it pretty closely and this was a tech school. A friend who transferred from a liberal arts college used to tell us of the debauchery that went on there. Of course, he’d have two girls visiting his room every night (not always a different times) so he might not be the best example.

    • Matthew

      Does it matter if you’re not like that? There was a chlamydia outbreak among the freshman girls that results in signs getting posted around campus. I think James did give everyone credit when he implied that people would succeed regardless of college. Every time someone posts something critical online doesn’t require a chorus of “I’m not like that, so it must not be true” replies.

      Generalizations are always false.

      As a recent college graduate James nailed it pretty closely and this was a tech school. A friend who transferred from a liberal arts college used to tell us of the debauchery that went on there. Of course, he’d have two girls visiting his room every night (not always a different times) so he might not be the best example.

  • Babynemophila

    I’m not sure where you’re getting this $100-200K a year figure. I attended a public university and paid, all together, less than $10K each year which summed to somewhere around $50K by the time I graduated.

  • Dan

    I love this article. when I was 21, I was getting drunk and partying which summed up to horrible grades at a community college. I then compared myself to my best friends and decided that I really needed to get sh*t done. So, I moved to Nashville, and finished up my education with less partying. At the age of 23, I’m broke, living with a friend, can’t afford to buy cigarettes, 30k in debt and can’t find a job. While in college, I lost an opportunity of being a manager at The Home Depot, which may not be the greatest thing, but would have allowed me to pursue my arts. I am not at all prepared for the real world. The only real benefit I see in college is the quality of girls, which, let’s face it, I have not met a girl under the age of 25 I would even consider marrying. I had a lot of fun in college. I wrestled in the NCWA, had a full time job, went to school full time, rode my snowboard in the winter time, got drunk, got high, had sex, went hiking in the spring and fall. But to be completely honest, I would have done it way differently. I would have waited to go to college until I was probably 30. At 23, my whole life is upside down. I think the only things I’m halfway decent with nowadays is finding things on the internet, how to roll a blunt, and my bullshit detector (which I learned outside of college).

    And before you haters post on my post, I’d like to see you do what I did with minimal help from your single parent. Here’s a list:
    smoke a lot of weed
    get very drunk
    manage multiple girlfriends
    work 24 hour shifts before you go to your weekend job or before a test
    snowboard all day
    go on road trips every weekend from november to march
    work out 4 hours per day
    before and after wrestling season, hike
    have lunch with your mom 3 times per week
    pay for your own credit card, cell phone, gas, food, lift tickets (the only thing I did not pay for is my car note and insurance)

    I love life. My main question now is, how do I get back on track?

    • Colin

      that’s okay, the world needs ditch diggers too… and way to stay on top of things and keep priorities as being an NCWA wrestler…ha

      • Fubar

        Arrogant, selfish creep. No compassion. Dehumanizing. You would be a perfect college administrator.

  • Nancy

    Frankly, I’d rather see my college-aged kids travel the world volunteering or working as they go, or even traveling the U.S. doing the same, than going to college. And I work for a university. The number of students who want to soak up Kant and Keats and Proust is practically zero. Students rarely hope to be “learned” or “intellectual.” And, so, colleges have followed suit. Instead of arguing, comparing theories, coming up with new ones, and writing about it, colleges have become corporate and hope to be successful by retaining students, but not purveyors of scholarship.

    What students are missing, what American society is missing, is caring o be well-read — in history, literature, art, political science. If the vast bulk of students drop out today, they are not likely to read and learn on their own. Very few will successfully start businesses. And they will still learn how to get drunk and high.

    Colleges have failed the students. We have failed kids. We have commercialized nearly everything and it is hard to find a place in the world if you want to take the time to be educated. Turn off TV for starters. Idolizing popular culture makes us all mushy thinkers, leaving running the world to entrepreneurs who should be running businesses instead. Nothing against entrepreneurs at all; they just shouldn’t be politicians. (That is, “entrepreneur” in the sense of wheeler-dealers.)

    Our values become skewed. Wealth over justice. Things over thoughts. Surround sound over books, even ebooks. “What can I get” over “What can I do.” Colleges don’t help us here. They support the status quo. We want an obedient world, not a just world. Most kids are not going to choose erudition. They are going to choose fun. As sociologists say, we infantalize adults. No one grows up. That’s what happens when entrepreneurs run the world. You’ll learn it in college or out.

    College is for those want to be educated. No, it used to be.

    • Fubar

      Excellent analysis. See James Hillman. Or Christopher Alexander.

      College (and the educational establishment in general) is not only deeply corrupt, it viciously bullies and attacks the very reformers and critics that could redeem it and turn it back from being a gigantic SWINDLE.

      What the educational bureaucracy “models” in its organizational culture is selective IGNORANCE about more enlighened ways of knowing the universe.

      What the educational bureaucracy “models” in its organizational culture is predatory greed.

      Such dehumanization is the main “lesson” that college students are “learning” from their life experience in college.

      They then go into the world supporting dehumanization and ignorance.

      The bad karma is mounting rapidly.

  • Bonnie M.

    James,

    I love this post and all your posts. I think you would LOVE the unschooling movement. I’m an unschooler and my 3 children learn through life experience. I have 3 college degrees myself as well as my husband and I still agree with you. I think what people fail to understand or what I take from your posts is that there is life outside of college. There are other paths to LIFE and the failure to see this shows me how detrimental the brainwashing that college is the end all can be for many. I would hate for my children to think that they can’t have a great life without a college degree. If they want to go to college and it comes from thoughtful consideration, then that is fine with me too.

    For example, why not create a life where one doesn’t even have to work 40 hours per week if he or she doesn’t want to? This mentality of we have to go to college, obtain this degree so we can pay for our stuff needs to go. When I was 18, it was expected for me to go to college or get out of the house and do something. My children are free to live with me as long as they wish and save their money. It would make more sense to invest or sock a way a certain amount and then be able to pay for a house in cash (or good majority of it) so they wouldn’t need as much money. I’ve know people to do this. Instead, we throw them out of the house out of fear they will be living in our basement at age 40 and often they flounder.

    Anyway, I think your posts are spot on and I wanted to send a big thank you your way. You are so refreshing even though you know you will be attacked by thoughtless *educated* people.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      Bonnie I WANT to be an unschooler. I love the idea. I dont think kids should go to grade school either but don’t have the time at the moment to make that happen, which is why I focus on the college end. But I love your ideas.

      • Fubar

        re: “transnational pedagogues, therapists and planners”

        “Schooling” = the Road to Serfdom

        Read Ivan Illich? “Deschooling society”

        http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Illich/Deschooling/intro.html

        More good stuff in the Whole Earth Catalog – 1970s/80s:

        One of the best definitions, and explanation of, the origins of the Nanny State:

        http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Illich/Vernacular.html

        “…As Gunnar Myrdal has observed, the construct of distinctly native needs was necessary both to justify colonialism and to administer colonies. The provision of government, education and commerce for the natives was for four hundred years the white man’s assumed burden.

        Each time the West put a new mask on the alien, the old one was discarded because it was now recognized as a caricature of an abandoned self-image. The pagan with his naturally Christian soul had to give way to the stubborn infidel to allow Christendom to launch the Crusades. The wild man became necessary to justify the need for secular humanist education, The native was the crucial concept to promote self-righteous colonial rule.

        [] But by the time of the Marshall Plan, when multinational conglomerates
        [] were expanding and the ambitions of transnational pedagogues,
        [] therapists and planners knew no bounds, the natives’ limited needs for
        [] goods and services thwarted growth and progress.

        They had to metamorphose into underdeveloped people, the sixth and present stage of the West’s view of the outsider.

        Development based on high per capita energy quanta and intense professional care is the most pernicious of the West’s missionary efforts – a project guided by an ecologically unfeasible conception of human control over nature, and by an

        [] anthropologically vicious attempt to replace the nests and snakepits of culture
        [] by sterile wards for professional service.

        The hospitals that spew out the newborn and reabsorb the dying, the schools run to busy the unemployed before, between and after jobs, the apartment towers where people are stored between trips to the supermarkets, the highways connecting garages form a pattern tatooed into the landscape during the short development spree. These institutions, designed for lifelong bottle babies wheeled from medical centre to school to office to stadium begin now to look as anomalous as cathedrals, albeit unredeemed by any esthetic charm.”


        “I was blogging right next to James Altucher in 2011 and it was the closest thing I ever felt to being gay”.

      • Bonnie M.

        James,

        If you believe in it, then hopefully you will agree that the process of what makes us human is much more important than that end result which I discussed in my reply to Fubar. That is very important, regardless of whether your children are in school or at home. You have the right idea but it falls on deaf ears which is understandable. I also like most of Alfie Kohn’s stuff who addresses the important question what is education as well as discusses intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation, rewards and punishments, etc. I love his book unconditional parenting.

      • TheAbyss

        I agree that kids shouldn’t go to grade school, etc. I think that’s the big problem, not college, other than the costs and bureaucracy for higher education. Kids should have plenty to time to live and have a childhood while learning the basic tools they need to further their education later on without being routinely locked up for 8 hours a day. Then they will have a better idea about what they desire in life by college age.

        In principle, I agree with you on college, but I’m not sure how feasible it is. That said, kids absolutely shouldn’t rush off without having some concrete ideas in mind about what they want out of their education. I am going to return to college after taking some time off and testing the job market, which frankly doesn’t exist for someone like me with no degree. However, the time off has been great, and this time around I am going to start at community college to save money and keep my other options open because the costs in CC won’t tie me down in one direction. Although, I’m confident I’ve found something I will enjoy and there is a market for. When I return to university for my degree, because I’ve looked into the industry, I feel like I personally have more control over the direction my education takes because I truly see it as a means to an end.

        I don’t think I could have had this attitude about my education though, if I didn’t follow some of things you have mentioned in the past. Like throwing yourself into the abyss, living for your product, knowing everything and everyone about the industry, persistence, etc. These are invaluable principles that are the actual foundation of my education, and will propel me to success, so I hope.

        Great article on education:

        http://www.caseyresearch.com/cwc/doug-casey-education?active-tab=archives

    • Fubar

      re: rational people behaving irrationally

      Anyone that has worked inside the higher education SWINDLE knows that most of what goes on is driven by base ideas and emotions that are getting worse all the time. There is no systematic concept of quality, no concept of even the most rudimentary methods of measuring the quality of education provided. College is an unscientific scam.

      It is not where cultural innovation is located, it is where bureaucratic manure and mediocrity is located.

      Higher education can not be separated from BANK SCAMS.

      Higher education can not be separated from POLITICAL CORRUPTION.

      It really is “just that simple”.

      What is needed is a populist uprising:

      1) take back democracy
      2) take back education

      They have both been stolen by liars.

      • B.

        Hi Fubar,

        I see some glimpses of things in your posts that I agree with but I must be frank that when I opened my email and saw numerous posts all from the same person, they came across to me, at least, as mini rants with no substance behind them. Your reply to me didn’t even pertain to what I was saying. It was just a continued rant of several things you apparently have floating in your head.

        I am a John Taylor Gatto fan and I do have the book deschooling society. I would probably call myself a nonconformist as an unschooler but I don’t go out of my way to be one. It is just probably how I am viewed.

        Most of the posts I’ve read want to make this about whether college is important or not and miss the whole point. College is but one tool in life that may or may not be useful to a person but living a happy, fulfilled life doesn’t have to include college at all. I think one of the detriments of mass schooling is this view that life is meaningful only if a certain path is followed and those who don’t/can’t/won’t do it are seen as less than. It’s a VERY rigid view and the fact that so many buy into it (understandably) is a cause for concern. Besides the fact that creativity is squashed in so many ways, it perpetuates this myth that the good job is at the end of the rainbow if only one does x, y and z which has so many things wrong with it, it would take a book to address them all.

        I mean there has to be some purpose to this monstrosity we call education. If we dutifully do what we are told and work hard, there should be some reward, right? Just ask all of those who have a well paying job. They will tell you. Unfortunately, people just can’t see the forest through the trees.

        What makes us happy and fullfilled as humans gets lost on this fast track to the supposed well paying job. Apparently, nothing else needs to be considered as evidenced by these replies. I see the damage that is done which is why in my case, my children will have a choice in which they are an active participant in how they shape their own lives with guidance from me only if they ask for it. I find this process so much more important and how it occurs rather than some arbitrary end result where how much money one makes is valued.

        • Fubar

          re: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Bloom

          http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/31/La_scuola_di_Atene.jpg

          Alan Bloom’s basic point in “The Closing of the American Mind”, as related to of Nietzsche and Socrates, was that “Primordial Unity” is experienced as a balance of rational and primitive impulses. Modern liberals are captive to rationalism (search for order, meaningfulness), and thus their experience of life is devoid of the pre-rational (intimate primitive experience, chaos, eros – Sturm und Drang), and lacks wholeness.

          This is referred to by some contemporary thinkers (such as Integral movement theorist Ken Wilber) as a lack of “spiritual depth and authenticity”. Also see Habermas on the “colonization of lifeworld by systems”:

          —excerpt—

          … generalized media, as Parsons specified them:

          · Adaptation depends on the generalized medium of money,
          · Goal attainment depends on power (specified in votes),
          · I is influence, and
          · L is value-commitments.

          Habermas makes a key observation about these media, and his the whole theory depends on this: there is a fundamental difference between two types of media.

          · The A & G media, money and power (votes) are quantitative: both money and votes can be counted, and whoever has the most wins.
          · The I & L media, by contrast, are qualitative: you can’t quantify influence or value-commitments, since these are only enacted in communication between persons.

          With this difference in mind, you can understand what colonization means. In social settings that formerly operated by communicative media (I & L), the quantitative media (A & G) now dominate. Rather than communicative action—people talking about their differences and coming to a common understanding—one (person, party, or interest) dominates the other by having more money or votes. Colonization reduces the sphere in which communcative, qualitative media operate, and more of social life depends on non-communicative, quantitative media. However—and this is key—the legitimacy of the quantative media ultimately depends on the qualitative media: the value of money and votes requires constant acts of influence and value-commitment, or the A & G media become worthless.


          legitimacy requires that citizens understand each other as committed to continuing the process of seeking common understanding, and acting with respect for that on-going process. With money and votes you never seek to reach understanding, you only invoke how much (quantitative) you’ve got, and thus overpower or be overpowered. Money and votes can be useful ways of getting things done, but only so long as their legitimacy is assured by the common understandings of influence and value-commitments.

          Also see: http://www.well.com/~hlr/vcbook/vcbook10.html

          (Go to the cection titled “The Selling of Democracy: Commodification and the Public Sphere”)

          and
          http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptB/intro.cfm/


          …The rise of the modern, liberal, representative democracies in the West involved, among innumerable other things, a significant shift in values from traditional to modern, which particularly began in Europe around 1600 and accelerated to something of a crisis pitch by the mid-1770s. Traditional values (e.g., blue, mythic-membership, conventional) tended to be conformist, ethnocentric, hierarchical, mythic-religious, and based on individuals conforming strongly to the present order. Modern values, on the other hand, tend to be egalitarian (not hierarchical), individualistic (not conformist), scientific (not mythic-fundamentalist), and place a premium on equality (not slavery).

          That is, the practice of dialogue geared toward mutual understanding, reciprocal exchange, postconventional equality and freedom …
          was a collective, communal, intersubjective, dialogical discourse …

          This new exemplar or social practice gave rise to a set of novel experiences, insights, data, illuminations, and interpersonal understandings, which new political theories then sought to capture. Most of these new theories of liberal democracy shared the idea that the only way to integrate individual and social is to have the individual feel that he or she is participating in the laws that govern his or her behavior. In the States this was popularly summarized by the phrase, “No taxation without representation,” and it essentially meant that a people have the right to be self-governing. This new practice of dialogical discourse and self-governance (generally called a “social contract”) was conceptualized in different ways by leading-edge individuals ranging from John Locke to Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Paine to Thomas Jefferson, Immanuel Kant to James Madison.


          Bonnie said: “There are other paths to LIFE and the failure to see this shows me how detrimental the brainwashing that college is the end all can be for many.”

          Your above, original statement was primarily what I was responding to.

          Doesn’t your statement, which of course I agree with, demand a deeper analysis of root causes? How is it that something completely natural, and part of human evolution (learning), has become so corrupt and the source of so much dehumanization, evil and social injustice?

          The democracy of the knowledge commons has been eroded on a massive level. Much of higher education is about hidden agendas, radicalisms, thought policing, political correctness, inquisitions, and so forth. The lack of a healthy incentive structure is enormous. The opening to corruption, and bank scams. is a natural consequence of moral vacuum. Why is it that most students from disadvantaged/poor backgrounds are getting scammed by filthy rich bankers and the investment class? Why isn’t there a real revolution going on? Why is it that the outrage that does exist has been so easily co-opted by fake Tea Partiers (Koch Bros.)?

          Is there any legitimate reform, or even defense, of our democratic republic that is viable anymore?

          The lack of consideration of “values” (spirituality, aesthetics, truth) that Christopher Alexander discusses in “The Nature of Order” (which continues his earlier work on Pattern Languages) seems to be central.

  • Tom

    There are a handful of colleges in skilled fields that make a difference (MIT for engineering, Johns Hopkins for medicine, etc.). If you don’t make it in those big time schools go to a state school. Small private schools no one has heard of are colossal wastes of money.

    A lot of majors are also a colossal waste of money, and you know which ones they are. If you must be a philosophy or management major, at least go to a state college, preferably start at community college and transfer out to a state school.

    Or don’t go at all and learn a high paying skill like plumbing or auto mechanic. They are not easy to learn, and you can run your own business (and learn a lot).

  • Fwibos

    And if you aren’t one of the kids who will be drinking and havng sex all the time, the chances of you leveraging your bachelor’s degree with honors into a successful career are becoming increasingly lower. I dropped out of college, and I make more than 80% of the people with whom I graduated college with. I just taught myself to use a computer and slogged through menial jobs until I had experience to leverage. Experience is more important to employers than degrees.

    The only reason to get a college degree is to enter the work force. Almost every job requires a degree of some sort. Even jobs managing retail. This means that to have an edge you need a master’s. But if you get a master’s degree, you apply for jobs that meet your education. But the inflation of needed education continues. The jobs that require master’s are hiring Ph.d’s who apply, because those Ph.d’s are struggling to get top jobs.

  • Luke Jones

    I am 18 years old, a high school senior, and I do not plan on going to college at all. My friends and their parents are completely shocked thinking that I will be throwing my life away. I dare to disagree.

    Last year I called a piano technician to tune/fix my piano. While he worked I took the opportunity to watch and learn. He was surprised at my interest and gave me the offer to work with him for one week at the end of summer. During that week it turned out that I had the knack for piano work so he then offered to apprentice me. That became my career choice. Why? Because that man was the most relaxed human being I’ve ever met, he makes 100k/yr, and he has an ABUNDANCE OF TIME. Next school year my friends (Aiming for Yale) will spend the less money than I will make. They will be learning how to be doctors while I will be building up my business plan. A plan to buy houses, fix them up a bit (something my father, who has two wasted college degrees, taught me to do), and rent them out or sell them. My foot in the door for that business will not be a college degree but my job as a piano technician. It will provide me with the funds to start that business plan which will eventually pay for itself. After my friends go through their 11 years of schooling (4yr college, 4yr med school, 3yr residency. My mom is a pediatrician) they still will not make as much money as I will. Nor will they have the same amount of time to spend with their family/friends. No life is not about the money but it sure does help. As someone who has grown up with much less than their peers (My parents both quit their jobs to become Christian missionaries), dreams have become possible. All because I took the opportunity to watch a man and his different line of work.

    • Amikkelsen

      You’re going to be in great shape. (Gary North advises this strategy too.) But definitely buying rental properties is a great idea – especially if you can get low interest loans.

  • Luke Jones

    I am 18 years old, a high school senior, and I do not plan on going to college at all. My friends and their parents are completely shocked thinking that I will be throwing my life away. I dare to disagree.

    Last year I called a piano technician to tune/fix my piano. While he worked I took the opportunity to watch and learn. He was surprised at my interest and gave me the offer to work with him for one week at the end of summer. During that week it turned out that I had the knack for piano work so he then offered to apprentice me. That became my career choice. Why? Because that man was the most relaxed human being I’ve ever met, he makes 100k/yr, and he has an ABUNDANCE OF TIME. Next school year my friends (Aiming for Yale) will spend the less money than I will make. They will be learning how to be doctors while I will be building up my business plan. A plan to buy houses, fix them up a bit (something my father, who has two wasted college degrees, taught me to do), and rent them out or sell them. My foot in the door for that business will not be a college degree but my job as a piano technician. It will provide me with the funds to start that business plan which will eventually pay for itself. After my friends go through their 11 years of schooling (4yr college, 4yr med school, 3yr residency. My mom is a pediatrician) they still will not make as much money as I will. Nor will they have the same amount of time to spend with their family/friends. No life is not about the money but it sure does help. As someone who has grown up with much less than their peers (My parents both quit their jobs to become Christian missionaries), dreams have become possible. All because I took the opportunity to watch a man and his different line of work.

    • http://jerrykhachoyan.com Jerry Khachoyan

      Wow nice post. However I have to disagree on ONE small thing. What if someones passion is to become a doctor? What if they are not really doing it entirely for the money (although we know a lot are)? And you have to remember that some professions (like doctors) you cant just watch and learn. You actually need school for those kinds of stuff. However, like you, I agree that school is not a Necessity for everyone.

      • Karlilly81

        Many careers are obtainable with a certificate that can be earned in a few months instead of wasting thousands of dollars on meaningless college courses. So I have to say I mostly agree with this article.

        • SSM

          You are absolutely right but becoming a doctor is not one of the.  It requires years of dedication not just some certificate.

          Like Jerry said, there are those in med school who are there because they’re passionate about medicine and that’s great. Best of luck to them.

          There are too many people in college or university that should not be there.  Now we have a government that’s pushing the idea of making it much easier for students to get student loans and easier not to pay them back.  Who pays for that – hard working middle / upper class tax payers. This in the end provides more incentive for colleges / universities to raise tuition.  It’s a racket.

      • R.B.S.

        Exactly.  I want to become a clinical psychologist which requires a PhD or a PsyD to be licensed. It’s not like you can pick up “Psychology for Dummies” and waltz off and expect to treat patients.

    • http://jerrykhachoyan.com Jerry Khachoyan

      Wow nice post. However I have to disagree on ONE small thing. What if someones passion is to become a doctor? What if they are not really doing it entirely for the money (although we know a lot are)? And you have to remember that some professions (like doctors) you cant just watch and learn. You actually need school for those kinds of stuff. However, like you, I agree that school is not a Necessity for everyone.

    • http://www.studioforstartups.com Paul Phillip

      Join the military my friend. Do four years getting paid higher than college grads and get out with a full paid scholarship to ANY school you with including PAID living expenses.

      • Jobob5776

        If you live.

      • Anonymous

        If you do live, you’ll probably be missing an arm, leg or both, not to mention the severe mental and emotional disorders that will require therapy for the rest of your life.

        • me myself and I

          I’m a veteran myself and I lived..everyone who joins the military is ‘changed’ somewhat…but even if you went to work for a Fortune 500 company or something along those lines you could still get severe mental and emotional problems with them as well…in the military you just had to know your occupation and pass a pt test and that was that…in the ‘real’ world you can be fired for sneezing wrong or looking wrong at someone or not making your ‘quota” or get pressure put on you from ‘above’ or for any number or reasons…I don’t agree with what the author has to say about ‘not’ going to college but then he is an American( is he?) and entitled to his own opinion. Everyone has one…

          • http://www.studioforstartups.com Paul Phillip

            I’m a veteran and the military like you mentioned is no different then any very stressful job.

          • JustMe

             Paul, the difference is that one can quit a stressful job at any time, but once a person signs on for the military they have to complete their service.

          • http://www.studioforstartups.com Paul Phillip

            I ask you JustMe, in a difficult economy, who just quits their job because it’s stressful? A military job is no more stressful than working at Domino’s pizza taking phone orders from impatient customers. This I should know very well.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=37527102 Ryan Christopher Woods

            That is laughable…

          • http://www.studioforstartups.com Paul Phillip

            However true.

          • angryvet

            You sir are a fucking moron. please kill yourself.

          • Ty

            not funny.

          • mark

            Paul, most people do not realize and can never understand what we do and what we go through, even ourselves getting used to the stress became insensitized. that’s why we tend to be confused why something so simple and easy (as we think of it) yet the civilians would complain and moan because that’s the hardest work they’ve ever done.

        • http://www.studioforstartups.com Paul Phillip

          You sound like one dumb naive guy that watches too much TV.

          • Fubar

            you probably know this, in but case not:
            in the real world, there are a lot of veterans in colleges that need a lot of help. they deserve all of the help they need, but don’t always get it.

        • Chrisoanderson

          Spoken like a liberal racist against the military. Think of all the people who went into the military after Vietnam and retired before 911. Could have spent 25 years in and retired. Never fired a weapon in anger, traveled to Europe or Japan or Korea, Paid for by us.
          BTW slimJimmer. Most who have gone in the military over the last 10 years did not go to the sand lands. Only the brave who protect your ass went.

          • http://twitter.com/uriahz Uriah Zebadiah

            You can’t be ‘racist’ against the military. Perhaps you should have gone to college…

            And if I had the option to NOT pay for it, I would. Unfortunately, there’s a bunch of big guys with guns to make sure I do… Military defense spending is a bad joke in this country. There’s no conceivable reason we should be spending as much on the military as everyone else on earth. It’s fucking madness, and thinking that we are in any respect safer as a result of it demonstrates a profound incapacity for critical thought. And thinking some theoretical foreign bogeyman is gonna invade a huge nation with a billion private guns and 200 million gun nuts wielding them is fucking stupid, even if we didn’t have a military. Mind you, given the way shit’s going, chances are good we won’t be able to keep a functioning government at all, because we’ve blown so many trillions on this bullshit in the middle east.

            Also, the GI Bill doesn’t even begin to cover the full cost of college, military pay actually kinda sucks, it’s stressful even if you aren’t in the middle east, and the chances of you seeing duty if you join the national guard are a HELL of a lot higher than any recruiter would ever tell you, not to mention that the chances of you having a job when you get back are nowhere near as good as they tell you.

          • Fubar

            “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel…” (Samuel Johnson)

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military%E2%80%93industrial_complex

            The current, college educated military leadership is significantly more incompetent in battle theory than the previous generation’s non-college geniuses (such as Boyd).

            Specifically, current counter-insurgency theory is utter bullshit as applied in places like Afghanistan.

            The USA defense establishment is parasitic and full of careerists that care not for defending the principles of a democratic republic.

            How has the greater prevalence of college degrees helped defend the actual principles of the constitution? Not much.

          • Pilot in Command

            Bin Laden (and his surviving wives) would probably disagree with you about the competence and battle smarts of the U.S. military.

            Boyd was a smart, classy guy, but the people who ultimately designed the F-16 were a hell of a lot smarter. They were engineers and scientists–and they didn’t get their degrees and technical know-how by contracting dysentery in India (or from any of the other silly “life experience” approaches suggested by the author of this article).

            I agree–wasting a lot of time and money to get a useless degree in basket weaving is foolish. But if a guy or gal has guts, brains, talent and drive, there are few places better to start than in the U.S. military.

            BTW, I swore an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States when I joined the Air Force many years ago. I took it seriously throughout my time in the service and so did 99% of the guys I served with.

            We did our jobs to the best of our ability, irrespective of how well (or poorly) our nation was being served by our political leaders at the time. If you haven’t had the honor and privilege of wearing the uniform of this nation, you don’t know what you’re talking about, so please keep your ignorant bullsh*it opinions to yourself.    

          • Fubar

            Please correct any of the following if wrong.

            I see no evidence so far of deep thought about the geopolitics of military leadership at a sophisticated level.

            I see no evidence of care about the families of people killed and maimed in wars.

            I do see evidence of belief in expensive military technology that is bankrupting the country.

            There is a mindlessness that comes from worshipping technology with little or no insight into how it should be properly used.

            Generally, what military culture does is train people to be loyal to a symbolic “sub-tribe” and to be obedient to superiors.  Those who served for an extended time are probably very grateful for a generous military retirement with full benefits, something that fewer and fewer civilians will be able to enjoy after the military establishment plays its role in bankrupting the country.

            The idea that the military exists in some realm that can be free of civilian criticism (legitimate or not) is an error of immense and catastrophic proportions.

            In a democratic republic, the military is subservient to the people and the constitution. This requires an ethos that appreciates a high calling. A corrupt military establishment dishonors those that believe in such a high calling.

            Statments that the military is above civilian criticism is proof of a norm of deep corruption in military culture. Clearly President Eisenhower was correct to warn the american people of the dangers of a rising “military industrial complex”.

            As soon as the military (in a democracy) becomes too arrogant and powerful to remember that it serves the constitution, it has betrayed its original purpose.

            Military leadership is a giant failure, primarily serving corrupt forces, dishonored except in the superficial sense. There are few people left in military leadership that care about defending the real principles of the constitution. The current, corrupted military culture breeds the kind of blind obedience to power and wealth that the US Constitution was originally supposed to prevent. The military serves imperialistic powers, not the people, or even the high ideals that used to be the foundation of military leadership.

            Military leadership is so corrupt that it now can shove the President around almost whenever it wants.

            All imperialistic powers eventually fail because of war debt and the corruption that war debt creates.

            So called “patriots” should be deeply embarassed if they did nothing to stop all that.

          • Fubar

            re: “Bin Laden (and his surviving wives) would probably disagree with you about the competence and battle smarts of the U.S. military. “Seriously? After evading capture for many years by living in an open urban setting in Pakistan?

            How was it “competent” or “battle smart” that Bin Laden evaded destruction for almost 9+ years?

            A very high ranking Al Qaeda leader stated during the last US Presidential campaign that “Obama is a house negro”. (this is a politically correct translation that does no justice to the vileness of the original insult.)

            Obama may have been singularly focused on exterminating Bin Laden but less so on the big picture.

            Very few people in Pakistan believe that the US military will be able to sustain its presence in Afghanistan/Pakistan. Corruption in Afghanistan is rife, and has destroyed the possibility (if it ever existed) for “democracy”.

            In the 80s (“Charlie Wilson’s War”), America promised Pakistan a lot of aid for supporting the war against the Russians in Afghanistan. A lot of the aid was never delivered. Bush/Clinton’s excuse for not delivering the aid was because of “corruption” by Bhutto & Co. The Pakistani’s know that the USA is unreliable, but dangerous. This creates a vreeding ground for lies and deception. All the glee about OBL’s execution does not cover up the real facts of a failed policy.

            I’ve heard that US counter-insurgency theory is a mess, unsuited to real conditions in Aghanistan.

          • Sense

            nicely put! the japs did not invade the US during wwii for that exact reason – ~100 million gun owners.

            as for your words “chances are good we won’t be able to keep a functioning government at all” – one can only hope so!!!

            The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.  P. J. O’Rourke

          • Gangsta

            Soo your saying that all people should just stop going to college because there having a good time… Lets see what the world is like in 5 years

        • NewsFlash

          Military jobs don’t mean that you will be deployed or that you will even ever see gunfire outside of practice. Especially for women. There are so many other options in the military than those that you would deem dangerous.

          • http://www.studioforstartups.com Paul Phillip

            I completely agree NewsFlash. There are so many jobs and most Americans think you just go to war, but there are countless jobs that are needed to be done out of the war zone.

        • Leigha7

          “Probably”? There are about 2.3 million people in the US military. There have been about 40,000 severe injuries and fatalities in the Iraq war, and 80,000 have been diagnosed with PTSD (most likely, a good percentage of the 30k+ injured also have PTSD, so that doesn’t represent 120k people). The VA says about 10x that many probably have PTSD.

          So if we assume the VA is correct, about 800,000 soldiers have PTSD. That means you have about a 1.7% of death or serious injury and a 35% of having PTSD. That’s a higher estimate than most sources, which put it at around 20-30%.

          However, being in the military is not the only cause of PTSD. One of the most common causes is rape (and, given the problems in our military, that may well be the cause of some soldiers’ PTSD). Witnessing or being the victim of any violent crime, such as domestic violence, can cause it. The estimated rate of PTSD among the general (non-military) population at about 8%. The more instances of trauma someone experiences, the more likely they are to suffer (which is why combat experience increases the risk so much–many instances of trauma).

          So if the likelihood of PTSD is about 30% for soldiers and 8% for the general population, you’re about 4 times more likely to get PTSD in the military than out.

        • mark

          I’m a military member too, and the point you guys are making are what ignorant and intimate people think (that’s how my friend in high school also thought and now he’s regretting being regular, having debt to pay, girlfriend to please, and courses to study for). Not everybody in the military comes out missing some part of their body or mentally damaged, rather, we come out as better human beings. Physically tougher, mentally stronger and most of all, maturity that most people my age group lacked. So, for the ones that are determined to make a success in the civilian world are at a better advantage than the average.

      • Tom

        Do the words “mercenary army” mean anything to you?
        Pay to kill. Or support others who kill…

        • http://www.studioforstartups.com Paul Phillip

          @4d7fde13b73fb4734e6be99b3f09c3be:disqus, incorrect my compadre. Not pay to kill, kill to eat and survive in the opportunistic land of America.

      • PaulPhillipisgay

        why the fuck would he join the military? DID HE NOT JUST GET DONE EXPLAINING HOW HIS LIFE WILL BE BETTER FOR NOT GOING TO COLLEGE? SO WHY IN THE FUCKING SHIT WOULD HE JOIN THE MILITARY? DO YOU FUCKING KNOW HOW TO READ?

        • http://www.facebook.com/janet.godfrey1 Janet Olivia Godfrey

          you have a very disgusting vocabulary. you need to get some education in how to speak on a public forum!!!

    • Chard7000

      its really about doing the things you love, good thing you found it early

    • bobreckerdorn

      Adults are usually happy when kids find something that excites them. But we also like to prepare kids for the many things that can happen in life. 18 year olds rarely understand that. BUT, nobody says you have to college right away, and if you find a job path, that’s cool. Don’t be shocked when you don’t make 100k per year, though. Read employment stats about piano tuners, and consider whether you’re going to try to make it in the same area as the guy who’s mentoring you — you’ll have to COMPETE with him or move. And I don’t love doctors, but this is a fact: virtually all people see doctors; how many people have pianos (I’ve seen numbers in the 10-20% range), and will pay regularly to have them tuned? Chicago apparently has ~350 professional piano tuners in a city of 3 million, and a turnover rate of more than 33% — that means a LOT of people start, and then change careers. Chicago has a higher median salary for tuners than the national average, and it’s around 42K. Still — nothing wrong with that, and you do that for a decade, and you can pay your own way through college…but you’ll need to plan carefully if you also want to start flipping properties (do you ever watch the DIY channel?).

      People who are worried for you want you to have options. Doing something you enjoy, and that earns you a quite nice wage is absolutely fine. But don’t delude yourself into thinking you just hopped on the gravy train — you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you, and after 10 years of being a piano tuner, you’ll be fully qualified to BE A PIANO TUNER. Do that on the side while you go to college, and you’ll be able to be a piano tuner, or get any of a number of other jobs…and you can STILL buy properties when you get out…

      My liberal arts English/Philosophy degree enabled me to get into law school, and after law school I became a computer programmer…now, I make quite a bit more than 40k a year, and when I think about a career change, I have many options, and I like that feeling.

      • ered

        Also, excellent, excellent points! Having options is the best things you can give yourself, however you obtain it. Another great point- put off college for awhile, wait til you’re 20, 25,get some travelling, partying, teen laziness out of the way and perhaps you will end up gleaning more out of your education.

        • SSM

          I agree with you about waiting if you decide to go to college.  I entered university right after high school and in hindsight it was a mistake.  I should’ve travelled and done what you had suggested and then enter when i was late 20’s. 

          You get to see more of the world plus (and hopefully) you develop a better sense of self awareness of what interests you. 

      • TRR

        What people don’t see are the students who took out huge loans all in the name of attending and completing medical school, but (1) dropped out of school before completion, (2) could not or did not finish their initial residency requirements, and (3) could not or did not pass the medical boards exam? These very students were still left with a huge debt which had or still has to be paid back, but without the DOCTOR or MEDICAL DOCTOR income to pay it back with. Also, you can’t file student loan debt in a bankruptcy dispute.

    • ered

      Awesome! Good for you- more proof that the truly brilliant grab an opportunity and go. The money is great but the free time is where you will really reap rewards. You can always make more money but you can’t make more time for your family and yourself. I think you are super clever and certainly don’t need a degree for what you want to do. You just need drive and balls. And if you love what you do and you’re good at it, that’s the best- no college degree can guarantee that you will wake up every morning happy to go to work. ;)

    • Hw

      Of course you disagree because you are 18 and know everything…. Good luck tuning pianos all your life little buddy! Sounds like an amazing career…. Everybody has dreams of owning their own business…. See how well that goes for most…

      • Chrisoanderson

        And you work for whom? I have my own business that I started after dropping out of College (never should have gone) Now I hire college grads to do my bidding and I don’t pay them as much as they think they should earn. But you know what? They take the job in this economy. I give raises based on performance not on what a union tells me. My people earn well. Yes I am that “rich” person who made it on my own.

        • your mother

          pics or it didnt happen

      • hahayoumadbro

        Sounds like someone struck a nerve…. don’t be mad because you wasted your life sucking someones dick for a paycheck. You, like everyone else, had the option not to go that route, but you took it anyway.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_W7DNYX3Y6RZK7JBRP5SYBYG4TE RockStar

      I will assume you did not listen to some of those who may try to dissuade you from pursuing this opportunity and GOOD FOR YOU!! This was an excellent post and congrats!

    • Vincent Nguyen

      Would be awesome if you can go on reddit and post an IamA! 

    • Heather

      This is a truly beautiful story. I am an insurance broker and am now ready to quit to become a piano technician for all of the great reasons mentioned above.

    • http://filmschoolsecrets.com Film School Secrets

      Hi Luke, 

      That is super inspiring. Good for you. I am in the process of building a website about this issue and am looking for young people who have skipped college and found more creative/better paths in life. If you’d be interested in sharing your story I’d love to help retell it. You can reach me at info at filmschoolsecrets.com (Which is a site aimed at talking kids out of film school and showing them what to do instead). 

      Best, 

      Seth

    • Guest

      Have fun tuning pianos for the rest of your life I guess

    • wonderingcollegefreshman

      its been a year since you put up that declaration. So how is your life now? Is it how you wrote it would be? I’m saying tis not to offend you but to ask you how it was going…

    • Lyndsey P Johnson

      Right on! Keep us updated. The problem is, no one wants to learn a skill. This country is about to suck with too many scholars and not enough doers!

      • Universityruinslife

        There are those who want to learn a skill but feel oppressed to be scholars in order to actually reach that doing level.

    • g

      but your not their yet so dont talk like you are

    • http://www.facebook.com/davidmotola87 David Motola

      Hey man, power to you! Keep up the awesome work. I’m 25 years old, no degree and earning almost six figures a year. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.

    • David

      How did it work out for you? I have considered a career as a piano tuner myself. It is definitely possible to earn 100k income but by my calculations you would have to do 3 or 4 tunings a day for 48 weeks a year in my area where tunings cost about 125 dollars. From what I have heard that can be pretty stressful when you have to drive between 3 or 4 different appointments each day. Also it could take a few years to build up enough clients to where you can stay that busy all the time. My piano tuner only does 2 a day because he doesn’t want all that stress. And he still probably earns 50k a year gross. Then take out expenses and health insurance costs and he is probably earning about the same as an office worker with a lot less stress.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Stephen.Huck Steve Huck

    I’ll add another reason: half (or more) of the degrees have little earning potential and don’t actually teach any useful skills. To list a few: english, history, poetry, philosophy, communications, social work, education, political science, marketing, business … should I go on?

    My wife is a biochemist, she needs her degree. No one needs a degree in poetry or social work, and if you’re pay 100K to learn about it, you, and you’re parents who are paying for it, are idiots. I’m a web developer / IT consultant. Current industry certifications and skills experience are what matter, no one cares if I paid 60K to learn about Windows ME at an outdated college computer lab in 2005.

    You might also say: marketing and business are useful, right? The problem is, a marketing or business degree isn’t. This segments into another reason why kids shouldn’t go to college: everything they teach is theoretical; it hasn’t worked that way in the real world for years or ever. If you want to start a business, start a business… you don’t need to listen to four years of professors tell you how business is ruining their vision for socialist utopia, and how grandpa’s pizza business should have been more “diversity minded” and “environmentally sensitive”.

  • Anonymous

    Accounting for exaggeration, I agree with all of your judgments about college.* But as many have observed, however a B.A. should be valued, it is in fact a prerequisite for the overwhelming majority of bearable jobs.

    I went to Columbia. I have little good to say about it. A liberal arts education is BS. However, I have little doubt that the Columbia pedigree got me my first job and helped get my next. It unquestionably helped get me into law school (arguably a mistake, so a point for your side).

    The thing is, I don’t think you even believe your own advice about not going to college. You know that what I said above is true; you haven’t had much to say to the others who have made this point.

    I think what you’re really trying to do is your small part to change the fact that the pedigree is required. We all (well, maybe not universities and rich kids) will be better off if that changes, so I thank you and support your effort.

    BTW, for my kids, I’m going to advise them to get the necessary credentials as cheaply as possible. Jump through the hoop with minimal burning. Don’t believe the BS sales pitch about getting a foundation, broadening your mind, learning how to think, etc.

    * Not the cheating thing, as far as I knew. Sad statement about Cornell.

  • jondaw

    Re: The way I got educated in reading, philosophy, history, art, etc. was fully on my own time.

    Absolutely. On the other hand, I loved being in a college town but not going to college because of the library, thanks to which I educated myself while holding part-time jobs for years.

    Obviously, though, if you want to have a profession, you need the college; but professions are hardly the only or best ways to earn your living.

  • http://www.examiner.com/classical-antiquity-in-pittsburgh/seamus-esparza Seamus the Classicist

    College has just become a scam, feeding off of a lifestyle obsession, in which no larger wisdom or cultural heritage is passed down. The U.S. should go back to where only 5% of the population even goes on to higher education because, let us admit it, most jobs and careers people enter into require at the most 1-2 years of post-high school education and a whole lot of on the job training.

    But most young people (and this ties into a story of personal heart break) think now that they have that Bachelors and can’t get a job the answer is a Masters. Really? Does it take 6-10 years of post-secondary education to enter into what are basically glorified clerical positions. Maybe industry needs to do its’ training in house instead of outsourcing it the Universities at the expense of their employees.

    • Fubar

      Yes, but then industry will ask “what of their education tax dollars?”.

      I was shocked several years ago when the owner of an elite IT R&D firm (db and business rules) complained that he could find no qualified prospective employees amongst the graduates of any university in the world. (not sure what happened to interns, univ-industry partnerships, etc.)

      I asked him if he had ever considered letting the universities know that they were not preparing their students for available jobs, and he seemed to not be able to digest the question.

      The expectation appeared to be that “somehow” academia should “know” what is going on in the “real world”, and prepare their graduates to be able to work in it with some basic competency (to receive expert industry training).

      The “disconnect” involved exists on several levels.

  • Amikkelsen

    This is classic –

    “I was so bad at computers after going to both undergrad Cornell in Computer Science and graduate school at Carnegie Mellon in Computer Science that my first non-academic job (HBO) had to send me to two months of training courses at AT&T so I could learn a thing or two about how computers were used in the real world.”

    I have a friend who was introduced to me as a guy who got a job at 16 at AT&T teaching college grads how to use computers. He’s probably too young to have taught James Altucher. Still in his early twenties he has a successful business doing what he enjoys and raking in silly amounts of money in his hometown, a smaller city in the south. He is also well read and better educated on many topics than your typical elite grad. He exceeded in all the things college is supposed to ehlp you wtih.

    Certainly some people do need certan types of academic training. Thankfully, despite government mandated licensure, college isn’t really necessary to have a successful careers as a tradesman and businessman in many fields.

    I say this as someone who loved his school but realized it was an expensive drinking resort, and anyway his parents certainly were not paying full tuition. The best part was living abroad for half a year meeting people from all over the world. As James Altucher suggest – give a kid ten grand and send him to india (or anywhere I think is eye opening.) Show them how to download books and use the library – real academics going through PhD programs ultimately depend on the library and their own resources anyway – the best exceed their teachers.

    • Fubar

      Learning chinese for at least four years should be mandatory for most american college students.

      • Dy

        I think Spanish would be a more appropriate language skill, or French, for the northern states.

        • Fubar

          Why?

          In general, there are relatively few business reasons for originally “english speaking only” americans to need to communicate with spanish speaking only people. Most spanish speaking immigrants to the USA  are highly motivated to learn english for education and business purposes. Those that don’t mostly live in ethnic enclaves anyway, just as all previous ethnic groups did.

          Most business people and other leaders in spanish speaking countries (including Spain) are motivated to learn english, as are other europeans, etc.

          The issue of french in Quebec is, from an american viewpoint, silly political correctness.

          On the other hand, China’s relationship to the USA will the source of profound influence. Just guessing, but there are probably 1,000 times more students in China learning english than spanish or french. What does that tell you?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_A2OYWEPDAUL7WRH2243BLAVLAA vicky f

    I have to say that as a homeschool mother of 4 I agree with many of the things you are saying. My husband went to college and never finished, he was there for 3 yrs. I went to college for 2yrs and decided it wasn’t my cup of tea, as I was more interested in finding a husband, so I waitressed for about 3yrs. Met my husband at the first restaurant I worked at. We will be married for 16 yrs on 2/25/11. We have 4 beautiful children. I have been homeschooling them from the beginning. First people thought they wouldn’t be as smart. Then people thought that they needed socialization. Then to my surprise I read on Yahoo this past week that it’s not MY kids that need the social skills it’s the now the public schools job to teach these so kids can succeed in life. Imagine my surprise! Seeing as how I have been told my kids need to be socialized so that they can get along in society. Forget the fact that my 15yr will be playing varsity softball for the 2nd yr as a sophomore this year. My 2nd daughter will celebrate her tenth year of dance. My son loves soccer and my youngest daughter will play everything because she loves it all!(not really but she would if she could!)
    I have not made college mandatory for any of them. I think where we fail miserably in this country is that we lack the old time apprenticeships. We lack the responsibility for our actions. When we have engineers that can’t measure or can’t follow blueprints for manufacturing but have 2nd thoughts about blaming someone else, especially if they are in another country. I feel it’s very sad.
    One thing I found interesting this year, I went out and bought myself some new Corelle with Christmas money I received. To my surprise and excitement I found that it was still made in the good ole USA! Well you know that isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be anymore. The reason, dishes that misprinted. I bought 3 boxes and 3 in ONE box were defective. Not only that but the dishes had wavy sides. This is due to cooling to quickly or getting too hot in the manufacturing process. Too bad we can’t make things like we used to. If you want to learn something go to a master and learn from them. You don’t need a 4yr degree to tell you how to build a brick wall what you need is to get your hands dirty.

    • Fubar

      The more filthy rich people there are from a corrupt political economy, the less real work gets done in each subsequent generation in that society. Real work is devalued because it does not confer the kind of fake status that becomes popular amongst the conformist/educated risen classes.

      Here is the story of one heroic nonconformist who was a real scholar:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agora_(film)

  • Anonymous

    8. Last year sometime I found a list of the world’s billionaires (on Forbes maybe?), and picked out the top 10. From what I could tell reading their bios, 4 of them dropped out of college or didn’t finish, and two never went at all (one I think made it through 3rd grade). So that weould be six out of ten of the top fabulously wealthiest etc etc – with no college degree. Hmm…

    (everyone plese update their dictionaries to “weould” and “plese” – from my new book, “Spell Liek a Billionaire”)

    • Fubar

      re: Nanny State = Education Establishment

      the educational establishment’s main purpose is to destroy populist democracy (in other words, to destroy its natural political opposition).

      the educational establishment’s second purpose is to destroy any kind of innovation, creativity or entrepeneurial spirit native to a child so that such children become “misfits” that can be marginalized and ignored. (John Taylor Gatto)

      the educational establishment is hostile to dissent, criticism or real reform (not the kind of fake education reforms that are really just “bureaucratic reinvention”), which explains why it continues to become more corrupt and dysfunctional all the time.

      it increasingly mirrors conformist, autocratic/paternalistic medieval cultural dynamics.

      the educated “sheeple” will become increasingly hostile and vicious toward any criticism of the thing that made them what they are.

      the few innovative/creative children that “survive” being “educated” have a high potential of becoming successful at business. (for better or worse)

      Daniel Pink and many other social critics/theorists are predicting that the only middle class jobs that will remain for americans in the future will be “creative”.

      The Centralized Nanny State Education Establishment HAS TO BE ABOLISHED and replaced with “something better” that promotes creativity, independence, self-reliance, and so forth.

      In the 1840s Alexis de Tocqueville predicted that democracy would result in american’s becoming “weak and servile” to Central State power as a result of psychological/spiritual crisis.

      The education establishment plays a critical role in perpetuating the culture of “weakness and servility” that will doom america.

      Court trials for treason against democracy and human decency are needed.

      Punish those perpetuating social injustices.

  • Anonymous

    8. Last year sometime I found a list of the world’s billionaires (on Forbes maybe?), and picked out the top 10. From what I could tell reading their bios, 4 of them dropped out of college or didn’t finish, and two never went at all (one I think made it through 3rd grade). So that weould be six out of ten of the top fabulously wealthiest etc etc – with no college degree. Hmm…

    (everyone plese update their dictionaries to “weould” and “plese” – from my new book, “Spell Liek a Billionaire”)

  • Fubar

    A democratic populist government should be formed to

    1) nullify all public obligations to Big Banks,
    2) make Big Banks and all other unsavory financial practices (derivatives, fractional reserve banks, etc.) illegal and subject to Court Trials for treason,
    3) halt ALL corporate welfare (e.g. Koch bros. and other fake Tea Partiers).

    Corrupt banks = corrupt education = corrupt politics.

  • Fubar

    re: A democratic populist government should be formed to…

    (cont.):
    4) halt all foreign misadventures and imperialst foreign policies
    5) deport and revoke citizenship of mercenaries and the corrupt national security apparatus

  • http://www.studioforstartups.com Paul Phillip

    Wow. If my college experience was like yours it would of truly been worth $40k. I went to community college my first 5 years so basically no college girls hanging out around campus just full-time workers with a mix of people and backgrounds. I fully agree that you can learn on your own reading books and practicing whatever trade/skill you want to get into. I tell any young person about to get out of high school or just stuck mid-twenties to just join the military (any branch), make some money, keep going to college for free, study whatever you want on all the down time you get in a government job, and four years later come out more experienced.

    However your computer experience and your first non-academic job makes you sound like you really didn’t CARE to study computers. I don’t know HOW you passed a bachelors and masters program in computer science and not know how to connect a computer to the internet. I’ve self educated myself in computers since a teen and got my first job as an intern doing software/hardware installations and troubleshooting without a degree, BUT this was in 2001. This was when computer knowledge was hot, now I can’t say so hot without a degree. It’s a standard for most computer fields.

