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To be successful do you have to go college

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

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18 answers

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Nija’s Answer

Hi Marc,

You are asking the million dollar question that a lot of individuals tend to ask in addition to yourself. Everyone has there own definition of success. Therefore, you have to think deeply about what success means to you and what do you want success to look like for you. Success can mean a whole abundance of things. For example, success could mean following your passion; working at a job that you enjoy doing; earning a good income; getting a college degree; getting along with your colleagues; job security/stability; benefits; job location and job advancement, connecting with people, etc. Think about creating a vision board or a written plan where you are able to visualize your goals and where you see yourself within the next year or 5 years. Also, it depends on what you desire to become. You must make the best decision that works for you. Where do you see yourself within the next year or 5 years? Do you see yourself attending college?  Continue to ask yourself that question often as possible. Begin to explore your desires and your interests in order for you to decide your educational and career endeavors.

On another note, college is important for many reasons, including long term financial gain, job stability, career satisfaction and success outside of the workplace. Obtaining a degree is priceless because no one can't

take your education away from you. Going to college can be a life changing process because it gives you an opportunity to broaden your career path. It is a tough decision to make on whether.

to attend college or not. But if you want to have a lucrative career, then you may want to consider going to college. College opens a lot of doors for you to make life transitions; to climb up the ladder; pursue other opportunities; to establish growth; to

learn and network with other people. The career world is very competitive today so it is good to go to college because most careers require a degree.

I am not making the decision but I am just trying to give you helpful insight to think about your future plans.

First explore your true passion and interests. No matter the decision that you make, you can still learn, grow and create a great life for yourself and be an inspiration to those around you.

Also, you can talk to people who support you such as your parents or a family friend

or a career/college advisor, etc.

Good luck to you!



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Sheila’s Answer

Hello Marc:

Thank you for your question. I agree with Ms. Jackson's comments; she's right on point. I'd like to provide additional comments to your question in a different area of success. Being successful isn't always about how much money you'll make or have, or how much you have materialistically, etc. Here are a few points to consider; especially when you go off to college:

  1. Maintain low debt ratio. What this mean is NOT signing up for all the credit card offers that you'll receive while in college. I recommend tossing the offers in the trash when it comes in the mail. Trust me, you will be getting all types of offers for credit cards; the offers may even get sent to your parent's house. FYI, I tossed every offer that my young adults got while in college. No need to get in debt frivolously and unnecessarily
  2. Save your money. If you have a job, start now at least putting aside a certain amount of money in a savings account, or any particular financial vehicle that works for you. TRUE STORY: My daughter worked part-time while in college. She was able to save a considerable amount of money over the years. She didn't spend her money on the latest fashions, etc.
  3. Educate yourself on financial planning. Here's a very good site to help you with financial planning from college to home ownership to wedding, etc: - ->

These are a just a few nuggets to help you start thinking about what success means overall from my perspective.

I wish you much success on your career journey. Best of luck to you!

~ Sheila

Sheila recommends the following next steps:

Research SunTrust - OnUp Movement (Financial Planning Tool). They have all types of financial tools from creating a budget, to how to get out of college debt. - -> . Please research the site thoroughly by scrolling down the page. - - ->
Bookmark the links above
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Brian’s Answer

The question isn't as simple as it is posed. Depending on what you want and what you expect to gain from college, there are a lot of possible ways college can be beneficial and not so beneficial. If you're trying to become a financial analyst or another entry-level position at a corporation, it is almost necessary to obtain a college degree just to be comparable to other applicants. Most large corporations are going to trust that someone who studied at a college and obtained a degree are going to be a better entry-level worker than someone who isn't. On the other hand, someone pursuing a more individual/entrepreneurs like a music artist or something else could potentially benefit from not going to college. Utilizing that money and 4 years for something else more technical would be more beneficial for people already knowing exactly what they want to do. However, college is also a place for people who don't exactly know what they want to do yet, it's a place for people to try to figure out what they like and want to try pursuing.
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Patrick’s Answer

