I give up. I can’t tell my kids not to go to college. I have tried all the usual statistics:

A) student loan debt you’ll never be able to pay back.
B ) for the first time ever, greater than 50% of the unemployed have college degrees. So that whole myth of “you can’t get a job without a degree” is over
C) you don’t learn anything in college that you can’t learn on your own.
D) you can get a five year head start on your peers if you give up on college.

None of that works. The myth is too strong. I had to fight harder.

So then I wrote a book: “40 Alternatives to College”.

I found out a lot of people don’t have calculators. A lot of people, for instance, said that “starting a business costs money”. But they didn’t compare it to the cost plus opportunity cost of college.

A lot of people also said, “not everyone is an entrepreneur”, ignoring the fact that I had 39 other alternatives in the book. So I really wondered what college gave all of these people.

Read More: Get Your Free Side Income Idea (To Generate Passive Income)

Ok, I give up on all of that.

I have a new approach. It’s a sneaky approach because that’s the way things get done. By people doing sneaky things.

The College Challenge:

If they do one of the below items I will “help” them go to college.

I wanted to come up with challenges for them that are realistic but extremely difficult. (e.g. I didn’t put on the list, “win the NY Marathon”).

If they do any of the below they will no longer buy into the societal myth that you need to go to college to be happier and more successful.

And it’s not all about money. The below challenges will make them healthier, more creative, wealthier, etc, depending on what they do. And none of the below requires that much money.

They will also have the pleasure of doing something that is utterly unique and will ultimately be considered cool or fascinating in their social group.

A) Make a youtube video (or channel) that has five million real views.
B ) Get past the second series of Ashtanga Yoga. (at least part of this has to occur in India).
C) Make a business that has over $50,000 in revenues in the 12th month.
D) Write a book (or set of books) that has more than 5000 paying readers
E) Create a blog that has over 100,000 unique monthly readers. Note: you don’t have to be the only writer on that blog.
F) Take 50 or more courses on Coursera. With me.
G) Intern with someone who is among the best in the world at what they do.
H) Organize at least 20 meetups of twenty people or more around a specific topic.
I) Run for political office and get at least 30% of the vote in a primary.
J) Have 50 people write to me explaining, in detail, how you saved their lives.

All of these are such massive achievements that you should no longer see the need to go to college to achieve something great in life. All of these will solve the problem of “how do I socialize with people?”

And any of these challenges will put you on the path to mastery at a much younger age than most people. You will feel immense self-satisfaction.

Also, after people graduate college, they can no longer afford to go on the path to mastery. They have to pay down their college debts.

Well, what if you are not an entrepreneur? No problem, don’t do “E”.

What if you can’t write a book that gets 5000 paying readers.

No problem. Write 100 books that get 50 readers each. Make each book 15 pages. No big deal.

Anyway, just pick one.

Well, what if I pick one and then I fail at it?

Ok, then learn from your mistakes and either try again or move onto the next thing. You are still no worse off than your peers who are learning nothing and getting into massive debt.

I wish my parents had done this for me when I was eighteen.

But it was a different world then. Fewer opportunities for communication and creation. Much less tuition and debt.

Now you live in a special world. But it’s easy to believe the storytelling and mythology of prior generations which put blinders on how much the world has changed in the past few years.

Doing the above items will help you take the blinders off.

Doing the above will help you succeed far greater than your peers and even me (hard to believe but true!).

And even if you don’t succeed in the traditional sense, my guess you will learn much more about yourself than joining the herd and becoming another monkey in the zoo.

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


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  • Daniel

    Great article, as always. I got into a discussion about this on LinkedIn the other day, where people were telling me you had to go to college to get a job in this day and age.

    Wish I’d had your article then.

    • Chris Taylor

      I think it really depends. If you know what you want to do (engineering, healthcare) and you know the tangible benefits, that’s one thing. College is a right of passage in those career fields. If you don’t know what you want to do, going to college might help you find your way to something you’re passionate about.

      However, on balance, I’m not convinced college has the tangible benefits it once had.

      • Hooty

        I do believe there is a handoff – College educated engineers/healthcare etc. working with skilled or semi- skilled laborers. It takes both! But, the cost of college is way over-rated in a world of supply and demand – college educated people (at least to the degree to what they are promised and /or expect) far exceed demand!

        • The Window Washer

          And if you goal is a job that makes money skilled or semi-skilled laborers make more than most healthcare workers.

  • Chris Taylor

    I have a teen about to go off to college this year and he won’t listen to the arguments about debt (I want him to go…I just want cost to matter to him). He seems to think there’s a magical formula to college and work that doesn’t involve:

    – work now
    – work during school
    – debts after school

    Debts are a crushing blow to freedom and choices after school. I guess it is just too ethereal for him to understand.

    • James Altucher

      Chris, I feel the pain (that almost sounds cliche but it’s really true). When my 14 year old girl turns 18 and wants to go to college I am really hoping I can convince her with attractive alternatives and make her understand the realities.

      That said, the dialogue around this issue has been changing every year. I’ve been watching it happen. Bit by bit everything is converging: the debt issue, the unemployment issue, the viable alternatives, etc. I think this is one topic where the tide is turning.

      • Kristyna Z.

        While I understand your point, you wouldn’t be today where you are without the journey you had to take. When you imperatively steal the opportunity of making a (bad) decision from them, you might as well prevent them from learning their own life lessons.

        And in the end, for 18-year-olds the greatest challenge is to prove their parents wrong, isn’t it?:)

        • James Altucher

          I agree that at some point there is the hand-off. But 18 year olds are totally unequipped at that point to make the biggest financial decisions in their lives – a decision that will cost them 20-30 years to fix.

          In most cases they don’t realize they can’t handle making that decision. I’d rather them screw up on some of these challenges and try to prove me wrong then screw up on something that will take them decades to remedy.

          • reno14

            Those that have taken on a ton of debt will want to then take a govt job and get it wiped out after 10yrs of “civil service”

          • HelmRock

            I think this is a more nuanced take on your point….don’t go to college (until your goals make it both 100% necessary and 100% financially feasible).

            College might be the right choice for certain people and certain professions (and certain timelines), but most professions have entry-level opportunities for people who have a proven track record of “making things happen”, irregardless of their “missing” college degree.

            I work in architecture, and I’m not sure if school really even prepared me for the job. I think I could have dropped out, or pursued my own interests and done better with the 5 years I spent in college. Luckily, I have no debt, but only because I was smart enough to do community college before moving on to an inexpensive state school.