    America is stupid and frankly I wish I would of went to community college to learn to be an electrician or carpenter. It would of been more fun and I would of been earning more now in something I’d actually enjoy doing. I’m getting my MBA now after plenty of failed business attempts I learned much from “doing” and how to maybe teach at a community level in the feature. I’d tell all my community college students to goto the military too for just four years. Hahaha. I don’t know if you agree on that.

    • Will Mark Go

      My experience of joining the military (I’m on step 3).

      Step 1. Join the Army for 4 years right out of high school. Choose a technical position (25U) that requires a security clearance.

      Step 2. Travel the world in the Army and learn a great deal about how much life can suck, and be fun as well. Deploy and save 50k. Hopefully complete your enlistment without any serious mental issues.

      Step 3. Lose the high and tight and keep the discipline. Move to a college town (Austin) and go to a community college, then transfer to a state college in 1.5 years, to eventually earn a Bachelor’s in something relevant. All tuition and living expenses are paid for (more than enough). Stay involved in the IRR (inactive reserves) to keep that security clearance active.

      Step 4. Take that debt free Bachelor’s and security clearance and get one hell of a job somewhere in the government or some high paying company.

      Step 5. ???

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WZTZDF2Z33VRT3UBOX5UTZ4RRQ henri

    so you know by now why the U S is going down the drain …..raising idiots …what can you expect beside since you have ….IN GOD WE TUST ….instituted by IKE the country has been going down since .How long is it going to take for people to see that …GOD can not be trusted beside what can you expect from a country which built more churches than schools

    • Fubar

      typical french idiot. defeatist loser. go eat some snails (“escargot”) and dream of past imperialistic glories.

      american democracy started going bad when it reverted to corrupt european models, specifically central banking, in the 1800s.

      what is required is for american’s to revolt against central banking and all other forms of the “Nanny State” advocated by Stupid French Idiots and all other Stupid Idiots who act like French A$$holes.

  • http://twitter.com/gctaylor Greg Taylor

    College is exactly what you make out of it. I’m not the party type. I consider myself pretty driven. I know I could have done reasonably well without college eventually, but would do what I did all over again if I had the chance. However, for those who keep mentioning the “drinking resort” stuff, that’s just a symptom of an immature, un-driven person (even the original author indulged in this). For those of you who point to this as a reason not to go to college, in your case, it probably WAS a waste to go. But that really is your own fault.

    The way I approached my degree was that they’re just teaching me how to be a generalist in whatever field I choose. If I didn’t make my education unique to me, my CV would look just like all of the other lazy students. I needed to (on my own) pick some subject within my area and get really damned good at it. I did so, picked something on the rise but still cutting-edge, and used my affiliation with the school to attend conferences, participate in research, and collaborate with people in other universities when I fell short on something. I honestly couldn’t have done any of this on my own, I wouldn’t have even known where to start.

    For me, college can be useful if you do two things:
    1) Pick something that you can look to be at the top of the talent pile on within 10 years or less. Get really good at it, get your name out. Seek internships that are related if you can, push your school to let you do research for class credit (I did this for 5 or 6 semesters and loved it).
    2) Make lots of connections. The single best thing I got out of college were the connections. Trade shows, conferences, employer days. Take an internship or two, both of mine were paid and with great companies.

    There is absolutely zero chance I would have got my first post-undergrad job, which was a great one for me at the time. I paid my own way through and ended up with under $30k in student loans (I’ve paid off half in two years), a great job, and a lot of upwards mobility.

    But your mileage may vary. Some people aren’t mature and disciplined enough to get the most for their money. Perhaps parents shouldn’t send their kids to school, but the kids should send themselves. Weeds out the un-motivated and lazy.

    • Fubar

      Typical self-serving analysis. One of the main purposes of public education is to turn nonconformists into “misfits” that can be marginalized. So, the glories of the system that you have submitted yourself to are built on a foundation of social injustices and narrow -mindedness.

      Well educated imbeciles (conformists), are unlike the independent, self-reliant, communitarian, SELF-EDUCATED and COMMUNITY-EDUCATED people, such as Abraham Lincoln, that built the original, real america.

      Mindless acceptance of the conventional wisdom promoted by the “racket” of Corporatists in academia has contributed to the “dumbing down” of both the high ideals of scholarship, and of american culture.

      • http://twitter.com/gctaylor Greg Taylor

        After reading that, I can’t help but wonder where you keep your tinfoil hat :)

        It just sounds like you hate ambitious people, honestly. Perhaps you’re jealous. Perhaps you are having a hard time with your career due to your lack of education and are angry at that. Either way, I noticed you ranted at any pro-education comment on here. Your complete, single-minded hatred for college education removes any merit from your rants.

        Not to say that a college education is the end-all-be-all, you just seem really paranoid, buddy.

        • Fubar

          Hey Greg,

          I know. It is really shocking to shallow people that see nothing in life but empty power and status symbols how someone that actually has a working understanding of how universities function might comment in support of the main points of the actual article – that the education establishment is increasingly corrupt, dysfunctional, unable to properly serve the ideals (or people) it was intended to, and burdened by fear-based institutional climate.

          This is refered to as “rational people behaving irrationally.”

          So yes, you have learned the lession well: the education establishment viciously attacks critics, especially nonconformists and those that dare to defy convention, not matter how idiotic and dehumanizing the results to actual learning.

          Even world famous theorists with impeccable credentials are viciously attacked in academia:

          http://www.natureoforder.com/library/commentary-for-readers-of-book2.htm

          “But a real paradigm change – a way of thinking which really and truly changes our ideas about war, equality, money, jobs, leisure, family… all that may be easy to say, but is nevertheless very hard to DO. It is frightening to do, because to do it, we really have to change the things we are comfortable with. We may, yes indeed, be conscious of the fact that we are screwed up, and we may wish for better things for ourselves and for our children – but we remain enmeshed in a system which makes us secure (relatively), happy (relatively), morally OK (perhaps), and protected from starvation and disease (if we belong to the privileged 10% of the world’s population who are economically OK in the world today).

          But, we ourselves are enmeshed, deeply enmeshed, in the production of ugliness, zoning, banking, transportation, corporate America, making warplanes, destroying beautiful land by permitting and encouraging construction of freeways for our cars, and by permitting and encouraging the ravages of commercial development and strip malls. No matter how much we look down on it, and criticize it as bad, evil, and harmful – still we ourselves live off the product of this kind of America we hate.

          The idea that there are such a things as definable and palpable life-giving processes, was real to my students at Berkeley. Students are smart, they are fairly free in their heads, and they can see when something like this is true. So they flocked to the classes in which this was happening, and began not attending the classes that the “other” professors wanted them to attend.

          This HAD TO BE STOPPED by the authorities. Of course, because Western civilization would fail if it was not stopped, and the architectural establishment would collapse, and God knows whatever other dangerous things would happen, too. So the Department did their best to stop this material from being taught. We had quite a donnybrook at Berkeley, from about 1985 to about 1992, a first -amendment legal case between me and the Department of Architecture, which finally concluded after seven years, in the University agreeing that the new material must be permitted and must be taught. But it was so frightening to the faculty, that three years later, the University Administration turned tail, and found yet another way to make it impossible for me to teach these classes.

          So this is what you have in Book 2: The Forbidden Classes of Christopher Alexander at Berkeley, 1985 to 1992… all the knowledge that was too dangerous to allow the students to take, or to absorb, is presented in this book.

          Yes, it is dangerous. Because if you start to understand how everyday processes in our normal lives are linked (or not) to the creation of life, in us, in our neighborhoods, in our surroundings, …then everything will change.

          This material comes from new ways of thinking about the way the world unfolds. It suggests a new vocabulary of thought about living process, defines some of the main ideas, shows hundreds of examples, and discusses, patiently, carefully, all along, why and how one process destroys life, and why another process enhances life.”

          —————

          (never mind that many of the the greatest scholars in the western tradition were nonconformists and critics of the establishment.)

          I note the almost complete lack of substance in your comments.

          You, like most conformists that have been brainwashed by the education establishment, find any analysis that is outside the tiny box that your mind resides in to be incomprehensible.

          You do not appear to have even the most limited understanding of what the original ideals of the american democratic republic actually consisted of. You seem to be nothing but a self-involved, unprincipled, crass opportunist, which I suppose is what the “educated” and “successful” people in this country tend to strive for these days.

          Again, here are a few simple facts that you should be able to grasp:

          | Abraham Lincoln did NOT GO TO COLLEGE.
          |
          | George Bush did.

          see:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States_by_education

          What you represent is the triumph of self-absorbsion – the perfect example of what a so called “college education” produces. I really do want to apologize to you for burdening your mind with ideas that apparently must seem so alien and difficult to grasp.

          Thanks very much providing such interesting material to contemplate, and have a super nice day.

          • Muzjik

            Or let’s try (just to be nonpartisan):

            | Abraham Lincoln did NOT GO TO COLLEGE.
            |
            | Barack Obama did

          • Fubar

            Political parties are stupid and evil.

            The stupidity of Bush’s presidency far overshadows Obama. I’m non-partisan/independent. All american presidents have been puppets, Bush and Obama are good examples.

            Bush is far more stupid and evil. He got college degrees because his parents were rich.

        • Fubar

          re: “that the education establishment is increasingly corrupt, dysfunctional, unable to properly serve the ideals (or people) it was intended to, and burdened by fear-based institutional climate.”

          Forgot to mention:

          academia is full of waste and administrative bloat, which is financed by absurdly high tuition. connect the dots between the Academic Overlords and the Corporate/Banking Overlords.

          The Corporatists have been infiltrating higher education for decades, and attempting to destroy the tradition role of intellectual indepenence of faculty from within (Custred, Ferrier “Cornerstones”).

          ponder the gastly fact that the education establishment is still promoting the idea that the “ticket out of the ghetto” for poor, usually non-white, people is “getting a college degree”.

          The very establishment that produces the oppressive system of social injustice and inequality ends up parasitizing those that seek to escape it via an absurdly expensive “college education”.

        • me myself and I

          Fubar is like crabgrass on this post….he’s everywhere sort of like a Barney Fife…has an answer for everything

        • Ania

          I know Greg. That’s why we are having brain drain because of this kind of thinking/philosophy. I once watched this news that the US are hiring foreigners to do certain jobs or professionals from other countries, and one person commented like “it’s killing our economy because we are not hiring our own people.” Well HELLO, if most of Americans would get a degree and work on their field then we don’t have to hire foreign professionals. College teaches us the theories but it’s the fundamentals of all stable jobs.

          • Fubar

            Of course you don’t actually know what the research says about american employment and “professional” immigration, you are just jumping to conclusions and speculating?

            Here is the reality: american corporations like to exploit professional immigrant workers.

            Universities are complicit, they play a role, probably because of political corruption, in ensuring that immigrants get student visas, then student jobs, then green cards for university professional jobs.

            The corporations that have “partnerships” with universities play a role in the game.

            It is true that professional immigrants from countries with traditional cultures usually have good work ethics, and are more willing to tolerate being exploited than americans.

            Americans are, historically, less desperate.

            Anyways, this is a very complex topic, what you see in the corporate media is mostly lies. Look up the research on the internet and please post references and your conclusions.

          • Fubar

            Of course you don’t actually know what the research says about american employment and “professional” immigration, you are just jumping to conclusions and speculating?

            Here is the reality: american corporations like to exploit professional immigrant workers.

            Universities are complicit, they play a role, probably because of political corruption, in ensuring that immigrants get student visas, then student jobs, then green cards for university professional jobs.

            The corporations that have “partnerships” with universities play a role in the game.

            It is true that professional immigrants from countries with traditional cultures usually have good work ethics, and are more willing to tolerate being exploited than americans.

            Americans are, historically, less desperate.

            Anyways, this is a very complex topic, what you see in the corporate media is mostly lies. Look up the research on the internet and please post references and your conclusions.

  • Gary

    Hey James
    You are the odd one out for Jewish Parents. You would be kicked out of the synagogue.
    Are you really that silly. Your own Jewish grandmother would never talk to you again. How would all the nice jewish grandkids become doctors or lawyers without college? And dont tell me the income in those professions are low for top school graduates in law, and for pretty much any medical school in medicine.
    So yeah dont send your kids to school. Maybe they are trust fund babies and dont need the income. And what wall street firm would hire a guy with not MBA econ or law degree, eh?

    I guess you hate your kids. Hahahah

    • Fubar

      An ugly reminder of what the world looks like to those that only care about having their lowest instincts pandered to by crass opportunists.

      On the other hand:

      Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel never accepted the “deal” that jewish culture made with american capitalism, which required that the authentic spirituality in the jewish tradition be “sold out” for mere monetary gain, social status, etc.

      Heschel’s writing is a stunning reminder of the deep human urge to seek meaning, and to work selflessly to raise culture to high standards of compassion and social justice.

      Rabbi Michael Learner has continued Heschel’s work, and adopted it to those that think in holistic, postmodern, integral terms.

  • John

    I think I entirely agree. With one caveat.

    If you are raised in a fundamentally anti-intellectual culture, one that in fact actively stifles critical thinking of any sort, a college degree can be valuable for “opening your mind” as annoying as the phrase is.

    I grew up a conservative Mormon. If I hadn’t gone to college I don’t think I’d ever have learned to think. There were terrifying years in college when I felt, for the first time ever, what it was to question something. It was like being shoved off a cliff. All this in Utah at a university that is 80% Mormon. It was probably worth the 30 grand for that.

    But now I’m coming out of a masters in literature. I’m a ton smarter than I was. But my friend who experienced college the same way I did and was similarly rocked off his unthinking haunches, well he dropped out as a sophomore. In the past four years he’s read hundreds of books and become extremely intelligent while also learning to live. I’ve read maybe half as much, learned less about living, and taken on twice as much debt. Who’s to say I wouldn’t have found my way into thinking for myself simply by moving to the city? I can’t say. I doubt it. But I can’t say. If I had to do it all over again I’d definitely go the same route, because I don’t know for sure that another route could have triggered my awareness that I had a mind separate from my upbringing.

    • Fubar

      Academia has a somewhat fixed (arteriosclerotic) role in the matter of creativity and nonconformism, and has some big problems with taking the same advice that they give students. The mechanisms of slef-governance have been corrupted by those that have turned university teaching into a protection racket for professional guilds and bloated esteem. Very medieval, and very conformist. Academics are less “principled, objective and rational” than advertised when it comes to protecting their own “turf”.

      Complicating the matter is that Adademia has largely been overtaken by Corporatism at the executive level. Corporatist think tanks have been at work behind the scenes destroying the “democracy of the knowledge commons” – the foundation of western scholarship and the “classic liberal tradition” (which is really a conservative tradition) for decades. They have “seeded” the ranks of academic management with creepy totalitarians who create “fear-based” (and risk averse) institutional climates.

      Universities are complicit in a number of scams, swindles and schemes that disadvantage middle class and working people. Banks scams and high tuition are only the start.

      The “modelling” that is going on in the “lifeworld” of universities is very subtextual: students are “taught” by the behavior of the “adults in charge” a number of unsavory lessons that all revolve around the necessity of accepting dehumanizing conditions in exchange for promise of entry into an increasingly broken social contract between the managerial elites and working people.

      • Fubar

        corrections: “mechanisms of [academic] self-governance ”

        “Academia has largely been overtaken by Corporatism “

    • Anonymous

      John, you should have just gone to an anti Mormon church and saved yourself $30k.

    • ered

      You make an excellent point!! one that I think a lot of folks are missing- it has to be what is right for the individual. Not everyone will follow the same path, have the same experience or reap the same rewards so really – college isn’t for everyone, but it is for some people, a fabulous tool.

  • Mathias F.

    While this may be true for a normal college, what about a technical institute? I’m a 20 year old currently finishing my last semester in a 2-year CS program at a very well regarded IT school (BCIT).

    On the learning side, the program is designed to teach things that are useful in the industry. The first year is mostly just the basics, but in the second year pretty much everything I’ve learned I consider useful to my career choice. The programming we learn has practical applications, and there’s a lot of project management that is taught as well.
    It’s 7 classes a semester, and most people in the area consider this 2 year diploma more valuable than a 4 year degree.

    On the financial side, it cost me about $10k for the two years, and it will cost me another $14k if I chose to pursue a bachelors degree

    And finally, the social side, I don’t live on campus, so my social life is roughly the same as it would be for somebody with a 40h/week job. I think even without school I party just as hard. The only difference is I’d have a lot more money.

    • Fubar

      IT people are usually smart, but arrogant, short-sighted a$$holes, especially IT managers.

      Some of the consequences are described below:

      http://www.executiveboard.com/information-technology/

      | The Future of Corporate IT
      | How to Prepare for Five Radical Shifts
      | in IT Value, Ownership, and Role

      According to the above survey, 75% of traditional IT jobs will “disappear” within 5 years. Your survival strategy should be to move toward combining IT skills with “business process” skills, or to become an “IT architect”, or someone that understands “Cloud computing”.

      There is an ongoing war in most organizations between “IT culture” and “business culture”. IT industry has an overall 80% project failure rate that has not changed for at least 25 years.

      Many discussions about “IT-Business alignment” have been proposed, including some very sophisticated use of “integral theory” (Jungian “shadow” work) which attempts to get at the psychological “problems” (operating paradigms) that are typical in the organizational culture of technologists:

      http://www.cioinsight.com/c/a/IT-Management/Does-CIO-Behavior-Derail-Intentions-526614

      —excerpt—

      As an example, we recently completed an IT adoption engagement in which we recorded and analyzed more than 2 million customer service interactions between call center agents and their CRM software. What was interesting—but not surprising—is that only 1 percent of the company’s CRM adoption gap could be directly attributed to the underlying technology. The remaining 99 percent of factors that constrained hundreds of millions of dollars in potential revenue and cost-saving opportunities were driven by “people issues.”

      People issues always trump technology and process capabilities, yet, despite repeated evidence, these issues are often addressed as an afterthought—or not at all.

      While industry leaders opt to dismiss addressing people issues because savings are “soft,” our experience suggests that, in actuality, IT leaders’ avoidance of people issues is driven by more private and generally hidden motivations: uncertainty and fear of failure when it comes to navigating these choppy waters.

      Unlike technological issues that can be dismissed or resolved as vendors and their tools evolve, failure to handle people issues is a personal shortcoming and has a lasting impact on personal credibility and relationships.

      —end excerpt—

      In general, the only “middle class professional” jobs that will remain in the US will be those in which “creativity” is an advantage. Daniel Pink has done some excellent research on the topic. Check out what he has said. Google/PBS.

      State/local government / public education might be somewhat insulated from the above trends for a while, particulary in states that resist union bashing.

      The Corporatization of America will result in what Alexis de Tocqueville predicted in the 1840s:
      a form of “democracy” in which americans become “weak and servile” in front of the “Corporate State”.

      (The traditional values of independence and self-reliance have, in general, been crushed by the political elites/a$$holes on both left and right.)

      Historically, american business people and wealthy investors paid high taxes which were used to build and maintain infrastructure (which was most middle class jobs). Since the 1980s, a bizarre political dynamic has set in, perhaps based on the prevailing narcissism, in which the ultra-wealthy no longer feel a responsibility to pay taxes to support the infrastructure necessary to run the corporations that generate the wealth they accumulate! Meanwhile 40% of middle class wealth has evaporated, and living expenses have gone up, so middle class people also do not want to pay any more infrastructure taxes than they have to.

      The cultural, psychological and structural basis for a middle class economy is collapsing due to what de Tocqueville predicted: a “democracy” in which people become dependent on centralized political power (“State Capitalism”) at the same time that they despise such political power.

      The “Nanny State” has turned most people stupid and irresponsible (weak and servile).

      James Hillman has explained how the “therapeutic state” has contributed to these evils.

      You should either become a revolutionary, or become very “adaptible” to rapid and extreme changes in society (or both).

      Rich people no longer care to take care of the middle classes, working people, or the poor.

      Prepare to take evasive action.

  • Cg

    AMEN brother! I didn’t go to college at all. Well, not entirely true…I did attempt some classes,but it didn’t work out for one reason or another… I have worked in many different jobs, so I guess I can say I am a jack of some trades master of none…however, it totally amazes me how much common sense I have compared to many of my peers? I might not be book smart but I am certainly NOT street stupid! I figured if I could add, subtract, multiply and divide, I could pretty much get my in the world. I was not interested in being a math major anyway. I did learn by the 8th grade how to master all of those, along with how to write a proper letter, spell, and read well enough that I knew where to look it up if I didn’t know what the word was and what it meant. I might not be making $100,000 a year, but I also don’t have the stresses in life that people who make that much have. I live in a decent house, have a newer but not new, car, have wonderful intelligent kids, some who went to college and some who didn’t. I have a great spouse, who yes is a college graduate…hmmm whatever did he see in me? I can’t really complain, he and I compliment each other….he has the degree that I don’t have, however, I have the daily common sense that he will never have…lol! I didn’t have to go to college to get drunk, have sex, or try drugs. Most of that was available in highschool and I wasn’t really all that interested. I have ADD so for me school was really likened to a prison. I would have done much better in a Montessori type of school, but know one even know who Maria Montessori was when I was in school. Back when I was a kid, they were telling people that you had to finish High School to get a decent job…my parents before me were told that if you made it through the 8th grade that was enough, and I supposed their parents before them were not all that educated…schools were far and few inbetween, so your parents homeschooled you with whatever limited knowlege they had, and low and behold each generation was able to survive. I do have to agree…all college really does is to show a potential employer, that you showed up at least enough to pass the class, or that you were smart enough to cheat and not get caught, and that the institution that you went to gave you a piece of paper stating that you lived there and paid them money for the amount of years it says on your degree. Do kids learn stuff? Sure they do, but you are right…they can get the same education by being out in the real world. I so love it when someone who has never had a kid tells me how to breastfeed, or tells me how to potty train my kid, how to nurture a child into a great human being? How the heck would they know how any of that stuff works or what emotion goes along with any of it unless they have first experienced it themselves? Kind of like all of us writing books about death and dying when those of us still living have no real conception of what it is like to die, and since there are a few people who have had a near death experience, they are not technically dead then if they came back, but I would guess that even that experience would give them more knowlege on the subject than someone who hasn’t. All in all, I do find it interesting that you are able to make money off of people who have nothing better to do that to read this, and you do have a college degree. So I guess you learned something while you were there….its how to bullshit the bulls…

  • Kevnikov

    Reasons your logic is flawed:
    1) The majority of of people will always become employees rather than owning their own businesses, and the majority of higher paying positions won’t even consider an applicant who does not have a college degree. With only a high school dipoloma, your options will be much more limited, no matter how much time you have devoted to actual learning.
    2) For socialization… College self selects out the groups from high school that are the most disruptive in school and which place the least value in education. So, it gives people the opportunity to interact socially with people in the manner that is more similar to an adult workplace. Freshmen experiment with those childish behaviors that really aren’t acceptable in the adult workplace in college, recognize the consequences of those behaviors in a safer environment and learn to interact in a more mature manner.
    3) Complicated skill sets… If you do want a highly technical skill, ie doctor, scientist, engineer, lawyer, not only do most require the degree, it is very rare that a person has the self-motivation to extensively learn these often dry subjects on their own as you suggest.
    4) Cost… I wholeheartedly agree that many people overpay for their education with the idea that any price for college is an investment in your future, but there are still lots of ways to reduce these costs. If someone is self motivated enough to succeed without college, they are probably also self motivated enough to succeed at getting scholarships, or to work hard through two years of communtity college and then transfer to get a degree from an in-state school. The argument that many college students don’t take advantage of the things they are paying for is not an argument that college isn’t valuable.

    Ask any recruiter in the country if college is valuable to corportations they are recruiting for and I don’t think that you will find one who will say no.

    • Fubar

      You have explained perfectly the end result of “the Dumbing down of america”.

      No one will take responsibility for SMASHING STUPID ILLUSIONS.

      Everyone perpetuates STPID ILLUSIONS because they think they will continue to benefit from them and because they have been BRAINWASHED by the edducation establishment.

      What happened to self-reliance?

      What happened to intellectual honesty and integrity?

      The more people that go to college, the less integrity education has!

      Abraham Lincoln did not go to college.

      George Bush did.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZLI3OIQRBRETEJAOIBZT2KAXM _

    Some of the degrees are a rip off, and even some coursework is outdated and you need to ask to substitute it. You don’t need a bachelor’s or even a 2 year associates to be a Paralegal. All it is is a specialized secretary. Two year (non-state) colleges spend a lot of their money on advertising every stinking commercial break during the week day hours, so there’s a lot of your tuition money wasted too. Photography is another, I’ve read from some famous photographers that their degree would only get them a job in a camera shop. Everything you need to learn there, you can learn by buying camera equipment and joining online forums. College is great if you shop around, have a plan, and you know its necessary for your passion, and expect there will be professors that want to convince you that your faith is a joke, in which their facts are incomplete and completely irrelevant to the coursework, and you deserve your money back for their harassment. Just like Hollywood, liberal colleges apparently want to “raise” our kids and get them to lower their moral standards to ones that match theirs. I’ve been there and done that, and there really are some professors that need to be told what their job is supposed to be.

  • Anonymous

    lol…This joker has got to be kidding. What’s funny is that I do something completely different for what I went to college for so I should be pro this article. But here’s an idea brainiac philosophy major. Have you considered some employers will not hire you for your desired field without college?

    Like almost every high paying profession on the planet?

    If my kid wants to be a english/philosophy/undecided major….heck no on college. If he wants to get a PhD in Materials Science…hell yes college!

  • Amber

    my co-worker makes 5 times what i make because she went to college. although, she did not go for the profession we work in. i have been here 2 years longer than her, im older than her, i do more than her, i have more licenses and accredidations than her, but does that matter? no. she went to college, she makes more money.
    last year i worked my ass off, but because i wasnt here at 9am sharp, i didnt get any credit. this year, i have been here every day on time and i surf the net all day. now all of the sudden i am getting praised for all of my “hard work”.
    going to college has nothing to do with it. its the idiots you surround yourself with. come up with a great idea, be self-employeed, live long and prosper!

  • Engineer66

    For those who agree with this non-sense:
    How you would feel about trusting your lives (or those of your kids/partners/parents) to a self/home-educated “MD” (when you are in that stretcher, on the way to the operating room for your open heart surgery, ponder on the thought that you will have an amateur “doc” opening a canoe in your chest); or working under the roof of a building – or driving through a bridge – all designed & built by an amateur ‘Engineer’.

    To become a professional (Doctor or Engineer, for example) takes a lot of discipline, dedication to studies and hard work. Most people do not have the discipline to use their blinkers before making a turn, imagine for educating themselves at home in such complex professions.

    Wake up, get your ass off the couch and go do something beyond your basic high-school algebra, which you probably do not even recall anymore.

    • Wattsit4

      it was ;liberal arts talking there 66………not real students……..lol…….sheesh

    • Sdavis1010

      Um apparently you need to take Psychology because it teaches a person common sense. The only way for you to have a profession such as a doctor, psychologist, dentist, lawyer, etc. is to have a minimum of 8 years of school under your belt in today’s society (reasonably so). I bet if his [Altucher] kids wanted to specifically be a doctor, he’d talk to them, make sure they wanted to really go to school for 8 years and send them to college.

      Looking at it from another perspective though, how do you think we have the professions that we have and the books in regards to the professions we have? People who have worked in that profession, trial and error, for years and years. If you want to be a scientist you mind as well admit you and the rest of the world know nothing about science because they’re coming up with new and improved data every day just like the new iPhone5, 6, 7 every month. You go throughout your life taking in others’ opinions as your own. Unless you have the mindset to do your own research, you won’t get anywhere.

      • Daviderusso20

        Actually, no; I never went to college, and have been practicing medicine for 13 years now. Man, I’m still learning new stuff everyday. And the amazing thing is that the more “new stuff” I learn with each passing week, it seems the more people are responding with a positive health outcome. It’s really a win-win for both MD and patient. Yep, on the job training, -it beats the hell out of studying all day.

        • Sdavis1010

          Please reread where I said ‘in today’s society’. And you proved my point (in my second paragraph).

        • http://medschoolodyssey.wordpress.com/ Med School Odyssey

          This made me laugh.

          • Fubar

            Military medics regularly save the lives of people in combat zones – without college education or medical degrees, correct? Real training is possible outside the existing system, but the corrupt interests of the current system resist alternatives and reforms (at least deep/meaningful ones).

            Here is an analysis of the underlying problem, from the perspective of critical social theory:

            http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Illich/Vernacular.html

            …At this juncture, it is the task of the historian and the philosopher to clarify the sources of and disentangle the process resulting in Western needs. Only thus shall we be able to understand how such a seemingly enlightened concept produced such devastating exploitation. Progress, the notion which has characterized the West for 2000 years, and has determined its relations to outsiders since the decay of classical Rome, lies behind the belief in needs. Societies mirror themselves not only in their transcendent gods, but also in their image of the alien beyond their frontiers.

            As Gunnar Myrdal has observed, the construct of distinctly native needs was necessary both to justify colonialism and to administer colonies. The provision of government, education and commerce for the natives was for four hundred years the white man’s assumed burden.

            Each time the West put a new mask on the alien, the old one was discarded because it was now recognized as a caricature of an abandoned self-image. The pagan with his naturally Christian soul had to give way to the stubborn infidel to allow Christendom to launch the Crusades. The wild man became necessary to justify the need for secular humanist education, The native was the crucial concept to promote self-righteous colonial rule. But by the time of the Marshall Plan, when multinational conglomerates were expanding and

            [***] the ambitions of transnational pedagogues, therapists and planners knew no bounds,

            the natives’ limited needs for goods and services thwarted growth and progress.

            Development based on high per capita energy quanta and intense professional care is the most pernicious of the West’s missionary efforts –

            [***] a project guided by an ecologically unfeasible conception of human control over nature, and by an

            [***] anthropologically vicious attempt to replace the nests and snakepits of culture by sterile wards for professional service.

            The hospitals that spew out the newborn and reabsorb the dying, the schools run to busy the unemployed before, between and after jobs, the apartment towers where people are stored between trips to the supermarkets, the highways connecting garages form a pattern tatooed into the landscape during the short development spree. These institutions, designed for lifelong bottle babies wheeled from medical centre to school to office to stadium begin now to look as anomalous as cathedrals, albeit unredeemed by any esthetic charm.

          • CBernier11

            Same here

    • Richwithout A. Degree

      Are you retarded? I’m pretty sure he’s not talking about giving up college for people who want to be Dr.s
      And as far as the engineer comment, I don’t think he’s referring to people who just wake up and say, ‘I want to build bridges, I’m really good with legos’, people who are passionate about something will do anything to learn about it and usually have a God given gift to start with–and obviously they would have to pass some sort of test to qualify without a degree–

    • ered

      Again, some of you with college degrees are sooo angry- the author, nor anyone else does not support the idea of a profession such as an MD not going to college. There are some jobs that have required skill sets that you can only obtain through college and in the case of an MD, internship. And certainly no one would suggest anything like bridge building being done by an amateur or by someone who does not have the skill set.
      However not everyone should go to college. It certainly does not help the value of a college degree when stupid people end up scraping by and/or everybody and their dog gets a really generic degree. That happens all the time. When someone without a degree- take for example real estate mogul and self made millionaire Barbara Corcoran- is a huge success, people say, ” Oh they just got lucky”. Um, no- she was smart, savvy, had real life experience and busted her ass. Then there are some who are so naturally intelligent right out of the starting gate, they skip college and go straight into their careers- Peter Jennings for example. I don’t think the author is saying to get rid of college, I think he is simply pointing out that it is not the end all, be all solution to all your problems that many people are making it out to be. So many in our modern day society are putting all their hopes on that degree without becoming well rounded, intrinsically intelligent people.

      • SSM

        Well said!

    • Fubar

      A minor inconvenient fact:

      The present, corrupted, frequently badly managed, irrational, organizationally dysfunctional system of post-secondary education (which operates in a fear-based institutional climate) does not ensure the highest quality of medical professionals.

      The present system is so screwed up that more than 1/2 the “M.D.”s in the USA are foreign.

      These “M.D.”s unnecessarily kill and maim large numbers of people each year. Malpractice is rife. Insurance fraud is rife. Institutional corruption is rife, and college/university is one of the places that “set the tone” for acceptance of such corruption.

      You are an “educated” fool whose thought processes are driven by emotion, illogic and prejudices.

      In other words, you are a typical person with a college degree.

    • Fubar

      A minor inconvenient fact:

      The present, corrupted, frequently badly managed, irrational, organizationally dysfunctional system of post-secondary education (which operates in a fear-based institutional climate) does not ensure the highest quality of medical professionals.

      The present system is so screwed up that more than 1/2 the “M.D.”s in the USA are foreign.

      These “M.D.”s unnecessarily kill and maim large numbers of people each year. Malpractice is rife. Insurance fraud is rife. Institutional corruption is rife, and college/university is one of the places that “set the tone” for acceptance of such corruption.

      You are an “educated” fool whose thought processes are driven by emotion, illogic and prejudices.

      In other words, you are a typical person with a college degree.

      • Flyguyry1

        fubar, you seem very knowledgeable any many things. please tell us about you and ur background.

      • Flyguyry1

        fubar, you seem very knowledgeable any many things. please tell us about you and ur background.

        • Fubar

          when I worked on a farm, people said I was outstanding in my field.

          the french fries in france are really really good. didn’t try the snails/escargot.

          japanese buddhist temples were really nice in the early 1960s. I remember the raked sand.

          HTH!

      • Thebeetgoeson

        Is that subtle racism? Why does it matter if the doctors are foreign?

        Every damn one of those foreign doctors went to college in the United States.

        • http://medschoolodyssey.wordpress.com/ Med School Odyssey

          It is largely impossible to get accepted to a US medical school without an undergraduate degree from an American institution.  Foreign doctors are typically imported to fill residency slots for low-demand specialties like family medicine.

          • Fubar

            I’ve seen lots of people die in the medical system in the USA over the last 25 years, many due to arrogance and stupidity of “college educated” people.  The system is generally in decline. Significant alternatives have been developed, such as “integrative medicine”. A recent report indicated that over 98,000 malpractice deaths happen in the USA annually. Altucher commented elsewhere that the health care system is broken, and is essentially a two-tier system, with rich people in the upper tier getting good care, everyone else “not so much”.

            Medicine, like virtually every other social institution, has generally suffered “colonization of lifeworld by systems” (Habermas), meaning that money, manipulation of media, and exercise of power (including corporate greed, big pharma, big insurance) are more important than human needs, compassion, altruism.

            The medical and educational establishments are very similar. Conformism and corruption, ego gratification, greed are rife. Intellectual and spiritual corruption is normal.

        • Fubar

          The medical establishment is racist. Black, hispanic, and immigrant women get far worse care than others. If you think that having a large number of doctors from cultures that are traditional, and that discriminate against women in ways that are appalling and shocking, is a good thing, you are a blithering idiot.

    • NewsFlash

      What do you think people did back before the days of college? Most methods that were used to help cure patients were just guesses, or completely made up. That’s how we got what we have today. Just because someone learns something on their own time doesn’t mean that they are wrong.
      FYI, you don’t have to wait until high school to do algebra either.

      • Claytonpena

        Actually, the methods of ancient times were not guesses or completely made up. People during those times made those treatments either by beliefs or by their own versions of research, regardless if they were right or wrong.

    • Duh

      Wrong Big Time.. “Going to medical school is the most unintellectual endeavor anyone could ever take on” said one MD who has stopped drinking the Kool Aid put out by the Univ/Gov/Corp triangle.    Med school is a gigantic memorization drill to help you pass a test without any time for understanding the connections, processes or bigger picture.  Sort of like a high power technician nowadays..Surgical procedures and Rx  are the tools,, Lab tests and scans are the diagnostic machines – all flawed.– Not the way it used to be when MD’s knew how to study people and help them get well.      If you want to get healthy do the exact opposite of what teh Gov and Med /Fitness industry tell you.  It’s really true.

  • Souluplifted

    Mr. Altucher:

    Some of the things you say make sense. Owning a home does take a lot of money. I lived in an apartment for over ten yrs. Since then I had two houses built. My family lives in the second house we had built now. I like the freedom of living in a single family home. I lived in nice apts, but I would rather live in a home. Of course a person or family will have no money if they cannot manage money well. There are many people today who cannot afford many things, but they sruggle to have them. This is why they are broke. Also, they do not have good jobs and they are not creating their own business to have their own money. For years I have worked for others and I was also creating a business for myself. As a Black woman, in America or really anywhere else on this planet we all need a DEGREE. Let’s face it. God created the universe, but man has screwed up this earth. The rules of the earth have been set by man. One of those religious rules is to attend College or else you cannot get a well paying career. You will have a minimum paying JOB! Do not misunderstand me. It is nothing wrong with a legal job, but you will always be broke. It cost moocho money to live in the United States of America.

    My family is middle class. We are not in credit card debt and we have invested financially. This took years of carefully planning. I think that in America we are spoiled and we are use to getting everything we want right away. There are these Jordan tennis shoes that all the kids and adults have for $250 bucks! People are still complaining about money. Americans are not willing to wait and build a savings plan for our lives and family. My husband and I both went to college. We do have careers and a family, we have a nice home. We do pay taxes on our home, which I do not like. We can go on a vacation, we still have an investment plan and we have worked hard to make our life not an American dream but comfortable for us. There is no such thing as an American Dream! You build your life according to the needs of yourself and if you have a family. My conclusion is yes! kids should attend college and yes, if this is what a person chooses buy a home. Just plan, and follow through with your plan. Save money no matter what. Start with an empty jar and fill it with change. I would say that investing in gold is a real good idea. Don’t forget, work and make money with your God given talent such as: sewing, mechanic, cosmetics, exercise; art; pro. painter; land scaper; home improvement; nanny; cooking (chef); there are many more, just get started and dont be afraid, because you will always be broke.
    SD. Brown

    • Fubar

      re: “Waiting For Superman”

      Both the Corporatists and the Liberal Nanny State (which includes most of the education establishment) has exploited the black community in the most cynical manner imaginable. Can you really state, with any intellectual integrity or honesty, that the conditions at the bottom of the american economic hierarchy are actually better for poor people now than they were 25 years ago? If so, you are delusional.

      Yes it is true that 50% of blacks have moved up over the last 50 years, but the rest “below” have fallen very far.

      And – most of the middle class is about to VAPORIZE.

      A deal was struck in the 60s between the liberal establishment (Richard Nixon invented affirmative action) and black leaders to stop the rioting by blacks in the streets in protest of social injustices. The deal was that the government would lavish education and welfare on poor and lower middle class blacks. That social contract was deeply flawed, and created a large class of people that are dependent on the Nanny State. It was a horribly dehumanizing mess that worked for many blacks, but that requires a terrible price in the end: submission of conscience to coercive and abusive state powers – EXACTLY THE THING THAT THE CONSTITUTION WAS SUPPOSED TO PREVENT.

      The Corporate State is a shadow of the medieval and feudal empires that the modern world was built on. All medieval and feudal states were slave states, and required a set of beliefs that elevate the state above the individual. The ultimate form of such belief justifies slavery.

      American capitalism sets the upperwardly mobile elements of the black community against the lower elements (again, see James Hillman), just as it does all upward people against the poor of any color.

      It is incredible how powerful the brainwashing effect has become.

  • Thomas

    I have to disagree and Ill point out the reasons why

    1) If your college experience was built on socializing, alcohol, and sex (which I don’t know how you got laid since you described yourself as being embarrassed in this region) then I am in no way surprised that you gained little education in college or grad school. You obviously had no drive to actually learn and therefore wasted the money you borrowed on things that many students would be able to do since they actually spend their time studying for the tests. (BTW Ive taken the AP Psych test that covers Psych 101 and passed with a 5/5, which counts as an A in the equivalent college course. That is one of the easiest tests that I have ever taken and that you got a D- [they give D-‘s in college?] on the class in college says that their is something wrong with you, not everyone else’s methods.)
    2) Computer Science is one of the hardest technical majors in the world to become proficient at at a high level. From your descriptions of your interest in philosophy and literature I deduce that you are not a tech-person, therefore, CS was the WRONG major. In terms of money BTW, median CS majors make $100k/year at the middle of their career . Thats $1,500,000 more over a lifetime than median income of non educated adults.
    3) This builds on parts 1 and 2: The people who get the most from college, and tend to make the most money in almost every field, tend to meet two criteria in this day and age. First, they are technically proficient. Second, they select a major that builds upon their strengths to increase their intellectual leverage when entering an occupation. From your writings you have stated that you are not technically proficient (remedial computer classes for a CS major and grad student) and that you started with Psych, moved to CS, and ending loving literature shows that you had very little in the way of self direction. The failure of you education is based on these points not the system itself.

    The success of college in increasing the information that people have for their prospective field is massive. Yes, I think that BFA’s should not go to college since I thinks Art, History, Philosophy, and English degrees are a waste of time because they does very little to lifetime earning potential. In this facet I agree with you.

    How an engineering, medical, legal, mathematics, or finance undergrad might learn the information that they need to be successful in their fields without devoting several years of their life to the sole pursuit of this knowledge is completely beyond me. I’ve checked your 8 Alternatives to College. Only Starting a Business directly increases lifetime income. That you think the rest are alternatives to college, a place best as a training ground for a future career, shows that you see college as a diversion, a playground, and the antithesis of an investment.

    I would pray to God for the success of your children, but the only thing that my self-education in philosophy has given me is the belief that the only way someone succeeds in life is by making their own success, believing in God just just takes your eyes off the road.

    • Fubar

      Please read James Hillman (the interview on Scott London’s blog is good) to understand why you have been brainwashed by the Nanny State and education establishment.

      Universities have become profoundly dysfunctional and harmful to society, and your inability to see the obvious is the perfect example.

      James Altucher is brave for stating the truth about how bad universities are – even thouh so many people have been brainwashed into “believing” that they are good.

    • me myself and I

      The success of college in increasing the information that people have for their prospective field is massive. Yes, I think that BFA’s should not go to college since I thinks Art, History, Philosophy, and English degrees are a waste of time because they does very little to lifetime earning potential. In this facet I agree with you…..People take those degrees not to make money but to enlighten people or help people…I am a historian specializing in military history and am quite happy in my field….the reason you and most other people don’t like these degrees is is due to exactly what you said, ‘money’ we’ve been told to get the money degrees so you can make those 6 digit figures a year with your career not a job….you get a career with a degree, you just go down to the burger joint or store to get a job because you need money for a date on Friday

      • me myself and I

        “”””””The success of college in increasing the information that people have for their prospective field is massive. Yes, I think that BFA’s should not go to college since I thinks Art, History, Philosophy, and English degrees are a waste of time because they does very little to lifetime earning potential. In this facet I agree with you”””””.. what you say is somewhat true but for the most part even these degrees are useful…. people take those degrees not to make money but to enlighten people or help people…I am a historian specializing in military history and am quite happy in my field….the reason you and most other people don’t like these degrees is is due to exactly what you said, ‘money’ we’ve been told to get the money degrees so you can make those 6 digit figures a year with your career not a job….you get a career with a degree, you just go down to the burger joint or store to get a job because you need money for a date on Friday

  • mmmbeer

    Don’t plan on making a living wage unless you have that “piece of paper” from an accredited institution of higher learning. It’s just that simple, folks. Sure, the occasional high-paying, no-formal-education job comes along from time to time (Mr. Piano Tuner), but instances like that are few and far between. You’d better also learn to buckle-down and acquire those most pertinent life skills as you work towards getting that degree. There’ll be PLENTY of time to fuck off later in life, trust me. Until you’re secure enough (both financially and emotionally) to live the rest of you life without being beholden to “The Man”, prepare to play by his rules…that is, until, you become your own boss.

    • Fubar

      Your attitude is the death of democracy, and the death of intellectual integrity – which is the whole point of the classic liberal tradition that democracy, “rational” western schorlarship, science and technology are based on.

      Do you realize that you are actually undermining “real” education? (the democracy of the knowledge commons.)

      Do you realize how silly and shortsighted that is? Irresponsible? Selfish? Creepy?

      Again, it is stunning how little concern for principle, and how little worry about the long term consequences of doing STUPID STUFF, there is.

      The education establishment is CORRUPT. It thrives by encouraging people to assume they have “surplus powerlessness” (Michael Learner – tikkun.com) and to become dependent on the Nanny State apparatus and State Capitalism.

      Besides the constitution, what made america great was self-reliance and the spirit of independence. Those qualiities can only be maintained if the people are vigilant about the problem with democracy that de Tocqueville explained in *1840* – in a democracy, the people tend to become WEAK AND SERVILE because of their increasing dependence on central power. Centralized power is both hated by the WEAK AND SERVILE and “necessary” for them to keep the status quo in place.

      Your ideas are the enemy of freedom and the beginning of servility and weakness.

      You ideas are devoid of honor and principle.

      • Thereaddeal

        You’re a paranoid fucking idiot…the “weed” got to ya again, did it? Read, and then RE-read mmmbeer’s post, dummy. Your ideas of “self-reliance” and the “spirit of independence” are ALWAYS severely limited, if not completely exterminated, if you don’t have the proverbial “brains” to fuel the pursuit of such character traits and life skills. The country is NOT under dictatorship…not yet, anyway. And until it is, people will be free to think and act as they see fit (within legal boundaries, of course). The “weaker” of the group will meet an expeditious demise (like YOU) and those of us with brains will persevere. My “central power” is ME…no one else. Not government or any other entity that has being a “Nanny State” as it’s ideology.

        The only thing “FUBAR” is your gray matter, jackass.

        • Fubar

          re: Absolutism a danger to intellectual integrity?

          In case a profusion of facts and evidence might matter (rather than bloated ego gratification), see:

          howtheuniversityworks.com

          If you read any of the articles on intellectual freedom, your statement that people can think/act as they “see fit” is shown to be wrong. Academia is all about conformism and the destruction of democracy and freedom of speech.

          Business is part of a complex social ecosystem that includes severe (unnatural) levels of inequality. Your opportunities are largely shaped by external forces. Your acts as an unethical individual, while highly varying from the norms for the mass of “sheeple” are still highly constrained and conditioned by the economic system. If you don’t understand that, you are simply too ego-bound to see reality. (I provided references to actual facts on “educational attainment” in another post.)

          Your use of a predatory/survival reference is apt. Those that become rich frequently do so as an act of exploitation and predation.

          The Corporatization of america is all about the rise of predatory personalities and behaviors – all in service of conformance to State Capitalism. Utterly lacking in compassion, little or no concern for “real” community, or anything else that falls outside the worship of money, power, status.

          It is true that change in the world has largely been driven by achievement (“strive”) memes for several hundred years. The mistake that you typically make is in assuming that such “strive” memes have some absolute claim of superiority over other values.

          The ultimate logical extension of your beliefs leads society back to slavery.

          Slave owners used exactly your argument to defend slavery.

    • Heyjude

      awesome post sir or mam. well written and right on target.

  • Joe

    I have to agree but for different reasons. College teaches people how to get a job (just over broke). It puts most graduates in a box for the rest of their lives and most of the time not the one they went to college for.

    For instance, if you make $50k per year then this will dictate what you drive, where you live, your vacations, your dress etc. In other words, no matter what size box you are put into, your stuck there and if you get fired or tiered..well then you’re pretty much screwed!

    What parents should think about first and foremost is to teach their children to make money. Anyone can get a job but very few know how to make money. My college professor made it clear back in 86, most of you will never make money you will just be sheeple within the work force….how true he was.

    My son just graduated high school with 4 college credits to his name (dual enrollment) but the only money I am willing to give him for education is for trading school. This is not a trade school, its a trading school, stocks, commodities, bonds, etc. No matter what the economy does, no matter how bad Americas financial crisis gets…..good traders always prosper. Not only that, he can make money no matter where he is in the world as long as he has internet. He makes what he wants and is not stuck in any box but what he is content with.

    We have told him that we will pay for him to learn to make money but we will not pay for him to be in a box and he is smart enough to thank and understand what we mean. He is glad we have shown him to depend on no one but himself to make a living. Business’s are great but they come with dependency on everyone around you and the facts are that most people that say they own a business just don’t get it.
    Most business owners are no different than the guy flipping big macs, if they don’t show up they don’t get paid.

    Words of my college professor, “use people to make you money then take the money and let it make you money….then get rid of the people”. Boy was he right!

    • Fubar

      these same ideas flourished at the end of every dying empire.

      no question that greed and selfishness pays in the short run.

      it is also what is destroying everything else good in america and the world.

      get ready to work for chinese corporations that have no respect for property rights or individual freedoms/beliefs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nadine.lumley Nadine Lumley

    The only good reason to send your kids to college:

    Higher Education.

    Moving to a broader perspective in this broadening effort, evidence we encountered in chapter 2 shows that higher education can have a significant beneficial impact upon authoritarian followers that lasts a lifetime. It doesn’t usually turn them into anti-matter versions of their former selves. But four years of undergraduate experience knocks their RWA scale scores down about 15- 20%. That’s a lot when you’re talking about very dogmatic people. So for this, and many other reasons, it makes sense to keep our universities alive, vibrant and accessible.

    For all their faults, they can be the bastions of democracy they were meant to be. And if you buy my interpretation that it’s the experience of interacting with so many different kinds of people that mainly produces the drop in authoritarianism, then we should especially support the institutions of higher learning that create such an environment.

    http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

    • Fubar

      Sorry, I didn’t read the entire article you cited. My guess is that the biases in the excerpt reflect the same baises in the entire article.

      The problem is that postmodernism has “infected” academia. The result is that thought policing and conformism to political correctness have seriously polluted the legitimate functions of post-secondary education. Academia is full of small minded and smug inquisitors that are perfectly happy to derail classical liberalism (science, rationalism) in favor of metaphysical lunacies that arise from radical feminism, multiculturalism, pluralism gone bad, and so forth.

      Any article that fails to deal with such thuggery probably isn’t worth reading.

  • Lnyquist

    A true but sad commentary on individual life experiences and our cynical society. But, I got news for y’all – college wasn’t meant to be that way and once upon a time, wasn’t. It wasn’t all that long ago this country was third world – but most of you can’t relate to that. If what Altucher says is true then the college experience has been corrupted. Someone blogged that the east coast (I would add California) is the most amoral society she had ever seen and had to leave. East coast “elitism” is a cancer. Like most everything else, college is (or used to be?) what you make it. Participate in that process or spread Altucher’s poison and perpetrate the fraud at our collective peril.

  • A Thinker

    Not going to college would be a grand alternative if:

    1) The USA still had good manufacturing jobs that paid well, and the right wing wasn’t trying to do away with unions.
    2) We had national, universal health care
    3) Social Security wasn’t doomed

    I know a lot of people who didn’t go to college and are barely scraping along paycheck to paycheck. I also know a lot of people who went to college and didn’t even have any issues during the current recession.