Hi Marc,

Great question! During my time in grad school, I had the opportunity to work in the position of an academic advisor for Accounting and Finance majors as apart of a fellowship program I was accepted to. In that role students would come to me and often pick my brain on questions such as this and there was always one common theme that my answer seemed to revolve around and that is:

Take advantage of every opportunity to get experience

Regardless of whether you intend on pursuing a degree in Finance or Nursing as just two hypotheticals, I would suggest taking advantage of any clubs/ organizations your school offers. From there, many doors will be unlocked through relationships you may build. For example, you may find in joining a finance club that your and a friend may also be interested in planning a focus group where your school gets involved with bringing in alumni who work in the area you considering concentrating in that have had unique experiences you may consider trying.

To that end - I also advise just trying new things to learn more about things you enjoy even if you don't know anything about it. For example, you may sign up for a volunteering experience that you may not fully understand before trying but through your involvement, you might decide that post graduation, you may want to continue your involvement with that organization or even to go work for that organization.

These are just two very high-level examples of things you can do to make the most out of your college experience and be successful. Bottom line - I always found the best advice was try new things, get involved, and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Best of luck!


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Robert’s Answer

As a college graduate, I would say... It depends. For me, college was not some golden ticket into a life of wealth and prosperity. That's not why i went. I did it as a backup. People can take jobs away. They can take away money. Nobody can ever take my degree away from me. It was a goal I had started when i was 18, wasn't nearly ready for the focus and dedication college took, and I took about a 10 year break. My wife asked on a Wednesday if I'd ever go back to school and i answered with a casual "yeah sure i guess". That Monday she had my butt in classes. Haha! I saw it through and walking down that stage for my diploma was a huge success for me. Now I'm in an industry making very good money where my degree isn't even utilized. But if the sky fell tomorrow and i lost my job, it offers me options that others may not have. So the answer to your question i suppose is a very personal one. Is a degree an absolute necessity for what you're trying to go for? Are you going to make your parents or someone else happy? Are you going because you think it's "what you're supposed to do"? Only you can answer those questions.
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Tuan’s Answer

Many great successful individuals have not completed college. It really depend on you and what you want to do. Having a college degree will help and offer more opportunities. I can say that college did teach me a lot and it did prepare me with life skills that I most likely would have not learned on my own. I remember telling myself, “If I can do this, I can do more”, with every achievements/classes I complete. If you have a passion, chase it. If you have a goal, achieve it. If you have neither, maybe college can help. Don't be afraid to fail, there are great lessons in failure.

Best of wishes to you!
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Luiz’s Answer

Hi Marc

I will answer only for finance, but I think it will occur in many other professions.
In finance, we need to know a lot of math, statistics and probability. In addition, we must understand accounting, economics and administration.
I have been working for 48 years and so far I study every day.
But, your question is about going to college.
I understand that we can get a lot of information through some media, but formal knowledge can only be obtained in college.
For example, we can read about economics, but how do we interpret what is relevant? If we don't read and don't do any social experiments, we probably won't understand what we're reading. And that is bad for us and for people who depend on our knowledge.

NOTE: this answer was originally written in Portuguese and has been translated into English

Luiz recommends the following next steps:

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Dawnyale’s Answer

Hi Marc,

You've already received some great answers but I'll add that it's very important to pursue a career that falls in line with what you enjoy. If you're unsure of what you really like or how to turn it into a career, shadow or talk with someone in the field you think you might like. If you can confirm it's a good career path for you, get their advice about how to break into the field. And, always keep in touch and network. Many times, people in your network will have information about opportunities down the road and if you continue to work toward your goals and keep them in the loop, they will likely keep you as informed as possible.
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Vanessa’s Answer


Being a student at college, I could tell you that it depend on yourself. College is not the only way to be success. Let's look at back, many successful people haven't finished studying, Some of them even gave up at the middle. But they still can find the correct direction and walk till the end. Please think deeper about what you want to do in furture then you will make the correct decision.
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Posen’s Answer

I bet the success refers to career success. The usefulness of college education for career success highly depends on the kind of the job.