    • Sage

      Totally with you there. My 17yo daughter lives in some la-la land, not looking at what happens after the 4 yrs are up and she’s in a huge debt-hole. I DO want her to go to school, I just DON’T want her to go to some ridiculous $60k/yr place. Someone has to tell these schools that they are NOT worth it!

  • Vincent Nguyen

    Love it. Wish I had someone set these challenges for me, but I’ll just have to motivate myself to knock these out of the park!

    Great timing to have you publish an article today on college. I’m actually going to go drop out of college in about two hours. It’s all in preparation of heading to the Philippines for my dream job I just told you about earlier. :)

    • James Altucher

      Vince. Congrats (on college) and congrats (on the new job). It’s a big world out there and most 18-22 year old find themselves happily confined to “the quad” or whatever they call the main outpost on whatever ivory tower they find themselves imprisoned by.

      People often forget the original use of colleges in the middle ages – to keep the most violent elements of our species (young men) out of the reach of people they could harm. Colleges were guarded by a fence and actual guards. But the guards would look in and not out, to keep the young men in.

  • anthony t

    22 yr old here. No matter what I think people have to realize for themselves what their path to success is. It sounds like your kids are hearing your argument more than they are seeing the reality of what “higher learning” has become. Who knows. Maybe after a semester all your hard work will have paid off when their expectations of college are challenged and bail. I can at least say that I tried adult day care for a year before I dropped and just started working. Better to make a buck and sulk in the monotony of labor than to be paying up the ass for it and leave with my head up my ass.

    At some point, if not already, won’t all public schools be seen as myths of societal advancement or as crutches to young people?

    I just love when somebody says they are “well-educated”. Oh yeah? So where’s the off button?

    • James Altucher

      i think it will be a dimmer switch rather than an off button. But, yeah, “well-educated” is just a story we tell ourselves.

      Look at the example of one of the smartest and most astute (and, as a result, successful), social commentators of our day and age: Louis CK. High school dropout.

      • anthony t

        Anyone’s a social commentator-just like a critic. Why does it take a comedian plugging whatever on late night talk to stimulate real talk (ie kid cell phone usage)? I suppose it’s a start. Clearly those that make fun of life are in fact disappointed with its ideal shortcomings. The greeks knew that laughter and anguish were the same emotion. Those poor stoics haha…

      • anonymous

        Sample size 1

      • Andrew

        1) He graduated from high school

        2) He also had Harvard educated parents… it’s likely he was exposed to a lot of interesting ideas from a young age (not guaranteed, but I’m betting his environment was more intellectual than most growing up)

        3) He’s in a “creative” field, where a college degree means very little compared to the ideas you create.

        So it’s not really a representative sample.

        • Efrain

          Except 1) His dad was never around. I’m sure that had some effect on him growing up.
          2) Used to do a lot of drugs starting from age 12. Has stated that it probably did a lot of damage to his brain.
          3) He hated school. Would walk out of class. Said it felt cool to just walk out like that. But he loved learning.
          4.) Taught himself to write, shoot, and edit movies without going to college for it.
          5.) Chose himself to sell his own tickets to his shows instead of using companies like ticketmaster, Says he likes to experiment.
          6.) Wasn’t a success right away like many comedians. It took him years of honing and tweaking his craft. Has said that he almost gave up when things weren’t going the way he hoped. But he kept going.

  • Gary

    James, you’ve basically set out the criteria for what colleges at their best should be doing for students — facilitating challenges and guiding students toward achievement. Assuming you will be mentoring your children (why let them waste too much time on dead ends?), your time investment will be large (but so fulfilling). Colleges can’t afford that level personal investment and so settle for something less.

  • Chris Mack

    Yeah, wish I had known all that when I was 18. Had to figure it out for myself. Kids: Listen up!

    • James Altucher

      Me too

      • ruslanchik1991

        What about your education, James? You attended college twice, both times computer science (wiki is my source of info). Do you think you could have learned all you have without going to college?

        Liked your post, thank you for doing what you’re doing.

        • James Altucher

          Ok, I went to Cornell for 3 years and got a BA in Computer Science. Then I went to grad school at the best grad school in CS for 2 years.

          Then I got a job at HBO doing computer programming. Now, I was a good programmer at school. No issues at all. Maybe I was one of the best programmers in my schools.

          But my programming skills were so weak at HBO they had to send me to remedial classes (at AT&T, not at a school) for a month so I could get good enough to be a barely surviving employee there.

  • me

    Scott Adams once wrote a blog post discussing the current idea that to succeed today you need to be the best in the world at one thing. He thought that was an unrealistic goal for most people. And an unnecessary one, as he thought success was just as likely by combining being “pretty good” at one thing, and being good at public speaking.
    His reasoning was that so many people are so terrified at public speaking, that people who are willing to do it (and half-decent at it) tend to progress in their endeavors far faster than their peers.
    So maybe that could be another landmark:

    H) Win any state-wide Toastmasters award for your age group.
    (And thanks for yet another wonderful post.)

    • James Altucher

      I have quoted this about ten times since you posted this. I have even written a post on it. Going to put it on my mailing list tomorrow.

      • me

        That’s awesome…I’m so happy to be able to contribute something to someone who I feel has given me so much.

        In another blog post, “Ordinary Super Powers” (, Adams made a somewhat analogous point that you don’t have to be the best if you combine disparate skills (and not just with public speaking).

        Here is Adams: “I define an ordinary super power as any useful ability that very few humans possess. For example, having a spectacular voice that commands attention is like a super power. So is being ridiculously attractive, insanely smart, highly energetic, artistic, and so on.”

        “I don’t have any of those super powers. I’m an example of someone who has good but not great skills that work well together. I write okay, have a good sense of humor, draw better than the average person, and understand enough about the business world to pull it all together in the form of comics. No super powers needed.”

      • me

        (By the way, Adams has a book coming out in the very near future. I’m sure he’d love it if you could help him get the word out.)

  • Brian

    The solution should be to fix rising college costs, not getting kids to abandon college so that it’s only available to the wealthiest and most privileged.

    We need more trained scientists and engineers, better teachers; we don’t need more bloggers and yogis.

    • me

      Brian, I think we might need more engineers (though business seems to be lobbying hard to import unlimited cheap & replaceable foreign engineers at will.) But I do wonder if we need more History, Art, Music, Dance, Communications Studies or Library Science majors.
      I do think we are about to see a contraction in the College & Law/MBA sector of our society that will rival anything the makers of buggywhips encountered with the advent of the automobile.
      (James…any ideas for investment plays in this scenario? :-)

    • Stimpy

      I’m a trained engineer (EE). They don’t need me any more — got pushed out the door at age 62, Engineering isn’t the end-all and be-all — you still have to deal with the sleazy, nasty corporate America that James has talked about. It was something that I liked and was suited for and college was the only way to get the credentials to get into that game. Of course, the internet didn’t exist when I went to school, so book learnin’ and college was the only way back then.