    I guess the author would like us to become a country of baristas and call center workers.

    • Sdavis1010

      I know a man who has THREE degrees, BS, MBA, PHD and is currently homeless because he lost his job during the ‘recession’, couldn’t find work even with his amazing education credentials, and slowly entered into a downward spiral that he is still attempting to climb out of in a daze. Sorry but unless you have statistics to back up your opinions as being facts, don’t voice them as being facts.

      • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

        Thanks S. I’m sorry to hear about your friend.

      • Flyguyry1

        I love how ppl have one example and use it as the standard. So do you really truly believe that most ppl with college degrees are have worse outcomes just because you knew ONE person that it happened to? And then you talk about having statistics. wow

        • Fubar

          the actual statistics show that you are only partly correct.

          Did you go to college?

          If so, why didn’t you learn to think critically and rationally, gather evidence, etc.?

        • Fubar

          the actual statistics show that you are only partly correct.

          Did you go to college?

          If so, why didn’t you learn to think critically and rationally, gather evidence, etc.?

        • Sdavis1010

          You are assuming that I believe ‘most ppl with college degrees are have worse outcomes just because…’ I know, ‘…ONE person that [it] happened to…’ I merely dislike it when someone bashes another with their opinion, using no examples (which I did btw), no evidence (this is online so it could be made up, you never truly know), no statistics (my example did not require such) when they at least relate the the subject at hand. Wow right back atcha ;-)

          Also you should read your reread your posts before posting them. It does well in an online squabble since others must read, and understand (or at least try to make sense of) what you type.

      • MartinS

        Every time someone says “I know someone who…” is just anecdotal evidence which ends up as a miniscule point in a graph, perhaps as an outlier. The economics statistics for the last 40 years have shown repeatedly that people with college degrees, particularly in the technical and scientific fields (e.g. engineers, doctors, biologists, scientists, etc. – much less so for liberal arts degrees) are 55% more likely to have a much higher income 10 years after high school than people without a degree. Yes, there are many people without a college degree who also have success stories; however, the point is that your chances of economic success (as measured by income levels) is increased significantly by having a college degree in a technical or scientific field. There are no guarantees in life, and a college degree does not, by any means, guarantees success; but, statistically, your chances and opportunities are much greater if you go to a good college and learn a high-level skill. What most people call “luck” I called “when opportunity meets preparation.”

        • MartinS

          And 20 years after high school, people with a college degree in a technical or scientific field are 78% more
          likely to have a much higher income and be in a better position than people without a college degree. These odds are much better than playing the lottery or gambling in Las Vegas!!

          • Fubar

            Yes, and 80-90% of them came from well educated, high income families (both DNA and “culture” matter). Family background is what is of primary significance.

            What education should be is finding people with high potential (from any background), and helping them develop the tools needed to reach their dreams.

            Instead, ALL disadvantaged children have to live under the terrible burden of a societal belief that INSISTS that they have to “go to college” or fail in life – even when the evidence of actual social conditions is *completely* different.

            The “college degree is necessary” belief system that the author of the article is criticizing overextends (and thereby corrupts) the legitimate role of education.

            This is what the author actually says:

            | So it disturbs me when people cling to the notion of going to college like its the holiest
            | water down from God, come to bless them. Seriously, you could walk around and say,
            | “Jesus never lived,” and people nod their heads and say, “ok, there is religious freedom
            | in America and what he just said is fine,” but if you say “kids should not go to college”
            | its like you breached the highest, holiest, divine hymen of American religion.
            |
            | Say it again. Say it loud and proud: “college is the divine hymen of American religion.”

          • Fubar

            Yes, and 80-90% of them came from well educated, high income families (both DNA and “culture” matter). Family background is what is of primary significance.

            What education should be is finding people with high potential (from any background), and helping them develop the tools needed to reach their dreams.

            Instead, ALL disadvantaged children have to live under the terrible burden of a societal belief that INSISTS that they have to “go to college” or fail in life – even when the evidence of actual social conditions is *completely* different.

            The “college degree is necessary” belief system that the author of the article is criticizing overextends (and thereby corrupts) the legitimate role of education.

            This is what the author actually says:

            | So it disturbs me when people cling to the notion of going to college like its the holiest
            | water down from God, come to bless them. Seriously, you could walk around and say,
            | “Jesus never lived,” and people nod their heads and say, “ok, there is religious freedom
            | in America and what he just said is fine,” but if you say “kids should not go to college”
            | its like you breached the highest, holiest, divine hymen of American religion.
            |
            | Say it again. Say it loud and proud: “college is the divine hymen of American religion.”

          • Sdavis1010

            Ah the Nature vs. Nurture argument is in this post. Pfff

        • Sdavis1010

          Your said ‘statistics’ are also ‘just anecdotal evidence’ seeing as how you have not cited them properly, or at all for that matter. I did not give any evidence to back my claim because it was merely an example that not all people fit the said statistics especially when there is absolutely no way for every person to be accounted for when you have various states which are exempt from submitting annual mandatory numbers to the government (eg. California) Do I know the reason for this? No. Do I have anything other than news broadcasts and other articles to back this claim of mine? No. But where you’ve gotten your numbers most likely were from another’s research, am I right? SO I know someone who knows someone who knows someone and they said… :-)

      • Bleak

        The same to you. The basis of the matter is, how many people do you know with three degrees that are out of work? Then, consider this: how many people do you know that have no degrees and are out of work? Let that speak for you; I’m sorry for your friend, but you can’t isolate one random happenstance and call it a standard.

        • Fubar

          The reality is that the system is broken. A very large number of people that “followed the rules” (including “getting degrees”) have lost their jobs, assets, businesses.

          A very smalll number of investors have made giant profits as the stock market went from around 6,000 at the “bottom of the recession/crisis” to 12,000 today. Those wealthy A$$HOLES do not want to pay taxes at the historical levels necessary to maintain the national (manufacturing) infrastructure that was the foundation of middle class success in the USA.

          American multinational corporations made more than 51% of their profits OVERSEAS last year – for the first time in history.

          THEY DO NOT CARE MUCH ABOUT AMERICAN WORKERS OR CONSUMERS ANYMORE.

          The statistics are abundant, only an idiot that blindly believes in the increasingly meaningless mantra of the “necessity of degrees” would fail to be able to imagine the vast abundance of such Statistics of the Sad, and the very real human tragedies and suffering that they spring from.

          I do not think it is a coincidence that the people defending the “necessity of college degrees” are people that are utterly lacking in humanity, compassion, or altruism.

          College = dehumanization.

        • Fubar

          The reality is that the system is broken. A very large number of people that “followed the rules” (including “getting degrees”) have lost their jobs, assets, businesses.

          A very smalll number of investors have made giant profits as the stock market went from around 6,000 at the “bottom of the recession/crisis” to 12,000 today. Those wealthy A$$HOLES do not want to pay taxes at the historical levels necessary to maintain the national (manufacturing) infrastructure that was the foundation of middle class success in the USA.

          American multinational corporations made more than 51% of their profits OVERSEAS last year – for the first time in history.

          THEY DO NOT CARE MUCH ABOUT AMERICAN WORKERS OR CONSUMERS ANYMORE.

          The statistics are abundant, only an idiot that blindly believes in the increasingly meaningless mantra of the “necessity of degrees” would fail to be able to imagine the vast abundance of such Statistics of the Sad, and the very real human tragedies and suffering that they spring from.

          I do not think it is a coincidence that the people defending the “necessity of college degrees” are people that are utterly lacking in humanity, compassion, or altruism.

          College = dehumanization.

        • Sdavis1010

          I didn’t call it a standard. I simply provided a reason why a person shouldn’t state their opinion as a fact without evidence. But the fact of the matter is, whether you know someone who can prove a statistic wrong or not, you have to take it into consideration. You need an open mind.

          Too many young people are being told these miserable ‘majorities': if-you-don’t-go-to-college-you’ll-likely-be-a-bum type of lesson. What if they simply keep meeting a brick wall even if they do go to college? What if they don’t have the money to go to college and happen to be an average student so financial aid, grants, and scholarships are minimal? Do you want to be one of the people to put it in your child’s mind that they have no other options? That they are doomed if they don’t when in reality they can’t? Then you have kids moping around with all these excuses as to why they’re living off of tax payer’s money and still at home. We should be giving these kids options. Telling them that college is an option if they try hard enough. Letting them know that if they get a job at Wendy’s when they’re 16 they can work up to management and maybe one day own their own business if they try hard enough. But of course not, it’s just all ‘if you don’t go to college you won’t be anything’. And this is from a psychologist’s point of view< that can't be proven though, can it?

      • Jim

        One person and you call that evidence? how do we know it is true?

        • Arnie

          How many do you need to make it true? Do you need a personal experience you have had with someone to be verified for you to know it is true?

      • Satovey

        So you know someone in that situation do you: That begs the question:
        What are you doing to help him recover from his ordeal.

        I personally went through three years of homelessness and after two years, ended up in the hospital needing heart surgery. The church I attended for 12 years and gave over 11,000 dollars to told me: “there’s no free money.”

        Everyone and anyone demanded that I get a job, any job, yet those same people demanded that whatever I did for the church should be done without trying to make money. Somehow, even after I was terminated from a part time job due to failing health, I was suppose to have some super hero power that enabled me to walk into any business and start working that very day.

        That is so disgusting that just thinking about it makes me want to vomit.

        No one is an island to himself. There are no self made millionaires. Millionaires are made by loyal, happy customers. Everyone at one time or another will need someones help and when everyone turns their back on that person who can’t find work, it is very likely that that individual will end up dead.

        I sat across from an interviewer who told me that after not doing a job for four years, of which I had four years experience, I “probably won’t be able to do it”.

        Everyone I have told that to generally begins to agree with the individual. Until I tell them what the job was. The Job?

        Scanning documents.

        That’s right, a person with four years of experience scanning documents will probably not be able to do a job scanning documents if he or she has not done it in a while.

        Really? Think about how scanners worked four years ago. Now, think about how they worked ten years ago. The fact is, the only UI change is that they have gotten faster.
        Certainly, the software may be a bit different, but the hardware is likely to be no different than the equipment I used fifteen years ago.

        So you know a person who is homeless because he can’t find a job.

        Again I ask:

        What are you doing to help him?

        • Sdavis1010

          I was homeless when I was a child. I know exactly what it feels like. I also know exactly what it feels like to not be able to do anything about it because you are a child.

          To answer your question: ‘What are you doing to help him?’ I actually collect donations (clothing, packaged food, necessities, and other supplies such as backpacks) for homeless people and the shelters in my area. My friend is currently staying at one of the four shelters. I have also previously arranged an interview for him at my current workplace. Apparently the pay wasn’t good enough for him? I’m not Mother Theresa, but I still try to help where I can. I hear of job openings and such and I make sure he knows about them, gets his resume in, and has transportation to any interviews he may have.

          • Satovey

            Your closer to Mother Theresa than church goers in my area. I had taken a part time job that I was eventually terminated from due to declining health. There response was: “if a man does not work then neither shall he eat.”

            I could not and still do not understand why church goers will go out of their way to raise money and collect clothes for people in foreign countries all the while turning their backs on the people that are members of their very congregation.

            As a result of not being able to count on the people who demanded that I be the kind of person they could count on, I stopped attending church altogether. There’s a few things I just can’t stomach and hypocrisy is at the top.

    • Richwithout A. Degree

      The reverse is true as well–there are PLENTY of people who have degrees who live paycheck to paycheck and people who have done amazingly well financially without a degree, I am one of them. Neither my husband, or myself have degrees and we have made more in the last 3 years than ever.
      And
      1) I know many who have been screwed by their profession’s union-
      2) Universal health is great in theory, but it’s going to kill the quality of health care and WE HAVE TO PAY FOR IT, it’s not free from the government! They just force us to buy our own!
      3) You are responsible for providing for your golden years-you may not like it, but it’s the facts.

      • Maxine Mcneal

        We thought we were investing in our golden years by paying social security for over 40 years, not as a total income, but as a supplement. Social security was designed to be returned to those who paid it, but became a part of the general funds and used for other things.

        • Heather

          This is untrue. You have been paying into social security to support the aged and infirm at the time, not to provide for yourself in your older age. Social security was used exactly as they advertised–to make sure that the elderly at the time were not surviving on cat food.

          • briiisa

            Heather you’re right Social Security was designed that way but WE are paying into a system that does not ultimately benefit us. We get to pay for the baby boomers to have an income but when we are at that age, there won’t be enough people paying for our Social Security.

          • Fubar

            The Kleptocrats/Plutocrats and their minions in the Right Wing Lunatic Media love to see one generation of middle class pitted against another, one race against others, one intimate preference against another, one religion against another, one political party against another, and so forth.

            It will only be when people come together for a greater common good that it will be possible to beat the Kleptocracy/Plutocracy down and into a dark corner, and restore economic justice to working people of all types.

            Join the Transpartisan movement, and help support real solutions.

          • Fubar

            The Kleptocrats/Plutocrats and their minions in the Right Wing Lunatic Media love to see one generation of middle class pitted against another, one race against others, one intimate preference against another, one religion against another, one political party against another, and so forth.

            It will only be when people come together for a greater common good that it will be possible to beat the Kleptocracy/Plutocracy down and into a dark corner, and restore economic justice to working people of all types.

            Join the Transpartisan movement, and help support real solutions.

        • Fubar

          You should support Ron Paul. He teaches that one should never trust corrupt bureaucrats OR bog banks. It is hard to argue against basic facts.

          Background:

          The social contract set up in the New Deal came in the wake of a low-level civil war between the Owner-Investor-Parastic classes (monopolists, corporatists) and the working people (unionists).

          Side notes: 100 years ago in the USA, uberwealthy capitalists hired private armies and secret police to assasinate labor agitators and activists. The police mostly looked the other way. Just like they looked the other way about racist lynchings and appalling social injustices against women. Black troops (Buffalo Soldiers) were sent in to fire on white laborers during industrial strikes because it was feared that white troops would not follow orders to shoot white workers. There is not now, and never has been, much of a real difference between the contemporary ultrarich and slave owners.

          The only thing that has ever made much of a difference is when the american people get pissed off enough to pick up a big stick and beat the rich f*ckers down and into a very dark corner (President Jackson was elected to do such a beating, as was Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt and FDR sort of did it). however, the rich cockroaches always come crawling back out of thir dark corners after a few decades, and buy off politicans in both parties.

          The New Deal social contract was premised on the following:

          “Everyone was supposed to win” by creating an economy that did not have *harsh* cyclical bubbles/crashes that vaporized middle class wealth and assets.

          However, some of the (rich) Owning Class took offense at the Government (“By the people…”) regulating their Greed, and started an Undoing of the social contract.

          It took 50 years, but by the 80s, the New Left had failed to deliver meaningful social change at a deep level for working people, and the resulting hopelessness and cynicism created conditions that were ripe for reactionaries like Ronald Reagan to pull the wool over lots of people’s eyes.

          Meanwhile, the liberal elites got in bed with the rich (Clinton, Obama).

          America has probably been too far destroyed to be saved, but if it can be saved, the last resort will probably have to be an extremely radical and dangerous idea:

          real free enterprise.

          http://attackthesystem.com/free-enterprise-the-antidote-to-corporate-plutocracy/

          • Fubar

            correction: “OR [big] banks.”

          • Fubar

            correction: “OR [big] banks.”

        • Fubar

          You should support Ron Paul. He teaches that one should never trust corrupt bureaucrats OR bog banks. It is hard to argue against basic facts.

          Background:

          The social contract set up in the New Deal came in the wake of a low-level civil war between the Owner-Investor-Parastic classes (monopolists, corporatists) and the working people (unionists).

          Side notes: 100 years ago in the USA, uberwealthy capitalists hired private armies and secret police to assasinate labor agitators and activists. The police mostly looked the other way. Just like they looked the other way about racist lynchings and appalling social injustices against women. Black troops (Buffalo Soldiers) were sent in to fire on white laborers during industrial strikes because it was feared that white troops would not follow orders to shoot white workers. There is not now, and never has been, much of a real difference between the contemporary ultrarich and slave owners.

          The only thing that has ever made much of a difference is when the american people get pissed off enough to pick up a big stick and beat the rich f*ckers down and into a very dark corner (President Jackson was elected to do such a beating, as was Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt and FDR sort of did it). however, the rich cockroaches always come crawling back out of thir dark corners after a few decades, and buy off politicans in both parties.

          The New Deal social contract was premised on the following:

          “Everyone was supposed to win” by creating an economy that did not have *harsh* cyclical bubbles/crashes that vaporized middle class wealth and assets.

          However, some of the (rich) Owning Class took offense at the Government (“By the people…”) regulating their Greed, and started an Undoing of the social contract.

          It took 50 years, but by the 80s, the New Left had failed to deliver meaningful social change at a deep level for working people, and the resulting hopelessness and cynicism created conditions that were ripe for reactionaries like Ronald Reagan to pull the wool over lots of people’s eyes.

          Meanwhile, the liberal elites got in bed with the rich (Clinton, Obama).

          America has probably been too far destroyed to be saved, but if it can be saved, the last resort will probably have to be an extremely radical and dangerous idea:

          real free enterprise.

          http://attackthesystem.com/free-enterprise-the-antidote-to-corporate-plutocracy/

      • Fubar

        “Universal health is great in theory, but it’s going to kill the quality of health care… ”

        minor quibble:

        Quality of health care has been going downhill for a long time.

        Them Ronald Reagan did something very stupid when he was President (1980s): introduced systematic, institutionalized greed into health care.

        RR did this because he thought that health care had to be rescued from “socialism” by introducing “competition”.

        Medicine should mostly be a spiritual profession, informed by rigorous science. (a lot of medicine is haphazard science.)

        By changing ancient medical ethical codes, transforming them into Krapitalism, RR put medicine on a path toward a giant wreck.

        Reagan’s “evil genius” was selling corporate Plutocracy/Kleptocracy as “feel good” populism to people horrified at the abyss of meaninglessness and narcissism that the spectacle of postmodernism opened under their feet.

      • Fubar

        “Universal health is great in theory, but it’s going to kill the quality of health care… ”

        minor quibble:

        Quality of health care has been going downhill for a long time.

        Them Ronald Reagan did something very stupid when he was President (1980s): introduced systematic, institutionalized greed into health care.

        RR did this because he thought that health care had to be rescued from “socialism” by introducing “competition”.

        Medicine should mostly be a spiritual profession, informed by rigorous science. (a lot of medicine is haphazard science.)

        By changing ancient medical ethical codes, transforming them into Krapitalism, RR put medicine on a path toward a giant wreck.

        Reagan’s “evil genius” was selling corporate Plutocracy/Kleptocracy as “feel good” populism to people horrified at the abyss of meaninglessness and narcissism that the spectacle of postmodernism opened under their feet.

  • Nonnursing Girl

    I will add this….I went to college, got my bachelor’s degree and was told my my professors that the first 6 months I would be at a disadvantage because I wasn’t actually learning how to do the job-only the “theory” behind it-this was in nursing-and you would think I should learn the actual job-turns out, my 4 years of school, and my 3.01 GPA didn’t give me the knowledge to pass the board exam on 2 tries, because as the author of this article stated-I learned quickly how to pass a test with limited effort-not that I didn’t study-there is a difference. Lastly, I don’t even use my degree, never have, and have spent 10+ years with my loans in forbearance really because I can. The job I have now, is in a field I actually love, and excel at, and didn’t need a college degree for. Many of the millionaires I know (personally) either didn’t go to college, or their degrees have nothing to do with how they became millionaires. Additionally, my husband, prior to being injured in a bad car accident, was a successful vice president of a bank, and had never stepped a foot into a college classroom. I totally agree with this, but also agree that it is ingrained in us that we must go to college to get a good job, and even with my experience find myself freaking out that my kids must go to college and I have to figure out how to save for it. This article is pure genius!

  • Jammy

    OK…take it from me (I am a college student), it is hard to find good jobs that pay more than minimum wage with room for advancement with our having at least a bachelors degree. Yes, it may be hard to find a job making more than minimum wage right after graduating with your bachelors, but just by having a bachelors degree, you are eligible for WAY more positions/higher paying than if you had no degree at all.

  • Sarahj515

    There are quite a few exaggerations, however it was one of the most accurate things I’ve ever read!

  • Kayla

    I really like your article. I am a college graduate with a Bachelors In Accounting and Finance, an Associates in Computer Information Sytems, $70,000 in Student Loans, and my low salary of $40,000

  • bobreckerdorn

    Proof that he didn’t pay attention in college: he didn’t list ANY reasons not to go to college. What he listed were three poorly-thought-out responses to arguments FOR going to college (#1-4); then #5 “[his] experience” — which isn’t a reason, #6 “parents are scammed” but doesn’t describe a “scam” — he just lists stuff some students do in college, and that most parents KNOW their kids are going to do in college, and NONE OF WHICH is an argument against a college education, and finally #7 “Alternatives” which, again is not an argument against college — if he said they were BETTER alternatives, that would be an argument — but it’s funnier when you read them: travel the world, create art, make people laugh, write a book, work in a charity, master a game, master a sport — NONE of which prepare you for providing for yourself like college will, and actually, ALL of which college will make available to you, reward you for, and help you achieve. The ONE thing he listed that could be a challenge to college is “start a business” — but there he might as well as said “the best alternative to college: inherit a lot of money.” It’s always ripe when the rich say “money isn’t everything” and Ivy leaguers say “don’t go to college”…

  • Tamloll

    Has he looked in the mirror? He only wishes he had sex multiple times a day.

  • Msapril1233

    I love it! Welp I didn’t go to college and I make over $100k more than all of my friends that are in debt, not using their degree that they got in debt for AND not happy in their occupation! I decided to become an entrepreneur and at 35 I’ve been in business for 8 years now. So I think every case is different and has a lot to do with how you learn. I am a hands on person so sitting in a classroom doesn’t work for me. I love the article!

    • Fubar

      You hit on a very important issue.

      A lot of people have what cognitive theorists call a dominantly “tactile” learning mode. Sitting still and doing “auditory” or “visual” learning is not easy, or possible.

      However, the educational establishment has self-selected for non-tactile learners in its own formation.

      There is an elitist aspect to this. The “tactile” people of the world tend to be the people that build stuff. In the current circumstance, there is prejudice/bigotry against “tactiles” by the “visual/auditory” types that dominate formal education.

      The non-tactiles simply believe that they are better and superior – because they are not oriented toward “practical” work!

      (The europeans refined this kind of nonsense to a high art, which is one of the reasons they lost their empires.)

      The “non-tactiles” get very upset when it is pointed out that since they became dominant, society has gotten worse.

      Unfortunately what this means is that they will cling to their power (in non-productive areas of the economy) and become more and more totalitarian and absolutist, and refuse to make necessary reforms that threaten their power (thought policing).

      Thanks for the excellent insight.

  • Nagi21

    I agree yet disagree and I’m too lazy to go into the details (no I didn’t go to college I went to technical school… ps I’m making a very nice starting salary for an unnamed tv station…) so I’ll sum it up here: If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, psychologist, or something else that requires a license and degree, go to college. Otherwise try something else…

    You want to work with a computer giant like IBM? Practice your skills then sell your homemade software for 100k a pop…

    Want to be on TV? Go work the mail room at fox and work your way up…

    Want to be an actor? … get a palm cam and puke and hate the world while your kids videotape it…

    When my mom asked me what I wanted to do I had no idea. She suggested college but the thought of four more years of school terrified the living $&#% outta me. SO… we looked into technical schools and vocational colleges… needless to say that worked out quite well. 1 year… hands on experience… resume buffing… sure its a little more expensive up front but what’s 12k for 1 year instead of 6k (at best) for four years… btw that’s 24k for those of us that can’t do math…

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      Great story Nagi. Its cool you had such a supportive mom.

    • Ray22305

      You have to be stupid to say the following:

      You want to work with a computer giant like IBM? Practice your skills then sell your homemade software for 100k a pop…

      What are the chances you will be able to create a software that costs 100K??? Are you insane? You need years and years of experience unless you are a gifted IT guru. This is not for everyone. You also need tools. and for the years that it takes to create such software, who the fuck will support you? Bastard…go back to school…and advice your kids to do so as well.

      • ered

        Why are you so angry? Lots of people can get jobs starting at 52k, with and without degrees…you’re not at that 100k yet , so I wouldn’t count your chickens…oh and by the way, I think you meant, “advise your kids”, not advice. Go on calling people names though, it shows you’re smart.

        • Dmitriy

          He is not angry but pretending. 52K is a good start but it would take him significantly more than 5 years and couple of the job changes to grow to the 100K level and above. I’ve seen alot of freshmen who recently graduated with “know everything” attitude but this does change over years. If he is smart enough he will calm down and learn further from people considering that the more one knows the more is unknown left. But that is general principle.

          • Usinghisgifts

            I went to a tech school, 18months, fake Associates degree in computer networking, worked as a tech for 1 year, moved to management (because I was smarter than most of those people who acted entitled because of a degree) My initial job paid 36k which was a huge jump from my $15 per hour retail mgmt job. Then I started consulting for $23 per hour because I was able to prove I could learn new things quickly. The next consulting gig was about $30 per hour and then I realized that I could do more with a certificate than a degree and got my Project Management Cert from PMI and 5 years after tech school I am a Sr. Project Manager in an IT firm and make over 100k per year. It didn’t happen overnight but it didn’t take Harvard either!!! I didn’t take anything for granted and I worked my butt off…BTW single parent with 3 kids with a good attitude, leave the bitterness at the front door, your attitude will get you much further than that degree ever could. I have people who went to school for 6 years that work for me and my tiny little tech degree from ITT….hahahhahahahhah!!!!

          • Fubar

            Intelligence and raw talent are far more important than education. There are a lot of bad IT workers with “good” education. They do not have good communication skills. They were good at taking tests, but not actually doing productive work. They hope that they can get by on kissing rump of managers just like the enjoyed the sweaty, greasy rump taste of professors.

            That said, a lot of “consultants” are simply scam artists. (You can find articles by ex-consultants on the web explaining the details of how to do consulting scams.) Their raw talent is for ripping off stupid clients (managers) that want to be told silly stuff because an “outside expert” is more “impressive”. The damagers could learn all they need to know from the good people on their internal IT staff – IF the silly managers had good relationships with their IT staff.

            The single biggest problem in IT management is usually not technology – it is organizational culture and managing relationships. The typical personality of good IT people it too introspective and detail oriented. They do not know how to manage relationships because doing so is not “linear” cognition – you can’t “just read the instruction manual”. There is no instruction manual for relationships in organizations, so IT people usually f*ck thing up horribly. Most good IT people are too arrogant to admit they are not good at relationships, understanding business processes, etc.

            Lots of IT managers are just fakes. They know that good IT people usually do not want to take management jobs, and that there is a vacuum that fakes can easily fill.

          • TRR

            These posts stating, “I make 52K a year”, “I earn three figures a year” are just laughable. It’s not only what you make, but it also depends on what region of the U.S. you live in also. I work in the medical industry in Wake County, NC my annual salary is about $85,000. A childhood friend of mine lives in Atlanta, GA and makes about $80,000 a year and works in I.T.. Another childhood friend of mine works for the New York City Mass Transit and makes $80,000 a year. A lot of that is from overtime hours worked, and he pulls a lot of overtime throughout the year. Now the question is, which one of us will have the better standard of living and the best potential of getting a “bang for our bucks”? That question is more important than how much income you earn.

        • Let’sRead2Day

          I thought I was the only one who noticed the spelling of advice should be advise.

      • JoseQ

        I would venture to say that most successful software developers didn’t have years and years of experience before they became successful, in fact many were just kids. And most of them (successful ones), if not all, learned software development on their own, not in school. Think Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs. All in school, and dropped out before finishing. Do you think their knowledge or success came from those schools?

        I am a computer engineer and I could have taught some of my teachers, yet I got Cs in most of the computer classes. There are certain fields, like technology/computers/software, where your knowledge will be obsolete by the time a curriculum is designed, let alone by the time you graduate. You have to learn this on your own.

        Thanks to my diploma I got my first job, and three years later I had already started my own business and became self-employed. Comparing to where I would be had I kept my corporate job, I’m doing ten times better.

        • MartinS

          “I am a computer engineer and I could have taught some of my teachers, yet I got Cs in most of the computer classes.”
          Holy cow man!! Where did you go to school?? It must have been some crap college!!
          I went to CalTech for my BS and MS in Computer Science (graduated almost 20 years ago), and all my professors were teaching us stuff that was ahead of the time (in addition to the standard curriculum: data structures, programming languages, compiler design, object-oriented design, patterns, etc). For instance, back in the late 80’s in undergraduate school we were playing with Mosaic and web browsers before most people even knew about the world wide web. Now, I worked for a s/w company as a s/w architect designing mobile apps and s/w for cloud computing (before that I worked 10 years writing s/w applications for Unix SunOS and Windows). I can tell you from experience, going to college has paid off 1000 times over and I’m making $220K a year. The best part is that I’m doing what I love, and love what I’m doing while getting paid very well for it. To me, that’s the best of all worlds.

          • MartinS

            “back in the late 80’s in undergraduate school we were playing with Mosaic and web browsers …”
            Actually, now that I think about it more that was in graduate school, so this was early 1990’s. Oh man, those were good times too!! That was fun work – hard work but very fun as well.

          • Fubar

            iirc, Window 95 was a “big deal” because it had an included web browser for the first time.

            Up until IE7, the “credits” part of the “about” stated that parts of IE were based on Mosaic. I used to chuckle when some nincompoop like Ballmer at MS would blather about how evil open source was, while at the same time, their products contained parts of open source.

          • Fubar

            iirc, Window 95 was a “big deal” because it had an included web browser for the first time.

            Up until IE7, the “credits” part of the “about” stated that parts of IE were based on Mosaic. I used to chuckle when some nincompoop like Ballmer at MS would blather about how evil open source was, while at the same time, their products contained parts of open source.

          • Fubar

            Again, some people with lots of raw talent and smarts have a hands-on “cognitive learning mode” that is unsuited to being developed in a conventional formal educational setting. This is a failure of the educational system and the employing organizations that they provide graduates to who mindlessly follow the mantra of the “necessity of a college degree” that the author of the article criticizes.

            College degree system = waste of native talent, irrational prejudices.

            James Altucher:
            “Say it again. Say it loud and proud: ‘college is the divine hymen of American religion.’”

            “Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t teach, administer. Those that can’t administer, enter data. Those that can’t enter data, teach school administration.” ….

      • Kara

        I “advice” (I think you mean “advise) you to do the same, moron. Please, don’t tell people that they need to further their education if you can’t even spell the words to do so…

      • Johnnnyys

        Why are you hating so much on other peoples opinions?! Ray, you gotta meet my little friend called marijuana, and relax a bit.

        • Fubar

          Meanwhile diploma mills in India/asia are churning out more people with “meaningless” degrees than the entire population of the USA.

          The people that are defending degrees are narrowminded, prejudiced and ignorant.

          That is f*ing ironic.

      • youhaveadegree?

        Where on earth did you get that he/she was saying that the first step was to write a software that could sell for $100K? I think anyone with any logical sense could see that it was the step that meets the goal, but a crap load of hard work, self study and determination to get there. The same things you would have to do with or without a degree.

    • Ray22305

      I have plenty of friends that went to technical schools to make $10 an hour moron… I went to a state university (owe $10K from loans), and got a starting salary of $52K…in 5 years I’ll be close to $100K within my company. Sure it wasn’t good to go to college. Moron

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VVTKE6QWUSEJ44WNAKJRHMYORM citizenterryk

        sounds more like you just got lucky………

        • BRC42

          To some people hard work and planning always look like luck.

          • http://www.geekbeast.com Matthew

            To some people all their success is attributed to hard work and planning.

          • http://www.geekbeast.com Matthew

            To some people all their success is attributed to hard work and planning.

          • http://www.geekbeast.com Matthew

            I should have said someone should take the time to read “Fooled by Randomness”.

        • WiZeRtHen u ThInk

          there are people who have morals. After reading this article it looked good but it was . . . not. Obviously you didnt try hard in college so how can anyone expect you to know how try hard at getting a good job or trying you hardest to finding a job that involves what you majored in. Now to citizenterryk . . . you’re an idiot who’s jealous because you wen’t to college, majored in something stupid to realize that you’ve payed $100k to work at the factory down the street for the rest of your life. Ray has his head where it should be. And that Ered guy . . . same for you as citizen. And to Jose that’s different. That was a day when innovation was possible without all of these big technology corporations having every next big thing. It still is today, dont get me wrong, but the difficulty is higher and with the times simply getting a job like ray that requires a degree would be easier and likely more profitable than trying to start a bussiness. You named three people if anyone was lucky, it was them.

          • tiffanydr

            This is not replying to WiZeRtHen, this is to the guy that wrote the article, couldn’t find the way to comment to that for some reason. Anyways, this is how I feel about the article written. This guy obviously partied and had seen college is just a wild good old time. And there is a lot of kids that think that or go wild in college. But there is also the ones that go to college and actually become great, because of their college education. These college teachers do not go in trying to waist anyone’s time. They went to college to get their job. I know that not going to college at least in my area you can go out, get a minimum wage job (which does not pay for anything anymore), live in a box and try and be happy. For my boyfriend, he is happy as long as he as a roof, a TV, a movie rental place, and a job to pay for all that. For me it is bigger goals such as working for the Disney corporation. And the whole thing about not a college education to have the job of your dreams is bull. My career choice of my dreams includes writing. Yeah I could, use my good old imagination, write a good book and try and get it published without finishing college. But, college builds up my portfolio which is required for working for my dream job which is Disney. And yes if you want a state health insurance doctor I am sure some of them do not have a college education. But for me I am sending my kids to college. Why is it bad to want to expand your mind through college? Even if your kids dont go to college they will encounter people in this world that party, do drugs, and skip out on work. You have to tell yourself that you raised your kids the best you can do and when they are adults the decisions that they make will be their choice. Sending your kids to college does not make them make bad choices such as you did my friend. They can do that in the real world. Going to college is a choice. With people like you who make choices that would not hurt anyone look bad are people like you I will love to write about later as bad influences to society at large. Why not spend your time writing articles about positive things kids that are becoming adults can do with their life, not what they don’t need to do. Kids never listen to what they don’t need to do and most adults don’t either. The writing for this I know is bad, case in point college helps. I really wish that people like you that go against the grain will one day remember that everyone’s dreams for themselves or their children are not all bad. And it is people like you that teach your children that going against the ball that continuously rolls will be a better choice therefore sometimes sending them out in a world that is less forgiving then your spoken words. We all want what is best for our children. College does not make your child have sex, do drugs, or skip classes. The children choose to do that and I know a lot of ones that went to college, did not do all that, and have great careers now. Not everyone has to be shallow minded enough to make bad choices and then blame the college life. Blame yourself. People can go to college, so no to drugs and lots of sex, and have a great life and job. I guess your scared your children are going to be like you so therefore you don’t want them to go to college.

      • RobF

        Please tell me what you studied at the state university that you are making a $52K start.
        My degrees (Yes I said degrees, plural) are pretty much useless in the real world.
        Everyone I know who has been fortunate enough to get a decent well paying job, got the job because of WHO the know not WHAT they know.
        So please let me know what field your degree is in Ray22305.
        I honestly would like the help. And contrary to what you may think, I am not being sarcastic in any way shape or form.
        I need a new start in this economy.
        Thank you.

        • Usinghisgifts

          I went to a tech school, 18months, fake Associates degree in computer networking, worked as a tech for 1 year, moved to management (because I was smarter than most of those people who acted entitled because of a degree) My initial job paid 36k which was a huge jump from my $15 per hour retail mgmt job. Then I started consulting for $23 per hour because I was able to prove I could learn new things quickly. The next consulting gig was about $30 per hour and then I realized that I could do more with a certificate than a degree and got my Project Management Cert from PMI and 5 years after tech school I am a Sr. Project Manager in an IT firm and make over 100k per year. It didn’t happen overnight but it didn’t take Harvard either!!! I didn’t take anything for granted and I worked my butt off…BTW single parent with 3 kids with a good attitude, leave the bitterness at the front door, your attitude will get you much further than that degree ever could. I have people who went to school for 6 years that work for me and my tiny little tech degree from ITT….hahahhahahahhah!!!!

          • Just Saying

            I will leave this comment about college for each individual, But my experience, I dropped out of high school while I was 15 Yrs old in the 9th grade.. I started working as a cashier at a convenience store part time making only $6.00 an hr, when six months later (I was 16 yrs old) it lead to full time shift manager making $7.50 an hr… After 2 years (I was 17 yrs old) I was promoted to Assistant Manager, making $8.50 an hr. Then 3 years later (18 Yrs old) I was recruited from a convenience store competitor’s District Manger (he stopped in quite often scouting) and he asked me to leave that company to become an assistant  manager making $9.50 an hour.. After just 6 years after dropping out of school in the 9th grade.. I became store manager (21 yrs old) making $12.00 an hour… and 8 years later (29 yrs old) I had 5 job titles for this company making $65,000.00 a year.. I was also a recruiter at job fares hiring for the company and at these interviews I had denied many college business graduates because they had NO Experience… and expected to make $50,000.00 a year… As a Store Manager starting out.. So it goes to prove college isn’t for everyone.. I am now a business owner who has my own business which is a convenience store.. and it wasn’t any education  professor that taught me anything I know about business.. It was working experience that taught me more than any college ever could have!   

      • Dutzer von Mezzenbrau

        @Ray22305: u R a moron as well as all of the other commentaires on this article…one is not educated while in relentless glorious pursuit of unrelated coursework towards an overrated inflated degree. they are a dime a dozen, such as they are. u r not “educated” upon conference of a degree from an institution. it is hyperbole at best. e.g.; most of american graduates have no clue of the causes of WWI or the civil war much less the time period/frame it which they occurred. these grads, also, often dont understand the significance of differential equations or even simple chemical symbols or the geologic time-table. finishing university courses will not help U in the shackled slavery of a corporation. only fools think a degree equates $$$. moreover, one only becomes so-called ‘educated’ through empirical experience and learning through reading and observation after mid-life (then it is too late.)

        • BizznezzBoy

          College is something that you use to get a job, not to excell in it. It is easy to complete college, but you must do well and prove that you are capable of learning. No one really knows much of anything right out of college, but employers are willing to take a chance on someone that has proven that they can learn to do almost anything. The students that are actually capable of learning will know the casuse of WWI and the civil war. College is good for those that take advantage of what it actually has to offer… an open door to a better life. The business world is dynamic, so learning a trade or falling into a certain routine will only get you so far. You have to be willing to LEARN, and that is exaclty what you do in college… even if it is useless crap.

          • Let’sRead2Day

            I agree with you 100%….

          • TRR

            No, a college degree is what you need to be able to mark a check on a job application or fill in the words needed in the “education background” portion of a resume. Once submitted, it get’s tossed in with all of the others with the same boxes checked and formats filled. It’s a multifaceted process. The ones who acquire “success” are those who have the needed book knowledge, common sense, patience, perseverance, luck, skill, being in the right place at the right time with the right attitude, hook-ups, and last but not least selfish human greed.

      • Hentai_mona

        $10K in student loans and you redundantly use the term “moron”? i hope your d.egree wasn’t in a writing field

      • Joe

        You’re an asshole, too…look what college did to you, you stupid punk.

      • Auracle

        And how many people go to college and spend thousands of dollars, and then can’t get a job in their chosen field and also end up making $10 an hour? Just because college worked for you, doesn’t mean it works out for everyone.

    • Melikecollege

      “You want to work with a computer giant like IBM? Practice your skills then sell your homemade software for 100k a pop…”

      What world are you living in? Yea…its so easy to write software and sell it for 100K. Stay off the sauce.

  • fancyfrancie

    As a middle aged woman without a degree, but over 20 years of relevant experience, who can’t find a job, I disagree with this writer. Fact is, my resume is kicked out of the system by about 95% of companies, because I don’t have a secondary degree. My profession? Administrative Assistant. Really? Who needs to be a college grad to be an admin? In these days and times, you need the sheepskin just to get on their radar. Fair? No. Reality? Yes. That’s why I’ll go into hock to pay for my kids to go to college. Let’s just hope they’ll be good to me in my old age….

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      I hope so also, Francie. Its a shame the system is the way it is. I’m not so sure you disagree with me.

    • Maxine Mcneal

      There is a lot of truth to this in today’s job market. Many positions have an educational requirement and you are limited in how far you can advance in a company without a degree. On the other hand, creative, ambitious people can still become millionaires with originality and hard work and not education. You just can’t do it working for someone else.

    • ered

      Well, I’m sorry that that is happening to you, however that’s not the case with everyone. I know plenty of people with degrees that are not worth the paper they are printed on. When I was an AA I didn’t have a degree and got hired many times without even a mention of when I planned on finishing school. In fact one of my best friends who has her BA in Mass Communications was woriking as an Admin & making the same $15 an hour that I was…without even my Associates. She was not happy!My sister has been doing insurance for like 18 years and worked her way up without any college, going from 25K a year back in 1993 to 70K now with her newest company and position. I think there is supporting evidence on both sides- some very much in favor of having to have the degree, while plenty of others who do just fine without it. It’s a very subjective subject. I think different parts of the country want different things too. I hope things get better for you.

  • Roatancharlie

    I sure wish my health cost went up only 700 percent…, not sure how the cost of college is 100-200k, but I guess using my GI benefits brought the cost down for me and my sons. I guess some of us had a different idea of what college is for..lol

    • me myself and I

      Me to. I was able to do alot with my GI Bill.. I’m also of a different thought when it comes to what college is all about….sure most kids who having left home for the first time will ‘explode’ with fun or whatever but if they have their heads on straight and learn then they can get a lot out of life

  • Babbaloo

    Well, you must be the all-time expert on college, eh? I mean, what with an article full of so many assumptions and generalizations about kids in college, most likely completely based off of your own selfish experience or know-how. Let’s break it down:

    – Kids DO learn to socialize at college. Colleges are typically loaded with a number of student interest groups, social groups, fraternities, etc. that the students can join and participate in to build a network that will last way past graduation. You should know that the world that we live in, especially in the economic times we have now, is all about networking – who you know. There are jobs being filled out there with people that aren’t necessarily qualified. Why? Because of the network.

    – Kids DO learn how to think in college. It is through the rigor of undergraduate study that the foundation and practice of research, writing, and critical thinking are formed (not perfected, mind you).

    – On the average, those who attended college (especially advanced degrees) DO go on to make more money than those who didn’t. When was the last time you saw someone in a 6-figure salary job that didn’t have a college degree? College provides the qualification for the higher opportunities.

    – Yes, kids will have sex, drink alcohol, and potentially experiment with drugs while in college. Mind you – you cannot generalize on this. There are plenty of kids who have fun but do so responsibly. There are plenty of kids who make it through having consumed alcohol but NEVER having experimented with drugs. There are plenty of kids who control the amount of sex to limitations of a regular relationship (and not some drunken binge of one-night stands as you may allude to). Kids will be kids, and it doesn’t take a college experience for this to occur. This will happen whether or not they are at college, no matter what. To attempt to stereotype or generalize based solely on college attendance alone is to have an improper argument.

    – One can argue that paying for a college education does many things. It teaches fiscal responsibility, it teaches one to make financial choices carefully (i.e., what college to attend, etc). It also is an investment in the future, bar none.

    – If everyone could, as you state (and was so famously said in “Good Will Hunting”), learn by just going to the library every day or two, then we would certainly have no need for the structured learning environments of college, now, would we? I would agree to the point that there are a lot of things to be learned outside of the theoretical realm of college, but do not discount the learning that we receive in college.

    – Your advice to the parents is that of a paranoid maniac. Not ALL kids will cheat on an exam. I am proud to say that I never cheated on an exam. There are plenty more like me than there are like the generalization you put forth. How sad to assume such a thing, because your assumptions will carry forward to other aspects of your life (to your spouse, your workplace, etc). You are only contributing to the lax environment of business ethic and morals we have today, rather than standing up to maintain some kind of ethical and moral responsibility instead. Not ALL kids will do drugs, either. College is the time to “relax” and “have fun” and venture out to do the kinds of things that occur BEFORE you lock yourself down in the “real world” with a job, a spouse, children, etc. Maybe you shouldn’t compare your own life to others around you.

    Let us also understand that the costs of college have skyrocketed over the years because the administrations try to justify their ever-increasing salaries and inflated budgets, just like every other school, city, county, or corporation that has pegged their spending to a so-called ever-increasing economy of inflationary means. Not to mention that the colleges bank on the fact that the kids will take out student loans backed up by the federal government (stafford), so the college will get their money no matter what – and the student will get royally reamed if they get into a situation where they cannot pay the loan back due to economics (like we see nowadays). In order to stop this vicious cycle, we need to put limits on public institutions and hold them responsible for their budgetary actions. Are they cutting programs while spiking the incomes of the board? Are they neglecting the educational quality while focusing on the athletic programs? We can change a public institution to maintain the standard of education by holding those accountable for their responsible actions. We can make it so that students can afford to go to college again – and give preference to our own children (US citizens) first and foremost before allowing any of the foreign visa students to admission. We have an investment in our own futures first. It’s harsh and it isn’t fair, but it’s the truth and sometimes the truth isn’t fair but should be upheld.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      Wow. Now I’m a “paranoid maniac” when i try to give an honest opinion. As a standard rule, I’ve been writing in publications for the past ten years: I never put someone down, even when i disagree with them. I try to stick to the issues.

      My main point in this entire theme here is that we are graduating a young generation with more debt than ever before. And there are decent alternatives. We can have a discussion without the hatred, anger, and sarcasm.

      • me myself and I

        Everyone has ‘choices’ or decent alternatives as you put it. You remind me of Micheal Shermer, the editor or skeptic magazine, where if the truth or something just as good were to bump him in the nose he would still disagree with ‘it’, whatever that might be to stick to his issues as you yourself stated. I compare college to the military…both are an option; you can enlist in the military for however many years and if it isn’t your ball of wax you can leave. The same is true for college, ‘you’ go to college to learn about life as well as the particular courses that ‘you’ are taking for ‘your’ particular degree. Again, if college isn’t your ball of wax you can drop out and get a traditional type job. It is your choice to take on the student loans for however much they may be and from what
        I gather unless you go to Harvard or Yale then yes your loans maybe 100K+ or so but on average most loans run around 20K or so. You then graduate and either stay in a nice apt that runs around 750 or 800 (of course that depends on the area you live) and then you pay off your loan; after which THEN you can possibly go out an buy a house ( yes another subject you seem to not like) and invest in that. The problem most people have with college is the student loans and running out to buy a 230K house and a 75K car just to keep up with the Jones.. they need to get their priorities straight. I could go on ad nauseam but then I would really get sick so I won’t but just remember you can’t judge a book by it’s cover and everyone’s situation plays out differently in college

        • me myself and I

          Everyone has ‘choices’ or decent alternatives as you put it. You remind me of Micheal Shermer, the editor of skeptic magazine, where if the truth or something just as good were to bump him in the nose he would still disagree with ‘it’, whatever that might be to stick to his issues as you yourself stated. I compare college to the military…both are an option; you can enlist in the military for however many years and if it isn’t your ball of wax you can leave. The same is true for college, ‘you’ go to college to learn about life as well as the particular courses that ‘you’ are taking for ‘your’ particular degree. Again, if college isn’t your ball of wax you can drop out and get a traditional type job. It is your choice to take on the student loans for however much they may be and from what
          I gather unless you go to Harvard or Yale then yes your loans maybe 100K+ or so but on average most loans run around 20K or so. You then graduate and either stay in a nice apt that runs around 750 or 800 (of course that depends on the area you live) and then you pay off your loan; after which THEN you can possibly go out an buy a house ( yes another subject you seem to not like) and invest in that. The problem most people have with college is the student loans and running out to buy a 230K house and a 75K car just to keep up with the Jones.. they need to get their priorities straight. I could go on ad nauseam but then I would really get sick so I won’t but just remember you can’t judge a book by it’s cover and everyone’s situation plays out differently in college

  • Sandyfit10

    I don’t know who you are, but you are AWESOME! I just turned 66, female, never went to college, and you are 100% right! Life is school. I’ve been studing hard the last few years on “How to stretch a dollar.” Thank God the guy I was married to 25 years ago, divorced me. Thats when my education really began. This has been a rough ride. But it was just what I needed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      Sandy, I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a rough go recently. But I’m glad you took the best things about it and used it to learn. Sounds like, at 66, you are way ahead of the game. thanks for commenting.

      • heather

        I think the evil here is less the college experience and more the debt. I’ve been fortunate in my life to never go into debt, even when going to college and have a life that is very enviable. After a very successful career in finance (college had nothing to do with it, connections made socializing had everything to do with it), I decided to become a massage therapist. Far less money, but more flexible hours to travel and play. It would be great if college were to become free like it is in most of Europe. That way learning could be enjoyable and really effective instead of a commercial enterprise foisted upon children and parents. My daughter wants to go to college, so I will support her in it, but I would be just as happy if she decided she wanted to become a dogwalker. There is money to be made in any business and quality of life far outweighs a paycheck or a degree on the wall.

  • Jellydoughnut

    Wow. You make a lot of assumptions in your article. I am quite disappointed that you think EVERYONE who goes to college is going to have sex all the time, experiment with drugs and alcohol and skip classes because of both. Then gets the degree after begging for a “C.” I would like to see your statistics on how many people that actually happens to. That might have been your experience, but that certainly is not mine. It is people like you who think everyone should agree with them because they are “right” that make me sick. So maybe college is not as great as it it often portrayed. However there are many people out there who have changed their lives because of it and like you, did it with their own money, not the help of their parents. I would never trust someone like you to program my computer, or someone who hasn’t received formal training to operate on my body, teach my children, sell me a product, or help me think. I certainly will not take your advice. You are arrogant and ignorant. I hope that people don’t listen to you. If a homeless person comes up to you asking to “touch you,” I sincerely hope he or she punches you in the face.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      Wow. You were starting to make good points and then you had to go personal and wish physical violence upon me. Very mature. Did you go to college?

      • I’m a farmer now

        Damn it! I would pay $100,000 to have sex every day! getting drunk sounds good too.

  • Dash

    In No. 5, where you use the noun effect, you meant to use the verb affect. That’s about my only quibble.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      Thanks. And I took 5 years of grammar in college and then 5 in graduate school.

      • I’m a farmer now

        At least you have your good looks…….or not.

      • Dash

        I found oopsies in some of your other posts, too, but it doesn’t really benefit me to correct them all, does it? I like your stuff, but in your list of 33 things that will make us better writers, perhaps you should add 34: Proofread.

        =)

  • axl

    oh man, this writer is horrible.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      point taken. And I even went to college.

