Why It’s Pointless Going To University To Get A Degree

Happy new year everyone! It’s the beginning of a new decade and I thought why not start it with a kapow! 😀 No doubt this will a be a time when you are considering many life changing options and investigating which choices and decisions to make that will shape your future.

I’ve said before that in order to decide where you’re going it’s a good idea to take stock of where you’ve been and where you are today; in essence, look at how far you’ve come already. How far ahead are your goals and resolutions? If you’ve only planned ahead for the year, you’re probaby likely to fail. Try planning resolutions and goals that tie into you life for the next 5, 10, 15 or 25 years.

I’ve come before you today to tell you that, if you’re a student getting ready to send out all those thousands of university applications, or if you’re someone considering going to university later in life, then I recommend reading this post first. Why? Because I believe, that in some way, university for some can be a complete waste of time.

Here’s why…

I Was A High School Dropout

When I was at school, I was, how shall I say it…rubbish! I would go through phases where I would be an A-grade student but most of the time I would burn out quickly, and just end up going back to my old ways swinging on my chair and staring out the window drifting into a wonderful daydream. I left school with one GCSE grade C, and had three other low level passes. I was gutted, but not surprised.

I then wasted 3 years in college re-sitting exams and trying different subjects. I did get an A in drama! 😆 I loved drama and I realised from a much younger age that I was talented and had a shot at being the next Robert Deniro 😎 after I played a gangster called Rocadura in a play called Pedro’s Revenge. However, because of family and cultural pressure, I couldn’t take that path. I was encouraged to go find a job in an office and do the ‘sensible’ thing. I’m glad I gave up on studies though because I was, quite frankly, crap at it.

I started a job and decided that I would start university as a part-time mature student. I chose Business Administration as my subject but because I’d moved to a new home, it meant that in the space of one day, I needed to be in three different parts of London desperately trying to get to each place on time. It just wasn’t practical to continue so, after just six weeks, I left university.

Then, about five years ago, I started discoveriing my various talents and my path started becoming clearer. It started with coaching and blogging. Then they evolved to include radio, working with children, badminton, writing and comedy. It was two fold in that it was as if a gentle hand was guiding me onto the things that I already knew deep down that I wanted to do, and experimenting to see what I liked and was good at.

I’m grateful now that it all transpired that way because I don’t think Business Admin would’ve really helped with my broadcasting, or stand-up comedy for that matter. 😉 Because of all the things I do now I have a clear idea of where I want to go in life. I am aligning my goals and values to things I want to do so making a choice now will be that much more informed.

You Can Learn Whatever And Whenever You Want

I now read and learn about all the subjects I enjoy. I don’t have pieces of worthless paper telling me that I’m qualified to do a job. Most of the time those pieces of paper are worthless because:

1. Most qualifications are created by ordinary people, just like you or me who, through experimenting create these study programs. What made them so special? Nothing, they learned and documented it for other people to follow. Anyone can do the same. Just because you have a piece of paper certifiying you for a job it doesn’t necessarily qualify you. Demonstrate that knowledge in the real world and in your life.

I understand that there is a need for accountability but with all this litigation culture if your ass is gonna get sued it will regardless of whether you have qualifications or not.

2. Ask anyone how much they actually remember of their university studies and see what responses you get. There’s a simple reason that a lot of people don’t remember and that’s because they chose subjects that they weren’t passionate about and did not continue studying after they left. They think: ‘I did what I needed to pass and now I can leave it behind.’

How To Make An Informed Decision About What To Do

There is no point in choosing a degree just because you like the sound of the title. There are literally hundreds of thousands of options out there so choose wisely. Take time out to meditate and find out what you would really enjoy doing for the rest of your life. Choose a study course for life.

If you really do have to go and you decide that you want to do a course that is relevant to your chosen vacation vocation then find out exactly what that vocation involves. Don’t just go into something blindly. Are you sure you really want to spend the rest of your life cooped up in front of a computer screen? For some people that may be their idea of hell; others might relish each moment of it!