    • K

      yeah I’m an engineer too (ME) It’s just not what I thought it would be, and yes half of my graduating class was from Asia (and I went to school in the midwest). Engineers are necessary, but we don’t need boatloads more of them – we’ve got huge classes of engineers graduating now without the jobs to go with them. Corporations have been contracting their R&D departments these last few years — now one engineer must do the work that used to take 3 engineers. Which is why you see job postings for engineers now have a 15-mile long list of required skills, none of which are commonly found together in one person’s career.
      This is not really a complaint. I don’t actually care much because I’m looking to get out of the field completely. Just an observation. I think college as a whole is going to burst like the housing bubble. It doesn’t have a prayer of sustaining itself in the current manner.

    • Riskette

      What? Apparently you haven’t see the recent article from a editor of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers titled The STEM Crisis is a Myth (
      The fallacy the there is a shortage of skilled technology workers is perpetuated “suppress the skilled-wage level (*)” of those employed in science and engineering fields, a campaign that has been extremely successful over the last decade.

      (*) Allen Greenspan: March 2007 ( et al.)

      • EMMA

        The STEM crisis has two true components hidden away. First is that there isn’t a shortage at all (as you say) but there is a shortage of American-born qualified people. I don’t know why some social commentators are freaked out about the fact that not all of the smartest, hardest working people in the world are American.

        The second issue is that there are specializations for which there are shortages. I have four family members who are engineers. Two of them work in oil/gas and they had a lot of competition in getting jobs. It took them a while, and their pay isn’t as high as you’d expect. The other two took PhDs in specialized fields and they had the job offers bombarding them. They earn extremely well. Whether or not these people like their jobs or have work-life balance is another thing altogether, but it is true that the specialists are in fields for which there is a shortage of engineers and almost none of the applicants for the sorts of jobs they do are American. (They are not American born either BTW).

  • Hannes Grebin

    Colleges in Germany are mostly free or if even not so expensive (~500€/sem) but what I learned in college is not the skills (that I’ve learned by my own) but rather the parties with those crazy creatives that where all like-minded and thrown together into this little melting pot called Weimar.

    We had our workshops (Bauhaus-Uni) and lots of fun, sitting in the summer sun, sipping coffee and getting sober. there where semester projects so no real lessons or tests at all. sometimes some interesting talks of stopping by creatives.

    Actually I like this time to find and test yourself, this developed a huge amount of my own lateral thinking.
    To come up with some new weird stuff, college can help you to get you the creative freedom and fertile soil or even mentors IF you have quality really dedicated teachers and plenty of time without much distraction.
    Art & design college Eindhoven with his strong network is my favourite example how to have set up a school only even by seeing the students’ results.

    What I was mostly lacking in Weimar was mentioned dedicated teachers/mentors and above all real feedback from other fields (l’art pour l’art). So maybe you are totally right. Stepping it up and getting your foundation on your own and getting instant feedback by your customers.

    So bottom line would be: an online interdisciplinary mentoring system or a simple guide how to find your matching mentor

    • Hannes Grebin

      Ok, you are right, you can solve all this by just taking action. Even mentors will find you if you consistently put out stuff.
      Thanks for another great article.

  • Hooty

    This is interesting timing for an article on Higher Education. Our local Newspaper had an article on a local grade school who”s Principle was having the students focus on College as an attainable goal! (Btw: Educators at least here can get pay raises (name their own pay) by increasing their education. That principle has a masters!)
    But, the part you really left out about the failing Education Industry in the U.S.:
    There is such a thing as degree creep – which is causing/requiring degrees to be required for lower and even lower level jobs. (Ones that didn’t before or shouldn’t now require a degree!)
    Education, is less valuable with age – I can show you people with engineering degrees but because of their age they have to work alternative jobs.
    It often gets confusing/blurry on how much is enough and how much is too much education. (You are either underqualified/overqualified.)
    Lastly, most of the general degrees – don’t carry any value – because there are so many people that get general degrees! (Besides, they are so general that while you might be book smart? You have no experience!)
    One side note: I knew of one young man who was almost promised that if he was to complete a set of courses in Auto Mechanics he would make $25.00/hr. to start!
    He had no experience and started at a fraction of that wage. Borrowed money to complete the courses – he now sells/delivers for a Frozen Food Service which has incentives/commisions and even awards trips and bonuses!
    (So, while I still believe education has its place – I’d be careful who I listen to – hear every word they say – research my options and their reccomendations – then throw out all the BS! If they are honest/trustworthy they will make suggestions and help guide you on your own path.)

  • Bob Afett

    Love Altucher Confidential, but I don’t always agree. Why does college have to put you in massive debt? There are other options that do not result in crushing debt. Try this sequence.

    1) Go to your local community college for the first 2 years (general education classes don’t require brilliant professors). Live with parents. Work a job to pay for school (it’s not very expensive). Great grades will get you $$$ toward a primo 4-year school.
    2) Enroll in a university and get your B.S. or B.A. degree over the next 2 years. Always have a part-time job while in school. It pays for living expenses, so all you borrow money for is tuition.
    3) Find a summer internship in your major field of study over the summer between Junior and Senior year. Start hacking away at your loans before you graduate.

    You’ll find that with this plan, you can get through college with about $25K or less in debt (for a good state school and some private schools). That is a manageable number whether you decide to work for a corporation, start your own company, or some hybrid of the two (work a job or freelance while starting a business).

    • Andrew

      You forgot option 4

      4) Work hard in high school and get a huge scholarship

      If you work during the summers, you might even come out of it with a positive net worth.

      It’s not feasible for everyone, but it definitely is possible and worth it.

      • mg

        I worked my ass off in high school, played sports, served in student government, active volunteer work in my community, was in the top 2% of my class, and didn’t get squat for college. Coming from a middle class family my parents “made too much” to qualify even for financial assistance, yet I grew up understanding the definition of paycheck to paycheck. Meanwhile the football players who barely made it to class half the time all got full rides to big schools to play sports.
        So option 5: Be charming and be the star of your high school’s football, basketball, or baseball team.


        • Daddy

          College is mostly a racket. What you said was true. The only way I will ever go is if I can get at least a 50% scholarship for soccer or music. If that doesn’t happen, then f*ck it.

        • Sage

          Absolutely agree.