  • whether the skills required can be well learned in college

As mentioned above as sales, the skills to be a good sales is hard to learn in college; while there are other kind of jobs that can be well prepared as medical doctor, engineer.

  • whether the people in that industry having college degree

According to my experience, lower degree leads to less opportunities or expectation at least at the beginning. If the majority of peers having college degree, one don't have will need more efforts to get an opportunity to grow the career.

Posen recommends the following next steps:

decide what kind of job is interesting to you.
understand what kind of skills required for that kind of job.
check if the required skills can be well learned via education.
if yes, go to the college
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Doug’s Answer

No. Find what you enjoy and be curious, learn about it, and become the best at it. Door ways will open as your passion for what you want in life aligns with your work ethics.
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Daniel’s Answer

Depends on what success means to you. Is it making a lot of money, to have a rank, or just be called a doctor?? Higher education degree helps you to view the world differently, gives you ability to apply your knowledge in the real life situations, and opens up horizons.
You can be successful in any aspect of that meaning as long as you know what you want and able to set and achieve goals for it.
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Jessica’s Answer

You don't always have to go to college but it is a great way to get your foot in the door! I recommend studying basic skills and learn to effectively communicate. Half of great business is communication and how well you can get your point across in a concise and understandable manner!
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Katina’s Answer

A lot of successful people have not completed college, but I do recommend some classes to improve any field that you decide to go in

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Stephanie’s Answer

I think in this day and age with the pressure of going to college or not can overshadow a lot of people's decisions on going. College is an investment, and at times can be a very large investment. The return on investment for college has to be something that makes it worth it for you. If you want to specialize in a trade, then college may not be for you. If you want to enter the corporate world eventually or become a doctor or nurse then college may be an option for you. It is all about the investment you're planning on making and whether or not the investment aligns with your potential career plans. College can also be helpful to making the decision on what career path you do want to take.

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Andrew’s Answer

Tonne of great advice around here, short answer is no at least from my experience. Again you've got to define what success means to you.

If you're thinking college= success because it leads to big bucks, that's generally not the case. Making an impact in whatever role you're in, dedicating yourself to it and excelling is what will bring in more of the big bucks and this is generally true for those in sales in particular.

There's a few studies that show a vast majority of people don't end up working in a career related to their degree too. Today, most degrees seem to be more of a 'qualifier' that you're able to study and dedicate your time more to improving yourself more so than a necessity for your job.

My best piece of advice is if you don't know what you're truly interested in, don't just pick any degree and go for it. You'll likely not enjoy it and rack up unnecessary debt. Take a gap year and try lots of jobs and activities to discover what you love waking up to. Go for a job that develops soft skills in the meantime like in sales.
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Shannon’s Answer

To be successful you do not have to go to college. College is not the right choice for everyone. If you give it a shot and find out it's not for you then that is okay. You can tray basics at a community college or go to a trade school to learn a specialized skill. You do not have to feel obligated to go to college right away. You can work, go to the military, or whatever then decided you want to go to college later.
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Crystal’s Answer

Hi Marc!

First off, there's always a chance that someone will achieve something regardless of their background and education. In terms of how you can think about this question, I would suggest answering these questions as food for thought:

1. how do you define success? Success can mean different things to different people. Is it money, fame, power, happiness, global impact, etc?
2. What will you gain from a college education? If you do not obtain a college education, what will you do with the time instead?
3. What quality of life do you aspire to have? What are you willing to sacrifice/risk in exchange for what upside (ie give up the chance to make a lot of money for more job security/immediate gratification/early family formation)?
4. What is in your control (ie does not rely on luck or good fortune)? Solely relying on things you can control, how can you maximize the chances of achieving the success/quality of life that you desire?