I'm going to come right out and say it and this isn't about sensationalism or dramatic theater.
College should be abolished, and the sooner the better. It's already ruined an entire generation of Millennials. Many of whom are pushing 30, are underemployed, loaded with student loan debt, and will never earn enough money to justify their over-priced pieces of paper. Do we really want to push this system on to the next generation?
I can appreciate the good intent the college system set out to achieve. For previous generations, the formula actually worked. Students enrolled into universities that were affordable, they gained marketable skills and they earned good jobs. That was then and this is now.
This system no longer works and it's not fixable. I repeat. It is not fixable and we must stop pretending like it is.
Here's 10 reasons why college should be abolished.
1.) It Provides No Greater Access to What You Don't Already Possess
Everything the institutions of higher learning hold sacred is prehistoric. Thanks to technology and the evolution of progress, textbooks, libraries, computer labs and course curriculums are now completely worthless. Did you know that back in the day, the major draw to attending college was access to the school's resources? Since the Internet and personal computers didn't exist 30 years ago, many people had to attend college so they could get access to emerging technology and books. When Bill Gates was in high school he would sneak out at night to go to the local university that at the time had one of the biggest and baddest computers on the planet.This was the only way he could learn and advance his skills. Thanks to the advancement of technology that put a personal computer in every person's household Bill's story is no longer applicable. Back then, this access to resources that universities provided directly correlated to an individual's career success and job prospects. By gaining access to elite technology and learning material, you were in a small elite social circle of people who were best equipped to be the next generation of skilled workers. Here's the problem we face in 2014. Now that everyone has a personal computer, smartphone and tablet, why do they need a college university to teach them and expose them to things that they already have access to?
2.) It's Out of Touch
The college system has become shamelessly arrogant. For decades they've held an almost God-like power, whereby people hung on every word and belief universities stated. Most of all, people believed and continue to believe that the college system can somehow predict the future of employment. Since the world moves at such a rapid pace and changes direction so swiftly, the college system will never be able to accurately predict emerging job markets as it once did and they most certainly won't be able to predict how long industries will last. They used to be able to, back when an industry lasted a good 20+ years, but those days are over. Now that the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz has shown himself to be nothing more than a mere mortal, what do you need him for? He can no better predict your ability to get and maintain a job as a Meteorologist can accurately predict the weather.
3.) It Cost Too Much
College used to be affordable. In 1978, a student who worked a minimum wage job all summer could pay for one year of tuition and fees at a 4-year public university, with enough money left over to cover 50% of room and board. Today, a student would have to work another 4 ½ months at minimum wage just to cover tuition and fees (source: #raisethewage) I won't waste my time or yours discussing the numerous reasons why the cost of a college education has increased at a rate higher than inflation, because at the end of the day the reasons don't matter. All that matters is that the problem exists. Are you really willing to spend the amount of money equivalent to paying off two luxury cars or half the cost of a home on a college degree that will likely not prepare you for the real world, not prepare you for a job and not get you a job?
4.) It Won't Get You The Job It Claims It Will
Job placement for recent college graduates is at a historic low, but how can that be when Millennial's are the most highly educated generation in human history? Didn't our parents and our teachers tell us that going to college would guarantee us a high paying job in an in-demand field? Turns out they were all wrong and the college system is to blame, because they mass-marketed this nonsense. College has been masquerading as an institution built on its primary purpose being to educate people so that they're smarter and more intelligent. That notion is built on a lie. It's a marketing gimmick that's worked for decades because it sounds sexy to say you're smart. The real truth is that people go to college expecting to get a job. College doesn't teach skills necessary for today's rapidly evolving job market, so why on Earth would you pay tens of thousands of dollars to learn stuff? Have you heard of the Internet? Learn stuff there if you want to be smarter. It's free.
5.) It's a New Dawn and a New Day
We're living through what I call The Age of Experts. Employers need people who are experts in their fields and can demonstrate their expertise'. This is very different from the last generation of workers who got high paying jobs in emerging white collar fields just by simply interviewing well, kissing their bosses rear and doing what they were told. Those people are generally nothing more than paper pushers and project managers. I'm not saying this to offend. I'm saying this to be brutally honest. I used to be a paper pushing project manager as well working for small businesses, medium businesses, and Fortune 500's. These PP's and PM's are slowly but surely losing their jobs to downsizing and computer programs that do their jobs much faster, more efficiently and much cheaper. The issue of college comes into play when realizing that these institutions are still pushing people to pursue worthless degrees in marketing and business that lead to a job as a paper pusher or project manager, where they'll eventually be laid off annually hoping they find a new job before the lights get turned off.