The Financial Paradox And Value Of Education

University education in the UK used to be free and then they started charging fees. Paradoxically, after the fees were introduced, universty admiissions have been consistently going up. Upon completing university students are now, on average, about £35,000 in debt. The adult portion of their life commences with a huge financial burden.

A degree is also not worth what it once used to be. As Sir Ken Robinson mentioned in his amazing Ted Talk that we’ve gone through a process of academic inflation. You may have a degree but you will, without a shadow of a doubt be asked when going for jobs: ‘What experience do you have?’ Did your bachelors give you any experience that you know of? (And that doesn’t include the skills of lifting salt and pepper shakers from your local pizza joint!)

A university degree won’t help you stand out from the crowd. When you go for a job you’ll undoubtedly be up against people with similar levels of education to you, but in order to get ahead you have to be smart in demostrating that intelligence and passion.

So you’ve studied for 3 years and what have you actually achieved? The truth is that you memorized a lot of information but applying that information was not part of the learning process. We told that we need to study and get educated in life but as we’ve seen over and over again that education is not the only path that one need take. There are many paths so get clear about yours first.

Oops

A large proportion of graduates that I’ve spoken to have a problem. They complete their course, pass with honours, but realise that the course they did has nothing to do with what they want to spend the rest of their lives doing. Ok, so £35,000 later you’ve now decided that you did something that will give you very little in the overall blueprint of your life. Oh crap!

After that one of two things happen; they either go back and do further education or they get a job because they can no longer financially afford to be without one so they settle for what they can get.

Here’s How I Would Do It

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I’m hoping I can pass on what I’ve learned to my children and to all the young people who are stuck and not sure what to do.

If I could travel to the past and meet my 13 year old self then here’s what I would say to me:

1. Learn about money and be prepared financially. You’re never too young to learn about creating wealth and you can even begin from a very young age. Find a fun way of making money. What do you have the most fun doing? Can you think of a model for that fun activity that could generate an income? That way if you chose to go to university then you can start life without a mountain of debt.

2. Don’t just go straight into each step of education straight after the other. You have a lifetime to decide so take some time out and try different things. Who knows what you might stumble into. Explore your creative side as creativity is a much needed commodity in the world you’ll be growing into.

3. In a 12 round bout, experiece would KO a degree in the first round. The best way of getting experience is just doing it. Start a business and don’t worry if it fails. Find a model that works and continue using it. Learn how to create a viral tipping point and use those skills to enhance any area of your life.

4. Next weeks lottery numbers are… 😆

The Upshot

Young people go to university often because they are given the false belief that it’s the best way to begin life. No! There are hundreds of ways so find the way that suits you best. You can study at any point in life you choose so don’t do it at such a young age. Go on a journey of self discovery first to see and then choose a course whose teachings will stay with you and be used for life.

90 Responses

  1. What a great post Amit and everything you’ve written is so true! I had no idea of what I wanted to do with my life when I was choosing a degree. My only goal was to get into school as quickly as possible so my parents are proud of me and get a degree that was most in demand. How much time I wasted! I wish I approached the whole process of choosing a degree more consciously and followed the steps you outlined here.
    .-= Lana – DreamFollowers Blog´s last blog ..My 2010 Goals and Two Awesome Techniques I Used to Set Them =-.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Lana, I hear that same story over and over again. It’s a real shame but maybe while I’m in this position of working with young people I can help steer them to make better decisions.

  2. I think you’re mostly right, Amit. While there are many cases where degrees do benefit people, it seems that in most cases, those degrees are just meant to be typed in peoples’ resumes to make them look slightly more qualified for jobs that they don’t like in the first place.

    There is so much we can learn on our own that we cannot learn in a university. If we find out where are strengths and our passions lie, we can become an expert in any field we choose.
    .-= Tim — Inspiration Pro´s last blog ..How to Achieve More by Using your Strengths =-.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Tim

      “If we find out where are strengths and our passions lie, we can become an expert in any field we choose.” – You’re spot on there. I remember John DeMartini saying that if you study just for one hour a day, on a subject you choose, in 7 years you’d be at the cutting edge of that field. The more time you spend each day studying that time is naturally cut down. I’m a true believer in that way of thinking. You can become a specialist in any field and then demonstrate that.