    • Dane Dormio

      Spend 40 hours per week studying and 20 working a blue-collar job for four whole years! All this for the low, low price of ONLY $25K! What a bargain!


  • Katy

    These are good ideas, I will add a couple that I have been kicking around with my own kids, because we don’t live in a big city and we have more rural options:
    1.) research a particular market and then grow and sell a crop – this could be anything from amaryllis bulbs to medicinal plants to silk (not talking about pot – that’s too easy and the goal is not to end up in jail) The goal being to produce something helpful or beautiful to others that makes some money
    2.) teach yourself to program and solve a problem for someone (could be a farmer or a gardener or whatever)
    3.) Learn enough woodworking skills to recreate an antique piece of furniture.

  • john

    Great list and post James. I’d say this list equally applies to “older” (i.e. post-university/college) people who contemplate the second/third/etc. degree (e.g. MA, MBA, etc.).
    One thing you forgot to mention is accountability, like Ramit Sethi would hold us to…to make sure we do it (instead of just nod our heads that we’ll “try” to do one of the items in the list!).

  • RacerXX

    Funny, I just discovered Coursera over the weekend. Already targeted a few classes.

    At a minimum kids/potential students should take classes in a low or no-cost venue first, before committing. Too many follow career paths set by someone else.

    • James Altucher

      Totally agree.

  • Daniel Alberson

    What if you can go to a school like Brigham Young University and can leave with no debt? Because tuition is such a fair price that you can pay it off in the summer?

    • James Altucher

      That’s an extremely special example.

      Note that there is always a cost, even when something seems free.

  • Mark

    James, I’d love to have you think through and take the opposing viewpoint. Because you understand so much of the downside, I’m wondering what you might offer up as the upside, if say, you were the president of Columbia! ~ Mark

    • James Altucher

      If I were President of Columbia University I’d double prices actually. The top schools will always have willing participants. If I were a mid-tier college I’d put together a “managed curriculum” of online resources and fire half my professors and sell off most of my real estate. I’d offer also the entire curriculum online.

  • Jeremy Chatelaine

    People don’t go to college to get a job, they go there to have some awesome years in their life with lots of people alike with no parents and not much effort… and like after a good drinking night, the morning can be though for some (debt).
    Still, those were pretty damn good years for me, I found my wife there and luckily enough (in France at least), education was accessible without getting into debt.
    As for children, listen to what they feel, not what they say. Find the underlying reason as to why they don’t want to listen to your arguments and address just that. If they think they want to have fun in life with friends, that challenge is totally useless in their eyes.

    • Scott K.

      I completely agree. For me college, and grad school were worthwhile. I experienced things I wouldn’t have otherwise. I met great people that have helped shape me into who I am (and I am happy with that person). Both schools were expensive, and I did need to find a way to pay that debt. However, that was also a learning and growth experience. I wouldn’t trade any of it.

      Where the issue is, I believe, is the myth that “higher education” is necessary for everyone. I have friends and family that are at least as successful as I that have no education past high school.

      To me, saying that college is all bad, is just as wrong as saying that everyone needs a college education.

      I think the best we can do is help people find what they want to do, for now. Then help them decide the best path to reach their goals. Help them make informed decision. Then support and encourage them whenever possible.

      Before closing, I do want to say that I love your work, James. I have been lurking for almost a year, now, but needed to say your work (and the comments of your readers) have been very enlightening, and inspiring. Please keep up the excellent work!

    • EMMA

      No, that is your experience. It is not the experience of everyone. The majority of people who go to college, go to train for a career. If you are going for your own enrichment, that is fine. I personally went to college because I didn’t know what else to do and it offered the structure I needed as a young person. I thought I would figure it out, but I did not. I graduated with BA and never really had a career. I do not regret it because it was a different world then. I was able to work the entire time, take 5 1/2 years instead of 4, and graduate with absolutely no debt at all. The experience changed me, provided me with a lot of opportunities, taught me a foreign language and introduced me to most of my closest friends and my husband. But in this current economy, that would not have been possible. With the exception of a few years in my early 30s, I have never made more than 25K a year. For me, that is perfectly fine since combined with my husband’s income we do well. I’ve put my energies into our family and home, and I have the pleasure of making that small 25K a year doing something I really love, that I’m good at and that is useful. So for me, yes college was worth it. But you’ll see, this had more to do with luck than with college. And these days, I would not have been able to work my way through college. I was able to work as a waitress, go to school and pay for everything- tuition, books, rent and bills- entirely on my own. This is no longer possible. If I had graduated with debt, it absolutely would not have been worth it, no matter the great experiences I had. I have friends who took out loans because they didn’t want to work, they didn’t want roommates (I shared a two bedroom apt with three people) and they wanted to graduate in four years instead of five and a half. They are still in debt to this day (late 30s) and are forced to stay in jobs they hate because of it.

  • Stimpy

    I bookmarked coursera. I’m already using KhanAcademy to exercise my tired old brain, now that I am retired (pushed out the door). Thanks for the post.

    • James Altucher

      You are entering a wonderful experience. Where you get to relax and enjoy a true education.

  • Blade

    Other possible challenges:

    Raise $25,000 for a charity in 6-12 months.

    Work undercover in any industry (ex. factory work in the meat industry) and write a book about your experience.

    Travel to a poor country and create a documentary about living conditions there.

    • James Altucher

      Love it all.

  • Sheree Martin

    I’m one of those older Gen-X’ers for whom education debt has been an albatross my entire adult life. Undergrad wasn’t the problem. The choice to attend law school and take on debt to do so wasn’t a smart choice. In hindsight, I made poor choices, because law didn’t fit my personality. Then I had debt and had to find something else to do. Which led me to more education and and student loan deferments, which did NOT help the debt load situation one iota.

    Of course, my analysis is based on looking at what’s been going on in the past 6-7 years and when I made my choices I didn’t have today’s knowledge–I knew what I knew then. In other words, I made the best choices I could given the information available at the time and the career paths that seemed brightest, given my interest and strengths.

    The difference today is that we’re on the cusp of a big shift. When the powers-that-be figure out what sort of credentialing system they want, the shift will happen quickly. For now, college is straddling the line between a vocational-training program and something that claims to be more classically-liberal but not really and a credentialing system to get people into certain specialist career silos (medical school, engineering, CPA exam, law school, nursing, pharmacy, etc.)

    My biggest influences are people from the Renaissance era and the Enlightenment. They weren’t specialists, they were generalists who knew a good bit about many, many areas. Ben Franklin didn’t go to college. He was an apprentice, then an entrepreneur/scientist. See also: Thomas Jefferson (studied law, but was a “gentleman” scientist, botanist, etc. See also: Leonardo da Vinci. See also: Big list.

