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Can you be successful without going to college?

I want to live a successful life but i dont want to go to college bc i have been told its a waste of time, are there any suggestions on careers i can go into without college?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Rian’s Answer

Hi Erna,
You can of course be successful without college. If you think college isn't right for you, one thing I would look into is trade schools. Trade schools are a great place to learn a useful profession that not only pays well, but has a lot of upside.

Best of luck to you!
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Erna !

Of course there have been millions of people who have satisfying lives, with their own definitions of success, without going to college, however, I do not believe that this is the issue in your inquiry. The issue is that you have listened to one side, someone's opinion and didn't look into it further for a life choice.

It seems that lately some young people are being told that college is a waste of time, but perhaps not given an explanation as to why. You need to be informed about both choices and make a decision based on your own preference and not have it set up negatively so you ignore college as a choice. College is definitely worth every moment and I will tell you why.

College gives you the unique opportunity to discover things about yourself and your personal growth that cannot be compared. It brings you into contact with amazing people who have the same goals and mindset you have. There are some wonderful bonds that happen in college life. People you will meet will want to help you, see you succeed, become professional contacts and give you the friendship support we all need and may not find in the alternatives after high school. The knowledge you will gain of things you've never even thought about is priceless. Things are explained and examined in college and it will give you the strong foundation for strong verbal and written communication skills which you will use your entire life. It will allow you to see the world and the people in it in a more profound way. This, I can assure you, is an experience that is not a waste of time.

When you finish college you obtain a diploma with a degree that confirms your achievement. This can hardly be deemed a waste of time. This may mean a chance to have a career that you really love. It will open doors when you've applied for a job and five hundred other people have applied for the same job and do not have a degree from college. Yes, college is judged in your favor, not against you. So it's not a waste of time.

It doesn't matter what other people say or do. The choices you make today will greatly affect your life ten years from now and no one can predict how your life will go because it depends on too many factors. Making progressive, clear, beneficial choices will mean all the difference in the world. I advise that you look into various colleges and alternatives and compare the offerings and know that you have your own personal choice as to what to do. Try not to base your choice on what others say or think. If you decide to not go to college, that will be a valid decision that you have made after getting a feel for both sides. Visit different colleges and alternatives and come to your conclusion based on how you want your life to be. Some people have a natural desire for college and some don't, so you need to find your place within your plans.

I also advise that you keep asking questions about this so that you will get inspiration and information that could help you. Know your own talents and limitations and base it on having a positive mindset and you will see the possibilities that will help you make your best choice. I wish you the very best in all you do and I hope this was a bit of help for your decisions.
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Leonard’s Answer

Erna, you've received some fantastic and in-depth advice and suggestions already. I'm going to keep things simple and assert that spending some time in college is never a waste. The more significant question is whether earning a degree that you might not fully use, especially if it's in a major you don't pursue and it comes with hefty loans to repay, is worthwhile. Indeed, many graduates end up in careers that don't directly involve their major. Some might argue that's a waste, but it doesn't mean that college attendance and graduation are prerequisites for success. Depending on your chosen career, a college degree (or equivalent industry experience) might be necessary to pass a company's resume or interview screening process. Unless you're self-employed, you'll likely be working for someone else. Companies value results and employees who excel as team players and leaders. In administrative roles, proficiency in Microsoft Office and effective communication skills are typically required. You don't need to be a college graduate to develop these skills, but having experience with them is crucial for professional roles. Alternatively, trade schools offer practical skills that can lead to well-paying jobs with less emphasis on presentations and professional memos. It all depends on what you want and enjoy doing.
When someone tells you that college is a waste of time, remember that it's an opinion shaped by their own experiences and observations. It's akin to someone advising you not to see a particular movie because it was awful. They might be right, and you might not enjoy it. Or, they could be wrong.
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Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for your question. There are careers without requiring college qualification indeed. However, for some professional careers, e.g. medical, accounting, engineering, etc., a college qualification is a must. I am not sure the reason you not prefer to attend the college. Apart from learning the knowledge, you have also learn other skills, e.g. critical thinking, analysis, etc., Also, you can gain the experience of organizing activities, establish people, etc. which are precious and essential to your life time.
Firstly, you need to find out what career you have interest first. Apart from entering college, you can also consider to attend specialized schools, e.g. culinary, fashion design, hair dressing, Therefore, you may need to find out what career you have interest first.
Below are my suggestions :
1. Think about what you have interest, e.g. your hobbies, favourite subjects, etc. and identify the related careers
E.g. If you like maths, would you like to be an accountant, engineer, banker, financial analyst, maths teacher, etc.
If you have interest in music, would you like to be a singer, musician, musical artist, music composer, music producer, etc.
2. Find out more on these careers and determine what you have interest
3. Speak to someone who are working in these. Seek guidance from your mentor, school career, counsellor, your parents, etc.
4. Shortlist 1-2 careers you have interest
5. Explore the qualification requirement of these careers
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
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Robert’s Answer