  3. Hi Amit. I agree with you to an extent however I have to say without university would we have doctors, would we have nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, lawyers, etc. There are a lot of professions where you can’t get by on experience alone.

    The part where I agree is that unless you are going for a job whereby you need a university education and you are just going to university because you think a degree will enhance your prospects, then a degree will probably not do much for you. I have a degree in Psychology and to be honest it’s not done me much good, however to an employer it shows commitment, it shows you are willing to complete a 4 year course, it shows you know how to write etc. I am sure that having the degree got me interviews for jobs, whereas if I didn’t have it I wouldn’t have been considered for interviews.

    Thought provoking post Amit.
    .-= Steven Aitchison´s last blog ..The 4 Stages of Competence =-.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Steve,

      I knew someone would bring that up at some point, the point about jobs that do require intense study like doctors, lawyers etc. Then I didn’t bring it up specifically because I was thinking back to a point before all those qualifications existed and the people who were the first to begin those practices.

      I do know where you’re coming from though, there are some professions that need a thorough education and you’re not a qualified doctor until you’ve worked in the field for at least…2 years I think (?)

      There are others courses which are just supplemental and shouldn’t be used to become the bedrock of your life.

  4. samthor says:

    yes, you make some good points.
    Far too often i am passed over or dismissed the moment “they” see that i do not have a master’s degree in my field. They do not take the time to see that i have more actual real life experience in the field than the other candidates with the diploma.
    hopefully articles like this will shift people’s thinking to actually look at the results instead of just diplomas.

  5. Mighty says:

    You make good points here Amit. I myself am in a career that is not really related to the college degree I finished. So are a lot of my friends. I would still say though that a lot of my interests and my skills were honed during college. I still had fun though and didn’t really care much for my grades. lol.

    I’m now taking my masters degree in communications but frankly I feel that I am more knowledgeable than a lot of my teachers, especially in online communications. I’m just completing it for that little piece of paper called diploma and for networking purposes (lots of my classmates work in industries I wanna penetrate somehow. :D)

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Mighty,

      Someone else left a comment on my facebook and eluded to the point about the whole life experience of university as a whole is something that is invaluable. I happen to agree, if only the standard of education matched that.

  6. Richard says:

    Then there are national economic considerations. The dearth of graduating engineers in the US is something of a crisis. Our country needs not “just” engineers – but engineers who are also well-informed citizens. This is important for all nations. Example: Religion + Technology is not sufficient for survival!

    So while your points are well taken for some of the population, my own take is this- a) Many of us **do** have a good idea what we want to do in life (at least for starters) and know that college is a good path to get started to that goal. b) College isn’t just about getting money-making skills (or other skills). c) Even with points a + b – I still agree that there is a benefit to slowing down through the college education process and include experiences (work, travel, volunteering, creating, etc – ok, sure starting your own business if you have a mind to do it).

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for your comments, The point about slowing down is a valid one.

      Some people do have clarity coupled with foresight to know what they want to do but in my experience a hefty amount of young people don’t. I believe that comes down to the pressure to make decisions without really exploring what they like and tying that in with what’s available to them.

  7. Richard Harrison says:

    I’m considering returning to university as a mature student, but to learn about something that interests me (philosophy/psychology) and not for “career” purposes. Whilst I could study independently, I don’t think that’s a replacement for the expert tuition, feedback and discussion that universities can offer.

    With some experience in the real world, I now look upon the fee for university as being cheap (~£3k/year course fee in the UK): that’s only £250/month to be taught “fulltime” by experts in their field.

    I agree with many of your points about how relevant a degree is to your career, but I think it’s far from a pointless pursuit.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for you comments. I see your perspective on £250 a month not actually a great deal but it’s still more than some other countries who have a very different philosophy for students and studies. However, the point remains that starting off a life £35K in debt is the worst way to begin! My notion is to think smarter, if you want to go ahead and study go for it but be smart about it.

      Going in as a mature student after you’ve considered what you want you really want to persue is a great thing.