  • Will

    Decided to take a Gap year a week ago after being disappointed by my Uni. The scary part is not going to Uni/College or taking a huge dept, the scary part is being all alone without any tutoring and doing stuff that you don’t even qualify for. I didn’t like programming, I’m not good at designing and this scares the shit out of me, because I can’t imagine myself working anywhere else instead of a startup. Right now I’m trying to figure out how to get good experience in marketing/sales at a startup In/near London as I co-founded a beta-failed startup and loved it. FIrst steps are the hardest!

  • Hooty

    JA have you read this article on BI??
    The College loan debt makes more than Exxon-Mobil each year! year!
    I”m afraid higher education is all about fliing classrooms!

    • Hooty
      • James Altucher

        Yes. I was once at a talk. The head of budget at cornell was saying, “of course tuition has risen faster than inflation for the past 40 years. It’s very competitive to get the best researchers!”

        Not once did she mention getting the best educators.

  • pl4yer0ne

    Excellent idea.

    I myself chose to not go to college and instead started early in my chosen career path. Mainly self taught with some help from mentors, but the extra time “on the job” training was worth so much more than any degree.
    I am now confident that I can do just about anything I set my mind to.
    Through the years I have worked in many of the “big” well known companies and many very interesting less well known ones.
    The method definitely works, obviously some industries are easier than others, but I haven’t found one yet that has shut me out for not having a degree.
    Experience and charisma wins every time. Speaking of which, its definitely worth learning how to be an interesting and charismatic person by experiencing as many different things as possible.

    • James Altucher

      This is great. I am glad you shared this. Very important to learn how “charisma”, which is another way of learnings how to effectively come up with ideas, present them in an authentic way, and follow up on them.

  • Dragan

    Great post!
    Looking back at my 4 years of college and university to study programming, it sort of feels like wasted time. I thought myself the basics of programming before going to college. After graduating and starting working in the field, I ended up not using any of the languages learned there. Instead, I had to learn all the new stuff. I would’ve been much better off taking some courses for a year and finding a job.

    Never did anyone ask me about my college or anything similar. All most companies care about is your experience.
    Wish I had someone to tell me about the alternatives when I was 18. Live and learn.

  • TheWindowWasher

    Clean the house of the wealthiest person in town once a week for a year.
    It removes the have/have not excuse/barrier. Wealthy people are usually wonderful hard working people.
    They will know the reason you can’t raise money from them is because your idea sucks. For the rest of their life they’ll know the idea is the problem not the “lack of access to capital”.

  • Priyantha

    Dear James,
    This is a very thogut provoking arguement that you have put in here.
    In this part of the world (specially in my Country Sri Lanka) youths are paranoid about their college entrance. The parents are even more paranoid and really stressed in somehow getting thier chidlren to climb the ladder and become someboday; a pilot, a doctor, an engineer, lawer, Charted accountant and then if failed on the above, to become a lesser somebody; a banker, teacher, a jounalist etc.

    Having two kids ( one in preapring for O/L to be held in two years and the other in great 5), i was a terrified parent too, who not knowing whether my childern would be successful in acehiving higher academic advancement. i got them both to get going to schools which are recognised for academic, spiritual and extracurricular exceleccne.
    However, after pushing sometime i realised that children should have their own freedom to choose and pursue what they really wants to do; the results is below;
    – my daugher has become an avid reader. enjoys most of her time reading from horror to ivestigative to romance fiction. she also likes singing at the church regularly and she she is now a devoted choir girl.
    – son, again giving much time for dancing and scouts. he has almost forgotten his reading and spellings :).
    But i think letting them do what the really enjoy is a good thing. they are less stressed now and enjoy the time.
    And this articel by you is another level of thinking for me to tell them to plan their life in alternative ways and income geneation activities. What matters finally is how happy and comtempt you are ! thanks James!

  • Anatoli Plotnikov

    K) Write a piece of software that will be used by N people.

    • James Altucher

      Love it.

  • Dominique

    James, you might be on the right track with the college challenge and offering to “help” your kids IF they do a, b or c…but, something is not right! Challenges are very personal and I don’t think you can “inspire” or convince someone to adopt other people’s ideas. You want your kids to be more creative? Start by asking them to come up with their own challenges, based on their interests and talents. Don’t pressure them to start executing right away (at least 10 ideas a day, remember?).

    I tried this technique on my stepson (who originally sentenced himself to college to study he-does-not-know-what) and this year, for the first time ever, he experienced doubts.
    Good luck!

  • a.nonymous

    I came up with a few additional ideas but narrowed it down to this one which I like best:

    K) Find 50 self-made millionaires, interview them on what the key advantages are of going to college and, finally, publish the results (book, ebook, website, … kid’s medium of choice – and no, twitter does not count).

    That should work several awesome must-have skills at once. Including but by far not limited to doing research, socializing, organizing thoughts, formulating questions/ideas/opinions in a clear way, overcoming anxiety, etc pp.

  • Martin

    I learned this college thing when pricing grad schools for education. For $15,000 and three years I would make an extra $1500-$1900 a year. Plus I don’t get to write off that $15000 or maybe a tiny fraction. Or I could take that $15000 put into series of children’s books. Of which I can then write off the whole $15000. That’s the math I’ve been trying to explain to people.

  • Travis Scott

    Great Post. I think this post should go to all of those people who went to college…couldn’t get a job…so they went back to major in something else. There are just too many people who think a college degree will guarantee success. As a society we need to understand the difference between a degree and an education. The challenges you you wrote about will give us an education, but a degree typically just give us a piece of paper, arrogance, and debt.

  • Gabriela

    Would free tuition modify your thesis of not attending college? It seems that the $ cost-benefit analysis is employed here. Perhaps asking our children to develop a business strategy and financial analysis around the education component of their professional development would be the guided discovery they actually need to decide for themselves. In my experience, the maturity is there at 14+, it usually is a matter of us, the adults, allowing it to express itself without the “I know better” factor.

    • James Altucher

      Nothing is ever free. I look at countries like Argentina where it’s free and where my wife is from. Highest per capita psychoanalysts in the world. Not sure what college is doing to people down there.

  • Chris Sciora

    Someone posted a question about whether the cost-analysis would change with free tuition. Not for me. I’d still have very little interest in having my daughters move lock-step from high school into college. Attending college has little or no correlation with financial success (or any kind of success) in the real world.

    Yes, I understand specialized training for doctors, attorneys and others are a requirement for being employed in those professions. Those are a tiny fraction of students attending college nowadays and you certainly don’t need a degree to be unemployed and live at home.