  • Pade

    College is a scam unless you are 1) highly motivated to get in and out quickly, 2) interested in a subject where you can earn money quickly, eg. engineering, and 3) not bamboozled by Ivy League crap. A degree in art history, sociology, (gender, race, weather, etc…)-studies is like burning a $100 bill daily. Why are most of us hyperventalating over increasing medical costs when college costs have been accelerating even faster? BTW I presume you meant “hymn”, not “hymen”.

  • Ray22305

    I hate when morons like the guy writing this article just pushes kids to drop out of school, and for them to try to survive in such a hard world. Here is my thought:

    1. With only a high school diploma you will be making $8 (or less) an hour for your first few years (does not apply to everybody).
    2. Maybe you get a raise (now you make $10 an hour)…wow…you can afford to dine out, but can’t afford to buy a car or rent your own place (unless you work 60 hour weeks).
    3. Your friends that went to a state university (pretty cheap), after 4 years are making $50K a year (more than you can dream of). You are still making $10 an hour with 4 years of experience (flipping burgers..cleaning houses…filling bags at a supermarket…selling stuff at the Mall).

    Truth is that for most people who drop out of college that’s what their life will be. I see most of my friends, that graduated 6 years ago from high school, still making peanuts compared to what I make after 2 years out of college (over mid $60Ks).

    This might not be the same idea for those people that are self driven and hell smart – not lazy (in IT, or just smart business people), or mom and dad have a lot of money.

    Kids, please stay in school. If you don’t have money, just go to a state college/university. The worst case scenario is that you will have some college debt ($10-20K), but the return is great. You will have a lot of opportunities for advancement with a college degree (most preferably bachelors).

    I know a lot of people with 2 year degrees that are hurting because they can’t get a promotion (no 4 year degree). Don’t listen to stupid people like Altucher.

    Regards,

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      Hate’s a strong word.

      America is graduating a generation of kids more in debt than ever. more in debt than their parents even. Its a shame that its difficult to have an open, honest discussion about the real issues here.

      • me myself and I

        and what are they??

        • Fubar

          read the article.

  • Sdavis1010

    I agree with your article. But unfortunately it is a money scamming reality (college). It has become the way of America. You can’t get a decent job unless you have a degree to tag along with your name. Now they are even considering a bachelor’s degree the equivalent to an associates, a master’s to a bachelors, etc. It’s pathetic, and it leaves people, like myself, in fear of stepping out on faith to do something I might actually enjoy because then I won’t have the security of mulah in my account. My husband has $60,000 in student loan debt- we have started to pay that adding $500/month to our expenses. Myself, I have no college debt. I paid for my 2 and a half years out of pocket then I realized I hated college and I was tired of forking out 6k every 4 months or so to learn someone else’s opinions when I was perfectly capable of forming my own. Plus I have a better vocabulary than most of the people I graduated high school with- and they have a 4 year degree! Yet I’m stuck, at the moment, at a crappy paying job being somebody’s pet. Gotta do what you gotta do right? Maybe, I’m still thinking about it haha

    Great post though. I found it humorous as well as logical.

  • highschool

    I’m a high school junior, and I have to say that I agree with the majority of what Mr. Altucher is saying. I’m the valedictoian of my class (so far, that might be subject to change with time, obviously) and I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I’m so sick of hearing “Oh, you can do anything you want with your grades!” Whenever I ask a counsellor or teacher for career advice. The truth is, the internet has taught me much more than school has about life, finances, and what I’ve experienced in the ‘real world.’ Is another four years of seemingly mindless, regulated ‘education’ really what I need? High school hasn’t taught me how to balance a checkbook, or cook well enough to live on my own, or about basic human health because I haven’t taken those classes – electives typically viewed as “blow off classes” when they seem to be the only classes teaching me directly about what I can expect from life on my own.

    If high school is a dry run for college – and college a dry run for whatever career I persue – I am not impressed. A majority of people seem to say “Oh, high school/college is where you’ll ‘find’ yourself.” I’ve been searching in every moment of spare time I have, is a class about molecular structure really going to help me with that?

    The purest forms of creativity seem to be self-directed – any profession I learn is school seems to iron out anything original, and replace it with precise, crisp directions about how to do anything. I’d prefer to start my own company, selling my own product, then follow tradition.

    • Leah

      High school is by no means a “dry-run” for college. Although I agree that college may not be for everyone, it IS a great start to see what you would like to do for the rest of your life. Im 19, I attend my community college, and it is a great test drive of what my life will be like at a university later this year. During college you are able to take classes that really seem interesting to you, until you find what you would like to do as a career… College has a lot more freedom and personalization than high school. It may not be for you, but dont cross it off completely. I absolutely love it, and i go for free thanks to hard work in high school (like you) and a smart decision to test drive community college.

    • Fubar

      An emerging, dynamic area of business is “spiritual capitalism”.

      The buzz word is “LOHAS” – marketing “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability”.

      The cutting edge social change (“Integral”) theory that supports LOHAS is being taught at some of the most innovative colleges in the world:

      http://www.jfku.edu/Programs-and-Courses/College-of-Professional-Studies/Integral-Studies.html

      http://www.integraltheoryconference.org/talks

      “Integral theory” site sponsored by a successful entrepreneur:

      http://integrallife.com/node/37539

      (Be prepared for the partial influence of pretentious, new age counterculture folk, and a large percentage of buddhist/dharma folk.)

      http://integrallife.com/learn/overview/state-integral-enterprise-part-i?page=0%2C3
      excerpt:


      Newton is widely regarded as the greatest scientist who ever lived. In 1665, at the age of 23, he was a student at Cambridge University when an epidemic of plague closed the campus. Newton fled to his family’s farm. Working alone, in a mere 18 months, he revolutionized four distinct fields of science. He revolutionized mathematics with his discovery of calculus, overturned optics by discovering the spectrum of light, transformed physics with initial insights into gravity, and rebirthed astronomy with his initial understanding of planetary motion.

      On returning to Cambridge, Newton showed his newfound handiwork to his professor, Isaac Barrow. Barrow thereafter did something that has likely never happened before in the entire history of academia, and likely will never happen again. He resigned his chair in favor of Newton. Of course, Newton was urged to publish his findings, and did in fact write a paper on optics. To his dismay, this resulted in 12 letters of response. Consequently, he vowed never to publish again, saying he had “sacrificed my peace, a matter of real substance” (Ferris, 1988, p. 18). Despite his resistance, he was urged to publish his further work. At age 45 he produced the extraordinary Principia Mathematica, of which it is said “by common consent, the Principia is the greatest scientific book ever written” (Hacker, 1991, p. 319). Yet at the end of his life Newton concluded:

      I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy, playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. (Brewster, 2001, p. 412).

  • Knewski

    my husband barely graduated high school…and only reason he did is because the cheerleaders did his work for him. he began working in the real world when he was 15, has started 4 different business, and at present owns a million dollar company.

    i drank, had sex, and slept for 4 1/2 years, spent tons of my parents money, earned my BA…and I work for him.

    while it scares me to think that our son wont go to college? college isnt everything, and there is MUCH to be said about real world living.

  • Scannedcolor

    Wow, umm, you suck. To everyone that actually followed this article and didn’t go to college, good luck finding a job.

  • Joeblow

    YOU ARE A FUCKING MORON STOP SPEWING YOUR STUPIDITY.

  • Bagpipe_mouse

    I would agree that parents shouldn’t *blindly* send their children to college, and if they do send their kids to college, they shouldn’t go into debt or neglect their retirement savings to do so. And parents should make continued financial contribution contingent upon a certain level of behavior and grades. It’s a particularly important message in a time of rapidly increasing tuition costs and the growth of alternatives to college.

    However, I wouldn’t say that parents should *never* send their children to college. A college education, like piano lessons or a high school Europe trip, can be a wonderful and potentially valuable enrichment to a child’s life. Some careers do require a degree. In other fields, a degree can increase your options, or your chances, or shave time off the dues paying. And while there certainly are other ways to socialize and get a liberal education, college is one way to do so, in addition to preparing for a career. For a young person of the right temperament and certain goals, college can be a good starting point for adult life. And just as college is not for every young person, your alternatives aren’t for every young person. I know that for me, starting a business at 18 would most likely have been a depressing, crushing disaster!

    As a final point, I understand that you are trying to shake people up, and that you’re responding to some idiotic, and unkind, comments from your previous article (which in my opinion was better thought out and more well-written than this one). And, perhaps there’s a bit of “angry contrarian blogger” shtick going on here as well. But you may be letting your own experience color your analysis. Not every college student hooks up every night, drinks to excess, and uses drugs. And lots of kids who go to work, start businesses, or join the military do all of the above. And not every parent who contributes to their college education goes into heavy debt or works 60 hours a week to do so.

    Parents and teens should carefully consider *all* of their alternatives, including college, and pick the one (or more) that makes the most sense for them.

    • CM

      Very well stated, and as you imply this topic appears to be a vehicle that gets more and more obtuse and disjointed the more (now 3 host posts on the subject at least) that the host brings it up again to weaker and weaker (but perhaps he is trying to be funnier and more extreme each time as you also suggest as him being ‘the contrarian’) arguments.

      Again so many have had an amazing, life changing experience in college; many have done really well with no college— more power to them all.

      So why judge someone’s choice, when the main issue is how expensive it is (which is true) but it doesn’t even matter for your daughters (I believe you are once again richer than almost all of us)? It feels like you are rubbing it in (‘I’m rich and can sent my kids to expensive college, but I will still whine about it and be contrarian, hah!).

      What happened to your own blog on the keys to happiness (and I paraphrase)– “get rid of the negativity?”

      If your daughters want to go to college which if you read your posters is sort of a rite of passage and sort of important to their development, and can open up their lives and world views and a moot point if you are rich (since the main downside was it is very expensive), then stop whining about it! We all wish we had that problem being rich. Quit while you are ahead. This thread of yours really detracts from some of your more thoughtful, more human posts.

  • Persistance&Savings

    I dropped out of HS at 17 and joined the US Navy. 1 yr later I took the the GED and passed with a high enough score my HS granted me a diploma. A yr later I went into the Submarine program as a Submarine Sonar Technician. The Navy was fine but just not a fit.

    After getting out I bounced a round at several minimum wage jobs (Swing Manager for McD’s, security guard, bouncer, etc). Finally, I went into a 9 month vocational certificate as a Computer Programmer. Now, 26 yrs later I’m still working in the computer field.

    I’ve had lots of opportunities and great salaries but not because of where I went to school, or what piece of paper is hanging on my wall… just simply because I chose a field I enjoy, so I spent my time reading books about computers, new languages, new dtabases, etc.

    I’m going to retire within the next 4 yrs (unless Christ returns), at least 7 yrs ahead of my peers and with less time working… because I chose to save, invest, and do without vacations to Cabo, Hawaii, etc. Now nobody tells me what to do, they usually just say “yes, Sir” and “no, Sir”.

    And I’m still young enough, healthy enough and fit enough there are no more limitations.

    • Fubar

      re: “unless Christ returns”

      He did. His name was Karl Marx. And Charles Darwin. Both those guys knew that it was evolution, technology and economics that causes progress and enlightenment, not the “mysterious hand of god”.

  • Sbspence

    wow..just WOW…

  • rani10

    I think it’s ridiculous to assume that all college students are going to be sexually loose and into drugs. There are those of us with morals out there…

    • TC

      Clearly he’s exaggerating.

      • spotteddog

        People are so serious…they can’t even realize sarcastic humor when it is right in from of them. rani10 he Mr Altucher is talking about you. Quit being so self centered

      • spotteddog

        People are so serious…they can’t even realize sarcastic humor when it is right in from of them. rani10 he Mr Altucher is talking about you. Quit being so self centered

        • spotteddog

          I have to clearify…rani10 Clearly Mr. Altucher ISNT talking about people like you…I dropped out of college so maybe my sentences aren’t always right the first time.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=37527102 Ryan Christopher Woods

          I didn’t catch the “sarcastic humor” at all. There are too many people who actually think this about college…

          • sadbuttrue

            Yes and for the most part it is absolutely true. It is a generalization but everything else is still true. For the great majority of students, it is an accurate portrayal of reality.

          • LOL

            You need a reality check. Its not an accurate portrayal. IT IS an accurate portrayal of frat/sorority life, but not a normal college student.

          • BenF

            Not even, I’m in a fraternity, I definitely don’t have sex 1-5 times a day. That’s more stereotyping of college life..

          • joe

            Then your not in a good frat lol

      • H-man

        Keep in mind, satire and sarcasm are an important part of the fabric of the article, otherwise you wouldn’t have replied at all.

    • Steven L Goff

      “it’s ridiculous to assume that all college students are going to be sexually loose and into drugs.”

      ~Oh yea!….tell that to the creator of Girls Gone Wold!….think I just seen him board his private jet to his Caribbean island he bought with the money he made!….lol

      • Steven L Goff

        “it’s ridiculous to assume that all college students are going to be sexually loose and into drugs.”

        ~Oh yea!….tell that to the creator of Girls Gone Wild!….think I just seen him board his private jet to his Caribbean island he bought with the money he made!….lol

        • Scoish “Velociraptor” MaLoish

          That’s different. He made money off of people who fetishized college girls. That is a huge market.
          However the implication that girls gone wild proves college women are more sexually adventurous is a flawed one. The girls gone wild empire is built on swings and misses, he goes to 20 bars a month providing free music an alcohol trying to get women to take their clothes off. The people who show up to these things know what his company is about and why they do all of this promotion. He has at least 4 camera men at every event, which lasts 6-8hours depending on when last call is in the state. Even after all that he ends up with 90min of footage after a year. That isn’t impressive to me.
          It’s not like college women show themselves naked more often they are just in higher demand. Look at the majority of actual amateur porn. This way you remove almost all the barriers from filming, promotion, market research and boil it down to who puts out the most material: mostly older (European) couples spicing up their love life.

          Like this guy mentioned correlation does not imply causality

          Just a little FYI
          This bothered me so much I actually went through the process of reviving my old account and in doing so had to type this comment several times over. My first draft was SCATHING, but all together unnecessarily combative.

    • bones

      Show me someone with too much morality to be sexy and high at college and I’ll show you someone who is missing the point of college! (possibly missing the point of life in general)

      LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL ON! but don’t feel the need to continue through our pathetic excuse for an education system, unless you wanna be a real scientist. Philosophy and Art is much better learned on the streets of whatever city you’re in or feel like travelling to.

      • David_in_Space

        “don’t feel the need to continue through our pathetic excuse for an
        education system, unless you wanna be a real scientist. Philosophy and
        Art is much better learned on the streets of whatever city you’re in or
        feel like travelling to.” I agree with this much for art. Music performance too (you need years of days dominated by devotion and practice). I don’t know much about learning philosophy. However there are some professional art and music jobs that require more scholarship.

    • Datura

      You can do drugs and be moral, and sex is great, you should try it.  Your pastor/neo-con overmind has probably done both.

      • PunksterZ

        You are sick! Keep in mind people make mistakes but, not everyone is as screwed up as you! Why do you even post crap like that for people read? No one wants to read it!

        • Akirasip

          Cake…

        • Kristen

          No one wants to read it? Then why did you?

        • CBernier11

          Agreed

        • Georgia Sand

          What’s sick? Sex? If you’re asexual that’s fine, Darura probablly won’t judge you. And the statement that people can do drugs and be a good person isn’t “crap”. Just because people don’t live life in the narrow scope of your worldview it doesn’t mean they’re bad people. Asshole.

      • JackholeDiary

        Why are you sick? I am very confused by the Punkthing’s post.. How is it sick to say sex is great? maybe it was the “your pastor part” I bet his pastor touched him but not in a good way…

    • http://twitter.com/royalpie717 Eman LLuf

      Fuck satires, you pseudo-intellect bragging fucks.

    • LastBornNormal

      A product of parents upbringing…. or lack thereof

    • antwan

      I’m a student I would agree with him on the Drugs and low stander for sex. I haven’t met a moral student yet. I wish I knew college was a party I would have joined a long time ago.

    • Georgia Sand

      Coming from a virgin, which, it shouldn’t even matter: having sex doesn’t make you an immoral person. And soft drugs like marijuana are statistically safer than alcohol, and help many people medicinally.

  • Dy

    You know, it’s always amazed me that people only equate the traditional school system and colleges with “real learning”. I was skeptical of this topic at first, but now I think it may have merit. Not that I want a doctor who’s never had a degree…

  • Englishmajor

    Acchhhmm… Typo on reason number 5:
    “Effect” should be “affect”. -You can’t be “verbed” by a complete noun.

    • Fubar

      sociologically, education is full of OCD control freaks.

      everybody else hates thought policing, nut not nearly as much as most of them should.

  • BitchPudding

    As said in previous comments, there are a few occupations that require higher education in order to actually practice said occupation legally and safely (any occupation involving the sciences, medical work of any sort, engineering, etc.), but there are other occupations that simply do no warrant a college education of any kind, if one has enough ambition to pursue it on their own.

    If you want to be an illustrator, a graphic designer, a writer, a musician, a computer technician, or a software developer, for example, you absolutely don’t need college to learn the principles behind these crafts and develop your skills. Perhaps going to college or taking some classes at your local community college will help, but they’re certainly not necessary to be the best you can be at that occupation.

    Long story short, the college experience works out differently for everyone. College was a stellar experience for my roommate, for example, but I almost immediately dropped out of the same college and taught myself how to be a commercial illustrator. He and I make roughly the same amount of money doing exactly the same thing, and the only difference between us is that he gets a regular paycheck from another company while I run my own business.

    Any and all occupations require passion for the field first and foremost in order to be successful. Once you have your passion, then you decide the best COA for doing the thing that you love, whether or not it involves higher education. Clearly, Mr. Altucher should have considered a career in adult entertainment right out of high school, since his passion in college seemed to be getting laid. It would have been far more lucrative, I imagine.

  • ark

    This is sick, Ideas like this should not be entertained..

  • madiwenttocollege

    This article is so very true! I am a college grad with some grad school credit. I have several friends who are also college graduates. I am unemployed and have never had a job, can’t get a job, and barely got an internship. My friends who went to college are also unemployed, even after getting their MBA’s. I have a friend who is homeless and is a college graduate, lost his job and lost everything after. I owe the gov’t $50k in student loan money, and thats all tuition and books. Its been 6 years since I graduated and everyone wants me to think my unemployment is due to a recession! Are you serious? The only people not working are the people who were in college instead of working! My friend dropped out of high school and works for a fortune 500 company and makes $96k a year, been there for several years! I wished a million times over I never went to college, I wish the gov’t will give me $50k to start a business, not for college tuition. Now I am being harassed by the student loan company for lack of payment, now my credit will be ruined and I really won’t be able to get a job (companies want you to have good credit before they hire you, and even ask if you are late with a student loan payment), and any money I may get in the future will be garnished for student loan payments. College is a business, and businesses are open for 1 thing, to make a profit. The only thing I can do is accept the $8 cashier position at the grocery store, or go back to school and get more loans. Companies hire when you have applicable experience, not a degree, they even tell you “will accept work experience in lieu of a degree”, wtf! So if I ever decide to have children, they will not be forced to go to college, and will have the option of do other things instead of wasting time and money at somebody’s school.

    • Fubar

      Corrupt colleges/universities are run by people that are imitating the giant swindles of Big Banks, Big Oil, Big Retail (Walmart), etc.

      America is a Kleptokracy – a Plutocracy of Corporate Thieves.

      People like you should be organizing a revolution against the Big Banks and the politicians the banks bought and paid for.

  • Honest Truth

    You are an idiot and this is moronic dribble

  • Dr. Fatimah

    Finally!!! I have found someone who shares my sentiments. Thank you for speaking the truth. Too bad most people will not appreciate your wisdom. I do. Keep it coming.

    ~ Fatimah Lillie

  • janesays

    My parents paid for college if we attended a community college first and got an accociates. I didn’t care for community college so I worked, and after I got laid off I went back to college and got a degree. I still can’t find a job, but that’s because I am in a dead end state. I plan on moving somewhere soon, because my hopes and dreams have just been shot to hell by the mortgage mess.

    • Fubar

      If you really want to make money and can work hard/smart, find out where the natural gas industry is expanding. You will have to live in very rural areas with long cold winters. Wyoming, Dakotas, etc.

      Solar energy will go big time in the sunny desert areas near big cities, which is about the only hope for Las Vegas and similar parts of Arizona.

      (Nuclear energy should be growing, but will not because of the silly mistakes in Japan.)

      Texas is also good – they did NOT go along with the STUPID housing bubble that “liberal” states did. Texas had good technical colleges – medical, energy, high tech. Most are new, and are run by people that respect hard work (unlike most college administrators in “liberal” coastal states).

      Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico are mostly screwed up. Unless, in the case of Arizona or NM, you want to work as a border guard and have a$$hole drug dealers on the mexican side throw rocks at you and shoot at you for slowing down their business.

      California is too expensive, housing will stay high even as middle class jobs vanish (wealthy chinese housing buyers will keep prices inflated in big cities on the west coast).

      good luck!

      • Fubar

        correction: “Texas [has] good technical colleges”

  • mramerican

    Only an idiot will write this article! When did Americans become such idiots? No wonder Chinese, Japanese and Indians are kicking our butt.

    Yeah, right, let your kid not get a good education, so that the next, uneducated, generation will be forced to go and work in Chinese factories! Instead of lobbying for *almost* free college education offered by certain other countries, Mr. Altucher wants to make the next generations unskilled, blue collar workers.

    Look at Mexico, and the illegals in the USA. Their plight is what our kids can expect with *no* education!

    The *only* way for America to get back on the driver’s seat is to get back on priorities such as free education, and health care for all citizens and legal residents.

    Mr. Altucher needs to have his head examined by a real psychologist!

    • Fubar

      Very Silly Stuff.

      America got lucky when it won WWII and was able to dominate the global market for its ***industrial products*** for several decades. Rich americans invested in the rebuilding of Japan and Germany under the dominance of an american global empire. Japan screwed up, and its influence is waning rapidly.

      Americans got fat, lazy and stupid (“educated stupid”). They allowed Kissinger and the Bushes to create a “Walmart” economy – all consumption, no production. They allowed Big Oil and Big Banks to buy as many unscrupulous politicians as they wanted (thanks to corrupt mass media).

      The unsavory “national security” apparatus that was sent into the world to stop democracy in places not “friendly to america” during the cold war came home and destroyed american populism/democracy using the same tools and methods.

      China and India, whose cultures are largely traditional and “hardworking” are willing and able to exploit their environment and people to fuel growth. They have relatively thin bureaucratic and military classes, and relatively large classes of people ACTUALLY PRODUCING THINGS OF VALUE AND NECESSITY – WITH RELATIVELY LITTLE “COLLEGE EDUCATION”.

      Look at how much money the USA spends on MILITARY.

      It is a giant scam.

      If the US Military wanted to “pay its way” it would have subjugated 1/2 the world by now and created vast colonies for american taxpayers. Since americans do not believe in being colonialists, they have become serfs to internal Corporate Overlords instead.

      So, the middle classes are no longer getting as much out of the “deal” they agreed to with the WAR MONGERING IMPERIALIST PLUTOCRATS-KLEPTOCRATS as they used to.

      The education establishment is corrupted by its most important task: producing conformist citizens (useful to corporations) that will not even remember how to stand up and fight for real democracy and freedom.

      “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

      http://www.samueljohnson.com/refuge.html

    • Fubar

      forgot to mention:

      re: “The *only* way for America to get back on the driver’s seat is to get back on priorities such as free education, and health care for all citizens and legal residents.”

      Ok, how is that going to be paid for?

      The wealthiest 5% own 90% of america’s wealth, and they do not want to pay taxes at historical levels.

      At historical levels (50% – 80%), rich americans paid a large amount of the cost of building and maintaining the infrastructure needed to support an industrial economy.

      http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/

      Note: that was the economy that PRODUCED the wealth to begin with.

      Now, the rich do not want to pay to maintain the infrastructure that their wealth comes from !

      THAT is what is “Idiotic”.

      Also note: most middle class jobs were, directly or indirectly, “infrastructure” jobs:

      Water supply, transportation, energy distribution, communication, waste processing, managing nature (dams/levees, preventing dust bowls, forest protection, etc.), AND ……. EDUCATION.

      Without such infrastructure, the MEGACORPS would not exist.

      Now, the corporate a$$holes that got rich off the public infrastructure no longer want to pay for it. They have bought most of the politicians in order to keep “low taxes”.

      Please explain how, short of a populist uprising of massive levels, it is going to be possible to get the narcissistic rich classes to look beyond their own selfish interests and to pay the higher taxes needed to improve infrastructure again.

      “Structural changes” to the economy (40% of middle class wealth has vaporized in the last 25 years – Robert Reich – http://robertreich.org/ ) ensure that the middle classes can’t and won’t pay for all the infrastructure maintainance that is necessary.

      How would a revolution of working and middle class people against the corporate overlords be possible given the vast totalitarian police state apparatus that came about by BUSH, post-9/11???

    • Sdavis1010

      Actually the Chinese and Japanese, not only do they practically, financially, own us, but they also believe in communism (China specifically) and MAKING their children go to school from about 7AM-11PM every day. That includes Saturday and Sunday (weekends) in case you were wondering. They have a higher rate of suicide compared to the U.S.; and they also put restrictions on how many children you are allowed to bear. If you have more than one child, specifically a girl, they murder your baby. In India they worship rats… Would you really like to compare us to those countries??

      How many of the world used products were invented by Europeans, Africans, South Americans, etc vs. Americans (North America)?? Examples: the light bulb, the telephone, the computer, electricity in the first place… I think the problem is the parents, but that’s only my opinion.

  • Superczar

    You know everyone goes to college to have sex and do drugs. This guy never had sex in his life without having to pay for it. I hope I never get sick because I am going to hate having to go to a college educated doctor. I would rather just grab some goof from the projects. There is absolutley no correlation between our high standard of living and college. You see all the countries where people don’t go to college they live such great lives. Just because this idiot spent so much on his education and doesn’t make enough to justify it.

  • sara so and so

    I get your point of the article- I think it’s obscene that college tuition nearly doubles every 10 years, but college really is a case-by-case basis, and there are some of us that took that time for what it was worth.

    I graduated in 4 years (in 2008) and most of my friends did too, and for most of us that included a semester of study-abroad too (which DID consist largely of studying and not getting stoned and sleeping around with foreign men). My boyfriend also graduated in 3 1/2 and was pre-med. While he did not take on a job while he was in school, most of us did have part time jobs. For Christmas, I asked for textbooks, shampoo, and food. The only thing my family paid for was a summer class and my cell phone.
    I worked my ass off in highschool to earn scholarships and was lucky enough to be so poor as to qualify for the Pell grant. I’m now working to pay off my 20k student loans and am on track to get it all paid off within 4-5 years.

    You can’t assume that everyone’s kids are spoiled, lazy, cheating losers. We were by no stretch of the imagination prudes or nerds or outcasts- we were the norm who knew when to let loose and when to buckle down and get our sh*t together. Those 4 years helped shape who I am and the people I met there are the friends I’ll always value. You know how anymore people say that buying ‘experiences’ makes you happier than buying ‘things?’ College for me is the truest expression of that statement and I think it was worth every penny.

    • Len

      It is an individual decision. Depends on the desired career and the discipline of the person. I have 8 and 10 year old sons and am trying to help plot their eventual paths – based on things I’ve learned. Did the Computer Science undergrad and then MBA at night while working. BA degree taught me nothing useful in my field. All was dated information in a rapidly changing field. MBA taught me a few things about the business world. After bouncing around local companies for 18 years, getting dropped when they went out of business or money was tight, it became clear that job security is an illusion in the corporate world. The only way to retain control over one’s career and income is to start your own business. Obviously, this option lends itself better to some professions. If I had taken the plunge 18 years sooner, I could have save a ton of aggravation and been much further along. But there were, and arguably are today, few people touting alternatives to the traditional college education. During my MBA, I took a leave from my job, spent a semester in France, and learned more than I could have imagined. Met people from all over, gained immense perspective, and finally opened my eyes to the world of opportunities. At this point, I’m leaning toward giving my sons Eurail or AsiaRail passes and telling them to travel for a year or two after college and gain a better understanding of themselves and the world before committing to a career path. And if that path does not include college, but is a focused approach to gaining specific knowledge, all the better. Read a few books recently which support this approach – “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill (examples are dated, but concepts are timeless) and “The 4 Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferris. This guy is out there, but the concept of lifestyle design is fascinating, and his methods are entertaining and inspirational.

      • Bonnie

        Why would you be plotting out the paths of your young sons? What if their choices aren’t the same as yours? I wouldn’t want anyone plotting out my life. Seems a bit controlling to me. What if their values are different from yours? Maybe growing rich isn’t important to them. You can share your experiences with them but ultimately they make the choices. If you try and foist this upon them with the I know because I’m an adult and have made these mistakes bit, you are more likely to incur resistance and rebellion. Let them pursue their own path and make their own mistakes.

      • Fubar

        Worker managed Brasilian manufacturing company with almost no formal, hierarchical management:

        (Please note that the old, failed management paradigm described below is what is in place at most colleges/universities – places of stasis, not cultural dynamism and innovation.)

        | The Seven-Day Weekend
        | By Ricardo Semler
        | Mar 1, 2004

        excerpt:

        http://www.inc.com/articles/2004/03/7dayweekend.html


        Semco’s alliance with Cushman & Wakefield, as well as other joint ventures that I will describe shortly, suggests that the transition from the old to the new can be hugely profitable and not nearly as socially disruptive as might be feared at first. On the contrary, the path Semco has been blazing for more than twenty years has led to an unprecedented record of innovation, customer satisfaction, growth, and an end to repressive command-and-control management practices that cause much labor unrest and personal misery, from the top to the bottom of many organizations.

        One of the recurring themes of this book is the need–the absolute necessity–to give up control in order to cope with changes that are transforming the way we live and work. As counterintuitive as that sounds, it does not contradict the experience and values at the core of free market, democratic capitalism. I don’t want to speak for Arthur Mirante, who is indeed an excellent friend and wonderful partner, but it seems to me that something in my casual, drive-by approach appealed to his entrepreneurial instincts. He was willing to take a chance–to give up control. Isn’t that what entrepreneurs do? They’re flexible, intuitive, nondogmatic; they take risks, make money, and have fun.

        But many entrepreneurs–be they leaders of great or small enterprises–can’t bring themselves to let go. They probably would have shown me the door, and turned away from a $65 million venture. I believe the obsession with control is a delusion and, increasingly, a fatal business error. The more we grab for it, the more it slips away, and ever more desperate measures are applied, spawning Enrons, WorldComs, and hosts of lower profile disasters. As the control mechanism grows harsher and harsher, what’s lost is the central purpose of the business, any business–a satisfying, worthwhile life for those involved and a reasonable reward for their investment and hard work. The seven-day weekend is Semco’s way of getting out of the control business and back to our central purpose.

      • Fubar

        Worker managed Brasilian manufacturing company with almost no formal, hierarchical management:

        (Please note that the old, failed management paradigm described below is what is in place at most colleges/universities – places of stasis, not cultural dynamism and innovation.)

        | The Seven-Day Weekend
        | By Ricardo Semler
        | Mar 1, 2004

        excerpt:

        http://www.inc.com/articles/2004/03/7dayweekend.html


        Semco’s alliance with Cushman & Wakefield, as well as other joint ventures that I will describe shortly, suggests that the transition from the old to the new can be hugely profitable and not nearly as socially disruptive as might be feared at first. On the contrary, the path Semco has been blazing for more than twenty years has led to an unprecedented record of innovation, customer satisfaction, growth, and an end to repressive command-and-control management practices that cause much labor unrest and personal misery, from the top to the bottom of many organizations.

        One of the recurring themes of this book is the need–the absolute necessity–to give up control in order to cope with changes that are transforming the way we live and work. As counterintuitive as that sounds, it does not contradict the experience and values at the core of free market, democratic capitalism. I don’t want to speak for Arthur Mirante, who is indeed an excellent friend and wonderful partner, but it seems to me that something in my casual, drive-by approach appealed to his entrepreneurial instincts. He was willing to take a chance–to give up control. Isn’t that what entrepreneurs do? They’re flexible, intuitive, nondogmatic; they take risks, make money, and have fun.

        But many entrepreneurs–be they leaders of great or small enterprises–can’t bring themselves to let go. They probably would have shown me the door, and turned away from a $65 million venture. I believe the obsession with control is a delusion and, increasingly, a fatal business error. The more we grab for it, the more it slips away, and ever more desperate measures are applied, spawning Enrons, WorldComs, and hosts of lower profile disasters. As the control mechanism grows harsher and harsher, what’s lost is the central purpose of the business, any business–a satisfying, worthwhile life for those involved and a reasonable reward for their investment and hard work. The seven-day weekend is Semco’s way of getting out of the control business and back to our central purpose.

  • Robert0414

    Fewer educated people = more people voting without understanding the true consequences of their vote. Sounds like part of the long term Republican playbook.

    • Alambo0

      Robert, I agree with your statement about uneducated voters not understanding their voting consequences, but I think, for the sake of fairness and honesty, you need to reconsider your Republican bashing. I am not a registered Republican or Democrat, but I have observed that it has been the Dems, not the Republicans, who have continuously bused every unemployed/uneducated body that they could find to various polling places over the last several election cycles.

      • Fubar

        The reason for that is to get them to vote for people that will “supposedly” help them improve their lives.

        It is a small number of filthy rich and lunatic far right wingnuts that have taken over and corrupted the Party of Lincoln.

        Abraham Lincoln did not go to college. He was deeply authentic, took on the world’s suffering in a way that is unimaginable today, cared profoundly about people and ideas, and saved the USA.

        George Bush did go to college. He was a shallow, occasionally clever, fool, only cared about himself and a small number of corrupt people like himself, and destroyed the USA.

        That “says it all” as far as I’m concerned:

        The main purpose of college is to produce pathetic, uncaring, destructive fakes with empty souls.

        Many of the comments on this article make it clear that there is a pattern at work.

      • Fubar

        The reason for that is to get them to vote for people that will “supposedly” help them improve their lives.

        It is a small number of filthy rich and lunatic far right wingnuts that have taken over and corrupted the Party of Lincoln.

        Abraham Lincoln did not go to college. He was deeply authentic, took on the world’s suffering in a way that is unimaginable today, cared profoundly about people and ideas, and saved the USA.

        George Bush did go to college. He was a shallow, occasionally clever, fool, only cared about himself and a small number of corrupt people like himself, and destroyed the USA.

        That “says it all” as far as I’m concerned:

        The main purpose of college is to produce pathetic, uncaring, destructive fakes with empty souls.

        Many of the comments on this article make it clear that there is a pattern at work.

  • Nicole

    An old Canadian friend of mine (who turned 60 today … March 22…) knew that the best way to live was free and simply as possible. He owned a cafe in Old Montreal at 24, and when it closed, he moved to the Yukon for a year to work in an asbestos mine. He made enough money to buy land in Lac Du Cerf, Quebec and owns another cafe…meeting all kinds of women and loving life. Oh…he did attend the University of Quebec, but the life experience he packed in before the age of 30 was mind-boggling…including a 1000-mile canoe trip on the Yukon River.

    What is my point? His life experience alone was a great education. . . in my opinion, the very best education. I know…I lived with him for two years.

  • Flor

    I do like the way you write! I don’t agree with most of it, though. I went to a private college as did my husband. I also have a MS and PhD. I want my children to enjoy the type of life we their parents enjoyed during our undergrad&grad school years. But… I do expect them to get scholarships and financial aid to pay for school and to work for their partying and vacationing (as both my husband and I did). BTW I live in Ithaca and I’m with you… it is truly a beautiful place.

  • http://annadonahue.blogspot.com Artdog

    As a working artist I tell all young artists NOT to go to a fine arts college because all they will learn is useless philosophy about art and become teachers to disseminate the same useless info.

  • Anonymous

    My kids might go to college, but only because it’s become the new high school diploma. If we’re still homeschooling, they are headed to community college about 16 (if they are ready) and earning uber cheap college credits. After that state u or literally the cheapest college that has a major of interest while they live at home. Done by 20/21 and ready for work. They can party on their own nickel when they leave home. We won’t be paying for a college “resort” for 4 years.

  • http://www.JimCockrum.com/ Jim Cockrum

    While college wasn’t a place where I lost my moral compass, it was a total waste of time and money. I wish I had those five years back. I’ve never worked so hard to get so little in return in my life and I got a “Information Systems” business degree (the “hottest” field of study in the business world in the early 90’s)! I honestly pity those with liberal arts degrees. What a scam 99% of those degrees are!

    For those that think you “need a degree to get certain jobs” I would reply that none of those jobs appeal to me. I make 10 times the money since I started my own business. Leaving the rat race was the best career decision I ever made. My kids will only get help from me for college if they go into a medical field and I’m praying they don’t.

  • Leeroy

    Altucher you are an idiot, your ramblings are annoying and a waste of time. Get a life.

  • Mrs100fires

    8. Getting your degree in something that you actually don’t use in the real world. Doesn’t it just suck after you have spent so much time and money in school, you now can’t find a job you got your degree in. Now you must go find another job just to pay for all those school loans. Then you enjoy your new job and realize that you didn’t even need the degree in the first place.

  • Zack

    I agree with you and thank you for saying it. It is a very expensive piece of paper that may or may not get into a good job. Right now in America, we are over educated and under paid. Most parents are spending well over 100k for four years of college and their child may start a job, if they are lucky at 35k per year. The years of college and career are over. Then the parents mortgage the home to send the child and the child must work to just afford some extra and they go into debt and then we add and add to the debt. The educational system is not what it was.
    I am a VP in the Financial Industry and have most of my college finished. I am married and have a 7 year old. I have recently gone back to school to finish my degree in History, here is the problem, I live in a state with college and educational budget cuts, so what are they cutting? College online courses and the liberal arts degrees. What is so sad about that for me is that I learned most everything in life I needed in liberal arts classes the classes they are keeping are financial and banking classes. That is wonderful except for one large issue, the classes they teach have nothing to do with the real world.
    My new teller supervisor was a honor student at a very popular and honorable college here in Commercial Finance. He did not know know what LTV; Loan to Value meant. That is unacceptable. I have taught him more about business in last six months then he learned in 4 years. That is crazy.
    The saddest part is that in our society we teach our children false hope for the future and a we are teaching them a dangerous lesson of “entitlement” . I did this so I get that attitude. That grows the need to prove that others are rich when they are not, “keeping up with the Jones”
    College needs to be a choice and experience should count more than a expensive piece of paper.

    To Ray22305: Wow, you went to state school and make 52k starting… that is great, too bad state school did not teach you humility and manners. Good luck maintaining your professionalism in the work place, if you cant contain yourself in a forum such as this, you are a very very lucky person indeed to have the job you have. I hope you get to keep it.

    • Nick21056

      Humility and manners?! These unprofessional bastards such as your self are also spewing unprofessional things but in the opposite direction. If someone opposes your thoughts, and this is more true on the internet because people cannot be held true to whatever they say, you have a right to stand up for your thoughts. Its sounds more like jealousy. I can tell this because you made a comment on your supervisor actually being dumber than you. It is clear you can’t stand the fact someone dumber than you is ahead of you but it is everywhere. You have more experience in the field so it is natural for you to know more. You are right he should still know his stuff but I gurantee you wish you were making his money and had gone to college instead of being below others of a lesser intelligence so you claim.

      • Fubar

        Is a “teller supervisor” above a VP? Doesn’t seem like that makes any sense. Actually most of what you say makes little sense. You seem like a lot of other parasitic types that exist to do little more than justify bad upper management.

        re: “they are keeping are financial and banking classes. That is wonderful except for one large issue, the classes they teach have nothing to do with the real world. ”

        A rational examination of the sociology of american education explains why the teaching of business is frequently so bad: meaningless education is meant to keep as many “socially unconnected” working people out of the upper realms of the middle class professions as possible.

        Entrepreneurs like the author of the article are allowed to make lots of money by playing in the gambling games of the investment industry, and then trying to create something more meaningful out of their lives by indulging in creative hobbies like writing, but make no mistake, they are never accepted by the real powers or “old money” as anything but what they really are – new rich (with limited power to alter real structural injustices).

        James Altucher is representative of a relatively small class of people that ultimately serve the (even smaller class of) ultrarich elites (and are amply rewarded), yet who have retained an awareness of something more deeply human and authentic from the past. Mr. Altucher yearns to reconnect to those deeper meanings, but hasn’t completely connected his own (commendably honest) inner search with something larger to do with the eternal fight for social justice, truth, and so forth.

        To be fair, very little of such exists anymore. The relentless forces of conformity to corporatism are rapidly erasing any collective memory of what it took to get the hard won social justice that is being lost.

    • Fubar

      (Disinformocracy)

      re: “Right now in America, we are over educated and under paid.”

      Ok, but isn’t a lot of it the educational equivalent of junk food? Empty intellectual calories?

      Anyone that seriously challenges the social and economic inequalities of american state-capitalism is just marginalized and mostly ignored. Even the far left, “progressives”, etc., long ago gave up the idea that they could do much of anything to cause deep change other than throw dust up in little corners that no one cares much about.

      http://www.well.com/~hlr/vcbook/vcbook10.html

      excerpt:

      The Virtual Community: Chapter Ten: Disinformocracy
      By Howard Rheingold


      The Selling of Democracy: Commodification and the Public Sphere

      There is an intimate connection between informal conversations, the kind that take place in communities and virtual communities, in the coffee shops and computer conferences, and the ability of large social groups to govern themselves without monarchs or dictators. This social-political connection shares a metaphor with the idea of cyberspace, for it takes place in a kind of virtual space that has come to be known by specialists as the public sphere.

      Here is what the preeminent contemporary writer about the public sphere, social critic and philosopher Jurgen Habermas, had to say about the meaning of this abstraction:

      By “public sphere,” we mean first of all a domain of our social life in which such a thing as public opinion can be formed. Access to the public sphere is open in principle to all citizens. A portion of the public sphere is constituted in every conversation in which private persons come together to form a public. They are then acting neither as business or professional people conducting their private affairs, nor as legal consociates subject to the legal regulations of a state bureaucracy and obligated to obedience. Citizens act as a public when they deal with matters of general interest without being subject to coercion; thus with the guarantee that they may assemble and unite freely, and express and publicize their opinions freely.

      … But brute totalitarian seizure of communications technology is not the only way that political powers can neutralize the ability of citizens to talk freely.

      [—>] It is also possible to alter the nature of discourse by inventing a kind of paid fake discourse.

      If a few people have control of what goes into the daily reporting of the news, and those people are in the business of selling advertising, all kinds of things become possible for those who can afford to pay.

      Habermas had this to say about the corrupting influence of ersatz public opinion:

      Whereas at one time publicness was intended to subject persons or things to the public use of reason and to make political decisions subject to revision before the tribunal of public opinion,

      [] today it has often enough already been enlisted in the
      [] aid of the secret policies of interest groups;

      The idea that public opinion can be manufactured and the fact that electronic spectacles can capture the attention of a majority of the citizenry damaged the foundations of democracy.

      Public opinion, in terms of its very idea, can be formed only if a public that engages in rational discussion exists.

      The public sphere and democracy were born at the same time, from the same sources. Now that the public sphere, cut off from its roots, seems to be dying, democracy is in danger, too.

      The concept of the public sphere as discussed by Habermas and others includes

      [] several requirements for authenticity

      that people who live in democratic societies would recognize: open access, voluntary participation, participation outside institutional roles, the generation of public opinion through assemblies of citizens who engage in rational argument, the freedom to express opinions, and the freedom to discuss matters of the state and criticize the way state power is organized. Acts of speech and publication that specifically discuss the state are perhaps the most important kind protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and similar civil guarantees elsewhere in the world. Former Soviets and Eastern Europeans who regained it after decades of censorship offer testimony that the most important freedom of speech is the freedom to speak about freedoms.

      … the birth of advertising and the beginnings of the public-relations industry began to undermine the public sphere by inventing a kind of buyable and sellable phony discourse that displaced the genuine kind.

      Mass media’s colonization of civil society turned into a quasi-political campaign promoting technology itself when the image-making technology of television came along. (“Progress is our most important product,” said General Electric spokesman Ronald Reagan, in the early years of television.)

      According to Habermas and others, the way the new media have been commoditized through this evolutionary process from hand-printed broadside to telegraph to penny press to mass media has led to the radical deterioration of the public sphere. The consumer society has become the accepted model both for individual behavior and political decision making. Discourse degenerated into publicity, and publicity used the increasing power of electronic media to alter perceptions and shape beliefs.

      Money plus politics plus network television equals an effective system. It works. When the same packaging skills that were honed on automobile tail fins and fast foods are applied to political ideas, the highest bidder can influence public policy to great effect.

      [—>] What dies in the process is the rational discourse at the base of civil society.

      That death manifests itself in longings that aren’t fulfilled by the right kind of shoes in this month’s color or the hot new prime-time candidate everybody is talking about. Some media scholars are claiming a direct causal connection between the success of commercial television and the loss of citizen interest in the political process.

  • jman34

    Your ignorance and stupidity amazes me. You based all your arguments on misfounded assumptions.

  • Bridget

    You got a scholarship to grad school dude, you sound like an idiot. How about you suggest that parents focus on their kids grades in high school, send their kids to schools where they can get scholarships, and then not have to worry about all the other bull shit you just spewed. Also, I went to college, and if you are a dumb ass that ONLY wants to drink and have sex then pretty much anything you do in those four years might be a waste of time. However, if like the majority of us that went to college you figure out how to balance having fun and going to class, network and meet a few people worth your time, get some internships, then college becomes infinitely more valuable. Last time I checked we need doctors and dentists, optometrists and accountants, and I am not sure who you go to operate on you, clean your teeth, prescribe your glasses or do your taxes but I am almost certain you didn’t hire them cause they skipped college. Maybe if you want to spout bull shit on blogs then college aint for you. Sounds like a plan.

  • Bridget

    And please stop with the extraordinary stories people; these I know a guy that has six degrees but he’s homeless or look at Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. You are not Steve Jobs any more than you are Michael Jordan. There will always be exceptions to any rule and there will always be awesome people that can hustle no matter what the circumstance. But for the vast majority of us, the great jobs require a frickin education and hell, now, even the mediocre jobs do. You know how to grind and work your way up, awesome, I’m proud of you, you made it even without a degree. But who is to say that you wouldn’t be even further if you had gotten one. And who is to say that that homeless guy wouldn’t still be homeless with his PhD or without it.

  • CM

    Hey James many of your posts are really thoughtful and appreciated. This one feels like you are beating a dead horse.

  • Boiler1982

    You are an idiot. $100,000 to $200,000 per year for college. Why not go to a state school? they cost much less than 100k. Purdue and Indiana cost approximately $17k-25K for tuition, room, board books. Even Northwestern, Note Dame or Vanderbilt shows average price of $50k-60K per year.

  • Lee-Ann

    I’ve been looking into – gasp! – art school for my daughter. Thing is, she’s a very talented artist, but I think she will need polishing and connections to get anywhere. As a graduate of a four-year university art program, I found that I was very unprepared to actually work in my field, and took many years and a lot of initiative to even have a mediocre career. I’m hoping at least if she goes to a school that has a history of producing quality work, that values students with her interests, she will have a leg up. She is going to take a year off between high school and college (and will work, or out on the street). She has to pay for her own college, too. I don’t know how all that will work out, but I’m pretty sure that given who she is, if she just left high school without a good education in a money-generating field in which she has a strong interest, she would drift for years on minimum wage. Probably would draw lots of pretty pictures, but might have no idea how to make money with her talent.

    • Lee-Ann

      Oh, yeah, and she’s very straight. Never dated, anti-drug, anti-drinking. I expect she’ll loosen up a little in college, but if she turns into a party girl, I’d be very surprised.

  • Nitrog100

    I kind of agree. It all depends on what you want to do in life. If you are the kind of person destined to be a doctor/lawyer/scientist type, by all means, go to college. If you are an artist/musician/writer, don’t waste your money. We’ve all had the go-to-college drilled into our skulls, when not everyone really needs to.

  • David

    I object to some of the arguments posed, here, particularly those about students’ behavior and being “told” what to think by professors. Sure, some students are stuck in a post high school “daze”, and others don’t critically examine the material presented to them in class, but to claim the entire college population is represented by either group is inaccurate. Offensive, even.

    I do think, however, it’s good to question our assumptions about college. I don’t think it necessarily equals success in “the real world”. I do believe that a high degree is often a prerequisite to certain jobs in today’s society, to borrow that tired mantra. Not everyone is Bill Gates.

    Anyway, an interesting article!

    • Fubar

      re: “to claim the entire college population is represented by either group is inaccurate. Offensive, even.”

      yes, but that is not what the article actually says, is it?

      colleges/universities are increasingly run and operated by people with vacant morals. in other words, they imitate corporations, avoid accountability, and are risk averse, dysfunctional postmodern bureacuracies run to the rules of “style over substance”.

      the lack of compassion, spiritual insight and happiness at colleges, and the increase of “stress” for college students are things that are being absorbed by students, sometimes consciously, sometimes subconsciously. those students will go into the real world prepared to be useful serfs to corporate overlords.

      “bye, bye.” democracy and freedom in a culture that refuses to fight against such tyranny.

      democracy and freedom are dying a “thousand educational cuts”.

      is it really worth the social cost to perpetuate the idiocy of the “necessity of college” any longer?

      the human reality is that colleges/universities are run with an appalling lack of accountability to society.

      no human group will remain uncorrupted under such a lack of accountability.

      a society that allows its educators to become crass swindlers is heading for very deep trouble.

  • Steven

    You may have 10 (or 7) reasons for not going to college, but the next guy might have 20 reasons why you SHOULD.

    I am of the opinion that it’s definitely a case by case basis. Some people do not have the drive to go to college and be successful. Others have ENOUGH drive that they don’t need to go to college.

    You know what most people get out of graduating from college? A big stamp on their resume that says, “I am capable of learning.” Without that stamp, some people are never given a chance in the professional world.

    • Katia

      Precisely. I’ll never use the education I got (note: friends don’t let friends major in Communications unless those friends really really want to go into PR. It is NOT “so broad you can use it for anything!” Ha), but I have that piece of paper that is required for so many jobs. It’s like credit cards…you may not REALLY need it, but not having it will make your life more difficult so you’re just going to have to shell out.

      • bones

        shelling out for a credit card is a bit less costly (int ime and money) than ‘shelling out’ for 3+ years for a college degree. You can learn so much more if you vary your experiences in a way you simply can’t living in a college dorm.

      • Sam

        So what you’re saying is, you’re glad you paid God knows how much money, for a piece of paper?

        • Jesse

          To be fair, he paid for a large piece of paper with many smaller green pieces of paper.

        • Ty

          He paid a lot of money for a piece of paper, and extensive knowledge in a given subject.

        • Georgia Sand

          Yeah. Too bad you can’t get a reciept if it doesn’t work and get back the money.