  8. Mehul Kar says:

    The educational system is flawed. I wrote this post a while ago on exactly this, and how I would begin to reform it. Check it out:

    http://thoughtsuncited.wordpress.com/2009/11/25/education/

    Thank you to Amit for allowing me to post my blog entry here!

  9. Johnny says:

    I totally agree. While there are a few nuggets I learned that are useful to this day the other 99% of my college education is essentially forgotten.

    We live in the Google age anyway. Whatever you want to learn is right there just a few clicks away.
    .-= New at Johnny’s blog ..My New Year’s Resolutions As a Freelancer =-.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      That’s a great point I hardly touched on Johnny. With the sheer amount of information out there, knowledge is available at the click of a button. Of course applying that knowledge still comes down to finding the thing that you enjoy doing the most.

  10. Great way to jostle assumptions. We do so many things in life because of social and family conventions. Coming from an Indian heritage, I fully understand what you mean by family pressure.

    It’s good to be still sometimes and consider. So much of what most people do is from the sway of circumstance, and fear.

    Thanks, good thoughts.

    k
    .-= New at Kaushik | beyond-karma.com’s blog ..Dark Night of the Soul =-.

  11. Kartikey says:

    Amit,
    Am glad for the number of comments you receive on your posts. You deserve this recognition.
    I must tell you to explore this topic even further. Say some more posts, or even real life examples of the kinds mentioned in the comments section. You could explore the idea that people attend the best universities for the thrill of hitting foreign shores, vast libraries, a culture of freedom…
    I would love to read on this and I am sure many would.
    As Johnny mentions, this is ‘the Google Age’. Hence university education has been reduced to romanticism, an experience by itself or a getaway from pressures…?
    [Ends stream of consciousness]
    .-= New at Kartikey’s blog ..Shiva, Charas and the Waterfall (Hidden Tremors-Part 3/4) =-.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Kartikey,

      Great to hear from you. I never thought about taking this forward in the way that you mentioned but I may do just that. I could so easily have made this article 5000 words but I kept it as short as I could so it would be easy for me to expand upon. I like what you said about university being reduced to romanticism and in some cases I definitely think you’re right.

  12. Palaverer says:

    I, too, am a high school drop-out. I was raised to believe that college was a bad idea and I avoided it. Now, at 27 I desperately wish I had gone to college (instead of ending up in a very bad marriage/divorce with a ton of debt and nothing to show for it). I’m going to community college now because without it I will never break out of low-paying, menial jobs that I despise. College may not be for everyone, but I would recommend it more often than not. You are more likely to regret not going.

    And it is harder to go back with a gap in your memory. I was a wiz at algebra in high school. Now I can’t remember how to do the simplest of equations.

    I do think it’s unfortunate that young people are forced to choose their major/career path so early. We need to offer children more experiences with various fields before they come to the point of making up their minds.
    .-= New at Palaverer’s blog ..What to do with unwanted feelings =-.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hi Palaverer,

      I totally understand what you’re saying about your experiences but what you’re essentially saying is that things would’ve been better with the other choice. You don’t know that for certain and in some cases, like yourself, where things are bad, it’s easy to think that things would’ve been better had we made different choices. I personally disagree with that as that’s something we can never know for sure. Whatever decisions you made in the past were perfect for you and even though they didn’t transpire well maybe the purpose of those events will become clearer in time.

  13. aDeeb says:

    That is a very unorthodox look at university education.
    While it may have worked for you, I do not think it is the best way to go about thinks.
    Granted that a university degree does not quite get us where we need to go, it does get us a few things. Respect, qualifications, recognitions, among a few other things.
    But I guess if money is the only objective, then no education is necessary.
    .-= New at aDeeb’s blog ..Highly Recommended : Windows 7 GodMode =-.

  14. Amit Sodha says:

    Hey Adeeb,

    Thanks for the comments. Respect, qualifications, recognitions, there are truly many ways to attain those and university is not the only option, even with regards to education. There are other ways and options which are less of a financial burden and can provide the all important ‘experience’ factor.

    Money need not be the only motivator to avoid university. Where I was looking towards, was fulfillment.