6.) Being Smart No Longer Matters
Remember being a kid when everyone would tell you how smart you were? As you got older, you heard it less and less. It wasn't because you got dumber as you got older. It was because everyone else eventually rose to the same level. As the clone machine did it's work, by the time high school graduation came around, it eventually stamped out enough carbon copies, making you no smarter than the person to the right or left of you. Back in the old days before smart phones, Google, Siri, Wikipedia and The Internet existed, there was this thing called an encyclopedia. People would spend hundreds of dollars on these books so they could obtain knowledge and impress their friends, family and colleagues with how much intelligent information they knew. Everyone didn't own an encyclopedia, so as a result not everyone was as smart as their next door neighbor. But what happens when everyone has an equal opportunity to learn? This is what's happening today thanks to The Internet. Being smart no longer matters. Listen carefully. I'm not saying that being dumb is ok or encouraged. What I'm saying is that on a deeply conscious and subconscious level, our college education system is still fooling people into believing that being smarter than someone has value. It's one thing to be a brilliant mathematician. They're in a league of their own, but for your average college graduate, they are no smarter than the person next to them, therefore being smart no longer has the same level of scarcity it once had before college was mainstreamed for the masses. These scamming institutions of higher learning are fooling people into believing that being smart advances you in the job market. So what do people do? They get degrees in Eastern Philosophy, Psychology, Art History or some other intellectual "smart guy/gal" degree that has zero value to an employer. This is an outright scam, and it's continuing to be propelled by the notion that being smart still matters. What a joke.
7.) It's a Waste of Time. Literally.
A Bachelor's degree takes most people half a decade or longer to complete. In this day and age, the world changes too rapidly to waste time pursuing something you sought out to accomplish half a decade prior. By the time you graduate with your Bachelor's degree, there's a high probability that A.) The career/profession you sought 4 - 6 years prior no longer exists or has been completely disrupted or B.) The information you learned for the past 4 - 6 years is now completely obsolete.
8.) Too Much Supply. Not Enough Demand
Everyone wonders why the jobs didn't return after the recession. That's because businesses realized they never needed the over bloated workforces they had to begin with. That was the big problem Gen X and Baby Boomers faced when trying to find work after the recession. Employer's cut the fat and made the last men/women standing pick up the slack of their fallen comrades. Woohoo! You get to do two people's jobs for the price of one! As for Millennials, they faced the challenge of distinction. America loves to brag that Millennial's are the most highly educated generation in human history. What they won't tell you is that Millennial's are also the most underemployed generation in human history. This is a result of the carbon-copy attributes they each posses. Since an overwhelming majority of college pursuits only teach you how to be smarter, which as I referenced earlier is now worthless, there are millions of kids with the same zero skills and zero experience competing for the same very limited jobs. To make matters worse, they're not just competing with people in their local areas. They're competing with the entire planet. Employers would prefer to farm-out work overseas or higher off-site contractors than pay you a salary with benefits and a pension.
9.) It Kills Creativity
Your youth is the most formative years of your life. The ages of 18 - 25 are particularly important as your brain is beginning to fully form it's ideals, beliefs and thoughts about yourself, the world, and where you fit inside. This process parallels the most creative time of most people's lives. Think about it. Some of the greatest and most talented leaders of today developed their ground-breaking ideas in the ages between 18 - 25. Gates, Jobs, Branson, Zuckerberg. When you waste these years spending them following direction, being told how to sit in your seat, shut up and do what you're told, you become even more of a clone than you were during your adolescence. The chance of you unlearning this non-sense as you get older so that you have a chance to think bigger and create things of value become virtually impossible. Creativity is all that matters now. Being able to follow order is no longer valuable to employers. They want people who can think outside the box and create things, because creating things of value makes money, and businesses like money. So go to college. Stifle your creativity and you'll never live a life of prosperity or security.
10.) You Can Teach Yourself
Thanks to The Internet you can teach yourself just about anything for free or maybe $20 bucks for a book or online course. Education has become open source. The institutions of higher learning hate this, because those gatekeepers who previously held a choke hold on knowledge no longer own the keys to the kingdom. Using sites like Lynda.com, Udemy.com, Mixergy.com and even YouTube have allowed me to gain marketable skills that have led to numerous job and business opportunities. At the height of the recession when all of my college graduate buddies couldn't find a job, I was on fire. I was rolling in opportunity and I dropped out of college after my freshmen year. Yes. That's right. I dropped out of college. So when I plead my case for 10 reasons why college should be abolished, I can say something this outlandish because I've practiced what I preach and my path has worked out phenomenally.
My rant is over and after reading through it you might be thinking, "if college is to be abolished how will I make a living or get a job?" I'm not going to pretend to provide a blanket one-sized fits all answer to this question. Unlike college, I don't believe I'm a God and can predict your future. What I will say is that you should not attend college by default. This is what happened to The Millennials. Everyone went to college and didn't pay attention to any of the pertinent details such as how much it would cost, job placement percentages or the evolution of the job market and the role technology would play. Think. That's what you need to do. Use your brain, find your own path and blaze a trail.
Michael Price is an entrepreneur and author of What Next? The Millennial's Guide To Surviving and Thriving in the Real World endorsed by Barbara Corcoran of ABC's Shark Tank. An advocate of ideas for radical change, he has received critical acclaim for his lessons in education, career, entrepreneurship, and personal finance.