      • Jim

        Statistics say that the average time it takes for someone laid-off to find a new job is 8 months for those wihtout a degree and only 4 months for those with a degree.  Also, think about the extra 4 months without a job will do to your self-esteem and credit rating.   The unemployment rate for those with a degree is a few points lower. So, for me at least, a degree is worth it.

    • Cotchdc

      I couldn’t agree more with Steven and I find the article absurd. I’m a CPA and without a college education I couldn’t have even sat for the exam, much less had a chance of passing it! Believe, me I did more than my fair share of partying in school, but I also found time to study, make good grades, and most importantly, mature as an adult. Having said that, I also agree that college isn’t for everyone, but then again that balance is what makes the world go round.

      • Chrisoanderson

        You are an exception in that your profession might need a degree to pass your state exams. However in Texas, one can just pass it and become a CPA. Also the Bar Exam. I know two lawyers who never went to school. Just pass the bar and hang your shingle. They do very well and hire these college grads. Most students never finish college. They drop out and have debt that takes 20 years to pay off.

      • Chrisoanderson

        You are an exception in that your profession might need a degree to pass your state exams. However in Texas, one can just pass it and become a CPA. Also the Bar Exam. I know two lawyers who never went to school. Just pass the bar and hang your shingle. They do very well and hire these college grads. Most students never finish college. They drop out and have debt that takes 20 years to pay off.

      • Chrisoanderson

        You are an exception in that your profession might need a degree to pass your state exams. However in Texas, one can just pass it and become a CPA. Also the Bar Exam. I know two lawyers who never went to school. Just pass the bar and hang your shingle. They do very well and hire these college grads. Most students never finish college. They drop out and have debt that takes 20 years to pay off.

    • Fubar

      what you really mean is:

      | You know what most people get out of graduating from college? A big stamp on their resume
      | that says, “I am capable of uncritically accepting conformism to the demands of authority
      | figures.” Without that stamp, some people are never given a chance in the professional
      | world.

      • Ai

        omg I so glad you said it.

      • jake

        I fail to see why it is currently fashionable to rebel against conformism. To put it kindly there have been over a 100 billion people that have ever lived. Chances are you and most other people are in no way special.
        Now a days everyone just wants to be a “special snowflake”. The simple fact is you’re not and never will be.

    • Fubar

      what you really mean is:

      | You know what most people get out of graduating from college? A big stamp on their resume
      | that says, “I am capable of uncritically accepting conformism to the demands of authority
      | figures.” Without that stamp, some people are never given a chance in the professional
      | world.

    • Edith Esquivel

      It’s called “schooling discrimination”. It’s like any other type of discrimination: biased and untrue.

  • Nick21056

    Okay hopefully this could end a debate or two. Here are some facts.

    1. College, like most of anything today, is corrupted and is pretty much a scam.

    2. So why go. Because no matter how stupid it is, it is a fact that having a college degree helps you get a job.

    3. I planned on ending it there but here’s another fact to duel upcoming replies. I don’t care how many people you know who haven’t gone to college and are making $60,000 a year. You didn’t say anything about what they do and how long they’ve been in their field. Like that on person who talked about her friend making $70,000 in real-estate after working 18 years. That’s a long-ass time for one(or sub. a then sub. b?). And for two I gurantee you that if a college graduate applied for the same job as someone who didn’t have tons of experience in the field already that the college graduate would get the jb.

  • Katherine2264

    I’ve read a few of your articles, and my ultimate conclusion is that you are an embittered little man faced with the possibility of paying for your kids to go to college. It must finally be that time for your family, and the prospect of shelling out that kind of cash is sending you into a self-righteous rant against the entire institution. Suck it up and pay for it, you cheap bastard.

  • Nick21056

    Honestly if you really wanted to go to college do good in highschool(3.5GPA) and make a 30 on the act or the SAT equivalent. Doing so can earn you good scholarships and get you into a a state college.

  • CM

    I got around to reading some of the at least 3 posts on this topic. It seems like a straw man type setup where most people I know do not take absolutist positions and do not say ‘College is holy and the gospel compels it’ or anything like that, but you pick out the ones who do and tilt against those windmills.

    I also find it interesting in this post that you described some negative comments coming from where the elite post their thoughts– that’s very ironic coming from a hedge fund manager who has made more money than most of the other posters will every see in their lifetimes or several generations of their families’ lifetimes. You are the elite, not that there is anything wrong with that– but you raised the issue. I see this as more of making humorous ( and I find them all humorous), and yes they are all partially true, or true for many people– but not everyone. I think the bottom line and it seems this is at the basis of your harping on this topic is that college is indeed way too expensive and given the cost may not be worth it. Then again that is a moot point for the elite who can afford it for their kids such as yourself (i have lost track of the millions you have made and lost and made again, but it sounds like you are doing ok now– i certainly hope you are. btw those were great posts on those topics).

    For many college may very well be their only ticket to a better life and a better paying job, to escape their small town and broaden their horizons. Not everyone of course (anyone can take anything potentially good for granted and not get anything out of it), but it has obviously helped many. Many have done it on scholarships. I think traveling the world can also be a very educational experience as you raised in your alternatives to college article, but i imagine it is more difficult to get funding for having some nice world travel. Perhaps you could do commendable volunteer work for the Peace Corps, etc., but you may or may not travel to where you would like and perhaps you would have an educational experience that helps you more than a college education stationed in a single random country or not. I knew someone from a family that worked for the airlines and could literally fly anywhere for free for years. Visited more countries than anyone i know. Hated them all. Just like college, world travel is not a cure-all for educating a person who is not receptive, which is how you describe partying college kids. Just substitute partying world traveler, partying person who starts a failed business, etc.

    Just to quickly go down some of your points, which i realize in large part are meant to be funny and not literal (maybe).

    1) You ripped off the ‘put coins in the jar, then take them out’ from an ancient joke on the first year of marriage, and converted that to a college joke. Social life can be very good at college. Many people who grow up in areas where the people in town are 97% of one ethnicity and their very first exposure to people of other races or backgrounds was in college. And again, these were poor kids who could not get funding for world travel as a substitute.

    2) Learning by doing, instead of…being taught? Even your tennis example fails. What if the kid in his hometown has no one to show him how to play tennis? Tennis is hard to play alone. I tried it, hitting against a wall. Not the same. What if he lives in a town without a public swimming pool and wants to be a champion swimmer and no one will sponsor him? What if a small town kid wants to learn fencing in a local school system with no fencing? What is he wants to be a radio dj in a town without a radio station? I completely agree that a ton of students blow off college and get little out of it. That doesn’t mean every student does. The answer is obviously a balance of the two. There are some rare people who have taught themselves martial arts just by reading books, but it certainly helps to have a real sensei teach you and have people to practice with. You can read all the great philosophy books in the world at your public library– does that mean you understand them in a vacuum, going home and talking about what you just read to your dog? I enjoy your blogs and find many of them to have some very wise, philosophical aspects– but i guess all that is already out there in the world for us to discover (maybe it is). So why even read the books, if you want to take your point down that road? Why learn the rules of tennis– just get a racket and some tennis balls if you can afford them and access to a tennis court and just bang away. Or just hit them into the ocean. There’s a certain absurdity to this point, if you think learning is triggering some Platonic ideals within your head and you don’t need anything but yourself. I get the point that just reading some books on tennis is cheaper than taking tennis lessons or learning in college, but it’s not the same thing. You have probably been helped by more people than you will ever know in your life and you probably cover that in another blog, just as your blogs have helped others. I know a lot of people who have said ‘that professor changed my life,’ etc.

    I completely agree private colleges in particular are way too expensive and without scholarships are becoming only affordable by the wealthy, but that’s another moot point then isn’t it, along with the alternatives of giving one’s kids 10s of thousands for world travel or starting a business as a substitute? What if those alternatives for the wealthy fail? Off to college, or just be a wealthy slacker at home?

  • Dania

    I really enjoyed your “10 Reason’s (7) they were very funny and I agree with what you said ,” I even worked up the courage to post it on my “Facebook” wall .I know I’m going to get alot of angry relative’s ,but the reality is that here in the U.S ,that’s how it is. Truth is if you want a B.A you have to go to college or a M.A you have to go to a University just don’t have to spend all this crazy amount of money. I have 3 kid’s and they have been working since they were 16 and in high school . They make and spend there own money and have learned a whole lot more about finances just trying to keep their track of their money and paying their own bill’s . This year they will be starting their first year of college ,since they will be paying their classes ans book’s and have filed for FAFSA ,but they’re taking to long ,they have the freedom and the finances to pay the cost and that alone is something they can appreciate and be proud of . I will be passing on this message because it’s the truth and I love how honest you were for taking the step to clarify and bring to light the reality of University Life/College Life. Thank’s ,D

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QAQZQ63L26FNAGYSOUBIL6XXIQ kjp712

    Going to College is the old Paradigm.The Road to Riches is either a cooking show or designing a new app for the I-Phone.

  • Dani

    I think it’s funny and everybody know’s that you need a degree to have a B.A M.A PHD M.D ,but you can still get a job without one . I know a gardener who make’s more money than some people I know who have University education’s ,it’s sad and uncomfortable ,but true. Who do we blame?

  • Educated

    this article is complete and utter crap

  • ML

    wow…i was actually considering maybe that there are good reasons to not go to college. I am for kids going to college. I have a B.A. and am currently getting my masters and thought that this would be an informative read. It was not, it was complete and utter BULLSHIT. College for some is about sex, drugs, partying etc…for some not all. Those kids usually do not make it through the 4yrs much less become very successful in life. I hope that if you have kids one day they choose not to listen to you and go to college and learn and become successful. A high school education in today’s society will not get you very far. You get out of your education what you put into it. I hope no high school senior reads this and actually takes your bs advice.

    • Fubar

      re: “I hope no high school senior reads this and actually takes your bs advice. ”

      The irony is that public education, where almost 100% of the workers have “college degrees”, has a giant failure rate.

      Something like 30% of kids do not graduate (from these places run 100% by people with “college degrees”) by the time they are 18.

      Innovators and reformers are driven (usually viciously) out of public education by most of the 100% of workers with “college degrees”.

      Bill Gates has given away $100s of millions to start innovative charter schools. They take the kids from the “worst” getto/rural communities and raise their academic performance *above* the average white suburban school in a short time.

      People with “college degrees” are narrowminded, backward and foolish, yet, somehow incredibly arrogant.

      The educational establishment is corrupt, dysfunctional and should be dismantled ASAP.

    • Fubar

      re: “I hope no high school senior reads this and actually takes your bs advice. ”

      The irony is that public education, where almost 100% of the workers have “college degrees”, has a giant failure rate.

      Something like 30% of kids do not graduate (from these places run 100% by people with “college degrees”) by the time they are 18.

      Innovators and reformers are driven (usually viciously) out of public education by most of the 100% of workers with “college degrees”.

      Bill Gates has given away $100s of millions to start innovative charter schools. They take the kids from the “worst” getto/rural communities and raise their academic performance *above* the average white suburban school in a short time.

      People with “college degrees” are narrowminded, backward and foolish, yet, somehow incredibly arrogant.

      The educational establishment is corrupt, dysfunctional and should be dismantled ASAP.

  • Pawmatched

    Lame reasons and stupid satire to go with it… I am impressed that you have a job writing these articles. Then again you write about things that will piss people off, and we end up reading it. Like a fly to a turd.

  • Soontobegraduate

    “Your kids will have sex!” is cited as a “good reason” to not go to college 3 times… It sounds like the author’s more scared of his daughters eventually growing up and leaving their bedrooms than the college environment specifically. Here’s a secret, parents: college or no, we have sex anyway. If college was the only place sex happened, there would be no high school dropout parents.

  • halo

    what about the fact that it takes a degree to be competitive in today’s market?

    • Fubar

      what about the fact that the increase in influence and power of (what passes for) the educational establishment directly correlates with the decline of society?

      most of the people running universities simply want to imitate and parrot the decadence of their corporate plutocrat-kleptocrat buddies.

      of course they pay lip service to public service, but in reality they do not give a sh*t about middle class, working, or poor people when it comes to actually making any real sacrifices themselves:

      http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_17027333?source=pkg&nclick_check=1

      excerpt:

      UC leaders stand firm against threatened pension lawsuit
      By Laurel Rosenhall
      Sacramento Bee
      Posted: 01/06/2011 01:20:52 PM PST
      Updated: 01/06/2011 01:20:52 PM PST

      Dec 30:
      Fisher: UC execs try to squeeze more from fragile pension fundDec 29:
      UC executives threaten lawsuit over pension benefitsUniversity of California leaders on Thursday made their strongest statement yet in response to the revelation last week that 36 highly paid executives threatened to sue UC unless their pensions are increased.

  • john

    You will get out of college whatever you put in. If you cheat and just go to college to relax then yes it is a waste of time. But if instead of just immediately joining the crowd of cheaters you work hard to bring that first C- into a higher grade than you can a lot out of college. Your assuming a large amount in this article.

  • rebecca

    would you still recommend no college for not beginners in life 18yr. olds but instead mid 20-30 yr. old single parents or is there a better way short of a degree to land not a “job” but something you would be happy & wanting to do but not allowed without a degree.

  • john

    There is a nice trend in your writing. You write controversial pieces (don’t buy a house, don’t go to college), to get published. Here is another alternative to your article on alternatives to college; sell out early to earn money.

    • Fubar

      re: “sell out early to earn money”

      ummmm …. people were doing exactly that -especially in america- a very long time before the modern myth of the “necessity” of a college education was foisted on society.

      furthermore, you will not find any lack of “sell outs” amongst those that run colleges. or willing conformist “followers” of that mentality that work for them.

      the closer one examines how educational “managers” operate in the real world, the more one realizes the magnitude of both their operational incompetence and their excellence at public relations scams and swindles.

  • Jrsousa2

    This guy looks like an idiot trying to prove us that 2+2 is not four. You can argue in favor of just anything under the sun, even the most absurd things, so let’s let him exercise his right to advocate utter BS.
    Everything can be reasoned, that’s the ambiguity of human thinking.

  • Fuzzyelephants

    You really want to make money… screw college and get a hands on job fixing sh!t that breaks often but is deemed mandatory to society. Prime example- my brother makes around 50k a year changing lightbulbs in retail stores. While his job is a bit more complex than that, he’s never been to college or even a vocational school. He started out a few years back as an electrictian’s helper and worked his way up. He’s also never been afraid to quit a sh!t job with no advancement oportunities and he’s never been unemployed for more than afew days.

    If you want a recession proof job that pays good without having to go to college then roll up your sleeves and prepare to get your hands dirty. Become a plumber. Regardless of how technologically advanced we become people will alway have to do their ‘business’ somewhere.

    As for those of you who feel the need to hold a degree consider this. A simple google search can lead you to a free online video lecture from a top college on just about any subject in a matter of minutes. Did I mention that’s free? Most pre-req classes can be tested out of using CLEP (again, google it). CLEP testing isn’t free but the $80 (or whatever the current testing fee is) is still a hell of a lot cheaper than a semester of college. Thirdly there’s this awesome building downtown called a library. It has all these books in it, like thousands of book, on every topic imaginable, and you can barrow them, and so long as you bring them back on time you don’t have to pay anything- ever. So while I won’t say there’s no reason for anyone to ever go to college… there’s no reason to assume the only way to a college education is in an over priced classroom.

  • Elenaripley

    These are the 7-supposed-to-be-10 reasons not to go to an AMERICAN COLLEDGE. This whole idea of living on a campus away from home for the first time in your life when you still have the brains and life experience the size of a peanut would never do anyone any good. Not all countires have on-campus living for students.

    There’s nothing wrong with higher education as a concept. You wouldn’t want to be treated by a doctor who didn’t even go to med school or trust a solicitor to draw your prenup if he didn’t go to law school. Life experience can only get you so far. I mean, you know, we now know what DNA is, can get to a nearest town in less than three weeks and don’t die of a papercut thanks to antibiotics. I personally love all these little modern luxuries and they were all invented or discovered by somebody who’d gone to a colledge of some sort.

    Having said that, if I was an American parent, I’d think a million times before sending my child hundreds of miles away from home to live unsupervised among some imbecils whether I can afford it or not.

  • Peter versus Pan

    There are people who CAN think. We didn’t learn it at college.

    And there are people who CAN’T. They need college to learn to fake it. School used to suffice for this, but like Scientology the educational establishment has figured out ways of increasing the cost.

    EVERY stable institution will act in such a way as to perpetuate its own existence (if wouldn’t be stable otherwise) and to promote its growth. The chief function of college (school) is indoctrination in the supposed necessity of college (school). Since so many people can’t think and go to college (school) to learn to fake it, repeating the myth that college (school) is necessary (useful) is easy to teach.

    • Fubar

      You have described the Road to Serfdom very well.

      When a society so confuses the reward of good with the punishment of bad, the outcome can’t be anything but corruption.

  • Bleak

    College itself may not be that great, but no real employer of something like NASA or a computer technology company is going to hire you just because you’re smart. You’ll need college degrees. They’re not just going to say, “Oh, well, you never went to college, but you got all A+s in elementary school, so you’re in!” HIS kids might not have to go to college b/c he makes so much money writing these stupid articles, but I need to go to college to become what I want to be.

    • Fubar

      From what I can tell, James Altucher makes a lot of money because he is an entrepreneur. Formal education in america is about conformism. Conformism is not what makes for entrepreneurial success.

      Most of what is wrong with america is a function of too much conformism.

      At some point, people will realize that there is a direct relationship between the breakdown of society and the spread of corrupted educational bureaucracy.

      Again, in the 1840s, Alexis de Tocqueville predicted with uncanny accuracy that america would become a “weak and servile” nation because democracy would become corrupted by a people that both hate centralized government powers, and are dependent on such centralization.

      The educational establishment plays a central role in putting the forces of corruption in motion.

      It has a huge incentive to ensure that “edducated stupidity” prevails.

  • Kthom

    I do think it is a great idea for kids to take some time before they go to college to figure out what they really want to do with their life. I think AmeriCorps is a great mechanism for this. But I have to say my college experience was nowhere near what you have described, I did not have sex with strangers, I did not do drugs, I did not relax and sleep a lot. I did study, a lot, I played soccer, I worked, I did job shadowing and internships, and of course I made some great friends I am still very close to. Overall, I acquired the experience I needed to get a scholarship and research assistanceship to go to graduate school. And now I have a job in my field, aquatic biology, I could not do without the knowledge and experience I acquired in college and graduate school. I went to a state school and came out with about $20,000 in loans. I did a year of AmeriCorps to reduce that amount somewhat and I will have my loans paid off in a about 5 years. Was it worth it – without a doubt!

    Should every high school graduate go to college, no. But every high school graduate should think about the career path they would like to take and should do what is necessary to make that happen, that may mean college, technical school, or getting to work straight away. But to say college is right for no one, that is just as crazy as saying everyone should go to a four year college.

    • Fubar

      re: “But to say college is right for no one, that is just as crazy as saying everyone should go to a four year college.”

      Yes, but that isn’t what the article actually, says.

      there are very few jobs in aquatic biology.

      you could have learned almost everything you need to do your job for far less if the educational system was more efficient, and better integrated with the “real world”.

      do people realize how much of their college/university education is subsidized by society?

      do people realize how utterly unaccountable colleges/universities are to society?

      do people realize how distant from the cutting edge of social evolution most of the people that teach in colleges are?

  • Just This Guy, y’know?

    Since we’re talking about personal experiences here, let me give you mine.

    Number of times I had sex in college: zero (weird, huh? Must’ve been all that time I spent learning, studying, reading, and working to pay my way through, although I did go on a few dates and basked in the attention of girls in study sessions)

    Amount of money I had to borrow to make it through: $18,000 (yes, it took me a while to pay it off, but here I am now, free of my debt and quite pleased that I am. That money was well-spent because I know without doubt that the perspectives and knowledge that I obtained in my college days could not have been obtained out here in the libraries and media)

    Number of times I did something that would be considered illegal: zero (didn’t cheat on my tests, hell, I even tutored a few folks so they could pass theirs, didn’t do any drugs, didn’t steal anything or deface anything or conspire to overthrow the government. And yet, I still managed to have a good time, having a drink in a campus bar between classes and getting into arguments over how the world worked)

    Number of things I did that I couldn’t have done elsewhere: lots (I became a member of student government and discovered just how much I cannot stand being a public servant. I discovered I really didn’t want to become a journalist, sparing me another career misstep, while reinforcing the fact that I love to write and think critically. I realized that yes, I am pretty intelligent and obliged to use this brain of mine to improve myself and others. I acted in a two-man show and revelled in being the focus of an audience and the recipient of applause. And I did several other things that I won’t list here because you probably don’t want to hear it. But they did happen. I should know. I was there)

    So was college a good thing for me? I’d have to say yes. Granted, I didn’t have the cliched, made-for-TV-and-movies experience that you seem to fear, but I didn’t mind. Do I think it was good for others? Since about ten thousand people were attending the same place at the time and quite a few are now in positions of power and wealth, I’d have to argue yes. I know I wouldn’t be where I am if I’d stayed in the workforce.

    Oh, one other thing. I find it utterly hilarious that you think Yahoo message boards is where the elite post their thoughts. C’mon, really? Have you read some of the insanity on those boards? Heh heh.

  • Jcb30093

    I agree with just about everything you said…I was a “non-traditional” student and have a daughter who will be making her post-high school decision next year. The last year has been eye-opening. Bless you.

  • http://twitter.com/learncreativity Franis Engel

    Send your kid to a thinking course with Edward de Bono, grandfather of teaching thinking as a skill since 1960. Much cheaper and much more effective than college.
    Then send them to apprentice with someone who is doing what it is they want to do. Pay that person to teach the kid, it will also be quite a bit cheaper.
    Get the kid away from their country of origin. Traveling helps attitude problems, arrogance and stupidity.

  • Ldb75281

    My husband got an entry level job in IT right out of college. He made so little money that for days before his next paycheck he ate ice cream for dinner. He went to work every day, didn’t call in sick or stay home when it snowed. He goes in early, stays late, answers emails and phone calls at night, on weekends and while on vacation. He worked hard and survived several company layoffs and even a merger with another major company. He has been at this job for 30 years now and didn’t make over 100K until after about 20 years but he still has a job with good benefits and retirement is now on the horizon. A college degree will get you in the door. What you do when you get there will determine your success. If you are lazy, complain, are late, take days off and have an attitude of entitlement you will not go very far regardless of how many degrees you have. Same holds true for those that KNOW the right person. Yes, that helps to get you the job but only your hard work and dedication will help you to keep the job and to succeed.

  • Michael

    I completely disagree with this, at a certain point in your life you will hit a brick wall when employers ask, “I see you don’t have a degree”. Top management positions require a degree, in my current field, and economy, I have hit a brick wall since I didn’t go to college. I have been told multiple times, “your credentials are great and your exactly the kind of person we would like to hire, but management positions require a degree.”
    Also I have gone back to school and 90% of the people in my classes spend their weekends and nights studying, and working, to barley make a 3.0, I don’t see where they have the time to experiment with drugs, or alcohol.

    • Fubar

      re: “your credentials are great and your exactly the kind of person we would like to hire, but management positions require a degree.”

      That statement cleary describes an incredibly stupid situation, and a form of bigotry.

      Such is what so many “educated” people perpetuate: educated stupidity. inefficiency. waste. and eventually: corruption.

      Consider that colleges are mostly run by people with many advanced degrees. You will most likely not find more poorly managed organizations than colleges/universities.

      The people running universities are not satisfied with being vastly over-credentialed themselves, they have now decided that they have to imitate corrupt corporations and demand bloated salaries and ego gratification/status. They have no respect for working people, on the contrary. They will viciously attack anyone that dares to point out their hypocrisy.

      There is almost no ethnical/moral foundation to the behavior of most of the adults who run colleges – and it is exactly the lack of such that is the social “model” that most young students absorb in college.

      Why does society support and revere institutions that are so deeply mired in organizational dysfunction? Why is there no accountability?

      Because people have been brainwashed into believing in a scam and a swindle.

      If you carefully examine the real history and sociology of education, it becomes apparent that it became more corrupt as the importance of college education was overinflated by people with specific agendas.

      College/university has become both the symbol of meaninglessness and narcissism, as well as a respository of the forces that create such.

      The practical/technical forms of education that are necessary for society (medical, accounting, law, engineering, etc.) could much more efficiently and effectively be carried out by entrepeneurs in real world settings.

      Colleges are temples in which worship of false ideas and beliefs takes place.

      • Michael

        I agree with your comment, still the system requires a degree, so I am going to grab a degree and move on with life. Really a degree is only 4 years of my time, and in my degree field you actually do learn something from school.

  • DavidLex

    I did all of what was stated my first year of college.
    Then, I dropped out and joined the Marine Corps, because I needed someone to put a boot in my rear and teach me discipline..
    Years later after working as a carpenter for a few years (which I still love doing), I went to a tech school for 8 months, left with just a certificate.
    I went to the Tech school to learn, not socialize or make friends, and I busted my butt to learn what I was being taught.
    I have been a successful programmer since then (12 years).
    I started out making 30K a year. Within 2 years that was 45K. Another year & a half later, I was being hired as a consultant for $65/hr. Never made less than $60/hr, so far haven’t topped $75/hr.
    I’m not ‘rich’ by perhaps some American standards, but absolutely rich compared to the majority of the world.
    I’ll most likely never be a big time CEO making millions, nor do I ever care to be one.
    I can earn a very good living and live a good life, providing well for my family and being charitable as well.
    I enjoy my work, and my line of work is FLOODED with uber cheap workers from India – some worth their salt, the majority not.
    Yet I still have work, and do not sell myself out for peanuts.
    The VAST majority of people I work with have degrees, often multiple, and guess what?
    It is ME they come to when it comes to practical project implementation and how to actually get the job done – and others like me (I am certainly not the apex of programmers) who work hard and aren’t reliant on a degree.
    Little old certificate but not degree having me.
    Because in the real world of programming, all those theories and example situations get tossed right in the toilet.
    There is rarely a text book problem, but rather how in the world did that happen real life problems – and you MUST handle them without a professor holding your hand, or having the definitive guidebook to not thinking for yourself to browse through.
    College had nothing to do with it, reading, training myself and working hard at my profession – and lots of grace from God – is what made me successful.
    To be fair, some of the most astute people I ever worked with have degrees – but they also already knew more than their professors when it came to real life work.
    They were and are lifetime self learners and disciplined people.
    College: a great way to start life late, buried in debt from the start, and still unprepared for the real world.

  • Sparkletorch

    When my son graduated from high school in 2008, I had just finished paying off my student loans (graduate and undergraduate) the year before. I cannot tell you the burden these payments were to me over the years….

    He matriculated from an excellent technical high school with several certifications that would have enabled him to get a quite decent job for a 17 year old. Much to despair of his extended family, he refused to go to college. He went to live in the Czech Republic, and later moved to Vietnam. He is close to being completely fluent in Vietnamese, and can communicate on a basic level in several languages. He works teaching English and is working on a export business. It will likely not succeed, but he is indeed getting an invaluable education. At this time, most of his similarly aged cousins have degrees, if not advanced degrees, so everyone shakes their head in sorrow that my son is “uneducated.” I think it is important for people to do something they are passionate about. I have not seen where it works for people in the long run to pursue a career/education simply because they will be well compensated.

    The self made millionaires I know learned through lots of trying and failing. Failure is underrated as a life experience. They learned the lesson and tried again. I honestly don’t know anyone who has self-made a real fortune any other way.

    I thought that the article had a lot of merit, and enjoyed the dry humor. I work with people who have $20,000 + in student loans for a degree that got them a $12.00/hr. job. I know people with no formal education that are millionaires and people with advanced degrees who have done quite well, some not so much.

    I think the central point: that maybe a college education is not the holy grail- is worth considering. We are all unique creations and need to be discriminating in our choices.

    By the way, if anyone wants to hire a nice Jewish boy who is fluent in Vietnamese, please contact me…

  • The Great Gazoo

    Im the guy who never went to college, learned everything about cars and homes, along with so many other interests. I own my home (no more payments), I built my own solar panels and changed all my utilities to electric. Not counting the car, i live on $400 a month and that includes taxes. I make only $14 an hour but i have $300 a week left over to do what i please. I have NO credit cards, and NO loans. I dont live like a poor man by any means. I live life within my means. I dont need a lamborghini or a big boat. But im on 5 wooded acres butted up to state forest. NO COLLEGE HERE!!! It all depends on how you spend your time, and what you want to do as far as a career goes.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C3YKADIR6M2OIHLKOLNYR4XY4E Rachell

    My mother keeps hounding me to go back to school and get a BS. I keep refusing. She refuses to listen to my reason for not going; it’s pretty much the same reason this blog entry gives: MONEY! I refuse to spend nearly $100k on an useless education. In today’s economy jobs are scarce and kids coming out of colleges today aren’t getting jobs right away no matter what big degree they may have gotten. My mother wants to throw my brother’s education in my face: he has a Master’s in Electrical Engineering. He got it by having the Army pay for his college and what it didn’t pay he worked a full-time job to get. It was agony on my family the year he spent in Iraq. I couldn’t answer my phone until my mother told my answering machine she wasn’t calling to tell me he was hurt or dead. So not worth it! Mother doesn’t want to realize that not only do I not have my brother’s smarts or time but I also have something he doesn’t: kids. He was able to go to college full-time and work full-time because he didn’t have babies waking him up every two hours to get fed. Will my kids go to college? Not on my dime! I do have an Associates Degree which I earned completely online from my local community college. It’s in computer security and you’d think it’d get me a job in today’s techno-world. Nope. How’d I pay for it? Pell Grant. It paid everything and even helped me pay bills so I could just work part-time. Without the Pell I’d have never gone to college. College just isn’t worth what it used to be so if it’s this bad now I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like for my kids.

  • clmoses

    Too bad, I believe by next year the education loan debt will close to $1 trillion!!! I wonder that do we heard stories of people paying the loan completely.

  • SREngineer

    Wow – a real mix of flawed logic, and anecdotes here. I especially liked the hypothetical statistical study of the Harvard kids.. Or, how about this one, take 2000 kids who got accepted to ___ (insert average state university), and do that study for a number of schools. Chances are you’re going to see the complete opposite. I have a BS, and MS in Mech. Eng – and my undergrad or grad schooling was nothing like this guys.. I had to bust my butt in order to stay in school. And when I finished up, I learned critical thinking skills that I definitely didn’t have. you can hand an engineer any open ended problem, and he can come up with something reasonable because of his schooling – good luck getting that from a kid who skips college. As for being rich – I’m not, but I am comfortable. I always laugh when people say I’m rich – I think it just boils down to people think they have more money than they really have. The recession never really hit me (asides from dips in my 401K accounts). I didn’t change my spending habits. I still took a number of vacations the last few years. Most importantly – I know if I lose my job, I can find another one pretty quickly, because I have college degrees that gives me that ability.

    • Fubar

      re: “you can hand an engineer any open ended problem, and he can come up with something reasonable because of his schooling – good luck getting that from a kid who skips college. ”

      question: how many of the great inventors of the industrial revolution had college degrees?

      if they did not have not have college degrees, but some other form of education, what should people learn from that? (if anything)

      I know someone young with no degree (some college) that supervises 10 people, most of the 10 have engineering degrees, but no business acumen.

    • Fubar

      re: “you can hand an engineer any open ended problem, and he can come up with something reasonable because of his schooling – good luck getting that from a kid who skips college. ”

      question: how many of the great inventors of the industrial revolution had college degrees?

      if they did not have not have college degrees, but some other form of education, what should people learn from that? (if anything)

      I know someone young with no degree (some college) that supervises 10 people, most of the 10 have engineering degrees, but no business acumen.

  • Vmarkson

    College is a scam! There are thousands of people with a degree who makes less than 40k a year. Unless you’re a lawyer,doctor,nurse, let’s say in the health field,you will not make enough money to survive.I’m always amused at the BOGUS degrees offered,like Sociology or Criminal Justice.I mean really.I feel so sorry for the kids who are excited that they’ll graduate with a major in PR,Business,Biology.HELLO you’re only going to be a teacher unless you decide to go to MED school.

    Look at all the millionaires who don’t have a college education.I will encourage my children to keep it simple go to a technical or trade school and call it a day.If they’re not going to college for something in the health field than it’s a waste of time and money.I have a degree and will make more money at a customer service job than working in my field!

    It’s a scam and they brainwash 12th grade high school students that you have to go to college to be successful. When you graduate from high school you’re educated NOT when you go to college!!!!!

  • Proofreader

    Haven’t read all the blogs, but wanted to mention that “affect” is a verb, and “effect” is a noun. You apparently didn’t do well in English.

  • sunshine975

    but why u mad tho? LOL. moralfags

  • Guppygoddess

    Some people feel that they didn’t need a college education, and they were lucky enough to fall into a very good paying job. However, now a days, if you were to apply for a higher paying job without a degree, and someone else was to apply for the same position WITH a degree(in anything, it doesn’t even have to be what the job is for), the person with the degree is going to get it over you more often than not.

    People don’t care about what your degree is in. They just want to see that you have the drive to finish something..ex: getting your degree. I’ve seen it happen 9 out of 10 times with my family and friends in the last 10 years.

    • DavidLex

      It is not true that a degree will get you the job over someone who doesn’t have one, especially in critical positions.

      I speak from experience, I win contracts on a regular basis over people with both a degree AND more years in the industry than me – and I do not get paid less.

      Someones degree, while not completely insignificant, means much less next to another person with years of proven industry experience, and the references they can provide because of their hard work.

      When I hire someone to work on a multi million dollar business critical computer system, I will take that person with industry experience EVERY time, over someone with simply a degree. No matter what the degree is in.

      Furthermore, I don’t buy the ‘falling into a good paying job’ bit, unless you’re somehow connected.
      I think most people fight for their job – they study, prepare, interview well, etc.
      I certainly did not ‘fall into’ any job, I busted my butt to become very good at what I do.
      I am sure that the same is true of many, many other people.

      I will readily admit that getting that very first job was a blessing – not easy to do, and I would agree much harder in some industries than others. If you could say that was ‘falling into’ a job, well that’s your opinion.
      I showed up at the interview on time, appropriately dressed, absolutely informed and knowledgeable about that company – I knew the history of that company inside and out. I was prepared. And yes, there were applicants with full blown degrees who did not get the job.

      That’s been my experience. Not everyone’s is the same, to be sure. And certainly, some positions require a degree, definitely most at least ASK for a degree – but experience trumps a degree in a lot of situations.

  • Sm764804

    You are the most ridiculous man I have ever had the privalege to read. If not for college I would be working at McDonalds for 7 dollars an hour and be renting a home that was trash. I have gone to school and am now a successful nurse and my home is beautiful and no matter how much this home costs me and how much it takes to fix it I am not going anywhere. I have given myself and my family a place in this world that is soley ours, a place that is safe from the world outside. A place that I can paint the walls pink for heavens sake just because I can. Your girls will never get anywhere in life without an education. Its a proven fact that soon you’ ll have to have an associates in business to be a manager at McDonalds. I am proud of the fact that I went to college and will be proud as a mother when my son decides to go. The american dream is a hard one to achieve and it is only for the most responsible of people. Common sense says its expensive to own a house and that there are hidden expenses, even at 23 I knew that. Its obvious that you were not prepared to buy a house and instead of owning up to your own stupidity you would rather say that everyone else was stupid.

  • Anonymous

    As a college professor, I have to agree. Parent’s shouldn’t send their children to college. Children, who atage 18 are actually adults, should make informed decisions about what they want to do with their lives. If that requires college attendance then they should enroll. If their ultimate goal is to become a auto mechanic or a carpenter, both respectable careers, then they should do what they need to begin their careers. If they want to be a teacher or doctor, then college is the answer. Part of the reason that college life has the characteristics that our author so scorns, is that parent’s send their children to college because it is the inevitable “next step” without encouraging their offspring to consider what they want and need from life after high school.
    While Mr. Altucher’s rather flippant and narrow minded assessment of the college attendance is limited, it does make the point that perhaps we are not respectful enough or supportive enough of professional trades. Though I should point out that the suggestion that “all” or “most” people go to college unless they have failed high school is a deeply middle class idea. People in the poor and working class who do just fine in high school may not go to college for a variety of reasons. They very idea that middle class parents are making the decisions for their adult children, thus “sending them to college,” rather than allowing them to make their own choices as most poor and working class families do, demonstrates one of the major problems with the middle class. The authors sweeping generalizations, are an example of another.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      I don’t undestand. Am I making a “sweeping generalization” or am I “narrow minded”?

  • LQLw7

    Did I miss something…this article is about why “parents” should not send their kids to college; why “parents” should not pay for it. Anyway, I’m all for it. I see no problem with kids paying their own way. That’s why we have financial aid and loans. It is possible to work and go to school.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stacey-Thompson-Geer/1529648509 Stacey Thompson-Geer

    I tried the college thing. It wasn’t for me. I now run a business doing what I want to do on my own time and I never got a college degree. I really think college is what you make it. If you spend the money to go, you better be damn sure you are going to get what you are paying for.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      Love this.

  • ORBIE2U

    I HATE TO TELL YOU, BUT YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO SEND YOUR KIDS TO HIGH SCHOOL EITHER, CUZ HALF OF THEM ARE ALREADY DOING ALL THOSE THINGS IN HIGH SCHOOL. I AM A SINGLE MOTHER, AND ONE OF MY BIGGEST REGRETS, IS THAT I DIDN’T GO TO COLLEGE. LIFE WOULD HAVE BEEN A LOT EASIER FINANCIALLY, IF I COULD HAVE GOTTEN A JOB THAT REQUIRED A COLLEGE EDUCATION.

  • Akuyke1

    This article should be called “10 reasons not to send you kid to college to major in something useless like Anthropology or Creative Writing”

  • Ablanco

    Regarding you general tirade about the uselessness of going to college I can only cite from my own experience. I was an engineering tech in the power generation industry for most of the years I was g. oing to college part time. I found that there is a glass ceiling beyond which I could not progress without the bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. When I completed my college work in 2006 I was hired as a system engineer by SAIC at Kennedy Space center. I found that the changes to my life were quite dramatic. My salary jumped form 55k to 87K immediately, I was working is my chose field and was treated as a professional by my employer and my peers. I changed from a shift schedule with no holidays or family time off to a 9-5 40 hour week with 12 holidays and three weeks vacation per year. My employer saw my potential and put me through graduate school in Systems Engineering at George Washington University at no expense to me. As a result I am now an engineering manager (100 K salary) and have a much greater income potential as well as professional development than I would ever have had without the university training. The scenario you described, at least in the professional majors is nearly absent if the child is brought up well and is highly motivated to succeed. My parents threw me out to work and said “survive and succeed”. I have found that the ability to work hard and stay focused has paid off handsomely. College degrees in a discipline that makes a difference (i.e. I can find gainful employment and so a career) is the key to success in our world. 27% of the population of the US are college graduates; 8% are graduate school graduates and that equates to COLLEGE GRADS RUN THE Country and INDUSTRY!!!.

    Albert Blanco

    • Chrisoanderson

      I agree to a degree. But you also must agree that there are people who went thru college, have a degree, and are in debt over their heads. We all have met people who have Harvard/Yale/ivy league degrees who think their Sh*t don’t smell who are in college loan hell. They have this $100k education and a $50k job. Regular state school would be better. When you get into rocket science or being a Dr., then Yes, education is important. However with Dr.s, there are nurses who know more and are better and only spent 4 years not 12. Most Dr’s do routine stuff and never use their skills.
      Just my take.

  • Ckepferle

    Number 8-
    One will get indoctrination rather than education.

  • Engineer24

    Just because you screwed up by drinking, doing LSD and gaining who knows how many STD’s while earning a “Degree” doesn’t mean each university student does. ALSO something you muffed up on…. many of the people I went to undergrad with, paid their own way through.

    Next time, attack the problem not the people. Cost are too high, maybe you’re wisdom can help with that?

  • Judi

    AWESOME!!! Very clever and so on point. I regret spending those years in college/feeling like I should be in college. I’d have been better off going to trade school.

  • gec2011

    The problem with education in America is that we have too many fall back plans. Don’t go to college and if you can’t support yourself the American government will provide all of the support you need. I wonder if he would have written this same article in a country like China that does not have government assistance for people who refuse to work hard and get an education. If you don’t get an education you sit on the street every day selling roasted sweet potatoes or some such thing to all the folks who did get an education and are on their way to work. Not getting an education is a very poor option in most countries but in America you can gamble with your future and still be secure that you will be taken care of at everyone else’s expense!

  • calka

    There is a reason to learn a foreign language (really) well – go to college for (almost) free at a European university AND have the experience of a lifetime…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKOKCYW77Y5K23YI5TI5AXMXDE KalynneM

    I think my kids will take internet classes before I ship them off to live on campus. I worked while I earned my associate degree in communications. I did not have parents willing/able to pay for college or care to be burdened by loans. I may not use my degree in my field of work in real estate, however most companies require a college degree in order to get a job over $12/hr. Currently I am enrolled in classes at a community college to transfer to a university to earn a degree in mathematics. I hope to earn my teaching certificate, so I can become a math teacher. Without my bachelors and certification I could not be a teacher, an architect, engineer, etc. I think education opportunities are wasted on youth. Maybe instead of going to college after high school, kids should get jobs, take some internet classes or even travel/peace corp until they are 25. Then before life gets complicated with marriage and kids of their own, go to school for five years and earn their degree. I will continue to urge my kids to not to rush to decide what they want to do with the rest of lives at age 18…does anyone else feel this is crazy? I am 36 and I just decided this past year that I wanted to pursue a mathematics degree. When I was 18, I wanted to party, date, make some money to buy a car/clothes and go on spring break…as all normal kids do. Why is there such a rush to “grow up?” Most of us will live well into our 80’s+ and we know that social security won’t be there anymore to take care of us. I wouldn’t let an 18 yr old tell me how to live my life, so why should I let them make such big decisions to determine theirs?

  • http://twitter.com/Roadieguy John Dillon

    When I was a senior in highschool I fretted about my college entrance exam, had sleepless nights, and worried if I’d get in. I was accepted. I started college later that fall. My best friend (who was/is a very intelligent, but sometimes unmotivated person) had not applied for college and I never actually talked to him about me, until he asked me a week or two before my first semester if I was going to college. I told him yes and where I’d be going (it was in the same city as our highschool). So the first day comes around and he calls me and has his backpack full of supplies and says I’m coming with you. I thought he was crazy. So he went to all of my classes the first week. It was a small school, and the professors called role. Each day, they’d say to him, “And who are you sir?” and he’d say, “I’m _______”. So he did his homework and assignments and came to class for the first couple of weeks. After that time had passed a couple of the professors called him aside and said, “You need to go see the admissions office. You’re still not on the role cards.” So he left class that day with his bag, and his books he’d boughten. When he went to the admissions office, they told him they had no record of him ever applying and they didn’t know who he was. He said, “Well I’ve been coming to class, and doing my homework.” And they said, well can you pay? And he said that his father would.

    It was shocking to me to see that so many of my peers had true anxiety and stress over going into college, just as myself. Having seen my good friend get in, just b/c he could pay in my first semester tainted my image of what college was about. I still went there for 5 years to get my degree, and did it all on my own through grants and personal loans b/c i thought I needed a degree.

    College is evermore a business now FIRST AND FOREMOST, not a higher place of learning that it used to be. My years there were tainted with massive construction all around me. Expanding new building and quads, and such. I have a 3.5 year old, and a 5 month old, I’m 29 now and I don’t think I will encourage my kids to go to college. I’d rather pay for their living expenses during that time and encourage them get a job in what they want to do fresh out of highschool.

    P.S. Don’t judge my grammar or mispellings. I typed this out during my lunch hour. Now I need to get back to my job.

  • Laid off MBA Grad

    I was the only one of five friends to go to college and then my MBA. My other four child hood friends went straight to work after high school. All four do very well for themselves, they are owners of small businesses and they work hard but they own nice homes, drive nice cares and live a financial stable life as well as good family lifes. Me on the other hand, have been laid off from three different companies, unemployed for the past two years and just filed bankruptcy and got divorced because of the financial stress caused by being laid off.

    I truly feel that the system tells us to go to college because it is a big business and the fact of the matter is, unless you are top of your class and studying at an ivy league college, you are just taking a chance on getting a $30k a year job that will more than likely lay you off.

    In summary if your not going to college to get a technical degree and have very high grades dont waste your time!

  • Imstuffed

    Thanks for wasting 5 minutes of my day, reading the first 1/4 of this garbage.

    • Guest

      That’s hysterical….you couldn’t stop before five minutes, so in turn you blame the author.

    • Guest

      That’s hysterical….you couldn’t stop before five minutes, so in turn you blame the author.

  • Misses McCarthy

    He never said their were NO good reasons. I tell people good and bad sides to everything and they get pissed off at me for saying the things they don’t wanna hear. Well guess what? I do that for a living so tough shit. I am a maid, a cleaning service, a taxi service, a chef, a musician, an artist, a teacher, and a nurse, a story teller, a “doctor” and a “nurse”. Well guess what. That all means jack crap. I don’t get paid. I am a stay at home mom/housewife. In my area, your race and second language play more factor than education. If you don’t know Spanish, then you are screwed, unless you ARE “Mexican” or just plain know so many “Mexican” ppl that they consider you “Mexican” and then you probably already know the language and so are set. The secondary factor I didn’t mention is only for females unless the job is labor intensive. Body type. They are sexist as all hell. Makes me glad I CAN’T work outside of the home. I don’t think I want a job based on my body. If you are skinny, you are hired, and if you have large breasts, then you better believe they are hiring you boobs. I have training that could be listed under an alternative if the government actually cared about something that DIDN’T make them richer. I learned under someone ELSE who knew about homeopathic medicine and midwifery (took a long time too), so unless necessary, my kids colds and such are treated at home. We go to the doctor for documentation, shots, and for a second opinion (since I believe in those)., and medicine where I can’t get the ingredients I need. I also bounce Ideas with the kid’s doctor, and speak with him about everything I do. I am glad I HAVE a doctor like this. He is our “family” doctor and I basically have to make sure I can double check. I don’t wanna screw up. It happens and if I can’t catch it before it is done, then I am gonna find someone I trust enough and double check. So far nothing messed up yet.
    Now as what is called “devils advocate” I believe he has valid points. In extreme cases all or most of these things happen. In minor cases your little “virgin” girls lose their virginity to maybe only one person… but it does happen. They really do teach thing badly too. BUT my very GOOD doctor (who I consider “equal” to me in many cases) went to college for the right to be called “doctor” so he could help. He didn’t have someone to learn from like I did, and what made him better was his genuine wish to help ppl. He independently studied things about medicine they don’t teach anymore. He actually knows what I am talking about when I speak about herbal teas and mixtures. I even learned 1 I didn’t know. Intention does count too.
    I am surrounded by people with college degrees and no jobs, or they end up working fast food… or manual labor.
    Make more money my ass. WHO do you think pushes that? Do you REALLY think it is done at random or do you think they just go to a big corporation and do a survey. I am poor, go without a lot of things, and I am perfectly happy. I have two kids, a husband, a dog (service animal), and two cats (one of them was intentional adoption and the other one was on our doorstep, too young to survive without help… and we named him…). Does that really sound like a bad life? I went to college but can’t work. My husband DIDN’T got o college and works right along side college grads.
    A majority of ppl I know who went to college are idiots, pure and simple. If only they taught common sense in college. As it stands, I got nothing from college that I didn’t already know. I learned it in high school, which in most cases has more drugs and sex than college.

  • http://www.christinebonaventure.com C2bon

    I love it! I am with you! College is a waste of time and money. I wish someone had shared this with my parents. Mydaughter is 11, she is bent on not going to college. I agree with her. She works hard at making her own money. Just this past weekend she set up a neighborhood car wash, and earned over $170. At 11!!! She will be somebody all the Harvard grads are going to die to work for!!

  • Talynn

    I love your article. I have a stepdaughter who is in her 5th year in college and she still isn’t graduating until next year! Meanwhile, my husband is still financing her lifestyle instead of telling her to get a job while she’s in school. I say this because I went to the Army straight out of high school at 17 and have worked ever since then and not once relied on my parents to finance anything for me. Kids these days need to learn to be more self-sufficient and less needy. We don’t have to go to college to say “I’m capable of learning” – we’re supposed to learn that in school as a child and do our best to succeed. There’s nothing wrong with college – just don’t use it as a crutch.

  • Bonnie

    I wrote a comment many pages ago and would like to expand on my thoughts. Perhaps Mr. Altucher’s title should have been different because I really got out of it a much different perspective but understandably people made this about whether or not college is worthwhile. One reason my children aren’t in school is because I feel that it is an indoctrination of sorts. Choices are often made for the child and I value freedom. I didn’t want that for my kids, though they are free to choose to go to school at any time. I decided they would live in the REAL world from day instead of the artificial environment known as school.

    I have no expectations of what my children will do. They are who they are and I’m happy to provide guidance as needed but I’ve never thought they should live up to my or their father’s expectations. They should be able to create their own life which I hope will bring them much joy and passion. I’ve found this to be a fascinating process so far and am excited as they continue along the path of life.

    One of the dangers of the indoctrination that I believe occurs in school is the inability to see life as anything more than success or failure based on some monetary achievement. Life offers an infinite array of possibilities yet we are reduced to bickering over whether one tiny, tiny aspect of it is of value. No wonder so many people are disappointed when life doesn’t follow along this predetermined path. Yet is completely understandable when one is brought up that life and one’s worth is measured in $$. The good job at the end of the rainbow is ingrained into most of us from day one. Work hard and do your best and there is no reason why you shouldn’t succeed. What a naive view! There are SO many factors beginning with the meeting of the sperm and the egg which will have a HUGE influence. There are people at birth through no fault of their own that start with 3 strikes against them. Obtaining this so called education is the LEAST of their worries. Yes, we need to come up with some means of supporting ourselves but the fact that there is a big wide world outside the college/no college box apparently is incomprehensible to many on this forum.

    I always find it fascinating how people are reduced to name calling when their deeply held cherished beliefs are questioned or challenged. Too bad people aren’t as passionate about internet manners.

    • Fubar

      Bonnie,

      You are right, again. Public education and “necessary college” are very recent inventions. Human beings led deeply meaningful lives based on far different modes of “education” for a very long time.

      What you may have come to realize is that the memory of such alternative/original culture, and its spiritual and intellectual rewards, is of little or no value in a postmodern world.

      In postmodern culture information is reduced to just another commodity to be sold in the global market.

      When you remind people of the shallowness of mass culture, they are moved out of their conventional/comfort zones, and express upset. The more you attempt to argue that depth and authenticity are of value, the more upset a reaction you will get.

      • Bonnie

        Hi Fubar,

        Unfortunately, I think you are beating a dead horse. Leading meaningful lives seems to have gone by the wayside in lieu of making money and finding that well paying job. I don’t really expect most to get it.