    • aDeeb says:

      Hello Amit,

      First off, thanks for the fast reply.

      I totally agree with what you said in your reply to my comment. I do see where your coming from, being a current university (struggling) student. Finances are literally killed by tuition fees as I am experiencing. But if a university education can be afforded, one must go for it.

      I have had a lot of friends who dropped out of university because they thought it was “dull” and “boring”. While they may be right to an extent, nothing is easy to get and a university education does give you a framework. My main disagreement with those who think university education is redundant because it will not teach them exactly what they need is that a university education gives you a whole arsenal of tools.

      But as we both know, there is no definite way about anything. Respect, qualifications and recognition can be earned without a university education. But we do accept that we need documentation for everything. For example, to drive you need a drivers license, regardless if you are the best driver in the world or not.

      Thanks,
      aDeeb
      .-= New at aDeeb’s blog ..Rockstar101: Lost! =-.

      • Amit Sodha says:

        “For example, to drive you need a drivers license, regardless if you are the best driver in the world or not.” – That’s actually a very good point. I know many people who have licences that don’t drive, it’s like a just incase principle. I personally love to drive hence I got my license; regardless of the face I failed 3 times. 😉

  15. amarjeet kaur chhabra says:

    Amit,

    For me, I was always supposed to go to University and become a doctor (family and “the so called society” expectations) Somewhere, down the road though after few years I developed a passion for politics and started taking courses in Political Science which made me take a total different career path in life. For me personally, going to University was a blessing as it allowed me to explore something that I would not have even thought about in my dreams. My all-encompassing university experience (not classes necessarily) has shaped me in the woman that I have become and grown into today.

    Having said the above though, I agree that too much emphasis is placed in this day and age about going to University as soon as one is done high school. It’s like the thing to do. Folks are not talked to about alternative options anymore and more often than not students starting University have already made up their mind as to what they will/need to become in their life without having an option to explore.

    I have no regrets. Yes, I have a student loan that I am still paying. But, if institutions of higher learning are meant to find one’s niche, then my University definitely did that for me.

    At the same time, I also know many drop-outs that are very very successful in their lives, some of whose foot steps I currently follow in.

    Thanks for this blog post.

    p.s. very true about how it’s never too early to learn how to create wealth 🙂

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Amarjeet,

      Thanks for the comments. You’re one of the few that discovered their passions whilst at university and it’s wonderful that you did. You said that somewhere down you road you developed a passion for political science; what sparked that interest?

  16. Zengirl says:

    Amit,

    I would have argued about this a few years back, as I think education is very important in person’s life. But now I agree it is knowledge that is important and not a piece of paper showing your degree. I have two, Engineering and marketing degree and I am using none right now:-) by personal choice.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Zengirl,

      Wow two degree’s; you were dedicated! 😉 It’s interesting to find another example of somoen who’s taken that path and not using those particular skills. What made you change direction?

  17. lazygirl says:

    Nice post.

    I agree that most degrees are relatively useless in preparing one for the real world. In fact, I can do my job without my degree. All of what I know and apply comes from practical experience and working with people, I don’t think there’s any other way around it. Regardless of how great your school is or how good the teachers are, a classroom is a very insulated place.

    OTOH, I would never have gotten my job if I hadn’t gotten my degree. So for me, it was just a piece of paper to get my foot through the door, nothing more.
    .-= New at lazygirl’s blog ..I do not have intestinal worms, I assure you =-.

  18. Amit Sodha says:

    Hey Lazygirl,

    Thanks for commenting and the valuable input. I like what you said about the practical experience and anyone who’s been in both will know that to be true. I got all my jobs without the degree and worked my way up to a level higher than most graduate entry’s.

  19. I like this take on college because I am learning more and more just how pointless it is after a while. As you say, there are 100’s of ways to find your passion and earn a living at it! People just like to have safety and security and time and again it is rammed home just how safe and secure the path of life is if you go to college, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Thanks for the wisdom and I’m glad you chose to spread this much-needed message to others!

  20. Sara says:

    Hi, can you give me any advice?

    I know what you mean about pointless ”non vocational” degress.