    Most colleges prepare young people for a lifetime of working for other people, getting more budget breaking debt in the form of a mortgage and effectively continues the training-for-hire system introduced by group schooling in the 19th century.

    At a minimum, anyone considering going to college should defer 1-3 years and actually do real-world things. This list is a great start. Feel free to work and save money to pay for college in cash without incurring any debt. You’ll be far better off down the road.

    • James Altucher

      100% agreed.

  • Matt

    How does someone pay rent and bills, buy food and clothes, save for the future, buy gas for a car while doing all that and with no marketable skills?

    • James Altucher

      Well, let me ask you this: how does someone pay rent and bills, buy and clothes, safe for the future and , buy gas for a car with the skills that college teaches you. What do you mean by “Marketable skills”?

  • BIGSeth

    Challenge: Get an honorary degree

    • James Altucher

      Ha, thats a great one.

  • Gustaf Byström

    I love this article. I do as well wish that my parents would have given me this challenges. I am currently working on a few of them myself as an “internet entrepreneur”, but i didn’t realise all this until i already collected debt after 3 years at the university.

  • canuckystan

    I don’t agree with this at all (though I love the blog). College graduates may be unemployed now, but the stats are very clear – over the long haul their incomes vastly outpace those with no college education.

    Also, I find this blog (and those of Seth Godin and Mitch Joel) get a little blinded to the fact that all work and life is not online and connecting with communities.

    Engineers and architects still have to design on the stuff we use and places we inhabit. You don’t learn that on your own, ever. People still go to court and are charged with crimes and sued. You don’t learn how to defend them or prosecute them on your own, ever. People still need surgery. No self-help there.

    Aside from the traditional professions, ever see a self-taught classical musician? Or a self-taught high school physics teacher? Or a self-taught FBI agent?

    College is necessary for a whole world of work that is really outside the narrow online/tribe “pick yourself” slice of life. And it can lead to a lot of high paying rewarding careers. Likely a lot more rewarding than 5 million views on YouTube.

    • Jim

      I am a Software Engineer, completely self taught. Working now, looking to move into another job, and with only an AA (in Social and Behavioral Science), I have two final round interviews this week, each over 120K. Look at mid-career salaries on Payscale. My salary would put me in category of a top 5 school graduate… except I’m 32 and “mid-career” for Payscale is 41 on average.

      I disagree with your assertion that engineers cannot be self taught. Some engineers maybe, but not all. Of course, it helps that I am very intelligent (near perfect SATs), so likely not everyone could take my path. But it is possible.

      Also, I will mention I just recently had an interview with a firm, and it came down to me and the other candidate, who had impressive academic credentials. And I did not get the job.

      Of course, before you get all excited, realize that I didn’t get the job because the college graduate was asking for 30K less than me, because she doesn’t know market value for the job and/or (I’m assuming) is in more desperate financial straits. Even so, the VP I interviewed with quietly mentioned that he might be calling me back in a few weeks anyways.

      Welcome to the new reality. Your college degree means nothing. Getting a job is about adding value to the company’s bottom line, and nothing else. Your credential doesn’t mean anything in and of itself, especially today, when most education that takes place inside a college classroom is a joke.

      • James Altucher

        Yes, the unfortunate thing is that college is different now than for people who went 10,20,30 years ago. The debt is higher, the payoff is lower, the risks are far greater, and its unclear if the education actually teaches more than you can learn on your own or out there in the real world.

      • Daddy

        Damn right, homes. I’m 20 but I’m smart enough to see that the numbers do not add up. Unfortunately, most people are retarded and don’t question very much. Its so sad how many hopelessly deluded morons are on the typical campus. I’m happy for you, though.

    • caranda

      I’d like to add that most of the professions you mention such as lawyer and doctor, were traditionally taught through apprenticeships and not colleges until very recently.

      • Runningman

        Harvard Law School established 1817. Harvard Medical School established 1782.
        Your definition of “very recently” is seriously flawed.
        And to James below who said “it is unclear if the education actually teaches more than you can learn on your own or out there in the real world.”
        Are you serious? Perhaps you’ve never attended a professional school, but I assure you, you can not learn a profession on your own, it is very clear.
        Ask NASA how many self-taught engineers they have on staff. I’ll ruin the surprise: 0
        Why? Because the work is too important, and a Ph.D from MIT means a heckuva lot more than reading stuff on the net and calling yourself an engineer (or whatever).

        • me

          Um, ask any partner how many of their new law school hires — Harvard or not — graduated ready to practice law.

          The answer is ZERO.

          By the way, John Marshall, Abraham Lincoln, Clarence Darrow — none of them graduated from law school. (Lincoln never went at all.)

          • caranda

            The point is this: ask any partner how many of their new law school hires are SELF-TAUGHT.

            The answer is ZERO.

            You NEED college for a ton of very rewarding careers. Go tell a law firm partner that Lincoln didn’t graduate from law school so I shouldn’t have to either, see where that gets you.

            Truly important work (not YouTube videos or starting websites) requires some kind of objective evaluation of your skills and training – college and professional certification are the the tickets to enter. The Internet won’t change that.

          • Daddy

            I’m gonna call BS. “Truly important work (not YouTube videos or starting websites) requires
            some kind of objective evaluation of your skills and training – college
            and professional certification are the the tickets to enter.” That depends, if you define success by becoming a white collar slave in your 20s, paying ridiculous amounts of money to be mostly indoctrinated, not educated, and then having to spend most, if not all of your adult life paying for an overpriced product (degree), then you are correct. The second you go into business for yourself, your degree does in fact become worthless because college produces indentured servants, not free men and women. WAKE THE HELL UP YOU HAVE BEEN LIED TO. Don’t believe me? You don’t have to. Ask James himself or any other successful business owner what they have to say about that. Jobs do not get you rich, they are set up to show the dangling carrot under your nose until the retirement fairy comes to save you. Oh wait, by the time that happens you’ll almost be dead anyway. For fook’s sake people!

        • Happynongrad

          In many states (California being one of them) you can still become a lawyer through apprenticeship. 1) find an attourney that will apprentice you. 2) Tell the state bar your intention. Work free and learn for 1 year. 3) take your first year exam with the bar. 4) apprentice longer (i think 3 years more and 5) take and pass the state bar. No degree needed.

