I can already hear your comments.
What kind of moron writes a post called Why You Shouldn’t Go To University on a site called My University Money? This site is all about going to university, and all sorts of tips on maximizing your experience. It’s all about paying off student loans and RESPs and applying for scholarships and everything else for students and recent grads to maximize their finances. I know, I’m a special kind of stupid. Will I continue to keep writing, like some sort of chump? Or will I regroup and change the point of this post on the fly, hence negating my earlier faux pas?
Nope, I’m not gonna do it. Yes, I’ll admit that, for a lot of people, pursuing higher education is a smart idea. These people have a specific idea about what they want to do with their lives, so higher education becomes part of the path to get where they want to be. If that’s you, I don’t want to discourage your path at all. For people like that, university is a smart idea.
But, it’s clearly not for everyone. Let’s take a look at some reasons why you shouldn’t go to university.
You’re A Crappy Student
In high school, only a small percentage really excel at their studies. There’s an equally small percentage which are really poor students. The rest of us fit somewhere in the middle. There are plenty of reasons why. Some students are distracted by problems at home, or school just bores them. It’s not that they’re stupid, they just aren’t good students. Others would rather chase the ladies (or fellas, depending on a few things) or play sports.
If you’re one of those people who struggles at school, I’m not sure why you’d immediately sign up for more schooling. There are so many students who are pushed into college by overbearing parents, teachers and career counselors who shouldn’t really be going.
I’m a great example. When I hit 18, I really had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. All I knew is that I was sick of school and learning. I wanted to go out and earn some money. So I started working overnights at a supermarket, which was one of the highest paying jobs I could find and still stay indoors. If I would have listened to my teachers, I would have gone onto further schooling, where I would have undoubtedly dropped out.
Further schooling should only be a path to get where you want to be. If you’re going to find yourself, or to experience being an adult, or for any reason besides getting an education in a specific field, I’d strongly suggest an alternative route. Getting your first full time job can be a learning experience without dropping thousands beforehand.
It’s Really Expensive
There are approximately 3,284 articles in the personal finance blog-o-net whining about how much tuition costs. The fact is, with university presented as the only ticket towards getting a decent paying job, costs are only going to go up. If you’re sure about what you want to do, then paying tuition is simply a cost you have to endure.
But what about all those people who go and take degrees that are less useful, like general studies or fine arts degrees? What’s the point of them paying expensive tuition? So they can have the experience of drinking too much at college parties?
Crippling student loan debt is a pretty steep price to pay for a degree that does next to nothing to improve a graduate’s employability. There are thousands of graduates who had to wait until after graduation before they realized their degree qualified them for nothing more than serving coffee.
Yes, people who get so-called useless degrees can throw off the shackles of their self-imposed handicap and get a decent job. But why put yourself in a bad position right from the get-g0? Why make life harder than you have to, unless you’re one of those weird gluttons for punishment (Sexy!).
A University Degree Doesn’t Equal Success
Yes, I know there are all sorts of studies that say university graduates make more than their lesser educated peers. I won’t dispute the results of the studies. Rather, let’s look at the people involved.
Generally speaking, if you’re an ambitious person, you’re going to pursue further education. You want a career that both challenges you and pays well. The path to that type of career generally takes you through some sort of further schooling. So is because of schooling that ambitious people make more than average? Or is because they’re ambitious? It’s the whole chicken/egg argument.
Career Paths Change. Sometimes Quickly.
I know a guy who has a fine arts degree. He took a few years and worked, eventually going back to university to get his teaching credentials. What’s he doing now? He’s a manager at a grocery store. For whatever reason, he decided not to go into his chosen profession. [Editors Note: Some days managing a grocery store looks pretty good]
How many people do you know who have changed their careers, just a short time after graduation? Even the best laid plans have a way of changing. Again, to use myself as an example, I was convinced I was going to become a stockbroker. I started taking the courses I would need to need to make this happen, along with spending some time with people already in the industry. I discovered fairly quickly that success in the financial industry is more dependent on your sales skills than your investment knowledge. So I abandoned that path. Total out of pocket costs? Around $900. You’d barely open a door at university for that amount.
I don’t hate all things associated with further schooling. I just think it’s about time we stop with our views that it’s the only way to accomplish all the things we want in life. Life is a journey with many potential paths. No one path is right for everyone.