A Zoom University Diploma

If I was 18 years old all over again, I would not go to college this fall. 

You couldn’t convince me online college offers the same social experience. Just like you couldn’t convince me the price tag makes sense. Not to mention mandatory attendance at one-sided online lectures sounds like an incredible drag.

But let’s put all those arguments aside for a minute. Because there’s a more important reason why I wouldn’t go. It involves a more fundamental question than the “features” of college. It’s a simple question. Really. 

What is the point?

  • There are better, faster, and cheaper alternatives to learn.
  • There are safer, healthier, more deliberate ways to build a professional network. 
  • There are more direct, practical routes to a meaningful career and financial success.
  • There are more effective methods to discover your life purpose.
  • There are less financially risky opportunities to gain independence, escape your parents’ nest, transition into adulthood, or leave your hometown. 

Most (if not all) of the tangible benefits of college could be had by anyone willing to work hard, get creative, and take their future into their own hands.

So what’s the point again?

The point is that the alternatives won’t include a credential you can hang on your wall or put on a résumé. 

Choosing an alternate route means foregoing a third-party institution’s stamp of approval. It means that in order to convince other people you’re worth hiring or taking a risk on, you’ve got to show them something else. Something better.

Fortunately, with the technology that’s at our fingertips today, it’s never been easier to build a better signal.

And that’s why I wouldn’t go to college today. But I can only choose for myself. 

Originally published in a weekly newsletter where I cover the latest on the changing landscape of higher education and how to build a self-directed career (without college).