    • Daddy

      Most degrees are a waste. Engineering, medicine and IT schooling is the exception to the rule but the rule prevails nonetheless. Law degrees are no longer useful. Why? Visit and see what he has to say about his experience as a law school student at Duke and what happened to the rest of his classmates after graduation. Despite being a brilliant student Tucker can point out exactly how the numbers do not add up. Mark Twain said “There are lies, there are damn lies, and there are statistics”. Joseph Stalin also said that anything can be proven with statistics. Stats are not the most reliable way to prove common sense. “Higher Education” has morphed into the perfect racket for producing modern slavery. You have missed the point completely. You believe that a job, even a “high-paying” job is worth it. That is straight up chickenshyte. If you make 88,000 a year in the “land of the free and home of the brave” Uncle Sam is entitled to 28% percent of that. For what? Is he blowing you everyday with breakfast in bed the day after? Do you really think he deserves that much of your money? Even if he does, there is still the classic problem that entrepreneurs will never deal with. Namely, no matter how much you make, you will always be someone else’s sissy b*tch. Is that worth it? I say no.

      • Sage

        As far as going to school for healthcare – I got a 2yr degree and became a Registered Nurse, but most of my knowledge as a nurse comes from working as one. I just had to sit for the classes and pass tests.

    • EMMA

      I agree with you regarding many professions. I also agree that it is frustrating when people who correctly identify problems with the current obsession with sending everyone to college insist that higher learning is useless altogether. It’s the pendulum swinging in the other direction. On the other hand, I disagree with the stats that insist that college graduates do better in the long haul.

      There are three obvious problems with those trends (and maybe more but I’m unqualified to analyze more than that):

      The first is that lifetime trends are based on economic and educational conditions that are very different from modern days. I have no doubt that anyone in my parents’ generation who went to college showed much higher lifetime earning than those who didn’t. College, at that time, was still an elite path and not one open to everyone so there was more discrepancy. I don’t believe that a young person today can make projections about his or her own future based on norms established several generations ago.

      Second- there is a difference between not going to college and being an unskilled worker. The majority of studies group the working population into college educated and those who do not go to college. There is a huge difference as unskilled workers earn very little. Once you look at studies that break things down by levels of education attained, the income gap between those who took a degree vs those who achieved a vocational certification is much smaller. There is still a discrepancy in the favor of college education, but it’s much smaller. Moreover, I have seen no studies that break down type of degree or profession, nor have I seen a study that includes non-institutional vocational training such as apprenticeships and company-provided educational opportunities. The truth is that certain specific college degrees offer huge financial incentives, as do certain specific vocational opportunities. Other college degrees offer no financial incentives at all. The studies tend to ignore these distinctions and so the anthropology major gets thrown into averages with the engineering major while the plumber gets thrown into averages with the cashier. On whole, the stats are skewed towards college when in truth, I suspect the average liberal arts major would envy the average plumber’s salary.

      Third, comparing lifetime earnings is not the same as comparing financial opportunities or security. Once you consider the debt and the need to move across the country for a career, it might be more financially sound for many people to stay closer to home, stay out of debt and train for a career that is in demand locally. For example, if you become a bus driver or a mail man or an auto mechanic, then you might make less than someone with a college degree (though not necessarily). If you then compare the cost- minus the debt and travel expenses and childcare because you live far away from your family- I wonder how great the income difference really is? This is another problem with the current lifetime trends. In the past it was easier for people who trained in the lower paying professions to get a job in an area of their choice. That high school physics teacher still can probably get a job anywhere, but his English teacher counterpart will likely have to move to another city, if not another state.

      As you probably know, the reasons college educated people earn more frequently has more to do with life opportunities offered through the college experience (moving away from home, meeting other privileged people, studying abroad, joining student organizations). With the younger generation of students, I see that many of them are creating these experiences for themselves outside of college through many of the opportunities that are mentioned above. You are absolutely correct that if you want to become an engineer or a surgeon or something like that, then of course there is no replacement for college. But for bright young people who want different careers, I wonder if they can recover the income differences associated with college by using those years to pursue other opportunities that would help them gain the same life experience and exposure to different types of people and networking that college traditionally gave previous generations?

      In short, what I tell my own children is this. If you have a specific career goal in mind for which college is necessary (including all the ones you named) then you should first research how you achieve the goal. Then compare this path to your own means, aptitude (the truth is that most people cannot hack a medical or engineering degree), motivation and goals. If the option still looks reasonable, then look around at employment trends and consider where you would have to live to get a job and what sort of job you’ll really get. (Most science PhDs end up in industry, not academia, which is often a harsh wake-up call for young people who had planned to spend their years doing research science and instead designing programs for a tech company or doing research for oil/gas industry or pharma etc). Finally, consider the cost and make a plan to pay for it. How long will it take you to pay off the degree?

      After doing all of this, compare this option to others in life. Consider other things you’d like to do. How important is it for you to determine where you live? For you to be near family or your local community? Do you plan to have children? How will you care for them if you have a career as a surgeon? Etc.
      In the end, I think we’d have much fewer people going to college- and probably the ones who really want to be there and know exactly why. The current advice is to tell any young person to go and figure it out. This is how we end up with cities full of very bright young waiters with liberal arts degrees who have very interesting life experiences, load of debt and no prospect of planning their own retirements. What if they had taken the years immediately after high school to do the things listed above or to backpack around the world or to train for a vocation?

  • Holly Kothe

    Some people go because they love college. Love. Love. Love. Big fat love affair with college and classrooms and big, thick…books. That’s part of the reason I went. Although it wasn’t just the academia and atmosphere I was into…it was talking to professors, students…all the social aspects of being with people who were as passionate about learning as I am. I went to a public school (Annie Hall comes to mind: “Those who can’t teach, teach gym. And those who couldn’t do anything, I think, were assigned to our school”). So I kept up with my grades to the point that I was offered a full scholarship. Granted, I had a child young and dropped out after the third year so I could support my son as a single mother…so the even the smarty pants have their chaos…I’m just now finishing up my final year. I clued my six-year-old in on the whole grades=money thing for people of our particular financial status just the other day. Never too early. Love the blog! I’ll definitely be reading more.

  • Frederico

    Or you could try to encourage your kids to excel academically so they’d get a full-ride scholarship? As I’m sure you know, the earnings-gap between the college educated vs non is huge, particularly when you look at professions like engineering, architecture, doctors, lawyers, etc. Your children are likely to be much worse off because of your loathing for education.

    • James Altucher

      I don’t want them to excel academically. I wish they would just pursue the things they are interested in.

      Not sure why you say my children are likely to be worse off because of my “loathing” for education. I don’t loath education at all. And there’s no statistical evidence that shows going to college now is of any benefit to anyone. But we do know it is of great financial detriment.