        There are a few of us, however, that are doing our best to help our own children explore and pursue lives outside this box that society wants to keep us in. It’s a small population that is growing. That’s the best I can do in my tiny part of the world. My family continues to live our lives, have fun, remain connected and whether or not my children choose college or what career path they choose is the furtherest thing from our mind. It’s really unimportant to us in the scheme of things as I’ve never defined my children by what they do or don’t do. I trust that they will find their way and ask for help or guidance when and IF they should need it. It’s worked well so far.

        In any event, I must unsubscribe to these comments for now as the numerous posts are cluttering up my email and I am getting very little value from reading posts so full of anger over a simple opinion as well as the continued name calling.

  • Tabo31

    Most of the arguments he uses against college could also be applied to the public secondary school system, except they get all the negative socialization for free.

  • MMG

    For years I’ve worked side by side with people who have a degree in some field (and they never seem to be able to find a job in that field…hmmm), making the same salary or more than they do. I was just talking to a co-worker who, finally, got a degree. When I congratulated her, she advised me that she would be continuing on for her Master’s. Her SOLE reason was that she would not have to start paying on her loans until she was completely finished with school. This makes absolutely NO sense! The costs of education are nowhere near being in line with the benefits you get from that education (in probably 80% of cases). I am an avid library roamer: I order all the newest Physics, Anatomy, and Natural Science textbooks from the library as soon as they become available. I can (and do, on a regular basis) carry on meaningful conversations with people who have multiple degrees without losing my footing. And, I’ve always been able to find positions in the pay range and with the benefits that I’ve wanted. Then, I’ve seen people who go to college for 3-6 years who seem to graduate with less thinking ability than they started with because they’ve just absorbed the viewpoints of the professors who taught them!

  • Steve

    About the correlation between college attendance and future earnings: James, you’re right. People who want to go to college may naturally have the wherewithal to succeed and would have earned more money over the course of their lifetimes no matter what they pursued. In the past, it was an easy correlation to make (albeit not a causal relationship): kids who don’t go to college are underachievers; those who go, are (relatively speaking) overachievers. In fact, since the exponentially rising tuition rates probably serve to prevent so many more kids from going to college these days, I would think if that study were REDONE now, that we’d see the non-college educated kids making as much money as the college educated kids (or at least the gap will narrow dramatically). Only when tuition is again made cheap by market forces (i.e., hard-to-obtain loans, decreased demand, etc.) will we see kids going to college in higher numbers again. As for me, I wasted 5 years at Michigan State University sexing and puking, then 3 years in law school (after which I had $107,000 in loans). Luckily, I was able to sell a house in 2001 before the housing bubble burst and pay off half of that debt. Today, I’m working side by side with non-graduate school peers, earning the same rate of pay. Money doesn’t buy happiness anyway….studies on positive psychology prove that….why knock yourself out (or your parents) going to college?

    • Fubar

      re: “Money doesn’t buy happiness anyway”

      Excellent observations.

      Most of the “necessity of college” isn’t driven by a search for “happiness” (using the modern definition of that word), it is driven by fear of loss of (actual, or potential) social status.

      As spiritually pathological as it may be in some cases, people will pay a lot for “college” if it has a good chance of leading to the social status that they have a “comfort zone” around.

      What the author of the article points out is that the old formula isn’t working for a lot of people anymore.

      The author is of course speaking from the “odd” position of an entrepreneur, a category of people that is allowed, and expected, to break rules, and take far more risks than “normal” people.

      “The only exception are entrepreneurs who can rank anywhere in the class system but are usually not referred to as professional middle class… ”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_attainment_in_the_United_States

      excerpt:

      “Overall, educational attainment is the main entrance barrier into more privileged parts of the middle class as it is not only of high value but is also the requirement for becoming a professional and earning the corresponding income.[8] The only exception are entrepreneurs who can rank anywhere in the class system but are usually not referred to as professional middle class unless they are of the professions.

      In the United States it also important to differentiate between the statistical middle class, often defined as consisting of those who are neither rich nor poor, and the professional middle class. Recent research has shown that not only is the statistical middle of society (those with income roughly 80% to 120% of the national median or members of the mid-quintile) no longer able to afford the lifestyle indicative of the middle class,[11] but there also seems to a widening income gap in between those who may be described as being middle class. Those in the statistical middle may have to fear lay-offs and cost-cutting downsizing as well as out-sourcing, while those in the professional middle class are largely immune to economic fluctuations and can enjoy upper-middle range incomes even in the face of recessions. As stated above education is the main requirement of becoming a member of the professional middle class and thus is also key to economic security as well as a comfortable lifestyle.[8]

      By teaching middle-class culture through the public education system, the elite class ensures a monopoly over positions of power, while others acquire the credentials to compete in a subordinate job market and economy. In this way, schools of medicine, law, and elite institutions have remained closed to members of lower classes.”

      Twilight of Academic Freedom:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4KSV8LoPc0

      linked from:

      http://howtheuniversityworks.com

      SCHOOLS WITHOUT ADMINISTRATORS:

      http://howtheuniversityworks.com/wordpress/archives/268

  • Kris

    My sister went to a University for four years, got a degree and now works as a receptionist in a job that has NOTHING to do with her degree. But hey, she has no school loans because my parents paid for it.

    There are jobs that require a college education or they won’t talk to you let alone hire you. But there are a lot of jobs and lives that don’t require college. Sending your kids to college straight out of high school is silly unless they KNOW that they have a passion for one of those jobs that needs the degree.

    For most kids the first year of college is also the first year where they have been able to make their own choices without a parent reigning them in. Those choices aren’t going to be good ones on average.

  • Anellib

    I think you are an idiot to think that college is all about sex, drugs, and drinking. Not everyone is as wild as you. Parents are not living for themselves alone, but for the kids and assuring that they may have a good future. If we have to work 60 hours a week while my kids get to sleep in, so be it. As long as I know that I am doing my part as a parent and giving them a chance to have a career later on. Me, my brothers, cousins, uncles, and aunts (most of our family members), never do drugs nor drink when we were in college, and we have learn to be more responsible. Your are just being self centered and selfish person and would just write anything for the sake of writing.

    • Fubar

      You managed to completely filter out everything that does not match your traditional cultural perspective. So much for the supposed value of college in opening people’s minds to other cultures and perspectives.

      You do understand that the article was written primarily for people in the USA? About conditions in the USA? Do you have any understanding of the ideas and principles foundational to the development of classic liberal scholarship in western civilization? The rejection of mythic, authoritarian archetypes, the elevation of the rights of the individual (and minorities or unpopular thinkers) over evil, stupid crowds and conformism?

      What do you think will happen to your traditions when exposed to the effects of postmodernism and consumerism? Are you a fundamentalist? If so, how do you justify your beliefs?

  • http://www.geekbeast.com Matthew

    I think a lot of people are missing the point of this article. Unless you go to a prestigious top tier school and major in a field that will give sufficient ROI, the expected value of going to college is negative. Getting an engineering degree from a top 50 private school is going to cost you about $200K in student loans (check out RPI tuition for example). That means you are entering the work-force with the equivalent of a 15 year mortgage. Most engineers top out around 200 – 250K, if they’re skilled and lucky enough to rise to the top. You won’t finish paying off your loans until you are in your 30s.

    The only time it makes sense is if you major in parasitism– I mean finance, and expect to earn $200 K within a few years. It might also make sense if you do accounting, law, medicine (less so than the others), or some tech fields.

    This is just another symptom of attempting to impose arbitrary rules for deciding who gets to control a majority of the wealth. High paying employers are using it as an easy filter for deciding who to give jobs to creating the de factor appearance that a college degree is “necessary”.

  • Guest

    All three of my children are in college, right now at the same time, and it was their choice. By taking this route it has afforded them many opportunities for experiences not found in the work place, and it has greatly expanded their global outlook and connections. They will have masters when they graduate and dual degrees, and one will have co-oped internationally, another will have study abroad. In addition to that a couple are able to participate in college sports (D3 & D1) which they love. They have faced challenges unlike anything before, and have remedied these on their own.

    I am sorry if my pride shows through, but they have had a tough childhood and I am so very proud of their accomplishments. Maybe financially it is a gamble on the ROI – but for mine it’s an experience like no other and I believe it is worth it.

    Every child is different, and many do just party and screw around – so it really comes down to the individual as to what will best suit them in the long run.

  • Guest

    All three of my children are in college, right now at the same time, and it was their choice. By taking this route it has afforded them many opportunities for experiences not found in the work place, and it has greatly expanded their global outlook and connections. They will have masters when they graduate and dual degrees, and one will have co-oped internationally, another will have study abroad. In addition to that a couple are able to participate in college sports (D3 & D1) which they love. They have faced challenges unlike anything before, and have remedied these on their own.

    I am sorry if my pride shows through, but they have had a tough childhood and I am so very proud of their accomplishments. Maybe financially it is a gamble on the ROI – but for mine it’s an experience like no other and I believe it is worth it.

    Every child is different, and many do just party and screw around – so it really comes down to the individual as to what will best suit them in the long run.

  • sundog

    You have to be careful about WHY you go to college….agriculture was certainly not a good choice!
    And he is right about a lot of the things he said; at least when one first goes to college: drugs, sex, rock and roll. Don’t be naive !

  • Anonymous

    Great sense of humor whether or not everyone has this type of experience at college or feels rewarded/unrewarded by using degrees to obtain jobs.
    I got through college and grad school but since then have failed to complete all the other degree programs I signed up and paid for…I did the work though because I wanted to explore the subject matter and that’s what is so enjoyable.
    Most real learning does come on one’s own time.
    Many wealthy people never went to college but they also never learned much beyond how to make the deal.

  • Jerry

    I would agree that the issue has to be addresed and dramatic changes should be done to the aproach to the higher education.
    1. Competition for college has to be done based on your achivements in the school and ability to study, not the amount of money you are willing to pay for it.
    2. Most of the knowledges can be accumulated without professor or paying enormous money for somebody to teach you… sure
    not everything. However many will agree that often we go to the college to get a “paper” rather then knowledge. I wish that there would exist an option analogic to homeschooling for self education, which would be accepted by emploers and colleges.

  • Wpsmithjr

    The people who are successful in life are people who have a certain mindset… not the “people who went to college”. A lot of people who go to college have that mindset, so they do better in life in general.

    But there are plenty of people who graduate from college only to be waitresses and bartenders for the next 30 years.

    With tuition as high as it is… I wouldn’t go to college today unless I knew EXACTLY what field I was looking to get into… and I’d look and see if it was possible to go into that field without going to college first. It’s not worth the investment to go there without a declared major and a good idea of what you’re going to do with your college degree.

  • Grammarian

    Apparentkly, college didn’t teach the author the difference between the words “affect” and “effect”

    • Grammarian

      Apparently :-)

      • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

        Yeah, I failed Spelling class in college.

  • fyahg0l

    Wow! I didn’t do all of that in college; but I did not go to such a prestigious school. I agree with rani10 his Everyone’s At It philosophy is extremely self centered. Of course however, if you are high and f**cking all the time you would have to cheat on your exams, but some silly people studied. And I hate to agree with your critics but you would have to a white middleclass male to write this particular blog.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mahmudul-Islam/100000724375272 Mahmudul Islam

    i learned why college is not teaching kids about money having read robert kiyosaki’s ‘rich dad poor dad’. from then on, i just hate the idea of going to college to learn something that would be used to serve corporate tycoons. rather, i would learn my own things, set my own rules and make my own living.

  • Alex

    hi,
    I’m a college student currently and :
    6. Parents are scammed. If you are a parent and wish to send your kids to a college then, just to summarize, here is what you are paying for:

    your kids are going to have sex 1- 5 times a day with people you probably wouldn’t approve of.
    – my boyfriend lives 7 hours away. interesting theory.
    your kids are going to drink, smoke pot, probably try LSD and other drugs before you even get home
    -haven’t done a single one.
    your kids are going to cheat on most of their exams. When I first started college I wanted to be a psychologist. I read every book on psychology. In Psych 101 I got a D- on my first exam, which was graded on a curve. Apparently the other 2000 kids in the class had access to older exams which were stored at all the fraternities and the professor never changed the exams. I had to ultimately drop Psych as a major. My dad said, “why do you want to major in Psychology anyway. Girls won’t like you because you won’t make any money as a psychologist.” I said, “but then I’ll never know if the girls like me for money or not?” And he said, “Girls won’t like you because you have money. They’ll like you because YOU ARE THE KIND OF GUY who can make a lot of money.”
    -don’t know a single person who has done this in college
    your kids are going to make connections with other like-minded individuals (people focused on drugs, socialism, sex 24 hours a day (not a bad thing), people cheating on exams, and people with rich parents who will help your kids get jobs at Goldman Sachs).
    -or will their professors, advisors, faculty, and students who have diverse interests and come from diverse backgrounds.
    your kids are going to think they are smarter than you almost immediately.
    -not at all. I still go to my parents for help on papers, advice on careers, and discussion about life in general.
    while you are working 60 hours a week and borrowing money to send your kids to college, your kids will be sleeping good chunks of the day, relaxing on the weekends, and enjoying the blissful pleasures of the lazy life for another four years until the real world hits.
    -you have got to be kidding me. my first class every day starts at 8. My day starts at 7 and with all my extracurriculars and homework ends by midnight. lazy is not the correct adjective, i assure you.

    • Fubar

      Ok, and are you actually saying that because of you one little tiny life, that there is absolutely no validity in anything that is said in the article to even one other tiny life?

  • Anthony

    “Don’t let college get in the way of your Education” is my favorite quote because it is soooo very true.

    Nowadays it really doesn’t pay to get a college education it is much better to invest in self education than a standard education.

    You need to become part of the NR “New Rich” which includes Real Estate Investors and Internet Marketers to list a couple.

    Internet Marketing is very lucrative once you know the basics. All you have to do is find a profitable niche e.g. lose weight and create a free report on how to solve a problem in that niche. You then create a squeeze page and send traffic to it where you give them the free report in exchange for their email address. You will need an Autroresponder to do this such as Aweber. Then you just email them special offer to weight loss products and you receive a commission for every person that purchases that product.

    You can easily make $100-$300 a Day just starting out!

    Hope this helps and you look further into internet marketing

    Anthony

  • Squiddd

    I’m not saying the college is for everyone. However, if you want to make decent money in our society it does help. My husband is a brilliant computer programmer. He is on a team of guys who all do the exact same thing, but in some cases he does better. Yet, he makes nearly $10,000 less than everyone else on the team because he doesn’t have a college degress.
    There are also many jobs that people might want to do that requires a college degree. I’m a teacher. I love teaching. I couldn’t do it without a college degree. Actually, in the state I work in you now have to have a master’s.
    Also, your alternatives to college are great ideas, but most will not bring the wealth one needs to live in our society. Have you heard of the starving artist? Starting a business is one of the hardest things to do and most small businesses fail. Traveling the world is great, but it costs money and what are you going to do when you return?
    Again, college may not be for everyone, but I certainly disagree with the statement that people should not go to college.

    • Squiddd

      First sentence edit: I meant “that college is for everyone,” not “the college is for everyone”.

  • Cloudynips

    Here’s the thing about this post, sarcastic or not he doesn’t go out on enough of a limb for me to consider it 100% Bullsh*t. I feel like this whole rant is somewhat pointless and only for entertainment, so I wouldn’t blame people who come visit this article or navigate to this page, for being either 1) offended or 2) annoyed because they think this guy is serious. He’s a bit misleading that’s all but meh, i was entertained /clap.

  • Fubar

    re:
    James Altucher said:
    | Seriously, you could walk around and say, “Jesus never lived,” and people nod their heads and say,
    | “ok, there is religious freedom in America and what he just said is fine,” but if you say “kids should
    | not go to college” its like you breached the highest, holiest, divine hymen of American religion.
    |
    | Say it again. Say it loud and proud: “college is the divine hymen of American religion.”

    People, people, people.

    If possible, please pay attention to the “main point” of the article. At the beginning, demonstrating mastery of Jounalistic High Standards, the author states something called the “main point” -which is that people have weird attitudes about college degrees that obscure some of the unpleasant realities of what college actually is. All of the subsequent material in the article, much of which was inspired by varying levels of irony, mirth and frivolity, supports the “main point”. When you quibble with minor details without addressing the “main point”, you do not exactly burnish your “intellectual assets” to a “high lustre”.

    Please recall that america, and other parts of the world, underwent two major paradigm shifts in the last 200 or so years. 1st: the industrial revolution shifted societies away from a dominantly agrarian, mercantile economic system to capitalism/rationalism. Democracy developed as a result of the rejection of traditional authority and mythic/conformist culture (aristocracy, religious absolutism). 2nd: information revolution, 1950s. In societies like the USA, people shifted away from farm and factory work to “office work”. This is when the big increase in the real/or perceived need for more college education happened. It was also when most of the major trends toward postmodern culture and the crisis of social institutions began (Habermas’ “colonization of lifeworld by systems”).

    Much institutional culture is now deeply dysfunctional, and quickly regressing toward “backward” and even more deeply dysfunctional states (Jean Gebser “Ursprung und Gegenwart”). Christopher Alexander’s work on “antipatterns” provides a classic example of one way of seeing the problems of postmodernity. Even leading theorists of the human potential movement (Esalen) eventually recognised that the “tag team from hell: nihilism and narcissism” were the dominant “unhealthy” charactersitics of postmodern culture.

    Like it or not, College/University education is now all about “unhealthy” forms of postmodern culture (both pro and con).

    The reality is that education is in a state of crisis, and most educational leadership is incompetent to effectively address the problem (or worse, corrupt by bloated administrative budgets and high fees). Those very leaders reflect the problem, not the solution. They are deeply comitted to a failed model, and viciously attack needed innovations. This is all being “modeled” in the subtext of day to day life that students experience, consciously or subconsciously. For those that have studied Jungian psychology, you may recall that the subconscious is where important matters of values are formed.

    What college “really” teaches people is that it is necessary to conform to the requirements of dehumanizing forms of commercial culture: become a corporate predator, or become a “servant” of a predator (manager/consultant), or become a victim (lowly worker, consumer).

    Anyways, I was reflecting on the lives of some my ancestors, and their success as soldiers, farmers, inventors and businesspersons (telegraph, radio, aviation, banking, Civil War combat veterans {both union and confederate}, WWII, Korea, Vietnam), all without degrees. On the other hand, one of my grandmother’s great uncles was an early president of Trinity College, and a Ph.D sociologist and social reformer.

    So, I wondered, did Howard Hughes, an eccentric, but brilliant, pioneer of aviation, get a degree?

    Answer: Hughes dropped out of college, but later audited math and aerospace at Cal Tech.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Hughes

    (I skimmed the Wiki entry for Hughes, and found no evidence that he got a degree. I suppose that he probably should have gotten honorary degrees, but am not sure if that was the case.)

  • Bigbluechevy12345

    Hmm…I see the point of this argument, BUT, I think it would only apply to students who go to college only because their parents insist on them going, or are forced to go. People like myself, are different entirely. I got out of high school in a similar mindset to you, I did terrible in high school, and I managed to get a job that paid $35,000 a year as a machinist. The only training I had prior to this was a very relaxed vocational precision machining class at a tech center that my high school had programs with. So basically by age 18 I was already in a career that I could have staid in for the rest of my life. The only thing was, that I absolutely HATED it, so much that I eventually quit, took a much needed vacation and went straight to college. As of now I’m studying music and audio recording, I’ve already gotten a deal with an indie game company for some of my music to be used in it, and I’m beginning to make a name for myself as a contemporary acoustic guitarist. Basically, what I’m saying is that it’s not whether a kid should or shouldn’t go to college, but if they are the type of person that would benefit from it. Myself? I feel that I am benefiting from my education by getting a better grasp on music theory, recording techniques and setting up shows. So, college is definitely worth it for people like me. I’m not saying you have to agree with me, but maybe this will put a different outlook on things.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Deb-Shaw/100001813990728 Deb Shaw

    I’m not going to send my kids to college. If they want to go to college, they can go the same way I did — work hard, earn and save money, pay by semester.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Deb, I agree with you.

      • Rocknfocus

        James, I am with you on this entire discussion and agree with you in the fullest. I graduated from Harvard in 2001, and Harvard Law in 2004. I regret my decision to attend completely. After being granted a few scholarships I am still $128,000 in debt, currently making $52k a year and I am barely paying the interest off on my loans. My college experience was depressing, I and even the Valedictorian of my class lived lifestyles of alcoholics…unfortunately it is just the culture of college. No matter where you attend schoo,  this lifestyle prevails, even for the sweetest betsy sue on the block who graduated high school with a 4.6 and never was out passed 8 p.m in her high school days.  I have to admit, while attending a school with such prestige as Harvard I expected more out of the experience, to be honest I don’t feel incredibly smarter than when I graduated high school and most of the learning I have done has been proprietary, in coffee shops and libraries. My ambition is what will get me where I want to be not my college degree because yes, the degree will open the door but thats about it, to sum it all up I have an incredible amount of debt to pay off and a couple of lines on my resume that signify a few years of work. I should have jumped right in the job market, learned through immersion and actually worked much harder through being accountable to someone.  Learned from real life tangible experiences not this deception of the real world thats expensive X rated and all in all a money pit that our society is brainwashed to succumb to. Anyhow, from one educated guy to the next I agree with you and the folks who think college is 100% necessary for everybody are societal robots who live hollow lives and have no room for independant idea generation, that at the end of the day allows for progress. If you become a pawn to authority figures than what kind of life are you really living. All These nasty folks on here need to take a step back and realize whats good in life and that their cookie cutter lifestyle isn’t all that they may think it is. Its the epitome of ignorance, shallow thinking and breeds a life void of any real color. Unfortunately much of our society lives closely to this persuasion….and for the rest of us….cheers.
        Thanks James All the Best
        Ian Knowles

      • Rocknfocus

        James, I am with you on this entire discussion and agree with you in the fullest. I graduated from Harvard in 2001, and Harvard Law in 2004. I regret my decision to attend completely. After being granted a few scholarships I am still $128,000 in debt, currently making $52k a year and I am barely paying the interest off on my loans. My college experience was depressing, I and even the Valedictorian of my class lived lifestyles of alcoholics…unfortunately it is just the culture of college. No matter where you attend schoo,  this lifestyle prevails, even for the sweetest betsy sue on the block who graduated high school with a 4.6 and never was out passed 8 p.m in her high school days.  I have to admit, while attending a school with such prestige as Harvard I expected more out of the experience, to be honest I don’t feel incredibly smarter than when I graduated high school and most of the learning I have done has been proprietary, in coffee shops and libraries. My ambition is what will get me where I want to be not my college degree because yes, the degree will open the door but thats about it, to sum it all up I have an incredible amount of debt to pay off and a couple of lines on my resume that signify a few years of work. I should have jumped right in the job market, learned through immersion and actually worked much harder through being accountable to someone.  Learned from real life tangible experiences not this deception of the real world thats expensive X rated and all in all a money pit that our society is brainwashed to succumb to. Anyhow, from one educated guy to the next I agree with you and the folks who think college is 100% necessary for everybody are societal robots who live hollow lives and have no room for independant idea generation, that at the end of the day allows for progress. If you become a pawn to authority figures than what kind of life are you really living. All These nasty folks on here need to take a step back and realize whats good in life and that their cookie cutter lifestyle isn’t all that they may think it is. Its the epitome of ignorance, shallow thinking and breeds a life void of any real color. Unfortunately much of our society lives closely to this persuasion….and for the rest of us….cheers.
        Thanks James All the Best
        Ian Knowles

  • Ce

    One can make a reasonable argument against sending one’s children to college. You however have not. You seem to have an unrealistic image of what exactly “college” is, most noticeable in your claims in part #6. Furthermore, you do not cite any evidence to support your argument, relying on shaky assumptions rather than fact, and in fact the only hard evidence you seem to present is your own experience in college.

    PS: College doesn’t cost $100-200 per year.

  • Nich2owrstle87

    I was really intrigued by the title of this post but I was extremely let down by its content. For those of you who skipped to the comments before reading this article: THIS GUY IS NOT FUNNY! He had a really great topic for a satirical blog but in the end, really missed the mark. Leave it to the pros jew-boy!

    • Fubar

      ok, so you got better training in the mafia, so what?

    • Fubar

      ok, so you got better training in the mafia, so what?

  • Alehar

    I like the part where your arguments were full of opinion and fallacies.

    • Fubar

      many of the responses are more stupid.

    • Fubar

      many of the responses are more stupid.

  • disagreeable

    Mr. Altucher is seeing this from an extremely cynical point of view. And why shouldn’t he be? However it has seriously clouded judgement. While it’s BS that colleges are run as private businesses (though the argument as to why they have to be is an entirely other topic), and it screws us as students and individuals over, there is simply too much to gain in the way our society is run by going to college for MOST of Americans, for us not to go. Some of the claims and reasons you have for us not going are substantiated by words and phrases like: “my guess would be” and “I think”. There is no proof or truth, just opinion. This is my opinion too and I think you Mr. Altucher are wrong about the whole message. I guess I just didn’t bang everyone I met, and drink til i puked like you did, so I don’t see it as negative as you. The people that do that stuff, are going to do it outside of school as well, maybe not as much. I doubt they’ll be that much better at life because they didn’t go however. It should be much more difficult to get into college that’s all. They just won’t do it because colleges want our money $$

    • Fubar

      you miss the main point of the article, which kinds of proves that the point is correct.

      the belief in college degrees is largely a self-fulfilling prophecy that has become a form of prejudice, if not bigotry.

      meanwhile, people are being financially exploited in many cases.

      further, college has become debased in the process. the culture of academia has become increasingly incongruent with social myths about both the high purposes of education, and social/ financial utility of degrees.

    • Fubar

      you miss the main point of the article, which kinds of proves that the point is correct.

      the belief in college degrees is largely a self-fulfilling prophecy that has become a form of prejudice, if not bigotry.

      meanwhile, people are being financially exploited in many cases.

      further, college has become debased in the process. the culture of academia has become increasingly incongruent with social myths about both the high purposes of education, and social/ financial utility of degrees.

    • Fubar

      you miss the main point of the article, which kinds of proves that the point is correct.

      the belief in college degrees is largely a self-fulfilling prophecy that has become a form of prejudice, if not bigotry.

      meanwhile, people are being financially exploited in many cases.

      further, college has become debased in the process. the culture of academia has become increasingly incongruent with social myths about both the high purposes of education, and social/ financial utility of degrees.

  • Sdf

    You’re an idiot Sir

  • Louis

    Honestly, as a college student, I think you are full of Avocado. Clearly, you have been molested -several times- by a whole team of unattractive prepubescent cheerleaders that mistook you for one of them.
    I have my idea, I think I know what you are trying to do, but honestly man…you’re not that cool.
    I mean, everybody has a great opinion about themselves but I really don’t think anybody needs a high self-esteem in order to make a fool out of you quoting your ignorant nonsense.
    Have you ever had sex ? Do you really think it is a bad thing ?

    In my opinion, College doesn’t give you the opportunity to ‘think’ but allows you to understand that there are varied ways to get through life, and all the information you memorize will give you an advantage one day or another upon people that don’t get to choose their future being lead by the others.
    Besides, having attended classes in College deprives you from the right to be so critical about it -I mean, how can you possibly affirm, for instance, that being wealthy is meaningless when you never had to struggle for something to eat, somewhere to sleep ?-, and you should be ashamed of your ignorance. So many people dream of getting a chance to attend school and so few understand how privileged they are.
    Being the spoiled brat you are, you have no idea a standard College’s price -and there are several types of people that go to Colleges as ridiculously expensive as the one you pretend having been to: the rich kids and the ones that are good enough to have their education paid by their State (or the ones that make tremendous efforts to pay back their bills), by everybody in it as a silent and unconscious encouragement- and I wonder if have ever heard of Community Colleges ?

    You are saying that theory is avoidable and shouldn’t be part of the learning process…I say that you know how to write such bullsheep thanks to it and that it’s how the educational system works out here whether you agree with it or not, you in particular certainly have no right to denigrate it since you do not seem to be aware of some of the most basic doings.

    You do not seem to realize that in our world it is not our ability to ‘fly out of the nest’ that is rewarded with a convenient salary but how much we are ready to suffer for it. This works with any life experience but is drastically and unsurprisingly statistically easier for people that had the chance to access school and
    that is why whenever we hear about a self-made man that succeeded it makes the news for months and paradoxically because of his celebration we see that autodidacticism towards recognition is a very unrewarding process for most of people.

    I don’t know why you are so full of yourself, I know business people -I just read your biography- are supposed to have this ‘quality’ (just look at Joe Pesci for a second) but really, it lowers you and makes you sound like you have no idea what you’re posting about. Hey but what do I know ? You have an impressive CV whereas I haven’t accomplished anything for the moment but I find it pretty obvious that you shouldn’t have missed those English and other classes that make your lack of common sense so translucent.
    You sure do look like you are -and have always been- insecure and trying to justify yourself from your past (that’s why you pretend to be so open-minded about things you do not master yet !).

    PS: Always give the sources when stating something from the internet/edulcorated daily newspapers. If you didn’t come up with it or calculate it, you can’t just make it yours, it’s called plagiarism.

    PS 2: You did have those experiences with girl’s’ your talking about ! But that…required…money ?
    Jesus man. You were just a kid…

  • Rebecca

    I realize that many of these arguments are valid for most people. The only problem that I see is that there are many careers (that are very important to society) that do require college or university education. Virtually all science-related jobs (like biochemists, doctors and engineers) fit in this category.
    As I am typing this, I am reminded by the opening of “Matilda”. The narrator discusses the inflated sense that most parents have of their children’s abilities and virtues.
    I think this may be the problem that you are addressing. There are too many children who are sent to college by parents who think that their child is gods gift to the world and is amazing at everything they do, when in fact, the child is a unambitious lazy irritant. Even if this is to a smaller degree, these are the students that will not benefit from post-secondary.
    I am in high school right now and after reading your article, I still think that university if the appropriate path for me.
    I realize the ridiculous expense, but i am willing to pay this. Mainly because I am planning on becoming a doctor (which means that if successful, I will be making a ridiculous amount of money). One might advise against this. The attrition rates of medical programs are enormous. But I am the type of student (and person) who is academic, stubborn and motivated. I am not going to drop out.
    Your reasons may be valid for many, but not for me.

  • Yi

    Wow. Just wow.

    While I do not completely disagree with your post, you should realize that college is essential to a society’s advancement. Imagine if all the colleges in the world closed in favour of allowing everyone to “learn on their own”. Do you realize what detriment that would cause? Organized education allows people to conglomerate their intelligence into something monumental.

    There are geniuses out there who do not need college. There are business moguls out there who do not need college. These people do not need college because they are naturally motivated and gifted individuals.

    How many of us belong in this category? Certainly not many. Probably a handful out of thousands of people.

    College is a vehicle through which many people will self-actualize. People drink and people get laid in college. So what? They also learn and become engineers and lawyers.

    This post is nothing but a sensationalist blog written to rile up people.

  • http://twitter.com/Darkersun Derreck Ross

    You are the biggest shame to Cornell since Andy Bernard. Quit posting online, you are a shame to the human race.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Wow.

      • Patrick

        and a gratuitous slap at the Nard-Dog

    • Fubar

      Weirdly, postmodern culture, which is rife in academia, quickly degenerates into thought policing and political correctness. The old model of “liberal” education was premised on the unvarnished, rational examination of social taboos and myths.

      If Mr. Ross represents Cornell’s “output”, then we see yet again another sign of the declining ability of colleges to foster enlightened thinking.

  • Beholdthesharktopus

    WTF? College students are supposed to have sex 1-5 times a day? I’m getting ripped off here….

  • De La Noche

    Wow, I’m glad you’re assuming that every student is going to turn out to be the same dumbass you were and that every school is created equally. Personally I work my ass off as do most of the people I hang out with. I’m sorry you wasted your parents money but I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to pursue what I love, archaeology. But hey, if your kid is a sex crazed dumbass, like you, then no, don’t send them to college, Make them join the god damned army because obviously you failed as a parent.

  • Steven L Goff

    Wow James! This read really seemed to strike nerves with some readers. And no doubt the Alums and enrolled of the many CASH REGISTER institutions.

    This guy from Cornell below me (Mr Ross)…did everything but call your mama a bad name….lol

    Below I wrote reply to your article: Living Life is better than Dying in College~by James Altucheron February 20th, 2011
    …It is so fitting considering how pissed the college grads seem to be here. (Personally I think they know you make good points and are pissed they are or have wasted so much money) The unemployment rate has more than doubled last year for college grads ya know! More so exspected this year. …ya see, we’re all in the same boat now. So suck it!

    “The only reason one attends college, is to establish future bussiness contacts that can be later exploited in a certain career feild for profit and or agenda. Also add in this > “cronyism incubator”…It is a no more than a “Cartel”….That makes you pay exorbitant amounts of money for a peice of paper that “claims” you have a brain. And will make others, who’ve also PAID the Cartel, see you did the same and give you a job over those who didnt attend but are highly qualified…wink wink (Note: Jim Cramer once told me to go get an MBA if I ever wanted wanna work for him…truth…you remember that James from back in the day)

    I didnt go to college. I went to prison at 18 for drugs for 5 years. But I will put my brain pan against 90% of those who did walking down the street (especially WALL STREET) I have a Masters Degree…from The School of Hard Knox in the subject of LIFE. And a Double Doctorate from Google University….like most will have in the future via home education and Web coming soon to America.”

    PS: People loved that “cronyism incubator” line/analogy….they said it was spot on…go figure!

    http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2011/02/living-life-is-better-than-dying-in-college/#comments#disqus_thread

  • No

    you seriously spent money on a sponsored link on reddit for this? It sounds like you just wasted your time in college. Just because you sucked at life doesn’t mean your kids should have to suffer for it.

  • Nitpicker

    Oops I graduated in 3 years with no debt without having tried drugs and remaining a virgin.

    Your entire post has been rendered invalid.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Well, Perhaps you,more than anyone else, should’ve skipped school

    • Fubar

      That would only be true if everyone else in college is/was like you. Since science has proven that the universe does not actually revolve around your highly self-esteemedness, you may have to recalculate your comment to actually address the author’s main point:that “getting a degree” is about a bizarre, unexamined set of social myths and prejudices:

      | So it disturbs me when people cling to the notion of going to college like its the holiest water
      | down from God, come to bless them. Seriously, you could walk around and say, “Jesus never
      | lived,” and people nod their heads and say, “ok, there is religious freedom in America and what
      | he just said is fine,” but if you say “kids should not go to college” its like you breached the
      | highest, holiest, divine hymen of American religion.
      |
      | Say it again. Say it loud and proud: “college is the divine hymen of American religion.”

  • Guest

    The problem is that for most middle class and poor americans they view sending a child to college as the only real avenue for upward social mobility. Arguing that such an undertaking makes no sense is tantamount to saying “Let them eat cake!” You are making yourself the modern day equivalent of Marie Antoinette!

    • Fubar

      re: “The problem is that for most middle class and poor americans they view sending a child to college as the only real avenue for upward social mobility.”

      That was historically true, but it is becoming less so due to economic restructuring/collapse.

      It is also an invitation for corruption. All of the exploitation, incompetence, dysfunctionality and greed that university administrators can be covered up by PR campaigns based on the increasingly false mantra of upward social mobility for disadvantaged, minorities, etc.

      In reality, college provides false hopes to an increasing number of poor and middle class families, and exploits them via huge loans, fees, etc.

      People just don’t want to face the reality that college/universities are, just like most social institutions, massively dysfunctional and failing, and incapable of, or unwilling to, reform themselves.

      Very few people on this blog topic actually talk about learning, or how the exploited condition of faculty impacts the quality of teaching.

      Ironically, the discussion isn’t particularly “educated” or informed as to the actual deteriorating conditions in higher education.

      Most things are broken in american society, and colleges/universities played a significant role in allowing that to happen. Now that the colleges/universities are themselves are broken, no one cares or thinks about reforming the system.

  • http://profiles.google.com/tiffani.davidson Tiffani Davidson

    I find it endlessly revealing that those who find the argument against college so enraging are the same ones that went for four to eight years and still are not happy in life. The simple truth is (in my opinion) that if you cared enough about the subject in which you would study in college, you’d care enough about it to train yourself without going tens of thousands into debt. I love hearing college graduates complain that they have to “climb the ladder”, “play politics” or “do the time”. I never had to do any of that shit. Do what you want to do. Do very little else.

  • FUUUUUUUU

    you’re an idiot

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joseph-Matthew/1386904025 Joseph Matthew

    I agree with you on every aspect, now agree with me in your head as I tell you a story. I went to college and sucked at it and only have 20-ish credits. I work for a company that holds most of its employess with masters degrees. Heres the gravey: I make more money then those people because college does not teach one how to be smart it just seperates the brainwashed from the independent. I remember clearly in highschool being told and having a document about the corrilation between college and salery. Dumb. – The lesson should have read ” Highshool grads going to college and the school district’s budget and salery”. Thats only a part of the game.
    So say you went to college – great – 90% of you have no clue why your going and when you get out you assume yout getting a job. Hows that going? we all know people who have impressive degrees and probably resent not using it it to wipe their ass in the morning before going to their job that has no use for thier degree.
    I know many of you use your degrees – doctors, cpa, attorney, nurse, This doesnt apply to you. What I am trying to bring out is this : If your in highschool and want to go to college have a game plan. research professions, know your desires. If you are being pushed to school, or as a parent pushing your kid to school stop and think. Are you doing this because you or your parents will be embarresed? Did they say “Dont make my mistake”? Its all bull shit. If its a “mistake” and they know from expreience they messed up. Chances are they picked a fielf of study that is dying. Today everyone wants to be a graphic designer/ teacher/ nurse. What happens when we flood the market with these people? I will tell you… Pay drops, less people still want that job and you start at 1. Then “you” (designer/nurse) have no pay to cover your loan, and get scarred back to school and make another bad choice.
    Back to my first point – dont make huge life choices because someone tells you to. Make choices after you learn about them yourself. Especially parents – many feel less then their peers because they did not go to college . they push their kids to go so they feel like sucessful parents, then their kid comes out with debt and no clue. Good job mom and dad.
    I dont care about my spelling or grammer in this – I care not to impress who ever reads this

  • Edsnet3

    I guess you were not raised properly. You went to college to become less than you when you entered. So sad

    • Fubar

      Please address the main point of the article (see below) instead of posting stupid insults of the author.

      | Seriously, you could walk around and say, “Jesus never lived,” and people nod their heads and
      | say, “ok, there is religious freedom in America and what he just said is fine,” but if you say
      | “kids should not go to college” its like you breached the highest, holiest, divine hymen of
      | American religion.
      |
      | Say it again. Say it loud and proud: “college is the divine hymen of American religion.”

      You have no NOTHING, except to prove the author’s point, which is that belief in “getting a degree” involves a bunch of DEEPLY DYSFUNCTIONAL myths and prejudices.

  • Mikeviage

    Reason # 10
    When walking across the stage to receive the diploma, you have already forgotten over 90% of the previous 4, 5, 6 years.
    Reason # 9
    Trade schools show you HOW to do things, so that when you are faced with it – when it matters, you are at least familiar with it and do not need to go to ATT for 2 months of training.

  • Len

    Scott Adams posted a similar tome in the WSJ recently and his approach and the feedback closely match this discussion:

    http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/the_education_complexity_shift/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+typepad%2FihdT+%28Dilbert+Blog%29

    • Fubar

      Very good stuff. Thanks!

  • Anellib

    it’s just an excuses for lazy people not to get a degree, be contented that they are earning minimum wage, whine when they can’t get the job they want, and an excuse so the government can take care of them.
    Don’t go to college, but who is going to suffer…certainly not the author of this article. Oh people, if you can’t use your degree on your job but aren’t you glad that you got the edge over others who is only a high school grad?!
    Secure your kids future by sending them to college. You spend for their education but it is their future you should consider. If you raised you kids right, you know that they are not those kids that the author are talking about.

    • Fubar

      The main purpose of public education is to destroy self-reliance and personal responsibility. The very thing that you think is a medicine is the poison causing the disease.

      You sound ignorant, backward, narrow-minded and judgmental.

      Where did you go to school?

  • Trex

    I wish I had the advice of all these “don’t go to college” (especially right out of high school!! Doh!) columns + a shred of self esteem when I was 18. I think I could have been perhaps an alternative life of a preferable sort.

  • Affd

    Item 3 mentions statistics. Take a look at Amish communities. The vast majority only have an 8th grade education and many have become very wealthy business owners.

  • DA

    Very interesting. How about the fact that graduating form a major university in 2011 probably means you are starting your post college life with about 200K of debt. That being said how can you possibly get ahead when you are paying well over a grand a month to your student loans and making about 35K. I was lucky and went to college in the 90s and after 4 years came out about 12 grand in debt. I paid my loans off early and to this day have never used one ounce of my degree. I worked as a CO-OP in college and read books at night to turn myself from and Electrical Engineer to a Software Engineer. Some on-the-job training and hard work in the off hours could have given me the exact same thing. If I had the chance to do college all over again I would definitely pass it up, and that was after only paying 71.00/month for my loans. You kids/parents are getting screwed!

  • Molliekm

    Just because you did drugs and drank in college doesn’t mean that’s the entire experience for everyone. I’m in my 3rd year of college and have completely changed as a person. I know where to find jobs, what sorts of careers I am equipped for, and how to apply to graduate schools. School is the best thing I could have done for myself. My advice is that if you’re going to go to college, take it very seriously so you’re not in it for 6 years (I am graduating in 4 with a major, emphasis, and two minors, and never having taken summer session or an overload semester) Too many people go to college with no commitment or direction, they go because it’s just the next step. There are a lot of higher education programs and it’s not one size fits all. I would never advise someone to not attend college without knowing them. You’re an ignorant idiot who obviously didn’t know how to spend his time at college. Perhaps a better study would be to take those who graduated with C’s, no internships, no volunteer experience, no direction, and those who prepared themselves before graduation and got the most out of education, which is an amazing opportunity.

  • Chrisoanderson

    I agree 100% with you. We need plumbers, electricians, etc. The statistic is that 3 out or 5 college students fail to graduate and is over $60,000k in debt. It takes them 20 years to pay it off. They don’t learn about money in college.
    My son is an Auto Mechanic at a BIG dealership. He made $100K last year. He is 24. He gets there at 7AM and leaves at 4PM. He has weekends off. There are some at the dealership that make ~$150k a year. His best friend went to state college and owes ~$60k. He cannot find a job.
    I dropped out of college and started my own business. I have earned over $300k a year for the last 20 years doing A/C repair. I have hired 15 techs and my office manager is a college grad who makes $30k year.

  • Chrisoanderson

    I agree 100% with you. We need plumbers, electricians, etc. The statistic is that 3 out or 5 college students fail to graduate and is over $60,000k in debt. It takes them 20 years to pay it off. They don’t learn about money in college.
    My son is an Auto Mechanic at a BIG dealership. He made $100K last year. He is 24. He gets there at 7AM and leaves at 4PM. He has weekends off. There are some at the dealership that make ~$150k a year. His best friend went to state college and owes ~$60k. He cannot find a job.
    I dropped out of college and started my own business. I have earned over $300k a year for the last 20 years doing A/C repair. I have hired 15 techs and my office manager is a college grad who makes $30k year.

  • Dan

    Also, it doesn’t have to cost “$100-200K a year”. Even at the most expensive schools that’s the cost of the entire undergrad experience (over 4-5 years). Don’t want an expensive private school? Choose a state school, or better yet go to a community college first [and there are good community colleges out there, some with even better(facilities/instructors) than some state and private universities, you just have to know where to look], then transfer to a four year and socialize. As for money earned, you might not prove causation (going to college guarantees you’ll make more money), but there is a strong correlation (whether that has to do with being a go-getter is irrelevant) that those that went to college do in fact have higher median and average wages.

    On “I’d say the overwhelming majority of people don’t go to college as a financial investment”, believe it or not some people do go to college to learn, not just sex and beer. There are many things a college education offers that you cannot do own your own. Many colleges have first rate labs, unique one-of-a-kind books, and Nobel worthy professors/researchers who publish the very books they teach from. believe it or not some people are inquisitive and want to learn about something that may not be clear in academic circles (Physics, genetics, biology, astronomy, medicine, chemistry, etc.) or to humanity in general.

    Also, you can make your first job connections at said school (networking) which you may never have gotten an opportunity to work in if you did not have a degree in that area (which is common in this economy). Many employers recruit at colleges.

    ..and yes, sexual/relationship exploration is a natural thing to do when at that age (especially considering they are over 18yr. old adults). As for alcohol, what can I tell you, I came from a culture where alcohol is prevalent so I already knew about beer, wine, and hard liquor before going to college and wasn’t as much of a thrill to me as it was to other students who didn’t have that freedom before–therefore I did not drink much while in college. Also not all kids engage in sexual behavior of any kind at that age–so don’t make such wide blanket statements of that magnitude.

    Finally, the one reason (besides all the ones mentioned above) that everyone is encouraged to go to college is that many won’t because they can’t (money, poor academic record, kids/family obligations, etc.) and going to college is a big career booster no matter what you say. We do need more engineers, more doctors, etc. This country (in case you haven’t heard) is falling behind even developing nations in these areas. That’s why encouraging the youth to go to college is important–because even with all our encouragement,many won’t, then imagine if kids weren’t encouraged and inspired to go to college in the first place.

    • Dan

      Also, many kids who aren’t going on to college are having sex, drinking alcohol, partying, etc. Have you ever heard of bars, clubs, Facebook, or Craigslist?

  • Vhatlaban

    I went to an expensive private art school with a dream to work in the movies. I was told throughout the first three years that in my senior year, I would be allowed to focus on my particular passion in the animation field (3D modeling). I was not, and by the time I graduated, I only had two pieces worth putting into my portfolio. Spent a couple of months working at a bank and beefing up my portfolio, only to have the economy tank and business fire tons of employees. Now I’m defaulting on $150,000 in loans. I’m going to open my own business and work for myself. So much for college being useful. You can defend college by saying things like, “Well, it made me who I am today,” but you can say that with any mistake you make.

    • Fubar

       Sad but true. Connect the dots: bank scandals and student loans. Student loans and bloated university administration. “Follow the money”.

  • scott

    its amazing how much exaggeration there is in this article. about sex, drugs, cost of college, everything. clearly, the writer is extremely opinionated and overall misinformed. It is wrong to write reasons not to go to college based solely on his experience, he is an example of 1. He mentions basic statistics, he should know a thing or two about a relevant sample size.

    • Fubar

      a classic example of psychological “projection”. everything you say about Altucher is really about you. 

      • Fubar

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_(psychology)

        excerpt:

        In Jungian psychology, the shadow or “shadow aspect” is a part of the unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, shortcomings, and instincts. It is one of the three most recognizable archetypes, the others being the anima and animus and the persona. “Everyone carries a shadow,” Jung wrote, “and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”[1] It may be (in part) one’s link to more primitive animal instincts,[2] which are superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind.
        According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to projection: turning a personal inferiority into a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. Jung writes that if these projections are unrecognized “The projection-making factor (the Shadow archetype) then has a free hand and can realize its object–if it has one–or bring about some other situation characteristic of its power.” [3] These projections insulate and cripple individuals by forming an ever thicker fog of illusion between the ego and the real world.

  • Alison

    I agree that a liberal arts education might not help you in the real world, and that most of my friends will graduate college and never use the degree they graduated with. But there are some jobs/careers/professions that do require a college degree, and if you want to do one of those, you don’t have a choice but to go to college. You have to go to college and at least get a bachelor’s degree to become a nurse, you have to go to law school to be a lawyer, med school to be a doctor, and you need a doctorate to be a physical therapist or pharmacist. College is not an option, its a necessity to do any of the previously mentioned jobs.

    • Fubar

       And many of those jobs will be outsourced. The jobs that remain will require the kinds of “creativity” that Altucher is talking about.

      Generally speaking, the educational establishment values conformism over innovation, creativity and entrepreneurialism.

      Conformism produces prejudices, administrative bloat, corruption and inefficient bureaucracy.

      The more people that become “educated”, the more corrupt, lazy, prejudiced, uncritical of social decline and intellectually bankrupt they tend to be.

      This is obviously a profoundly distrubing inversion of history.

  • Chocmoose2

    After Graduating College, I realized I could have easily lied on my resume to say I went to college. Some jobs check with the institution to see if you actually graduated, but most don’t and it’s not like you would get in any sort of trouble other than to not get the job. Once you get your first job you don’t even put your college on the resume, it’s all about work experience from then on.

  • GUEST

    I will be graduating from a state university this week–with 2 degrees and a minor. Please allow me to share some information that may be enlightening as to the value of a college “education.”

    1. I am a wholesome individual who did not sleep around during my 5 (yes, 5) years in school but still managed to make a significant number of idiotic choices in regards to my social life. These choices did not hurt anyone, and could be considered “life lessons,” but involved furthering my financial debt because I really was too immature to be given free reign to waste my time.

    2. When I got to college I came with the expectation of EARNING an education–I truly did want to work for it. But as time went on I realized that I was in a percentage of about 1% of students who DO actually want to learn. After that realization it just seemed like a waste of time. Without cheating and by going to class every day I was earning a 4.0. However, because of grading curves and extra credit, my classmates who didn’t attend class and bombed exams left-and-right were earning 3.9 GPAs. That doesn’t seem right, does it?

    3. I did not choose an easy major–people in their replies keep mentioning the importance of college education in medicine or engineering. My degree was Biology and the same, meaningless grades were being handed out in my required need-to-know Bio classes as well. Then, when I did come to a course that I couldn’t master (and managed to fail), my advisor allowed me to “skip it.” This means that I knew NOTHING but was still given credit for taking this course. Interesting.

    4. To further my point in bullet #3, I have a close friend who just graduated from the College of Engineering at this school (mind you, my university is ranked as one of the top Engineering programs in the nation). However, her diploma and engineering certificates do not indicate the following: she cannot read a tape measure, she cannot tell time on an analog clock, she failed the course “Basic Structures” at least 3 times…the list goes on. And she was NOT ALONE. Considering this information, do you still feel that a diploma is indicative of skill? Hopefully not.

    I am not saying that college was completely worthless for me–I did manage to discover some passions, meet some great friends, and partake in activities that I would not have done otherwise. But in the big picture, did I really need to pay 100 grand for all of this? No. In the end I jumped through more hoops than I could count, learned how to avoid putting in the necessary effort, and was encouraged to make the system work for me; in the end I am leaving with a diploma that I didn’t truly earn but rather bought.

    Thanks for reading and I hope this is at least eye-opening for some.

    • Fubar

      Sad, but true.

      College and University administrators are like vultures, feeding off the rotting carcass of social decline. As long as they pander to the illusions of intellectually lazy people with prejudices, their salaries become more and more bloated even as the actual work they do creates more ignorance, prejudice and social injustice.

      College is a protection racket. It is corrupt and a scam. Most faculty are so absent of any real intellectual integrity (or comittment to values beyond self-interest) that they have allowed the “system” to turn their profession into a scam.