To be brutally honest, a university education can indeed be a waste of time and money. There are many colleges of study at university which WILL NOT, and CANNOT, translate into a high paying (or even a decent paying) job (and in my opinion they should be required to disclose that to any student selecting to major in that field). There are exceptions to the rule, but in general, people choosing a major field of study in areas such as: philosophy, communications, English, [culture] studies, most languages (such as Spanish, French, etc.), History, "Family Science", most humanities, religious studies, kinesiology (the science word for P.E.), social work, and any major listed under a college named similarly to "Social Science" or "Interdisciplinary Studies" -- are not going to be able to expect to pay off their student loans quickly (if ever).

That doesn't mean some of the jobs stemming from those majors are not worth doing. It just means their paychecks can be miserably low.

For a long time the drum beat was "go to college, you have to", and a lot of people did, with that being the only guidance they got, and they wanted to get it done with quickly, so they majored in one of the majors I listed above (or similar), and knocked out a degree in 3-4 years -- but then struggled to find a job. I personally know more than one person to whom that happened. People with that type of experience are the people telling you a university education is a waste of time.

The new drum beat is, "find your passion." That is also not good advice. Because your passion is likely your hobby. It is something you do to relax, at your own pace, explore it, do it your own way, and find deeper meaning and satisfaction in it. Now, take that same activity (let's say it is painting), and turn it into your job. As soon as it is your job, you rip away most of the things that made it your passion in the first place, and it becomes WORK. You won't be able to do it at your own pace, leisurely, exploring as you go, and doing it the way you want to do it. You will be told where to sit, how to paint, what to paint, with what to paint, and how fast to paint. And if you fail to do that, you lose your job.

The best question I can ask anyone who is trying to decide on whether or not to attend a university (even Junior College / State College) is this:

Do you have a natural affinity for the hard sciences (Math, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Computers, etc.) -- and can you see yourself doing that for 40+ years as your job?

If the answer is yes, I strongly recommend attending a university and getting an (accredited) degree. Many jobs will be closed to you without the 4-year degree in those fields. Some jobs will accept X years of experience in Y field in lieu of a degree, but to be honest, many of those same jobs won't hire you without the degree unless you blow them away at the interview, or they have literally no other qualified candidates applying.

If the answer is no, then I would agree with the people telling you it is a waste of time, IF, and ONLY IF, your sole purpose for attending a university would be to get a degree to enable you to get a mid-to-high paying salary (I am basing that off your statement that you wanted to be "successful", which usually means money for most (but not all) people). You can make just as much money without a degree if you apprentice to become a master carpenter/plumber/electrician; run a family business, write a novel that catches the world on fire (see: JK Rowling, GRR Martin), or work your way up a company doing sales, or just trying to get promoted in any business by working hard and showing up.

If you would be attending university to network, study cool things, "find yourself", try different majors out, expand your mind, date people of similar backgrounds and intelligence, or simply to party a bit, and unwind after the K-12 grind, then university might be worthwhile for you, so long as you chose a major that still paid decently (CHECK THE JOB MARKET BEFORE CHOOSING YOUR MAJOR), that you can do, and you will be able to tolerate for 40+ years without a meltdown.

The advice I give my students is that jobs are for money to allow you to live your life, pay your bills, and fund the things you find fun. Any other benefits you get out of a job are bonus points that you can't count on (and may disappear at the next company in the same field doing the same job). Hobbies and your personal life are for: fun, meaning, social interaction, passion, study, and finding wonder in the world.

Jobs aren't really meant to be fun, and are not structed in that way (despite what a recruiter might tell you). They take up your time, and they are not (generally) really all that much fun to do. That's why they have to pay you to do it.

Choose your path accordingly.
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Ezra’s Answer

Hello,
Absolutely, you can achieve great success even without attending college. Gaining practical work experience can be equally significant, or sometimes even more beneficial than spending the entire day in a classroom. Just because something is widely accepted doesn't necessarily mean it's the perfect fit for you.
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