    • Sage

      Free-ride scholarships based on academics alone do not exist anymore. Free rides are only if you are star athlete.

  • RonM

    The most successful entrepreneurs I have met never had the “chance” to go to college. I went to a top college, and other than learning how to communicate and think critically (which you can also do working), the rest was mostly 5 years of time and money that I could have used in building my business.

    I think the worst thing that college does to people is it makes them risk averse. All the guys on Wall Street I worked with came from top schools. They not only felt entitled, but also had in their mind that they could do anything! But, having too many opportunities is not a good thing for most people – any small hiccup will derail them and nearly all remain in the brutal banking world.

    Thank you for writing this post. Our school systems are broken at all levels, and what better way to prepare your kids then to let them start “practicing” in the real world as early as possible.

    • James Altucher

      Yes, it’s that entitled thing that is the worst thing students get when they go to the top colleges.

      And yes, our school system is broken at all levels. I see it now with my daughters how broken it is from grades 1-12. I don’t really know how to make it better from the inside. It seems like homeschooling or unschooling is the best thing.

  • Ben Nesvig

    If you were going to skip getting an MBA, which I plan on doing, would you use this same list as a Personal MBA alternative?

    • James Altucher

      Absolutely. All of these above will teach more skills in shorter time for cheaper, than an MBA. And also keep you in the “real world” (or, as you might say, the “first world”).

  • Ross Dakin

    Have to point out a logical fallacy here:

    “B ) for the first time ever, greater than 50% of the unemployed have college degrees. So that whole myth of ‘you can’t get a job without a degree’ is over”

    That 50% statistic doesn’t mean that “you can’t get a job without a degree” is false; it means that “you’ll always be able to get a job if you a get a degree” is false.

  • Stefan Patatu

    Loved this post. Very inspirational and motivational for me. Thank you very much!

    I am ready to start with F then move to E, C and D, in this order. When do we start F?

  • Jim Laner

    I tell my kids this: the biggest factor that will affect their success will be their abilities to identify, create, cultivate – and yes at times, end important relationships. Relationships are the key to everything. Further: It is very possible to be successful without college (by the way, “success” has many units of measure other than dollars) but it requires that one to be relentlessly curious about the world and relentlessly willing to satiate one’s curiosities with almost obsessive determination. Here’s a good test of whether you have it in you: dismantle something fabulously complicated and the put it back together, with precision, so that it works perfectly.

  • Dubem Menakaya

    The technical side of University is redundant and you can learn much of much of that stuff on your own unless it’s a highly specialized area. However being in that social environment with people your age and older from all around the world and the experiences you can gain from that – that’s priceless I’m afraid. it’s definitely worth doing for at least a year.

    I know successful young entrepreneurs with million pound (dollar) companies who wish they went to University, one is even still holding on even though he makes more money and has done some incredible things. The social context and how you can use it to help you shape yourself can never be underestimated.

  • Brett Knighton

    I am starting my own small business’s in order to pay for school. i am 20 and work full time while I am building my websites and marketing and writing business plans. But my goal is to pay for a GOOD education, and not have to work or be in debt while i learn so I can focus my full attention on raising and family and learning. being well rounded and knowledgeable, and helping to build all who I come in contact with are the goals. not to be rich and uneducated. Todays society is backwards and a “poisonous” place to live in, which is why people down there… VV, argue about pointless topics like this instead of building each other up. especially in America. I AM.

  • College confused

    I’m 19 years old and currently struggling with college. I’m also struggling with why I should go to college. I don’t have any debt yet (I had GREAT summer jobs) but I will soon. How can I be sure what I’m studying is right for me? I’m considering taking a semester off to try to figure it out. Does anyone have any advice?

  • Mitesh

    Awesome post, I’ve been working on writing a Kindle eBook for nearly a year teaching beginners how to create web-pages using HTML & CSS. Even though I have never been to University I’m praying this eBook will change me and my wife’s life somehow.

  • best essay writing website

    As a parent, you should encourage your kids to go to college and finish a degree that they like. It’s for their own good especially that their future relies on it. How can they be able to live if they don’t have a good job?

    • Derek Tillotson

      I got a degree in a field I like and now I’m working full-time at a big box retail store to pay for rent, food, public transit, and loans. I also do freelance writing and James’s Daily Practice every day. I didn’t need college to do any of that.

      I don’t regret going to college, but it wasn’t necessary. If I ever have kids, I’ll likely pay them to NOT go to college.

  • Arpita Chakraborty

    This is sheer brilliance. Almost tempted to say “this is hotness”. Kudos to you for being such a father who is so ‘keen and open’ in being the enabler for kids in their journey to discover!
    Colleges must be on a scavenger hunt now with such a post . Keep writing!

  • Boston Guy

    James. I just spend an hour writing a 3-page comment and you delete it on me? How come?

  • The Idea Machine

    James, love your blog. My friend and I have decided to implement your daily practice of generating 10 ideas a day using our own blog.

    Whenever we miss a day or two, we do extra or longer lists to make up for it. After listening to your podcast on not going to college, we decided to generate a list of 30 ideas for “challenges” for kids not going to college. They’re slightly easier to achieve than some of the challenges you’ve outlined, but it was a fun exercise!

    Two questions/comments:
    1. Do you think your argument is still valid in countries where tuition is heavily subsidized (like Canada, where we’re from)? Tuition is only ~$6000 per year. I learned a ton during university, but very little in the classroom. Most of it game from a network of extremely motivated individuals I don’t know if I would have met otherwise

    2. Although I agree with your idea in theory, how practical do you think it is? I see a ton of value in this for your kids since they’re being “coached” by you, but what about parents who don’t understand this concept of almost making a custom curriculum? As great as my parents are, I can’t see them overseeing a process like this very closely. Looking at other friends with completely disengaged parents, I can just see them falling into a trap of laziness. At least at university those individuals will snatch a boring job like an accountant that pays the bills decently.

  • Sage

    We’re going through this with our 17yo daughter who wants to go to a 4-yr college for some vague idea of “Dance” and “Art”. With maybe some education training thrown in, so she can “fall back on” a teaching degree. She wants to go to Hofstra. Her father and I are beside ourselves. That school is $60,000/yr!! How is anything that only lasts for 9 months worth 2 small cars in ONE YEAR?

  • Jordan

    If the people in this comments section let this simple quote by Jim Rohn sink in, they might be a bit more agreeable, if not then I’ve lost all hope for them. Ok here goes.

    “Wages make you a living. Profits make you a FORTUNE”

    A stat I would love to know is what percentage of graduates are genuinely excited about the line of work their degree opened for them…