      When the a corrupt system is allowed to run rampant by self-serving opportunists, nothing good will come of it in the end.

      People’s thoughts have been taken in an “un-natural” direction by the educational establishment. They have been convinced to support things that are against their own best long-term interests.

  • Brian

    I think you have some real insightful ideas on college along with some major overgeneralizations (though they were extremely thought-provoking), I often wondered myself how the state and my parents were subsidizing my 5-year vomit and sex-ridden ride through college… what you mentioned about those Ivy-league schools not helping you in the real world is a major issue with most colleges but moreso something you should have thought about before choosing that program. Most college majors don’t actually prepare you well for the real world, they consist of ivory-tower academicians who teach theory or from the book instead of what you will really need. If I were a parent I would say let my kids have fun. Let them have sex, let them drink and do drugs because it’s only fair – my parents helped me to experience this so it wouldn’t be fair for me not to let my kids have their fun, as long as they live through it and don’t get an STD. And that’s just something you have to teach your kids – party responsibly. I will not pay for 100% of their education – making them get a part-time job to partly work their way through is a great idea and teaches them work ethic. To each his own but for me college was an incredible experience (not only because of the partying but also because I was introduced to many new ideas and ways of thinking) and I’d feel wrong not to let my kid enjoy the hell out of it.

  • Random Girl

    I have to admit I’m a bit offended by your article, mostly because of your attitude towards young people. It’s something I see in a lot of discussions about what young people should be doing: people assume that because they misspent their youth that it is somehow the fault of their youth at the time and not themselves. I find it completely unsurprising that you didn’t get the most out of your college degree when you spent most of it having sex and doing drugs. But I bet if you’d spent your youth travelling or painting like you recommended, you would have done the exact same things and not got much out of it either.

    I am twenty-five years old and got an engineering degree at a Canadian university. I attended on merit-based (not finanacial need-based) scholarship and left univerity with $30 000 in the bank, largely extra scholarship money and wages from co-op terms. My parents did not pay for any of my education or living expenses during this time. I spent what I considered a reasonable amount of time on sex and alcohol, but it certainly didn’t rank in the things I spent most of my time on. I easily spent eight hours a day studying and on course work, including weekends. My philosophy at the time way “I don’t believe in free time, there is time I have booked, and time I should spend working”.  I certainly never  had time for “sleeping good chunks of the day, relaxing on the weekends, and enjoying the blissful pleasures of the lazy life for another four years until the real world hits.” I find I have vastly more free time in industry than I ever did in school.

    I feel things worked out for me as well: I do work that I love and I make a lot of money doing it. I also have skills I could use as a consultant if I ever get sick of working for the man. The contacts I made at university really helped with this, especially employment contacts from the co-op program. Also, I find a lot of the knowledge I learned useful on a day to day basis.

    I admit I don’t know what would have happened if I handn’t gone to university, it’s possible that my scholarships vastly underpaid for my skills, but I doubt it. I was working at McDonald’s when I started university.

    One thing I think you underestimate is the difficulty young people have establishing crediblity. Unfortunately, a lot of people take your sex-obsessed, drug user view. This can make buisiness relationships difficult. Part of why I ended up working at McDonald’s is that I tried applying at several computer stores and none of them would hire me. One of them even said “I know you’re competant, but teenage girls just don’t build confidence that customers’ technical problems will be solved”. Also, things like opening a bank account, getting credit and establishing a corporation are temendously difficult when you are underage. University really helped in this area, as professors are used to dealing with young people, and were much more willing to help me learn than the average person I met.

    I agree with you that far to many people go to university, in fact a lot of my classmates still have a lot of debt and no jobs. But to be honest, they (for lack of a better word) sucked before they went to university, and they still sucked after they went to university, university didn’t change much. Of course an investment in someone who sucks will be a waste.

    Also, there are some people who got degrees for jobs that really don’t require it, like all the receptionists at my office. In this case, though, I think its the system that’s broken. If only companies would stop giving preference to people with unnecessary degrees, and people would stop taking them all at once, four years and a lot of money would be saved for a lot of people. But of course, this won’t happen, and given the system, a degree might be best for these people.

    So my advice to parents: don’t pay for university. An exceptional child will find a way to go, and this will also keep costs reasonable (they’ll think about how much that ivy league dimploma is really worth). And it makes them more likely to think about what they want to do before they do it. University is a much better investment if it is targetted towards a goal to have a certain career, in my opinion. And from my experience, people who had worked first, and left (often high-paying jobs) to go back to school, were more likely to get jobs afterward, and be satisfied with them.

    As for students, my advice is to stop sucking. You can’t do anything of value while you suck. James sucked while he was in college, and then somehow snapped out of it. You can too. And once you stop sucking, make your own choice about university. And make sure it’s an informed one based on the finances and lifestyle you want after school. And don’t used your parents’ money. And remember: only _you_ can stop sucking.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      A couple of points:
      A) I’m sorry you are offended by the article. You get easily offended. The topic of tuitions increasing in price 3x faster than inflation is an important one and is graduating a generation of indentured servants. I’m not talking about whether or not the jews killed jesus. I’m talking about whether young kids need to take on so much debt right at the beginning of their career. this is a legit conversation to have. Just like its legit for you to be offended. But still, you don’t need to take it so personally.
      B) James did “suck” at college and got better. My argument is that any ambitious, achievement, oriented, intelligent kid would benefit greatly by having a 5 year head start on their peers in the career marketplace. My guess is you would not have ended up at Mcdonalds five years later even though thats where you were at 18. Or, at least, why not try todo somthing else for five years, and then go to a cheap community college.

      Whats wrong with kids just simply trying these alternatives before forcing their parents to go into debt, or going into debt themselves for an endeavor that, to me, has somewhat nebulous consequences. Explore the world, be an artist, be an entrepreneur. All of these are much cheaper than going to college if you have no idea what you are doing.

      • Random Girl

        I’m not offended by the subject you’re arguing or the points you’re making, I’m offended by you casting all young people as drug-using, promiscuous losers. If you’d said you were making your points because you care about young people, or don’t want them to waste their talent, or even just think it’s the best for society, I think I would have found your article more convincing. It’s a school of thought I hear a lot ‘young people should do this and that because they’re a bunch of incompetent fools, because I was when I was young’ (I’ve heard this said a lot in favour of mandatory millitary service and volunteer hours) and I think it’s a mistake in thinking, because it ignores young people’s talent. I know that skipping college could potentially be good for talented students, too, but that’s not what your article said. It focused on the loser ones, and implied that all young people are like that.

        I agree with you that young people are taking on too much debt, and my perspectives are likely also different because I’m Canadian, and university is much cheaper here. But I still think a leaner, meaner college system is what’s in order, not students just not going. And maybe your government needs to crack down on these schools charging exorbitant rates. In Canada, universities are largely owned by the govenment, so there’s an incentive to invest in programs that bring the biggest returns in terms of tax dollars. They’ve actually done some interesting studies in the area that might prove your point, for example, they found increasing the number of engineering slots would increase the national GDP, meanwhile increasing the number of law school slots would decrease it. 

        There’s also a lot to be said in my mind for giving students financial incentives to perform in school, as I was. This is actually pretty common in Canada. Even students who don’t get good enough grades for scholarships can get their loans forgiven if they graduate with a reasonable average. I think it motivates students to perform better, and of course relieves some of the financial stress of university– but only for those who are making an effort at getting an education.

        I think this is essentially a market problem– in the US, colleges lack the transparency and oversight, making them able to vastly over state the return on investment of a degree. Lean, mean, high-returns programs have the same problem, in that they are unable to distingish themselves among all the liars. Maybe you should start/lobby for some sort of transparency project for colleges :) I think in a world of perfect information, a lot would die, and many would rethink the value they provide and become more student-focused. 

        • Fubar

          Nowhere does Altucher insult “all” college students (much less, those in Canada!). Even if he did, it would have been strictly for shock values (some young people fail to appreciate the literary devices used by more mature, experienced writers), and for good reason. The scams and swindles that colleges/universitites are engaged in are far more shocking than anything Altucher could say about the moral failings of a large number of college students. Let’s face it, the USA is full of a lot of stupid, prejudiced, unenlightened people. Colleges and universities do far less than they should to change that, and probably contribute to the problem in far more ways than they should.

          You seem like a fairly well educated, thoughtful person that unfortunately has been programmed to believe in a specific set of prejudices and thus lack insight into the full reality of both education and society.

          Altucher’s contribution of the discussion of the “decline of education” in america is probably most valuable in that he sees the problem as an “outsider” – as an Achiever/Creative, entrepreneur. The education system is designed to produce conformism to Centralized State Capitalism. Nonconformists are usually the subject of considerable disrespect by the educational system, thus, Altucher’s corresponding disrespect of the social “myths” that are used to sustain social conformity to the education system.

          The USA originally had a political culture that was Independent. Self-reliance and community support werre replaced by dependence on central banks and monopolistic corporations. The “education system” was invented by the monied interests to produce compliant consumers and workers (especially immigrants). Such a system eventually became rotten (for reasons that are well understood by authentic philosophers, economists, political and social critics as well as nonconformists of various types).

          The classic liberal tradition, which contained the great ideals of western civilization, was slowly replaced by ideologies that advanced State Capitalism, leaving a hollow constitution, and a culture that was weak and servile.

          You are perfectly justified in whining about having people like Altucher remind you of the uncomfortable truth that the education system exists to perpetuate servility and weakness, but that is all you are doing – whining.

  • http://pudge.net/ pudge

    1. Oh please. I was married 16 years ago, just after graduating college.  I had NO sexual intercourse until marriage.  But if I’d had sex every day my first year, and we round up to 366 days, that means I just need to have had sex 23 times a year since getting married.  (And please don’t tell me that most kids average sex more than once a day — with other people, anyway.)  I am certain I have had sex 366 times at least, but even if not, I soon will.

    I also never drank alcohol in college, and still don’t, and never skipped class.  I never wanted to.  Shrug.  (I did want to have sex, though, but am glad I waited, FWIW.)

    2. I learned to think before I got to college.  Shouldn’t everyone?

    3. Not quite. There was actually an interesting study of people who went to college basically just because of the G.I. Bill, and it shows that there is something going on there.  Look, going to college often gets you a better job.  The thing is, though: that’s changing rapidly.  College is becoming less and less necessary, due to the opportunities for learning outside of college.  Of course, many professional organizations and employers will still require it, but that is changing some, too.

    4. College prices are going to go way up soon.  The college loan law passed as part of the health insurance bill says that all college loans come from the federal government, and students only have to pay back a percentage of their income, and only until they turn 35.  This means there is NO pressure on colleges to keep tuition down, because there is NO pressure on students to care how much the tuition is. Make it a million dollars: I’ll still pay the same amount, and only until I hit 35.  (Yes, I am angry about this insane law.)

    5. I never took a computer class in my life, and yet I’m a well-paid, and somewhat well-regarded, computer programmer.  I got my degree in journalism, and took great classes in Greek and philosophy and more.  I learned a lot in college … but nothing I couldn’t have learned a lot cheaper, in terms of time and money.

    I got a great education, but it wasn’t worth what I paid.  (Sorry, Mom and Dad.)

    6. Again, I never drank, smoked, had sex, cheated, etc. My education was great.  But it was STILL a scam, based solely on the cost in time and money.

    7. Yes.

    We’re homeschooling our kids, and hope that — depending on the field of study they choose — we can choose an alternative to traditional college as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mr.Maxwell.Payne Maxwell Payne

     Sounds like you don’t know too much about college. Your child should make their own choice not have you convincing him college is a waste of time. Sorry buddy but if you’re spending $100 to 200K a year on college you’re doing something very very wrong. 

    College is a fun experience but fun aside a lot of careers require a college education. You know fields like psychology, medicine, law, pharmacy, education (From grade school to college one needs a minimum of a B.A. to teach students). You know even other fields like pharmaceuticals, computer science, design, engineering, politics, social work, management…should I go on?,  And funny fact, a lot of jobs that don’t require a college degree to do the work actually end up requiring a college degree because apparently having a degree says something about that person’s intellect and overall ability to be a worthwhile employee.

    I’ve heard a lot of the same types of fools like yourself hyping the whole “forgo college and start your own business” ruse. Yet nearly half of businesses fail, most successful entrepreneurs got their start at college meeting people (like roommates who went on to become co owners of the business), becoming inspired to start a business or idea launch, not to mention most overnight success stories of non-college graduates becoming rich and successful business owners aren’t very high. 

    You are correct that learning can be done without a formal college setting BUT to get most jobs, get backing for business startups, or get licensed in a field you need a degree.

    Do some research next time. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mr.Maxwell.Payne Maxwell Payne

     Sounds like you don’t know too much about college. Your child should make their own choice not have you convincing him college is a waste of time. Sorry buddy but if you’re spending $100 to 200K a year on college you’re doing something very very wrong. 

    College is a fun experience but fun aside a lot of careers require a college education. You know fields like psychology, medicine, law, pharmacy, education (From grade school to college one needs a minimum of a B.A. to teach students). You know even other fields like pharmaceuticals, computer science, design, engineering, politics, social work, management…should I go on?,  And funny fact, a lot of jobs that don’t require a college degree to do the work actually end up requiring a college degree because apparently having a degree says something about that person’s intellect and overall ability to be a worthwhile employee.

    I’ve heard a lot of the same types of fools like yourself hyping the whole “forgo college and start your own business” ruse. Yet nearly half of businesses fail, most successful entrepreneurs got their start at college meeting people (like roommates who went on to become co owners of the business), becoming inspired to start a business or idea launch, not to mention most overnight success stories of non-college graduates becoming rich and successful business owners aren’t very high. 

    You are correct that learning can be done without a formal college setting BUT to get most jobs, get backing for business startups, or get licensed in a field you need a degree.

    Do some research next time. 

    • Fubar

      Here is the research: USA government statistics indicate that 30% of people get college degrees. 

      Unless the other 70% are not working, there are a lot of people that get jobs without having a degree.

      More research: many people get “useless” degrees at costs that require them to get large student loans that they can not pay off until they are in the 40s. The debt load is huge for people in this category.

      Note: you do not need a degree to find out the actual facts about problems in post-secondary education, just an ability to overcome the socially ingrained prejudices against people that chose alternatives. Altucher has addressed all of your points in his various articles and comments on the topic, too bad you didn’t take the time to read what he has actually said.

      There are many reasons that entrepreneurs are not successful. You do not appear to have much actual familiarity with those reasons. One of the many reasons is the conformism and dependency on “State Capitalism” that the educational establishment participates in.

      The conformism that the educational establishment perpetuates produces a “dumbed down” population of people that have extreme difficulty even understanding the big problems facing society (e,g, banking scandals), much less “fixing” them.

      Altucher is a Buddhist. He understands the value of being able to transcend limited, outmoded paradigms.

      The educational establishment not only fails to even acknowledge transcendence, it produces a toxic reaction to it. The educational establishment promotes prejudices, not enlightenment. The educational establishment promotes intellectual, cultural and spiritual bankruptcy.

      You should be ashamed of defending such idiocy and degeneracy.

  • Will Pflaum

    I homeschool my 8 and 4 year olds (and the 2 year old will get the same treatment). 

    When I go to work with my older son, sit down to work on math, for example, it’s real work, with real goals. In the process, we both learn a lot and produce quality work, such as this never before published http://yesi.am/finite-numbers.pdf equation of static number, variable bases, my son discovered and I helped him to finish. 

    Genius is as common as dirt maybe.If he wants to keep working with me when he’s 18, I hope we can. If other people are involved in the projects that emerge, that would be great. If he does projects in which I am not involved, that would be great too. Podcasts of lectures, farming, art, books, piano, chess, internet research, and sustained collaboration with enthusiastic smart people: anything that mixes some of those things without college will be better than college. Some of this might involve making money. The money will come naturally as the projects get good. 
    No different than what we do now. Just do good projects and love learning with a small community of smart, dedicated people. Learn to do at 8 years old and stick to it for the rest of your life. That’s the plan.

  • http://twitter.com/ronaldj100 Ronald Jones

    Of course college didn’t help you– you didn’t apply yourself to it, as evidence your D+ in FORTRAN.  You were a CS major and couldn’t manage better than a D+ in FORTRAN ? Incredible!

  • http://twitter.com/ronaldj100 Ronald Jones

    Of course college didn’t help you– you didn’t apply yourself to it, as evidence your D+ in FORTRAN.  You were a CS major and couldn’t manage better than a D+ in FORTRAN ? Incredible!

    • Fubar

      How many hedge fund managers got an good grade in FORTRAN? How many even took FORTRAN?

      Side note: a lot of computer scientists clearly think that FORTRAN is crap, which is why better programming languages were invented and have come into popular use.

  • Mcjarts

    Seems pretty reasonable to me! I am a geezer woman who went to Stanford to marry a rich husband back in the day(s), At that time, there were 3 men admitted to Stanford for every woman so I achieved my goal; too bad he was an A-hole. All of those good grades I got ( I was fairly regimented for a short while) were based on massive stupid rote memorization. Now, I ask–who the hell was Plato? And, Chaucer ( a quarter course)??? I could say his name in my upper class suburb and people would think I was speaking some foreign language or have a geezer speech issue. If college is to be meaningful, it needs to change radically to be truly oriented to successful performance in today’s job market. 

    I am forwarding your  article to my daughter who has three young sons. It will be good for her to consider this content.   

  • MDbrooke

    Maybe this is true, maybe we don’t really NEED to go to college, but for getting a job in a competitive market it is expected. And this isn’t going to change over night… nobody wants to be the guinea pig. 

    • Fubar

      No one talks about the need for critical thinking, creativity, innovation, only conformism to the establishment.

      No one talks about the need to educate people to become responsible, INFORMED, citizens in a democratic republic.

      This is all certain evidence of social decline and bureaucratic corruption.

  • Vesuvius

    The point of college is to teach people not to be aggressive and attack those who disagree with them, but instead respond intelligently. Of course, if you spend your whole time at college having sex and vomiting it makes sense that YOU missed the classes where you learned to be a real person.

    • Fubar

      (It is revealing that you diminish a critic’s basic humanity, which is an attack, instead of using Reason and Good Faith.)

      That was the historical purpose, not the current purpose.

      You were taught a myth that the educational bureaucracy wants you to believe.

      Such scammers cover their schemes with lies about their noble ideals and high purposes.

      Education has become bloathed and politically corrupted. It has become part of the system of State Capitalism. It is a protection racket for those that sell out their intellectual honesty.

      The current purpose it to socialize people into conformance to the needs of the system.

      Inquisitions, thought policing, political correctness and bullying are used to get rid of nonconformists.

      Educational administrators imitate overpaid corporate executives. Both imitate medival overlords. Politicans refuse to exercise appropriate oversight, fearing that the illusion will burst and they will get caught up in a public outrage/backlash by people frustrated about declining upward social mobility and institutional incompetence and dysfunctionality.

      Education is aggressive towards, and attacks, people with viewpoints that are contrary to the survival of the educational bureaucracy.

      Please read John Taylor Gatto.

      It was necessary for the system of State Capitalism to diminish its natural opposition: political independents and populists that came from small family farms and farm communities near large urban areas. (google “Jim Hightower populist”)

      Agrarian culture is always conservative and communal. People in farming communities help each other, and do not need a vast, bloated, welfare state bureaucracy (or education system).

      Mark Twain makes great fun of the flaws in the system, but on the american frontier, the first signs of “civilization” were churches and schools. Teachers were young women with high morals that would work for almost nothing (few alternatives existed for women). No educational bureacuracy was needed.

      In contrast:

      http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/chris-r-tame-memorial-prize-2010/#comments

      excerpt:

      Claire Khaw | 19 November, 2010 at 10:35 pm |


      Widespread illegitimacy, working mothers and family breakdown is the reason why cultural traditions are now no longer transmitted. In other words, feminism.

      What the essay did not mention is that unmarried mothers are a burden on the state and tend to have offspring who also become a burden on the state.

      Worse, their unsocialised offspring who go into state schools spoil it for those who want to learn, and the female-dominated teaching establishment refuse, for ideological reasons, to discipline them.

      So it has been that for quite a few generations now educational and moral standards have deteriorated and this deterioration has accelerated as inexorably as a snowball rolling down a mountain.

      This also rather explains why the working classes are unfit for purpose. It is all down to bad parenting by single mothers, bad teaching by the female-dominated teaching profession, who now spend most of their time trying to disguise the failure of state education.

      These factors necessitate the import of cheap and better foreign labour. The foreigners who settle here clearly don’t want to end up being white trash, and that is why they prefer not to assimilate and stick to their own culture.

      It is a vicious and ever decreasing circle which no political party – not even the Libertarian Party – dares address because it would entail the dismantlement of the welfare state to which all Britons are now fatally addicted together with the cheap sex and easy women that feminism uses to bribe men into supporting feminism, an ideology that supports the right of women to be as promiscuous as men.

      —end excerpts—

      The mechanism that was put in place to foist the educational bureacuracy on farmers and working people was suburban real estate development. The developers had to create a cover for their schemes, so they brought in people that advocated public schools. School taxes were raised on small farmers. Since small farms are usually only marginally profitable (they allow a family that already owned the land for several generations to survive, but not get rich to cover debt from easy credit), the taxes made farmers go bankrupt. The farm was then available for cheap purchase by developers. The people that bought the houses built on subdivided farm land could afford increased taxes because the burden was spread across many families who usually had middle class jobs (in a consumer economy, not a producer economy).

      A whole bureaucracy of social engineering was created to get in on the scam. Social workers were part of a political process to deliver votes to politicians that created social programs that depended on alienation and social decline (the welfare state).

      Here is a description of how state capitalism developed:
      http://attackthesystem.com/free-enterprise-the-antidote-to-corporate-plutocracy/

      (URL reconstruct: http://attackthesystem.com/
       free-enterprise-the-antidote-to-corporate-plutocracy/ )

      In the end, this is the dysfunctional situation that State Capitalism, and the bloated educational bureaucracy, creates:

      http://fabiusmaximus.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/26538/

      Origins of what may become the 3rd American Republic (a plutocracy)8 April 2011
      tags: constitution, david runcimanby Fabius Maximus
      Summary:  The article excerpted here provides a powerful explanation for the evolution of our political system during the past 35 years to favor the super-rich, becoming in effect a plutocracy.  It even provides an excuse for us, the citizens.  If you consider ignorance and apathy to be excuses.Review by David Runciman (teaches politics at Cambridge) in the London Review of Books, 14 April 2011 — It’s open to non-subscribers, and well-worth reading in full.  If you don’t subscribe, I recommend doing so!Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World by Nicholas ShaxsonWinner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer – and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson

  • Guest

    I only wish I got that much sex! Didn’t have much to do with alcohol until I was 21 and even then it wasn’t much. Not sure why you’re so scared of sex and alcohol? This article is a little odd.

  • Sarai

    This is so true, and also not true at the same time. Glad for the opportunity to see a different perspective.
    College was never an option for me. I’ve never, even as a child, wanted to go into a career that wouldn’t require it. Biology. Medicine. Chemistry. These are things you cannot teach yourself, and especially in the case of medicine you SHOULDN’T. Most medical jobs require licenses which in turn usually require a degree before you can even sit for the exam. 
    On the other hand, I’ve seen people spend 8 years of their life in college to get an advanced degree in English. I haven’t the faintest clue why. If these people had spent those 8 years and all that money traveling, reading, and writing, and, you know… talking to people, they’d probably come out of the experience savvier and better functioning members of society. When you’ve got an advanced degree in anything outside of medicine and science, your only option is really to teach other people so they can become similarly educated. What, exactly, is the point?
    People also spend way too much on college. I’ve always gone to the same state school and my tuition has always been 3-4k a year. When they look at my degree, are people going to go, “Whoa, she went to the University of Alaska, how prestigious!”? No. Do I care? Definitely not.

    How about instead of “don’t send your kids to college”, you call this “raise your children to be logical and then let them decide”? You can let them pay for it, you know.

  • Sarai

    This is so true, and also not true at the same time. Glad for the opportunity to see a different perspective.
    College was never an option for me. I’ve never, even as a child, wanted to go into a career that wouldn’t require it. Biology. Medicine. Chemistry. These are things you cannot teach yourself, and especially in the case of medicine you SHOULDN’T. Most medical jobs require licenses which in turn usually require a degree before you can even sit for the exam. 
    On the other hand, I’ve seen people spend 8 years of their life in college to get an advanced degree in English. I haven’t the faintest clue why. If these people had spent those 8 years and all that money traveling, reading, and writing, and, you know… talking to people, they’d probably come out of the experience savvier and better functioning members of society. When you’ve got an advanced degree in anything outside of medicine and science, your only option is really to teach other people so they can become similarly educated. What, exactly, is the point?
    People also spend way too much on college. I’ve always gone to the same state school and my tuition has always been 3-4k a year. When they look at my degree, are people going to go, “Whoa, she went to the University of Alaska, how prestigious!”? No. Do I care? Definitely not.

    How about instead of “don’t send your kids to college”, you call this “raise your children to be logical and then let them decide”? You can let them pay for it, you know.

  • Kwallis

    James,
    I don’t know if you follow Bill Gross at Pimco, but his latest podcast would indicate that your ideas have influenced him. He also advocates skipping college, and thinks the whole experience is not worthwhile and overhyped.

  • Valerio

    Who are you writing for? Do scientists and mathematicians exist in your world? Suppose somebody’s kid wants to become a world class mathematician. Are you suggesting he’s going to be better off trying to figure it all out by himself instead of learning how to do math research from somebody with experience? And where do you find experienced mathematicians if not in colleges?

     

    • Fubar

      Some smart people have education, some don’t.

      Some educated people are smart, many aren’t.

      The human brain evolved to learn a particular way, for survival reasons. Almost everyone can “learn” enough to survive in human society, but that does not make them all that smart.

      In ancient societies, specialized learning was for the elites, and it was assoicated with religious insitutions (only priests needed to, or were allowed to, read). Numbers were mystical, not scientific in the modern sense. Religion defined science, not vice versa.

      At the end of the feudal era, when capitalism was beginning (small shopkeepers), more people needed to be “numerate” so that they could keep track of their business profits and expenses.

      Previous to that, the earthy (spiritually pure) peasants had no need for education, only the elites needed education (refinements).

      The printing press was invented, and it was possible for the new small businesspeople to purchase cheap books. This was intellectual liberation. And, sometimes, spiritual liberation.

      A concept came into being that the greater good was best served by democratizing knowledge, forming a “knowledge commons” where everyone could access knowledge.

      Societies have always created places for people to engage in specialized and/or elite learning.

      Most people that get math degrees do not work in colleges, they work in the real world. They may or may not have time to help someone talented learn math, or have time to publish articles on math that could be accessed via public pools of knowledge (libraries/internet).

      Could math survive if there were not colleges? Yes. does it make more sense to create specialized places were math is taught and opportunities for research specialization created (which is what colleges originally were)? Yes.

      The problem is that after WWII, as people began to work in the information economy (not in factories or on farms), political bloat set in and education was corrupted from its historical role as a democratizing institution.

      Education became an instrument of State Capitalism.

      There are not all that many mathematicians or scientists in society. Historically, society has always found ways to create places for them to learn their specialized knowedge. It is a “no brainer” for society to invest in doing so.

      Society’s need for the education of mathematicians and scientists is a relatively small subset of the educational bureaucracy, and of the problem that Altucher is discussing.

      You cannot justify maintaining the corrupt politics of the existing, bloated, educational bureaucracy on the basis of society’s need for a small elite of mathematicians and scientists.

      A leaner, more “purposeful” education system might actually produce a higher quality of learning and R&D.

  • Guest

    I would not say there is a lot of exxageration in this post. I am also an attendee at one of the colleges he stated he goes to, though undergraduate. I am going into my senior year and here are some facts about a 3.6 GPA double major at one of the BEST universities in the nation. I have tried 8 new drugs since being in college, I had sex twice a day everyday, if not more, during my first 4 semesters at college, i only had class monday-thursday for 2 semesters, i have blacked out or puked from alcohol an uncountable amount of times, i spend maybe 10 hours a week on class assignments and schoolwork (college should be a full time job so this should be 40 hours a week).

    My point here? This blogger is absolutely right. Before you reprimand him for threatening the values you hold so dear, think logically and rationally about college rather than emotionally and passionately. Yes, you’ve probably spent a lot of money on college, but that doesn’t mean you have to defend it. It is a sunk cost.

    Look at the statistics of those who have graduatmed and how they are faring in their first jobs. Many recent graduates are still writing essays as if a college freshman or HS grad, many cannot solve complex problems, many became friends with people who are IDENTICAL to them in terms of SES, background, and goals. If you don’t believe me, please check out the twitter feeds of Sorority Girl Problems (@sororityproblem), Total Frat move (@totalfratmove), Betches Love this (@betchesluvthis:disqus ).

    These have a national following and every college student aged 18-23 knows about them and uses the lingo consistently. If you agree with anything these feeds post about, you are a sad person. They are incredibly self-centered, spoiled, and immature. Nearly every college attendee can cite someone they know who was killed with either binge drinking, drunk driving, etc. There needs to be a change in the American education system and for you all to respond to this post by pointing fingers, exclaiming that the writer must be exaggerating, well, I’d do a bit more research.

    Speak to the children who are currently in the educational system. You will find dissatisfaction, loneliness, and immaturity. It is sad. But it is sadder when people pretend the problems don’t exist.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XOROEWKTBWXR3HZQF2N4JRBJUM James

      Before some ninny gets to your comment and nay-says it, I wanted to point out what an intelligent post this was.

  • Guest

    I would not say there is a lot of exxageration in this post. I am also an attendee at one of the colleges he stated he goes to, though undergraduate. I am going into my senior year and here are some facts about a 3.6 GPA double major at one of the BEST universities in the nation. I have tried 8 new drugs since being in college, I had sex twice a day everyday, if not more, during my first 4 semesters at college, i only had class monday-thursday for 2 semesters, i have blacked out or puked from alcohol an uncountable amount of times, i spend maybe 10 hours a week on class assignments and schoolwork (college should be a full time job so this should be 40 hours a week).

    My point here? This blogger is absolutely right. Before you reprimand him for threatening the values you hold so dear, think logically and rationally about college rather than emotionally and passionately. Yes, you’ve probably spent a lot of money on college, but that doesn’t mean you have to defend it. It is a sunk cost.

    Look at the statistics of those who have graduatmed and how they are faring in their first jobs. Many recent graduates are still writing essays as if a college freshman or HS grad, many cannot solve complex problems, many became friends with people who are IDENTICAL to them in terms of SES, background, and goals. If you don’t believe me, please check out the twitter feeds of Sorority Girl Problems (@sororityproblem), Total Frat move (@totalfratmove), Betches Love this (@betchesluvthis:disqus ).

    These have a national following and every college student aged 18-23 knows about them and uses the lingo consistently. If you agree with anything these feeds post about, you are a sad person. They are incredibly self-centered, spoiled, and immature. Nearly every college attendee can cite someone they know who was killed with either binge drinking, drunk driving, etc. There needs to be a change in the American education system and for you all to respond to this post by pointing fingers, exclaiming that the writer must be exaggerating, well, I’d do a bit more research.

    Speak to the children who are currently in the educational system. You will find dissatisfaction, loneliness, and immaturity. It is sad. But it is sadder when people pretend the problems don’t exist.

  • uraFuckingdork

    this article sucked. horribly written and poorly argued…and I bet you didnt get laid at all

    • Fubar

      vacuous drivel.

  • http://twitter.com/hispanobuzz Hispano Buzz

    Unfortunately, you most likely need at college degree to get a Job.

    I think is on a case by case basis.

    But for sure. Do not get into debt to get that degree.

    I went 3 years to a community college in California, $33 per class. and transferred to a 4 year university  for $900 per semester while working as much as I could. Graduated with no debt (2000 to 2006. I was not in fraternity or anything but I still managed to go to house parties, have sex, go drinking, and dancing and all that.

    KEY: community college ( I was 22 went I transferred to a 4yr college ) more mature.

    Kids these days are willing to mortgage their future just to leave home at 18 and experience college.. Or parent taking seconds on their mortgage for Judy and Jimmy to go to college. Parents in debt and student loans rising, meanwhile Judy getting used up by frat boys and Jimmy getting high and binge drinking.

     You all know how it is.

    P.S. I made out pretty good with No debt and paper that makes me employable.

  • Dinamitechik

    As for the 1000 who didn’t go to Harvard did they only make money because they didn’t spend it on school? I am curious how, without a degree, they obtained employment at all because no one wants someone without a degree unless it’s a trade and even trades are starting to gear towards requiring degrees nowadays.

  • Gabriellelust

    Its not just kids who go to college that have sex and do drugs.

  • Jacky10

    You can’t just say hey look at these stats these kids are doing all these drugs and having sex so I’m not sending my kid to college. If you raised your kid the right away then they should know better.

  • Anonymous

    Hey! Here is Russian translation of this post: http://mcmimik.blogspot.com/2011/08/10-more-reasons-why-parents-should-not.html

  • http://isomorphismes.tumblr.com isomorphisms

    Re [3]. Now let’s add Economics 101 to the Statistics 101. Fewer people went to college 30 years ago. Ergo the supply of college graduates was lower. Duh. More college graduates on the labor market nowadays means a college degree is no longer special.

    Supply of college graduates up, wage premium to college goes down. Of course the “statistic” about making a million extra dollars over your lifetime will look good until this crop of graduates has turned 30 or 40, by which point they will have already gone into and hopefully paid off their debt to academia.

  • Iryna

    Maybe what you chose to study just wasn’t your thing… Ans so you did waste your life and money on that. So now you’re bitter… Or at least you sound bitter.  That doesn’t mean that everyone is like you. But then again, there are tonz of people JUST like you.  

  • Someone

    This person has to be joking…Sorry but from what I get out of this article is someone who didn’t really read the book and thought college was going to be like high school. btw, liberal arts degrees don’t mean shit. The Sciences and Math, and sometimes law degrees will definitely be worth the investment.

  • Barney

    You bum

  • Jheromd

    My undraduate degree is in biochemistry–I coudn’t do a thing when I took my first job at a hematology lab.  My graduate degree is in special education–I couldn’t do I thing when I stepped into my first classroom.  At most institutions, for most degrees, college amounts to nothing more than “cash for credentials”, and the philosophy-bloated man-children who walk out of those hallowed halls haven’t developed a single practical, job-ready skill.

  • Anonymous

    His sarcastic humor sucked.  Along with the terrible grammar.  That being said, he made a logical mistake (and it seems he prides himself on his logic).  Yes, it’s not causation that the college-educated earn, on average, more than the non-college educated.  But correlation is still very important.  Most successful scientific experiments and advancements are based on it.  Perfect causation can never be proven (duh).  So to cavalierly dismiss correlation like that is specious.  He also seems to put the onus on the colleges as the only culprits in the educational racket.  But he completely lets employers off scot-free.  Employers, especially the well-paying ones, demand the signaling a college diploma provides.  Most high-paying jobs are provided by high-end employers.  So the ambitious without a college degree will never have a shot at these jobs without the signaling.  Therefore, most won’t earn as much money as those who bought the signaling.  The only way to stop this is to have every employer in the U.S. use some other proxy for competence that is not a college diploma.  Good luck convincing millions of companies to discontinue this practice.  Hence, this guy is full of b.s.  Illogical and just downright pathetic argumentation.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XOROEWKTBWXR3HZQF2N4JRBJUM James

      “Perfect causation can never be proven (duh).”
      Somewhere in ancient Greece there’s a sophist applauding right now.

      “So to cavalierly dismiss correlation like that is specious.”
      Actually, the results of the surveys conducted “proving” that college education means a more likely correlation between life earnings are “specious.” Especially because the time frame has landed us in a completely different economy than that measured by the old statistics.  None of the wonderful old studies took into account the black swan effect the internet would have.

      “Employers, especially the well-paying ones, demand the signaling a college diploma provides.”  Sure, for entry level positions, like stapling pieces of paper together or doing data analysis.  Upper management positions that actually pay well require either connections or prior work experience.  School won’t get you either unless the guy next to you in class has nice parents with connections.  You get that sort of networking at many places that won’t suck $100,000 out of your wallet.

      “So the ambitious without a college degree will never have a shot at these jobs without the signaling.”  Sure, that’s why I have friends who are moving into CTO slots without graduating and have graduated friends who literally get turned down at the post office.

      “The only way to stop this is to have every employer in the U.S. use some other proxy for competence that is not a college diploma.”  It’s so obvious you’re not a hiring manager it’s not even funny.  Do you know what we call people who have degrees with no experience?  A pain in the ass.  PLEASE give me someone with 4 years of work experience as a retail shift manager over a college graduate with an MBA.  I know with the retail shift manager that there’s actual work experience.  I know with the MBA guy I’ll have to debunk all the stupid theories he’s been spoonfed while at college and THEN retrain him.

      The author has real world experience.  You have conjecture based on a lack of knowledge.  Obviously he should be bowing down before your wisdom.

  • Faith

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m in college… am a virgin, and won’t even touch an OUNCE of alcohol.  I do my schoolwork, study, have great friends, and spend my spare time writing or reading the bible.  A lot of kids really do waste their money at college, but some people go there to get an education so they can get WORK to support their own families that they wish to have some day.  

  • LifeLost

    With some exceptions, I have found that the following has often been durable (if not absolute) in observation:

    A students teach.
    B students work for C students/dropouts who create the companies
    That pay the taxes /philanthropy that provide funding for
    (wait for it)
    A students.

    And I was an A student (and even I recognize this).

    I SO drank the go-to-college (and grad school) Koolaid- and have the scars to prove it.
    The worst part- I was so fractured/fried/distracted/stressed by the end of it all that I could not read a book cover-to-cover for over 15+ years.
    (and I’d read 7+ books/week before I entered the maw of the lion).
    How much of my life education have I lost just from that fact!

    I still have actual flashbacks to my college experience that visit at times inconvenient- not hallucinations or anything that would merit therapy/medication (so arguable anyway), but the scars remain.
    And, in reality, I really didn’t learn anything or wrest any insight so specific or useful that would even make the scars anything but pyrhrric.

    I would have been so, SO much better off by living and learning experientially, reading, reading, reading, writing, writing, writing, and instead learning how the world worked, and how the people and the games were really played- so I could figure out where I fit in, where I needed to go, and what I needed to do to get there.

    But I was the first of my family to go- so was the flag bearer. 
    I had NO ONE along the way to point me, stop me, confront my misguided beliefs (all made in the spirit of ethics and sincerity).
    I was trying so hard to be smart and ethical and hard-working and honorable- tried to do the right thing, and ended up being so very stupid about how things really were.

    Even worse, I went to the state Big10 school- aka ‘College at the Cow Palace’.
    I shared my biology lecture with 2000 other people (the first of two lectures) in the main college auditorium.
    I had TAs who only knew enough English to be insulting and imperious.
    The only professors who had more than a perfunctory investment in teaching were the ones being punished by their departments (and their bitterness spewed onto us like fertilizer broadcast onto a field). 
    For physics lecture, I learned to go to the second or third of the four lectures given on Tuesday (also on Thursday), because the prof wasn’t warmed up on the first lecture, and was forgetting to mention things by the fourth lecture – but you were responsible for it all regardless & your grade bit the dust if you didn’t.
    I took all of the hard-core classes (when pre-xx ones would have sufficed), because I wanted to be honorable, be challenged, to stretch, to grow.
    What an idiot I was.

    Even though I’m fairly gregarious and friendly (per my family/friends accounts):  I have absolutely no relationships with ANYONE from those four years, nor the people I met in graduate school (another Big10 mistake). 
    No harm no foul- but it’s just not true that you’ll automatically find your BFFs there.

    In retrospect, I learned far, FAR more from my daily reading of the daily essays of Sydney J. Harris (of the pre-Murdoch Chicago SunTimes) that from ANYTHING presented in the classroom/lab during that time.
    I learned more in my summer internships than I ever did in the lectures and labs for the rest of the year (& have relationships lasting from there).
    I learned more in my first six months of work than I had in seven years of college/graduate school (again, lasting relationships from that time).

    But I didn’t know, I didn’t know to ask, and I didn’t have anyone to clue me in.
    No harm, no foul- my responsibility all, but I would have done what I needed to do, but I just didn’t know that I didn’t know.

    It took YEARS to recover from my college experience, and I’m not certain I’m yet so.

    I had to overcome my college education to regain my access to insight, knowledge, and wisdom; to even READ for an extended period again.

    What really pisses me off- I was a nice, sincere, honest, hard-working, malleable, respectful kid, who felt mortified when I erred, never blamed the (pisser) professors & TAs, etc.
    I didn’t arrive with any sense of entitlement, snark, or ego – and yet I feel like 100% damaged goods for the experience.

     

    • Fubar

      The traditional model of college/university, and its role in society is broken and dysfunctional.

      http://howtheuniversityworks.com/wordpress/

      Universities prepare people to be oppressors and exploiters, or to conform to oppression and exploitation.

      The western model of knowledge and consciousness is disintegrating in a crisis of legitimization.
       http://people.ucalgary.ca/~frank/habermas.html
       http://www.techcast.org/Commentary.aspx?ID=94
       http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2289

      Anyone that has worked in postsecondary education has horror stories similar to existence in a medieval society, mythic conformity is the dominant paradigm, turf wars over power and status prevail, the high principles of the liberal tradition and search for truth are mostly just paid lip service to if not ignored completely. Colleges and universities are mostly nothing more than an arm of state-capitalism (plutocracy), and designed to weed out innovators and entrepeneurs that might challenge the underlying logic of the system, its values, etc.

      http://fabiusmaximus.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/26538/

      Learning of subject matter, or caring how its use effects society, are secondary except in that status is maintained or privileges improved.

      The silver lining is that you are now prepared to understand the deep levels of real human nature, and theories about how such oppression can be overcome in postmodern culture, the information age, etc.

      http://longnow.org/seminars/02007/jun/08/the-new-great-transformation/
      http://www.integraltheoryconference.org/keynote

      http://www.natureoforder.com/library/commentary-for-readers-of-book2.htm

      excerpt:

      A Commentary for Readers of The Nature Of Order, Book
      2
      By
      Christopher Alexander

      Many millions of people – by some counts (Paul Ray, Cultural
      Creatives) as many as sixty million Americans – are waiting for a
      paradigm change, and believe themselves to be in a paradigm change. They
      are convinced that society must change, that radically new ways of seeing
      the world are necessary in order to for us to get out of our present
      “mess.”

      So far, so good.

      But a real paradigm change – a way of thinking which really and truly
      changes our ideas about war, equality, money, jobs, leisure, family… all
      that may be easy to say, but is nevertheless very hard to DO. It is
      frightening to do, because to do it, we really have to change the things
      we are comfortable with. We may, yes indeed, be conscious of the fact that
      we are screwed up, and we may wish for better things for ourselves and for
      our children – but we remain enmeshed in a system which makes us secure
      (relatively), happy (relatively), morally OK (perhaps), and protected from
      starvation and disease (if we belong to the privileged 10% of the world’s
      population who are economically OK in the world today).

      But, we ourselves are enmeshed, deeply enmeshed, in the production of
      ugliness, zoning, banking, transportation, corporate America, making
      warplanes, destroying beautiful land by permitting and encouraging
      construction of freeways for our cars, and by permitting and encouraging
      the ravages of commercial development and strip malls. No matter how much
      we look down on it, and criticize it as bad, evil, and harmful – still we
      ourselves live off the product of this kind of America we hate. It is
      therefore easier to keep walking as a cripple with a pair of crutches,
      than it is to throw the crutches away, and take the huge effort of
      actually learning to walk again.

      We are part of that which we criticize and part of that which we hate.
      Yet we are sustained by that of which we are a part.

      So talking about a paradigm shift is nice stuff for armchair reading,
      but very much harder to DO.

  • Anonymous

    Lol, this comment thread is hilarious.  I think we’ve just about covered everything…  

  • Surfmama

    Some people need college to get a job.  Others who have an entreprenuerial (is that a word?)  spirit don’t.  College is for the sheeple – the people who are “herded” into society and lack imagination.  This includes doctors and lawyers and the like.  Not included in these two groups are the physics majors/math majors etc that really want to learn and don’t partake in traditional college activities (sex, drugs, rock’n’roll).

  • http://twitter.com/animeshmishra99 Animesh Mishra

    Dude you’re awesome ! I mean people laugh at me when I say that college is useless but finally I’ve somebody to back me up. Cheers ! I’m right now in college and totally dropping out because I don’t know how college is gonna help me doing what I want to do. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/JeffPaulBrown Jeff Brown

    Wow! Quite an array of responses with many off base and reactionary. There certainly are issues with college, for even those at the top know this, like the former pres. of Harvard who said students are being greatly shortchanged by colleges and universities. There are several factors as to why college is not a good investment. The first being that most don’t need a college degree to get a job, the bachelors is way over priced, over valued, and distributed without thought on the part of the recipient as to the aforementioned as well as the ROI, what it will get them, or even specifically enough what it is they really want. Most go off to college like it’s the end all and the cure all not knowing enough about themselves to finely tune their skills, abilities, values, personality, gifts, and talents to a specific degree–if needed in the first place. Self-exploration, the essential part of the equation is skipped over so frequently that most who go off to college don’t graduate and of those who do get a degree within 5-10 years are no longer working in a field related to their degree thus wasting 5-15 yrs and leaving 10s if not 100s of thousands of dollars on the table in lost salary or pay. 

    Back to those who don’t need it. College in most if not all cases does not give you the 60-70% that is critical to real life achievement: skills, attitude, and knowledge. So many employers have complained about those with a bachelor’s degree from US colleges / universities that they have now gone to giving the better paying, more demanding jobs to those with advanced graduate degrees or foreign sources. I’ve worked with students and clients from the US and around the world for ten years. The majority of the time it is NOT US students who are best prepared. My feeling that it is the comfort factor, that US kids are spoiled and don’t have a culture that pushes but rather coddles kids in the excess. 90% of my best students come from outside the United States. And more and more universities are seeking foreign students because most US students are not prepared due to culture (read spoiled) and, yes, some of the worst schools in the world. 

    But universities are, according to many experts, failing and failed and entirely new models are needed and needed right now. Some are coming forth at this time. The problem? Just like schools, colleges are not about the kids. Schools are guided by the govt. which sifts through the 100% to find those good in math and science to fill the 5% of STEM jobs that generally make most of our money. So the govt. goes out and gets them with their govt. mandated education. AT the college level, it is R1 research that drives interest or PhDs writing books and doing research, not students getting bachelors who matter. 

    Oh, there is so, so, so much wrong with out educational system. And it is my job and that of other entrepreneurs to help our youth get an honest look at what education is really about, the fact that even with a college ed. they are still missing most of what not only employers are looking for but what is needed for the long haul for their 3-5 careers (on average) and overall life happiness. So much to do, so little time. 

  • Jpw021300

    Most companies require a college degree to get in the door. What your saying makes no sense. It might be more of a respect and accomplishment issue to some than making money. Everyone I know partied much harder after they finished college when they could afford too and until they had kids etc..

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XOROEWKTBWXR3HZQF2N4JRBJUM James

      “Most companies require a college degree to get in the door.”  Yeah, because all of the people have a tendency to get “in line” for a job and expect that if they follow certain steps they’ll just get hired.  That door is at the ground floor.  It is the worst place possible to enter a company.  Through that door you’re basically asking to be beaten.  If you’re entering through that door, in this job market, you’re most likely already disqualified for the job.  The hiring manager’s son’s friend is getting it.  Or her husband’s golfing buddy.  Entering a company at the ground floor is a terrible idea and you should avoid it at all costs.  Run your network and get in somewhere you have connections or relevant experience.  No one cares what grades you got in college if you were a phenomenal performer at your last job.

      As for your second sentence, no what “you’re” saying makes no sense.  Your lack of vision isn’t the author’s fault.  It’s hard to give up the preconceived notions that a “good education” at a “respectable school” is all you need to be delivered a job by the good fairy, but once you do life gets to be a lot more fun.

      “It might be more of a respect and accomplishment issue to some than making money.”  Yeah, because everyone I know is looking for all the unearned respect they can get.  “I finished college!  This means I’m smart and accomplished and people will respect me now right?”  No, it means you’re 150k in debt with little to no options in the job market and you’ve pissed away the most productive years of your life sitting in a classroom facing forward and accepting the world as a professor sees it.  Unless your senior thesis cured cancer, you still need to go do some work to be respected.  As a more humorous note, if you did cure cancer, you’re not going to get paid for it and you’ll still need to get a job.  Thankfully, “curing cancer” looks much better on a resume than “went to school and graduated.”

      “Everyone I know partied much harder after they finished college when they could afford too and until they had kids etc..”  Ok now you’re just lying to everyone.  Yeah, because in the consumer crazy economy we have now with trillions in credit card and student loan debt, OBVIOUSLY the average college graduate is living well within their means and saving for the future.  Really?  Waited to party until they have kids?  Where did you go to school, Amish University?  (Of course, even they get to party at 16 I think)

      • Susan

        I’ve never had a job where they asked about college. I was a video editor and writer. At my peak I earned $450 a day as a video editor. No one gave a crap about my college education. ‘Most jobs’ is a perception.

  • http://twitter.com/hasschapman Hass Chapman

    I am curious; if college were free (as in many European countries) would you still have the same opinion? Is it that you think we can invest in our children in better ways or that college is in some way damaging? 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XOROEWKTBWXR3HZQF2N4JRBJUM James

    LOL, I’m dying reading these comments below who think the author is exaggerating about the sex and alcohol use on campus.  You guys are delusional.  Go read http://www.textsfromlastnight.com sometime.  The only people not constantly getting laid in college are those who don’t have the option available.  Some may in fact be worried about grades, but that doesn’t usually kick in till the 3rd year.

    I left college after my 1st year.  It was the best decision I ever made.  I’m 25, working on my second startup and our company (of 4 people) just won a best practices award from Johnson Controls, crossing our fingers that we’re going to win the Vendor Technology award from Delphi Automotive Systems come early 2012.  Had I stayed in college, I’d be interning for some sort of business now and stapling documents for some mid-level manager with a “power tie” and a superiority complex, IF I could even find a job doing that.  I have one, seriously ONE graduated friend who is doing better than me, as a consultant to the Air Force working for IBM.

    College is a twofold waste, the smaller waste being that of cash as an investment.  100-200 thousand you can make back, eventually, but don’t even think in terms of that.  Think in terms of time.  You’ve got 6 (I disagree with the author here, 5 years is no longer enough time for most) years of drunken binges and thinking you know what the world will be like when you get out and lecturing your friends on the value of your education.  After that, you’ve got 10-20 years paying back your loans, whining about how the “job market is bad”, blaming one political party or another for the job market being bad, realizing that everything you were taught in college has now been debunked over the internet, that you’ll never achieve the high pay levels of the pot smoker who’s dad is best friends with a C-level executive, and relearning everything on the job after you’ve tossed out your silly professor induced preconceived notions.

    Amen to the author, and to all of those out there debating getting out of college and going to a trade school or finding a mentor to work under:  GO DO IT NOW AND STOP WASTING YOUR TIME!

    James Moore
    VP Product Development
    Diversity Reporting Solutions

  • Paxan8

    You can’t get a job without a college degree.  Unless you want to be a laborer or work at McD’s you can’t get an interview if you don’t have a degree.  I do agree that it doesn’t matter if the degree is from Harvard or DeVry but recruiters will not talk to you unless you have a degree.  You make no sense.

    • Fubar

      Your viewpoint is inaccurate, unsophisticated, uninformed and backward.

      I have had an IT job for almost 25 years with no college degree. I work with people with degrees, and most of them are either incompetent (they ARROGANTLY think that having a degree makes them “smart” even when they do not have talent for solving particular problem sets), or they are dysfunctional bullies, or “sheeple”.

      Altucher’s main point is that college is FETISHIZED in american culture.

      Colleges/universities are part of the RIGGED SCAM of state capitalism (student loans and bad quality teaching/research).

      Because of that, the kind of “entrepreneurial” and “creative” thinking that is needed to restore america is in short supply.

      Colleges/universities are EXTREMELY CONFORMIST and internally attack people with different ideas, innovators, etc.

      Colleges/universities promote stupid short-term paradigms.

      The original ideals of the western liberal tradition have been tossed aside by the dysfunctional, bullies/sheeple that currently run colleges/universities.

      • http://736hundred.tumblr.com/ 736hundred

        I agree with some of your points, but I would say you are painting with a very broad brush. 

        There are many career paths that require tons of creativity and that require time in “practice” and licensing and /or accreditation.  You can write all those options off if you are not educated past the 12th grade.

        Certainly I understand James is trying to prove his point.

        But I would like James to post: ten things or ten benefits that college provided for him. Take a look back and find the good in his experience.
        – Would HBO have hired him?
        – Would he even be living in NYC?

        Additionally,  I believe it’s easier for someone who has a college degree to tell others it’s not worth the money.  Like it or not, a college degree is an accomplishment and is view as such when employers look at resumes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Writer.Shawn.Fitzgerald Shawn Fitzgerald Jr

      False – Just because you don’t have a college degree doesn’t mean you can’t get a good job.  I know a guy who dropped out of his first year because he didn’t like it and kept working at Lowes…not to long after that he became a manager, and he has no degree.  And are you familiar with Danny Kaye?  Very famous actor and comedian…he dropped out of school around age 13.  It is not a degree that get’s a job…it is how much you persevere, and how much you really want it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1571534218 Abdul Malik Omar

    I disapprove of your opinion. Kids should be educated in terms of morality and should have good parenting in order for them to get out off troubles i.e sex and smoking pot. 

  • Robibop

    I work with quite a few people making $70-90K that do not have college degrees.  I have one, but that has not contributed to my income.  It may be the tie breaker in the interview process, but I concur, a degree is not necessary. 

    Personally, I believe 18 year olds ought to join the work force for five years then make a determination on what direction to go for the long haul.  They would inevitably find greater value in their education and apply themselves more if there was more at stake.  Why would you put forth your best effort as an 18 year old freshman if you have not seen what working for a living really means.

  • NFLX17

    I was taught that college teaches/shows a couple things:
    1.) How to learn – College classes give you a subject, some lecture, a book, and then you’re set out to learn on your own. The material is highly unlikely to be applicable to the job you take, but the process is useful.
    2.) A willingness to work hard for future benefits – Almost eveyrthing in this society has developed into instant gratification. You want to lose weight? Take a pill. Want to earn a million dollars? Invest in this penny stock. Want to be happy? Buy this book. The problem? none of these are actual solutions to problems. College shows a willingness to postpone external rewards for internal ones.
    3.) Socializtion – Guess what, socialization matters. Want an example, take a group of 100 home school kids and 100 public school kids and put them into the real word. The home school kids may be the most brilliant academics, but the lack of social intelligence will prevent them from reaching their full potential. Is it worth $100k? No, but its a byproduct of 1 and 2 that is worth as much as the education.

    $100k for college? The problem isn’t that people are going to college, the problem is that people treat college as a necessity not an investment. Take other aspects out of the equation (intelligence, wealth, etc.) and track a person with a public college education that cost them $30k with someone who paid $100k for the same degree and I’d be willing to bet the time value of the individual earnings will show $100k is too much to pay for college.

  • EM

    As a college student, I disagree with this completely. Aside from the fact that my college education has taught me to critically respond to this post instead of, in a high school-ish manner of reactionism, just post curse words in caps lock, I would also like to point out that I am writing this from an office where I am working as an intern with a company in London. College gave me the opportunity to spend a semester here. My past two years in college have given me the thinking, reading, writing and social skills I need to succeed in this setting. When I come back to college in the spring, I will apply the things I have learned about “living in the real world” to my education. Education, after all, is important, and you seem to completely skip over it in this blog post. I can’t speak for every college student in America, but I can certainly tell you that I take my education seriously – it has opened my mind and given me an immeasurable amount of self-awareness and appreciation of life. Sure, I’ll go to a party on Saturday night and drink way too much and maybe even throw up afterward. But the next morning, I will wake up and spend ten hours in the library in a superhuman feat of will and concentration that I would have never been able to accomplish had I not been faced with an intense, liberal arts college workload.
     
    Of course, my father is paying the part of my tuition that my scholarship isn’t, which I am grateful for. In this way, my experience can never compare to yours, as I am lucky enough to not have to work my way through school and can afford to dedicate myself to classes and extra-curriculars. But I think my father (a PhD and an incredibly intelligent, successful man who uprooted his family from Russia and established a comfortable life in the States through sheer will and drive), was glad to write that enormous check to my college the moment that, this summer, I managed to beat him in an intellectual argument without becoming an irrational, immature mess.
     
    College taught me that.

  • Marc

    this guy is so full of himself

  • Watercolor_quilts

    LOVE this article!
    Right on, Mr. Altucher.
    Liberal professors making mush out of kids’ brains.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cclusetti Christian Lusetti

    This is the biggest nonsense, starting with the fact that you could not have put this argument together had you not gone to college…so there: disproved.

  • kagami

    So how the fuck else is one supposed to learn how to carry out a Diels-Alder reaction without losing an eye? Or perform gel electrophoresis on DNA/protein fragments? Gas/liquid chromatography? Atomic absorption spectroscopy? How to poke fun at fools like you?

    There’s only so much you can learn from a book before you need to get your hands dirty, and college/university is the place to do it, especially in the sciences. Stop making generalizations that fail to take into account (at the very least) the very bright segment of youth who are eager to learn about something more interesting – and globally relevant – than European history or the philosophy of Nietzsche.

    Oh, and if you graduated with a degree in CS but still managed to crash a computer on your first day of real work, don’t bother to petition your college for a refund. Instead you should ask your parents why they bothered having sex when they knew they were cousins. Dumbass.

    Btw… I dare you to post this comment. If you’re really a satirical jerk, it suits your purposes (presumably entertainment or inflamement), and if you’re a no-brain ass-clown (i.e. serious), then you probably have very little to lose with respect to reputation anyways…

  • guest315

    A college degree is a box that must be checked in order to pursue many careers and goals.I’m not saying that its not at times a bit of a scam, but you need it anyway.  The Peace Corp wont even take you if you do not have one! You will never rise past a certain rank in goverment job if that box is not checked.  I suposse a few brilliant, motivated  people could get to there goals with out the degree, but it is a hard path.   

  • Hrm

    Some of us are aiming for jobs which require a college degree (I for one don’t want to be a conceited blogger for a living.) Maybe you’re so bitter because your college is the suicide capital of New York.

  • David Goff

    I don’t really see why the author is being SO sarcastic. It’s totally making me feel like he’s a whiny bastard. Which is weakening his arguments.

  • http://www.academicskillz.com/ David Yorka

    Clever, thoughtful and amusing. The truth is indeed –most of Americas grown ups do not have a four-year college degree.

  • http://jackyalcine.co.cc Jacky Alcine

    I respect this as I haven’t been in college yet. Can’t show this to my parents.

  • Dean Gebert

    Hymen is a very different noun than hymn…

  • Asdfasdf

    this guys an idiot

  • a name

    your kids are going to have sex 1- 5 times a day with people you probably wouldn’t approve of.

    • a name

      this made me lol

  • John

    Harvard only allows students to study for 4 years. Small detail, but one you missed.

  • http://twitter.com/kingdango kingdango

    Skipped college to start my career in software.  Have taken some classes at U of Phoenix when I thought I wanted a degree to be more marketable — quickly realized I learned the material in HS and a degree of U of P isn’t particularly marketable. :-)  I make about 50-150% more than most people I know but admittedly if I went to MIT I would know more high income people… no actually I’d know more poor scientists… :-)  I married an MD, run my own consulting business and have helped lead two successful start-ups.  I admit I was lucky to find passion and skill early in life.  I occasionally regret not having the pedigree and it can be intimidating when I run into alumni-whores but ultimately I made the right all around choice. 

  • http://cyanidelollipopdesigns.com/ Brittani Hinman

    I will kindly disagree. I’m 22, and I’m in college. My parents didn’t send me, I had to hack through it myself. And I’m grateful for it. Yes, sometimes I’m jealous of the layabouts around me who are sent money from their family whenever they want a new pair of shoes, but I know the value of a dollar. I work 60 hours a week during the summer, 35 during the semester. I’ve had to work part time in online “Flirt Chatting” and I am about to graduate with a 4.0 gpa. I have saved money in a savings account, bought my own car with cash, and learned about the real world through college. Instead of throwing my dimes into a jar, I invested them. (I also only had one boyfriend in college, and thus only one sexual partner, though it is a healthy relationship!) I do not experiment with drugs. I saw what they did to my parents. I work in a bar, so drinking just makes me think of working and how much money I’m throwing down the drain, so screw that. Instead, I chill at home and read.

    But, I agree with you on most points. Which is weird feeling that way. While I was growing up I was always told by my teachers that the only way to ever do anything in life is to go to college, so I did. I don’t know why I listened to them though, I always rebelled in everything else. Kids with a silver spoon in their mouths don’t appreciate what their parents do for them. They do things that they never would have gotten away with had they had to pay for their own lives. They live in dorms with dorm-mommy’s who take care of them. Screw it. Throw them out on their own and if they really want to go to college, make them earn it.

  • Hourfour

    I agree to a certain extent. Certain degrees and certain schools are worthless for the cost. Basically any liberal arts degree is garbage and most employers don’t really care what college you went to. Technical degrees are actually useful and state schools usually provide as good of an education as a private school for less money. I

     double majored in Psychology and Business Economics at a state school. Both degrees were virtually worthless in job applications. Everyone focused on my lack of any real world experience. I didn’t have real world experience because I busted my ass getting those degrees. I took full class loads and classes every summer. Had I just gotten one major I could have graduated in 3 years. In the end the only job I could find was a government job. It’s not too shabby but it’s not a dream job either. 

    I still live with my parents (graduated about 3 years ago) and I’m trying to obsessively get rid of the 21k I still owe. Formerly 27k. I’m almost 26 and basically feel like for all the time spent on getting an education and having a “career” I have nothing to show for it thus far. So essentially, when you have a degree, life starts at 30. Unless of course you graduate with a useful degree. The two people I knew in engineering while in college got 70k-80k jobs on graduation while I got a 40k job a year after graduation. 

  • Heather

    My husband is a 35-year-old HVAC supervisor, and I am a 32-year-old insurance broker/servicer. Neither of us are college educated. Him due to a lack of desire and becoming a young parent and me due to family circumstances and taking on the role of step-mother at 17 to his daughter. We do well for ourselves and make more than most of my high school friends post college even with the housing/construction market impact to my husband’s industry. It is not about the money and for me it never has been. I don’t want a $200k/year job that is threatened every day for the responsibility that it carries. Our success has been that the two of us were simply driven, hard-working individuals with no one to fall back on removing failure as an option. I love to learn so while my education is not from a university I am constantly seeking knowledge. We have a daughter that is 19 and can’t seem to pass her high school graduation exam (not motivated and scheduled for her 9th attempt in March). The last couple of years we have really stressed ourselves about sending her to college for all of the reasons noted in your article.

    I work with a lot of great people, but I will say that many of the younger college grads I have worked with (23-33) over the last 10 years have been extremely social (drink a lot and look for ways to get out of work quite successfully) and quite lazy. It has melted my dream of one day going to college to be a writer. I suppose I am seeing this more in the younger grads than the older ones because the older people got their jobs based on their experience and work ethic whether college educated or not and the younger ones simply because they have a degree. I am very good at what I do and with my high school diploma (and now 1.4 designations specific to my industry) work twice as hard as my other 3 counterparts on my team and am always quick to roll up my sleeves, stay late, figure out an answer for myself, a co-worker or client, etc. I did all of this without the debt of college.

    Sometimes I wish I had gotten to participate in lectures, peer debates for the sake of challenging my own mind and ways of thinking, and the opportunity to explore lessons I don’t know I have missed out on. Then, I recall the friends of mine who were brilliant and in the same “gifted” program as I was who went off to college, flunked out first year, partied, puked, had a baby and some of the better ones have gone on to overcome that stupidity. They were, after all, brilliant minded people before college took their money and their morals. I am glad I skipped that part of the experience of college both as a participant or more likely, and at least more often, a spectator.

    However, I have spent over a decade with a company that got acquired and now work for the new owner who would not hire me due to a lack of college degree if I were not already on the payroll. That alone is why I am stressing about whether or not my daughter is better served with a college degree. I am hoping that a little life experience before college or another form of education will give her an apprecation that many of her friends did not head off to college with just 5 short months ago. My dreams of college were about both education and life experience. My darling daughter is all about a good time. I guess my final observations and in my own experience is that people who are motivated by certain things will not be changed by college whether it is to succeed in a career or to be the life of the party.

    Growing up, my father required that I either go to college or some other type of formal education. I met that requirement years ago by attaining an insurance designation and am currently pursuing my second.

  • Io8wire

    “I’m not going to send my kids to college because they’ll probably have a great time, they’ll experiment with recreational drugs and get laid every day. When they get out they’ll get a job with their degree, but they’ll have to use a lot of that money to pay off all their loans, which is truly a waste when they could be using that money to BUY HAPPINESS.” Some things you say are valid, some are smug and ridiculous. This is normal.

  • http://filmschoolsecrets.com Film School Secrets

    The point on statistics is brilliant and dead on. Those college prone kids would not end up bums in the street. I also get tired of hearing that an education is “priceless”. It’s not, it costs about $20,000 to $30,000 a year. 

  • Mathew Vicknair

    Something the author does not mention is the social capital gained by going to college. Yes, perhaps some students do drink, do drugs, have sex, and not care so much about the classes in college. Those students, I agree, should not go to college until/unless they want to focus on academia as well. College though, if done right, allows you to meet leaders in the field you want to go into and complete internships that aren’t necessarily available to those that aren’t getting a degree. 

    Also, on the point of the statistics argument. Roughly 1/3 of people that go to college get their degree. Those 1/3 make more than the 2/3 that didn’t get the degree, make more than those with only a high school education. You also may be right that it is only a correlation, even though I don’t necessarily agree. Getting a college degree gives people more leverage in applying for many jobs than a high school degree does, especially at jobs that have higher starting salaries.

  • Karina Chow

    I think this is an angry rant by a person who didn’t make the most of his college experience. 

    I’m a Junior in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University: one of the most expensive schools in the country. And though you’re right in the fact that I still am unable to program well, I think my experience here was well worth the money.

    First, I don’t know what the hell Cornell was doing to have a student body that loose, but here at CMU the common student motto is “Sex Kills: Come to CMU and live forever”. We spend our days studying our asses off; I don’t even have time to relax on weekends. I pay for my education myself by interning in the summer and working during the school year. Everyone here gets internships in their field of study or studies abroad during the summer, attaining such experiences through our own wit and not through our “rich parents with connections”. That is, we get at least a little experience while in school, and can return to the Fall semester afterwards learning with a new perspective on the real world. 
    Companies come to our school and give workshops and talks, all of which are well attended because our students are interested. We do hackathons (at least us CS majors) to push our programming abilities, and participate in both art and math contests. Our students are excited to teach what they know to others, so we also have Student taught Courses (StuCos) that count for credit. If you want to learn a skill, say a programming language like Ruby on Rails or how to use Adobe Creative Suite, then you might want to learn it from another student who might remember how hard/easy it was to learn and can cater to your learning speed. Or you can learn it yourself. Leave the big picture classes for the professors.

    Speaking of big pictures, I really appreciate the big picture view of college. Sure, I can learn skill sets on my own, but I don’t think I could learn what I’ve learned here from my professors on my own. I might not have the skills yet, but once I learn them I have a better idea of how I can tie my skills together. I learned the value of efficient algorithms and what it means to be an efficient algorithm here, and how to break up a project into different parts. I learned about the math behind CS and found an entire new side to it (that is CS versus Software Engineering)

    I also think college is a place of discovery. Straight out of high school, you know about only a small bubble of options available to you, and I feel it may take more time to discover (or you may never discover) different fields open to you. Straight out of high school I only knew about software engineering, but I didn’t know all the different types of CS. Here at CMU I am exposed to several fields of Computer Science here, like Human-Computer Interaction, Computational Biology, Computational Finance, Robotics, … etc. I discovered a lot about what I can do being here at CMU.

    By no means do I think attending college is the only way to go, and for some people it might not be right. If you are capable enough to find a job right after high school, then go ahead and take it. But I still hold the belief that college is a great place to be, and possibly even more fruitful to attend after gaining experience in the real world.

    And if you’re so adamant about expressing how useless you think college is, I think you either must have gone to a pretty shitty school or must be innately irresponsible and loose yourself.

    • Fubar

      Karina,

      You have failed to address the specific points Altucher makes  in his various posts on the odd belief structure in the USA about college education. The reality is that there is a myth, and those that dare to question the myth are subject to bullying.

      Once a myth becomes pervasive enough, it becomes embedded as a feature of a dysfunctional perspective, or belief system, and alternative viewpoints are deprecated. This is at odds with the high ideals of the classical liberal tradition and western scholarship (objectivity, scientific rationalism, etc.)

      Education has become as rotten as the rotten capitalist system that it serves.

      You have not researched the statistics on college debt or studied employment forecasts for the majority of middle class students.

      You have not understood the history of the decline of education, or the sociology of the “scam” that higher education has become.

      You are not aware, or do not care, that the President of the USA sternly criticized the greed of college administrators a few days ago.

      You are insulated by the particular circumstances of your experience at an ultra-elite institution.

      You will most likely not even have a basic understanding of the history of the field that you are studying, or who the major figures were in its development, or how those developments were related to the evolution of american or world culture.

      Altucher’s real concern is that education is dishonoring the entrepreneurial traditions in the USA, and becoming detached from the sources of non-institutional cultural vitality, or vernacular life and innovation. These concerns are shared by many social critics and scholars, but you will probably never hear about their perspectives in the echo chamber of an elite university.

  • KM

    This is totally unrelated, but why must homeless people always touch people? I had a homeless man chase me down in a parking lot trying to “shake hands with me” (He was really trying to steal my wedding ring, I figured out. He was going for my left hand and tried to grab me.)

    I’m like you, I don’t like to be touched in general, particularly by anyone other than my husband or immediate family (parents, grandparents).

  • R.B.S.

    I’m sorry that you did not find your time at college worth the time, but I myself have found it enlightening and I would encourage it for anyone willing to put in the work.  

    All of your points are so sweeping.  Just because it’s true for some people doesn’t mean it’s true for all people.
    1. I’ve never had sex, and I’ve never been drunk, so there’s number 1 off the list.

    2.  I think we can both agree that not everyone learns in the same fashion.  If I wanted to learn tennis, I would actually pick up a book first, read about it, and then talk to some players, before actually trying my hand at it.  Ergo, the same thing can be said for thinking.  If I’m shown *how* to think first, not necessarily *what* to think, then I can imitate and eventually do it myself.

    3. I didn’t see any real arguments or support given to this point, so I won’t deign it with a response until you show some real statistical evidence that people who don’t go to college make equal or more than those who do.

    4. Actually, I *CAN’T* get a job in my chosen field without going to college.  It’s against the law.  I would really like to spend the rest of my life outside of prison.  So, if you don’t mind, I’ll take college over whatever you have subjectively labeled as a “real job”.

    5. I’m sorry that you feel so jaded about your college experience, but your experience does not define the experience of every student.  Firstly, you can go to school without paying 100,000 a year.  Shocking, I know.  I pay a whopping $300 a semester because I worked my ass off in high school and continue to do so.  I also didn’t buy into the name of the college.  I’m hear to learn the skills I need to practice Psychology.  You can’t just pick up Psychology for dummies and become an expert; it doesn’t work like that.  I suppose in a more hands-on area, such as art and computer science, you can teach yourself.

    6. Once again, I don’t drink, I don’t have sex, and I spend about 90% of my time studying.  Don’t stereotype all college students.  Some of us come from strained financial situations.  Not all college kids are spoiled brats looking to party.  Some of us have something to lose if we don’t do well.

    7. I’m glad you had fun, but it’s your own fault that you had a 2.9.  Quite frankly, I find it a little pathetic that you’re passing judgement on people who think college is a worthwhile pursuit when you barely made it through yourself.

    I think what you should focus your argument on instead is how to not waste the opportunity that is given you, or rather, how to raise your children so that they don’t take things for granted.

    Education really is the key to getting out of poverty.  My parents were dirt poor.  My father was the youngest of eight children, so there wasn’t much left to go around by the time he got there.  My mother didn’t have store-bought clothes until she was in high school.  Both of my parents’ families made their own clothes and refurbished their shoes.  They were both, however, incredibly intelligent.  They graduated top of their classes and went to college working full-time in shirt factories and wherever else was hiring. My father passed away in 1999, but my mother was able to see the day when she could afford to send her own children to college sans shirt factory.  

    I think the problem today is NOT the college system, it’s the system of excessive consumerism we live in.  Kids aren’t grateful for the things they have, and yes, maybe they shouldn’t go to college if they can’t appreciate it.  However, the sweeping generalizations are not necessary.  You seem like a generally concerned and educated (albeit jaded) person, and I think your argument could be much better formed, supported, and directed.

    • R.B.S.

      Under #5 *here.  Must have written this either very early or very late….

  • Dulst

    I’m at University in the UK at the moment. To be honest I think that there is a certain type of person who could still benefit from going to college. Similarly to how you said that MOST people shouldn’t invest in stocks, but some make billions, MOST people shouldn’t go to College, but some will still benefit from it greatly.

    IMO the type of person who should go to college is someone who would have still gone to college in the 1950s, providing they could afford it. 

    I’d estimate this would be the top 30% of current students, with a preference towards career specific degrees like engineering, medicine and law, as well as to “fundamental” subjects like the Sciences and Maths.

    That said, the system in the UK is much more heavily subsidised, and our loans have much more forgiving repayment schemes, so maybe I’m just speaking from a position of geographical advantage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/outrageouscarolineedithzoeallen Caroline Edith Zoe Allen

    Written quite emotionally.. you are taking personal experience into account which sure is great.. if you want to create a biased article..  Hmm To play the devil’s advocate good job, you make strong points. You should read any articles by Paulo Friere and the oppression in teaching.. try and relate that to your views, I bet you could :)

  • Bradriegg

    While I agree with much of what you wrote in your blog post, here is a GOOD reason to go to college: My homeschooled son is attending the top-ranked college in the country, as rated by both Forbes and US News, on full scholarship. He is a missionary there. He’s been able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with hundreds of people, leads a men’s accountability group, a dorm Bible study that includes all non-believers except one other and himself, leads worship at the Christian fellowship group. He has participated in mission trips to nearby ghettos, and is winning many to Christ. Praise God! This is a good reason to go to college. 

    Plus, he is being stretched very much intellectually, as he challenges his socialistic professors, and the false gods of ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity’, evolutionism, hedonism, eroticism, and other misguided isms – all without having as yet drunk a drop of alcohol. His soul is growing expansively. He is being in the world but not of it, by God’s grace. 

    He is also learning a tremendous amount about the sciences, humanities and arts. There is so much to be learned there, and he is able to absorb much more there than he could in the same time in a library reading books…though that’s good too. 

  • Guest

    Basically what I’m getting out of this is that you sucked at college and now your ranting about it cause you had to pay a lot of money for it…

  • AB

    First of all, everyone saying someone is stupid or a moron when you disagree with them makes you sound like a “moron.”  Now, everyone is saying that working and learning by yourself is better than going to college.  Well, think about this.  Go to college, learn something, and then go out into the world and learn something by yourself.  Even if college doesn’t help you in your job, it will at least make you more knowledgeable.  You can’t just know about Napoleon and the civil war and chemistry without an education.  You can learn it by yourself, but honestly, which one of you DIY workers would take the time to learn something else.  Also, college is a great experience.  I went to Stanford, a great college.  I learned a lot and had a fun time.  I did have sex and even tried a few drugs, and guess what, I am making good money and enjoying my life.    Why everyone is so against the sex is just annoying.  Sex is a great thing.  Having sex with every std filled whore at your school is not though.  There is a difference.  Kids will make that decision in college.  You can either have fun while learning, or just have fun and end up like the maker of this entire article.  He clearly fucked up his life and now is blaming it on college for providing an atmosphere that helped him do it.  College is not for everyone, but it sure works for many of the people who decide to work hard.     

  • Jorge

    What a waste of my time.

  • Liquidpet

     I think you are crazy to write all of this and completely over the top.  I understand somewhat of what you are saying, but you are making a huge generalization.  This may have been what you lived and how you turned out, but for you to have such a great opportunity to study comp sci in what is considered two of the top colleges for CS in the nation and have this kind of outcome is usual.  There are many more kids who come out of these programs with completely different scenarios.  Just because your education failed you for some reason gives you no right to be so one sided.  Get over it!  Have you ever thought that maybe YOU were the person who should have not gone to college because, obviously it did you no good!

     Leave others alone who will be successful and not take a awesome education for granted.  Too bad you took someone else’s chance away for admittance-not once(Cornell) but twice(CMU).

    Signed,

    Mother of son trying to get into Cornell or CMU for CS.

  • John the Baptist

    You are fucking retarded.

    • C.

      Having an opinion doesn’t make someone retarded.  Nor does believing something someone else “said” the big man upstairs said to be true.  But, here you are calling yourself a Baptist and someone else a retard.  Fuck off, loser.

  • Maurice

    I actually have sex 6 times a day, 7 days a week.

    No one has sex that much.  I dont drink, smoke, I dont even have sex and I am a sophomore in very large, highly ranked school.  Please, do some research before you write.

    You “more realistic” statistic is so flawed.  How can you assume those 1000 will do better?  They have 0 education.  Assume those 1000 people who got into harvard and majored in business.  They would successfully work at or start a business. While the other 1000 have 5 years head start, they dont know the first thing about business meaning they must LEARN IT on their own, taking more time, with much less success. 

  • Krista

    This article is horrible. I agree that going to college is not the best option for some 18-year-olds. However, I did not have sex at all in college. I drank very little (and not until I was 21) and didn’t try any illegal drugs. My friends were the same way. So, for the kids who aren’t as immature as you were at age 18, this article is completely irrelevant.

  • Over-educated

    Hmm…a privileged life you’ve had…  Nice living in the dominate culture.. It sounds like you had a horrific experience at college. I wouldn’t wish it even on an enemy. Not all students are into sex, drugs, & rock and roll, etc… Values vary among people and cultures. Viva la difference. Some go to college, some don’t. It can be a big ticket for the less privileged to complete a college education.

  • guest

    a lot of broad generalizations here

    The things you claim kids are doing at college, my generation was doing in middle school and high school allowing us to better focus on our studies; I’ve found the kids doing that type of thing in college were isolated as children.

    In regards to socialization, my college experience taught me how to interact with adults in a professional environment  and set me up with connections most within and without of academia that greatly improved my job prospects. While I did learn a great deal from reading, most kids need an instructor elaborating on subjects they’re reading and guiding them in critical thinking. You learn differing perspectives and how to make and value informed decisions in college that you cannot get from just reading books and criticisms of said books…

    in overview, you suck. they put anything on the internet these days, doesn’t surprise me at all

  • Saeft

    Most stupidest guy I have ever read from. Only people who have nothing going form their lives would attend a college just for fun and without any seriousness. Be more specific in which what type of people you are trying to reach to. Get a real job than trying to reach out to the lowlife kids.

  • Ellen

    I have to say, that seems like an incredibly broad generalization.

     Speaking as someone who’s just finishing up her first year of college (or rather, university, seeing as I’m Canadian), I can tell you that I’ve never once had sex and never once tried drugs, and I’m certainly not in the minority (though admittedly, I am one of the few I know of who’s never been drunk!). In fact, all of the people I know who are doing such things are the same people who got into drugs in high school, or who are in committed, lasting relationships. There’s definitely a party-school stereotype surrounding most secondary institutions, but in my experience, it doesn’t often hold up to the extent you might expect.

    I understand that you didn’t enjoy your college experience, which is completely fine– it’s not for everyone. But it seems a bit unfair to deny your kids the right to go just because you weren’t interested. You and your children are different people– that goes without saying– and the things that proved right or wrong for you aren’t necessarily right or wrong for them. Personally, I’m thrilled that I came to university. My ultimate goal is to become a counselling psychologist, and that’s something I’d have to chance of doing without a degree and the proper training. I’m also learning a lot about subjects I’d never been exposed to before– granted, like you said, books could do the job as well, but many people (myself included) prefer a more formal learning environment. You can’t ask a book questions, nor can you have a discussion with it.

    Given that you intended to major in psychology, I’m sure you’ve learned a lot about what causes differences between people. I’m sure you know that, even though the environment plays a major role, brain chemistry does as well. What I’m getting at is that your kids, even if raised under a roof that downplayed the importance of college, could very well be interested in going. And they could experience it in vastly different ways than you did. I’m not saying that you have to like the idea of college, but it’s really important to accept the fact that other people do. There is no single definition of the college experience: some will love it, others will hate it. Some will find it worthless, while others will look back on it as the best and most worthwhile years of our lives.

    I understand that you want the best for your kids, and that’s commendable. But it’s really important to respect the fact that your views might not be right for them. College decisions are highly personal, and there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ stance that can be generalized to the entire population. By all means, emphasize that college a requirement for a satisfying lifestyle. That’s true, of course. And if your kids don’t want to go to college, then there’s no problem. But if they do– and there’s a decent chance they might– it seems unfair to deny them the experience. One way or another, this decision will have a major impact on the course of their lives, and as such they deserve the right to make their own decisions.

  • Junkcollector

    go to college online and not have to deal with the drugs and alcohol

  • free2rome@elysium.com

    college helped me realize that im not really interested in being a part of this world. that’s gotta count for something. all it took was a few nudges from instructors to help me realize what i thought all along: i’m just not cut out for what’s expected, so i’d better get out of the way. in the end i can at least say i tried.

  • Aquarius021793

    This was a good read. Some people really just can’t get over the fact they blew all their money going
    To school to pay off the governments expenses. There aren’t jobs left in America anyways, so college is basically pointless in today’s society.

  • John Smith

    “sex 1- 5 times a day” I wish, where the hell did you go to college!?

  • Renegade

    you are retarded. i don’t know what kind of sick college you went to or why you were so easily influenced but i know many many people who graduated from college without doing any of that stuff. yes, that means no sex, no drinking, no smoking. just working and hanging with friends during free time (which they rarely even had/have). and now they’re either successful or on their way to be successful. college– if it doesn’t teach you shit– at least connects you to jobs; gives you job opportunities. good luck finding a real job without any sort of college degree. it’s almost impossible, especially in these days. 

    if anything, i’d say just speak for yourself… because i know A LOT of college students who can get through college without getting pregnant or becoming a pothead. just because you sucked at college doesn’t mean everyone will. Lol.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/IR6SHMYSWJPOS46TVWLYU7A2BQ AE

    Hey, I like your list.  I started a blog that’s dedicated to the pitfalls of a college education.

    100 Reasons NOT to Go to College:

    http://reasonstoskipcollege.blogspot.com/

    I still have a long way to go in my countdown, but I hope to give 100 original reasons why kids would be better served to skip college.  Hope you check it out!

  • Yossarian

    The author is making a major assumption that everyone goes to 100,000 per year colleges and does nothing but party. He also assumes that anyone who doesn’t go to college can get any job they want. I would prefer the doctor operating on me, the scientist testing various chemicals on farm produce, and people in charge of nuclear bombs not to have a do-it-yourself education. I am  amazed the author graduated. But just because his education didn’t take, that doesn’t mean that  everyone else is like him. Don’t fuck up your children’s future based off one lucky individual’s anecdotal evidence. That’s another part of “Statistics 101″ that didn’t take with the author. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=37527102 Ryan Christopher Woods

    You are correct, some degrees are absolutely worthless. Some are not. Most people have no idea how to be successful in the fields of engineering, science, or math without college. It would be great if you could succeed without it but most companies won’t hire you if you don’t have a degree in these fields.

  • http://www.thatphpgirl.com Nikole Gipps

    I went to the same school as you did, and yet somehow managed to get practical, real-world experience … and not do drugs.

  • Sufferingduckman

    Yup.  I went to Cornell too.  Here is a snapshot of everything you are saying:  Sitting at my architectural desk one day, an engineering major who had braved the artsy arrogance of our building to have an in-depth conversation with me said, “Isn’t this great being in college where you can share new ideas like this?”  I looked at him like he was crazy.  Taken aback, he said, “Well… you know, like the one we’re having.”  “Okay,” I said, putting down my drafting pencil, “you’ve been here four years.  How many conversations like this have you had since you’ve been here?”  “Um… this is my first one.”  “And how much of what we’ve just talked about has come from anything taught at this college?”  “Um… none of it.”  I picked my pencil back up and continued the ridiculous artsy project they make you do for five years in preparation for tracing toilets in the real world.  “Okay, I get your point,” says he.  I left that silly world after a year, and began actually learning.

  • Jenandquinn

    Hallelujah! I have stopped discussing this topic with people because they think I am a bad parent/person/American.

  • Lyndsey P Johnson

    Thanks for this! My son is entering his junior year of HS in the fall and I am terrified for him to have to start his life saddled with debt. My own father never used his degree, my husband and I are using ours, but our Alma Mater has increased their graduates in the program 4 fold since we went through and have only 10% employment for their last couple of graduating classes. The knowledge that I have obtained that actually helps me with my career has all been through self-study. I took a couple more classes back in ’07 that were offered online and they were a complete joke (state university). No books, no required reading, no assignments, just online discussions that now remind me of a twitter feed. What we were supposed to learn from that is that we need government healthcare. Thanks, higher education…

  • allycat

    This is written with a horrendous view of college students and counts every college student stereotype as fact. I’m halfway through college right now and yes, I drink. However I don’t do drugs, sleep around, cheat on tests, skip classes, wake up in vomit, or any of these supposed things my parents are paying for. I go to college because I’m interested in my field and taking classes to learn more about it will be beneficial later in life. Also, pretty sure I couldn’t be a physical therapist without a pretty damn extensive knowledge of the human body, which you can’t learn in a two month course (unlike how to get on the internet, apparently). I respect anyone’s decisions to not go to college, as there are a lot of professions where it would be pointless. However, the reasons listed above are just stupid. As a side note, I’m pretty sure the average college tuition is absolutely nowhere near $100-200k, that’s an absolutely obscene exaggeration.

  • Tami L

    I hope your children go to college and become successful, asshole.

    • C.

      I hope your children go to college and waste thousands of your dollars, bitch.

      • Tyron

        What’s your job? Is it one of those low paying jobs?

  • Polyvon433

    i find it very hard that many people say we need to go to college when clearly all we have waiting for us is a mountain of debt, hopes of getting a job, and maybe a retirment in several years. I once met a person who decided to travel his whole life and maybe he dont have as much as a thousand dollars to his name he’s living “Free” which i think is what most of us want, freedom. the freedom to make our own choices and not be wheighed down by what our parents or others want. the freedom to go where we want and do what we want. the freedom of meeting new people and doing something that helps us. all you have to do is have the courage to step on that path but we all decieve ourselves into thinking we can make millions, find a job, and live comfortably. i know several people who are swarming in debt and working seven days a week because they thought they’d find a job after college. i dont mean to affend anyone but i think i speek for the majority of people out there who are afraid that if they dont go to college they wont have a life, you and only you can make your life what it is and what it can be. you control your life, you just have to believe you can.

  • Polly Esther

    I can’t tell if the author of this article is retarded or hilarious.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002119857698 Earwood Terry

    im the oldest of 4 kids who didnt go to college and looked apoun as disgrace by my family.what i witnessed in my family is we were taught the format of society to follow how the worldly values are in relation how to be in our performance to succeed to later on take care of others.i have witnessed people who spent time,money to sit in class room and be told things from text book that some could comprehend in their mind and others learned better with hands on experience spent alot of time working to support their living cost and trying to stay awake in between.by the time your 5yrs. are up you either dont meet the pay scale you required or you take job that didnt pertain what you went to school for,some get married start family,some join the military.whatever the purpose to go to college is every humane being should have the right to make their own choice and not be pressured by society in their way of thinking,after all what we work towards and own and however we obtain it is progress in learning the ability to survival and we are programed to the way of the world and when we die everything weve obtained doesnt go with us,saving our soul and working on the tools to do that is the greatest and prosperious task we could ever accomplish on this earth and giving ourselves to the creater is what we should live for.education in faith is free if you ask and God is the greatest teacher who already paid our price to be taught everything we need to know how to live and succeed,money is the sanction of better or for worse that controls this world and the people in it-it can make and break and controls all aspects of our lives and very few know how to make and spend unselfishly.when one knows where they stand and knows the truth they have all they need and share that with others-education starts in your innerself excepting Christ!

  • Bobby1256l

    This is absurd. You are stereotyping an experience that is defined by its variety. Judging from your college experience, you wasted whatever time you spent in college. It sucks that you feel as if your college experience was unhelpful, and expensive.  But to many, college is a place where learning and maturing actually happen.  My brother is just entering college.  Would he ever be able to enter a job market if he skipped college tried to immediately get a job? Absolutely not. He is not ready.  And that is not something that could have been fixed.  He needs to learn, obviously what he wants to do, but also just needs to be away from his home, to learn how to live on his own.  College is a buffer.  He doesn’t need to face reality quite yet, and is allowed a time to learn about things that he never would have realized living at home. Sure it may be expensive, but he is going to a state school for 8k a year. And if he applies himself, maybe he can get a scholarship.  Ultimately is 32k a large amount of money? Yes. But is it crippling? No.  There are always different ways to pay through college. I applied to almost 40 different scholarships, worth about 1 to 2.5k each, and got quite a few. Enough to cut my tuition costs nearly in half.  Therefore if cost is a main negative factor in not going, that is simply laziness in looking for other ways to pay.  Just because you squandered your college opportunities, don’t try and coerce others to follow your lead. And if lowered morals is another factor, don’t base your experiences off that either.  I’ve lived through college, and sure there is always a handful of kids who don’t have self-control, but to assume that the majority is having sex, drinking and smoking, is irrational.  You are obviously biased to a degree that is throwing off your common sense.

  • That guy

    Life-defining decisions made by anecdotal evidence. But this line: 

    “Yes, I admit it. I need everyone to be less educated than me so I can feel good about myself. If you didn’t go to the same school as me then its a gurantee you are less intelligent than me.”

     is a hilarious misunderstanding of intelligence, not to mention a horrible way to promote self-esteem.

  • Jman404

    This seems rather extreme.  I just graduated from college and wasnt having sex 5 times a day or taking LSD on the reg.  Sure I partied on weekends, but I still got my shit done.  Now im in the real world, I have my degree to thank for my job.

  • Guest

    This is absolutly the most absurd, pardon my language, piece of shit i have ever seen. You make this huge assumption that everyone is going to go to college and become some barbaric party crazed sex addicted cheater. This is your experience, it is highly opinionated and not true in the slightlest bit. I went through my first year of college, became All-American in Cross Country, managed to get decent grades for the first two semesters, and never once delt with drugs or alcohol. I agree with one comment below me.. “you are fucking retarded”.

  • Uriah Drake

    I am not a college graduate, but I can still find a lot of baseless assertions and statements that go factually unsupported. I understand that this is opinion, but perhaps we can see the facts laid out in a clear and concise manner rather than one which reads like a rant.

    I don’t believe that my desire to skip college makes me stupid. I find that most arguments here, however, do not fully appeal to the intellectual mind. The evidence is anecdotal at best, and I had hoped for a higher quality of writing.

  • Damocles

    This article is such biased babble that I can’t fathom how I even managed to read through it. As a 19 year old girl currently attending a university, I am not only offended at how you perceive college students, but I am also astounded at how you present yourself as an educated individual and yet produce such hateful drivel. I’m sorry if you don’t trust your children to do more than drugs and have sex when they attend college, but I speak for many when I say that I am attending school to take classes and further my education, (because I actually enjoy learning…as shocking as that may be to you) network, participate in internships, and further myself in my field of study. In this day in age, most jobs will not even look at your resume without seeing that you’ve obtained some kind of degree. Now, I am not saying that there aren’t plenty of outstanding men and women who have found success in life without a college degree, that would be horrendously false. What I am saying is that railing so viciously against students who do make the choice to go to college not only is exceptionally lowbrow and only thinly veils your obvious apprehension about feeling inadequate to your peers in your college days, but also makes you come off as kind of a twat.

  • Charlie_browny

    Hehehehe!

    Half way agree with this guy. College is what you make out of it. True you can fail every class, get laid and spend most of your time at parties. But if you’re going to do that, why bother?

    Not saying that English and writting are easy careers, but Mr A. doesn’t realize that not every job is about how well you sell yourself. I highly doubt he would be able to do a dynamic analysis of an object moving, and even more that HBO or NASA would pay for it. If Mr A wants to play libertine that’s fine, but probably you should take a look at science and business people who can wait to get out of college, cause they work their asses off to actually become successful.

  • http://www.yourcyberguide.com/ divyansh

    I hate that too…but that doesn’t mean that you can do good without college.
    Your earnings and life would be less progressive without college graduation…so one must avoid this thought

    If case is worse take online courses

  • Anakin Skywalker

    Dude, you are a moron by my lowest standards LMAO
    It’s basic to anyone who wants to advance themsleves.
    Turning down or tossing away “any form of education” is idiotic.
    It doesn’t matter what it is.
    Knowing is power.
    Go read up on confusionism, that might help you out some.
    One thing I learnt in life, is the one’s who want to tell the world something, usually have nothing to tell of importance. They just starve for attention and this is what you need to work on LOL

  • g

    but I wonder if you would have had the job you have now if you hadn’t gone to college

  • Joe Barr

    This was poorly argued, although it shows that you did not learn much in college, so if this was your strategy in mind – good job!

  • http://www.facebook.com/diamond.floristal Diamond Floristal

    No Thank You. I’m going to college. I feel you though but it depends on the person and their responsibilities. For me I don’t even want a dorm, I just want to be able to take my classes and head straight home. Cause for one thing I DO NOT TRUST PEOPLE enough to be in a dorm with me. No way in hell that’s going to happen. c: Very Good article though.

  • LC

    I’ve read a few of your posts and have come to the conclusion that you’re just angry. You come off as pretentious. It seems that college didn’t go the way you wanted, you didn’t end up with that perfect job that your teachers and parents promised you after graduation, so naturally you blamed the education you received.

    Sure, you can try and start a business at 18, or travel the world (but what bank would loan an 18 year old thousands of dollars??), or even master a sport. But it’s only a small percentage of people that actually come out successful. I have worked many minimum wage jobs with people older than 45. They never went to college, where did they end up? At a grocery store slicing deli meat for bitchy suburban soccer moms. My step-father never went to college and that’s exactly where he’s at. Oh, create art you say? He is an artist. No one will hire him to do screen printing because they are looking for recent college graduates.

    College is not a waste of time. You really do learn and experience when you’re there. I’m a junior in college and am very offended by the way you present college students. I have never thrown up from drinking, I have never been arrested, and I have never had sex with more than one person (so my jar would have exactly ONE dime in it. for 3 years.)

    You claim that people should just jump right into what they’re trying to learn. I’m not sure about you, but I would rather have a doctor that studied hard, watched from example, and learned with an experienced guided hand. Not a doctor that decides to just operate on people until one day he’s good at it. I’d rather have a lawyer that dissected the many laws we have in our country and has a deep understanding of the legal system than someone who just spouts out words until he gets it right. And I would most definitely rather have a politician that completely understood the inner workings of economics, have a complete understanding of the rights our government was built on, and have a full and rich philosophy that they can only learn from discussing with other intelligent minds–not just their bedroom mirror.

    It’s a harsh reality, but most people NEED college to actually get somewhere. No one is going to give you a chance if you don’t have a college degree. I do think college should be less expensive, but that’s supply and demand. All power to those that can make something of themselves without a college education. But not all of us are that lucky. Even you could not have made it far without a college education.

  • Alex

    Can someone please elaborate on this?
    It doesn’t make sense to me
    Girls won’t like you because you won’t make any money as a psychologist.” I said, “but then I’ll never know if the girls like me for money or not?” And he said, “Girls won’t like you because you have money. They’ll like you because YOU ARE THE KIND OF GUY who can make a lot of money.”

    • Alex

      Can someone please elaborate on this?
      It doesn’t make sense to me
      Girls won’t like you because you won’t make any money as a psychologist.” I said, “but then I’ll never know if the girls like me for money or not?” And he said, “Girls won’t like you because you have money. They’ll like you because YOU ARE THE KIND OF GUY who can make a lot of money.”

  • devan mcginnis

    find something your extremely passionate about, self study it, investigate it, talk to people that know about it, and take small steps forward to getting involved with it (whatever your interest it). If u have some sensational interest with painting and are good at it start off doing it yourself, grow from it to working for a company to learn more, get some business skills and start a business in it and the same goes for anything. College in my my opinion is a huge risk as there is plenty of facts supporting that. U can make anything your good at, care about, passionate about into something; its up to you to pursue it. Not trying to say this is the answer for getting paid for doing something you like just saying that its a more cost effective thing to aim for than college. FEEL FREE TO DISAGREE and ARGUE,,,,remember its all just an opinion.

  • Kathrine Goodrum

    You guys hear of http://www.formvote.com ? I saw a question like this there too and I feel the same. Parents need to stop with this college thing.

  • David

    You’re an idiot. You’re an idiot who has no idea what he’s talking about, and I think I actually got stupider by reading this.

  • Dudes an assclown

    Anyone else seriously doubt this dude got any action while in college?

  • Eric

    Some decent points are made. I’m currently a sophomore majoring in psychology, with plans on going to graduate school for clinical psych. The bottom line for me is this. I could never fulfill my dream of becoming a psychologist without a college education, and thats true for many other professions people are passionate about. Social work, engineering, becoming a doctor. Any kind of professional job requires a college eduction and often a graduate degree on top of it. college isn’t only about being a financial investment as many people try to put it. For me, it’s an investment in myself and my passion, so I can one day be in carrer that helps other people

  • nife

    I am quickly becoming your biggest fan, don’t know when I have laughed so hard.

  • Juana

    No idea what college you went to. But you really learned nothing. There will always be partiers, and weirdos. And then there will be people who want to lean, as a college degree is now the new high school diploma. So please, stop spewing nonsense because you were a poor example of a student. If you don’t want to go to college fine, best of luck. But I assure you, I am graduating and doing well, paying ON MY OWN. So kindly stop being a close minded jerk, and realize that doctors, scientists, librarians, any high up manager you have ever met working in a big chain, chefs, and the guy who designed/built your house and school, and grocery store, all had degrees. This country wouldn’t have much without higher learning, and average people who were willing to learn and work for/from them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daddygibb Chris Jenkins

    paul the veteran must have been in the coast guard

  • Blur

    You know, after reading this I have to agree. I don’t think it’s hard at all to beat the system and make a well paid salary. Honestly one just has to know where to look. I actually have my own personal experience with this working for Walmart. It takes no college degree to be a manager there and make a 45-60k salary. This happened to a friend of mine who worked there for 6 months and got promoted just from effort alone. After that it’s all just based on prioritizing and saving for future endeavors. It really is just about what you do with the money you earn. I constantly think what can I do to earn more money effectively and efficiently apart from working. The little things add up. I went to college for one semester and realized what a waste of money it was to learn about anything other than economics.

  • Mija Moja

    4.5% unemployment rate for college graduates, 24% for non-college grads — but iI digress, it depends on the person, if you are an altucher, self-starter, self-sufficient, and have good ‘smart’ “jeans”, you don’t need college, and College will slow down you progress to success. Imagine, if Altucher did not go to College, all of us college grads will be further left down in the dust, so we are lucky! that did happen.

  • sadbuttrue

    Yes you are right college is just a big business now, every kid gets accepted and undergraduate degrees are next to worthless, look at all the ‘football schools’ that pass out degrees to kids that would never have been accepted anywhere 40 years ago, people are much better off staying/starting in the workforce early or even joining the fucked up military than going to college

  • sadbuttrue

    Nice point about the Harvard experiment also. I would like to see how that would work out. I personally had an amazing job and a number of work offers when I was in high school but went off to college because it was the ‘normal’ and ‘expected’ thing to do. I went to a Great school. Not ivy-league, but close. After graduating with good grades I struggled to find a good position. Now I am in graduate school because it seems an undergraduate degree and some work experience isn’t enough to set ‘apart from the pack’ even with an upper tier degree today. Which, of course, keeps paying into the education business. College isn’t what it was during my parent’s generation.

  • poeguitarist2010

    He makes it sound like there are no job in the entire world that requires a college degree. And I want to be a teacher and I know they get shit for pay but that doesn’t matter all that matters is me doing something I love. I feel so sorry for him if he felt as if college was a waste of time and money. He should have used his time better rather than fucking everything that moves trying drugs and destroying his liver.

  • caritoooo

    seems like your making this judgement from YOUR experience of college, at least let your kids have the choice

  • Anonymous

    While college does a lot of things James discusses, he fails to recognize some other serious points. Not everyone is going to start a company, invent something, or more or less be brilliant. The rules of society are what they are. Whether they are correct or not is an argument for another article. Still, your upward mobility in a organization is correlated to your degree, and this is particularly true in big companies. This fact is even more true for the split in earning power/career potential of degreed people versus non-degreed people. Some positions are simply not available for non-degreed people in large companies, whether that mentality is right or wrong. I’d agree that the caliber of people at Harvard will probably be fine no matter what career path they take. However, if you were able to objectively measure intelligence (I know you can’t), I belive the college degree would be extremely important for everyone except maybe the top 10%, and even the top 10% wouldn’t really hurt by the experience. Swimming upstream as James is advocating to do certainly can make sense for certain people, but to advocate it as a the correct path for everyone is overreaching.

  • Jacki