    I am doing health and social care with psychology. But i want to work with people- theraputics, nursing, social work etc.. all need masters or college training (the latter you dont need a degree to do), im moving the the US to get married. But i dont know if i should complete this last year.. because i cant really afford masters in the US which is more expensive, and 2 year nursing training is possible without a degree anyway. I dont really know if i can get the sort of job i want with just this degree.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hi Sara,

      Thanks for you question. What specifically would you like advice on, i.e. if you could phrase what you’ve said into a simple question what would it be?

  21. sara says:

    Hi,

    im not sure if i should drop out of my course, i have one more year to go in the UK. Because its not vocational, and intead do nursing or ocupational therapy associate degree which is the sort of work i want to do anyway (you dont need a degree to enrol).

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Well I can totally see how that would be a conundrum for you. Deep down what do you believe to be the right decision for you? Ask yourself, in both cases, 5 years down the line, which would give you the greatest benefit and bring you closest to fulfilling your ultimate goals or purpose?

      A

  22. So many kids have no idea what they want to do and so they go to school hoping to get a degree then get a job. Then they grow miserable. A degree might get you a job but it doesn’t guarantee job satisfaction. That was my experience.

    So for me, my son is in university and I try to stress to him that he is to use the opportunity to focus on what he enjoys. Hopefully too he will learn some important life skills.

    While I have seen statistics being banded about that a college education does offer you more employment opportunities I would have for him to make the wrong decision and then be miserable. On the other hand, the world is changing so fast, information flies at such a rapid rate that he is likely to change several jobs in his lifetime.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      It’s interesting what you said at the end…people don’t stay in lifetime jobs any more so I believe that younger should look into ways of earning an income starting earlier in life. That way they can support any studies as they go along.

      It was announced today on the news that they may uncap fees in the UK taking the cost of Uni up to £12,000 a year. I definitely don’t think a degree is worth that much anymore.

  23. Samuel says:

    I don’t have a college degree. Because I don’t have a degree, I was able to gain more work experience than my educated co-workers in my field. In fact, I’m paid way more than someone who has a Master’s Degree I work with.

    I feel because I don’t have a degree, I don’t have an entitlement behavior based on my academic education that my co-workers seem to have. My employer has noticed this, and it seems that I might be promoted while my academically educated co-workers will be left behind.

    I don’t have any debt, a nice car, and I’m going to own (no loan) a house before I’m 30-years-old. My co-workers on-the-other-hand like to bring up that they have a $65,000 degree as if it means something. Yes your degree does mean something, that you were not smart enough invest that money & get the extra job experience that will allow you to retire at 45-years of age like me. Instead, “the college experience” teaches people to be entitled, arogant, un-realistic, in some cases racists, and counter-productive in the free-market.

    Yes I said it, and no it’s not 100% proven true. In my case, in my line of work it has proven true consistently.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us Samuel. It’s good to hear a fresh perspective and someone who’s been there and has seen that an education is not necessarily the fastest way to get ahead.

  24. Natalie Dolan says:

    A very true and great post.

    Even if you had ten degrees, does it really mean you are going to be any more happier or successful than a person who hasn’t?

    There are many graduates out there that have spent their years working hard for a degree but are still flipping burgers in Macdonalds years later. In an opposite point, there are people who have barely scraped a GCSE who are multi – millionaires or billionaires.

    Ok you have a degree or two, so what? That means your clever does it, surely making a business or becoming financially independant without a qualification requires a better brain than those people who gain a degree and end up working for a set salary in a field they only half enjoy.

    You could easily learn as much as you would from a degree from reading a couple of hundred books from the shelves of your library. I certainately feel I have learn’t more from reading books and the internet than any college course has taught me.

    I think foundation degrees are probably a good route as you can gain both theory and practical skills, but as Amit says, If you only have a piece of paper and three years of reading and listening in class, then there is someone else who has worked in a specific environment for three years than surely the person who has had the practical experience would be more likely to gain opportunities.

    Also like Amit says, Maybe a degree is something most of us would like, maybe even a degree for interest and not just career related, there is nothing stopping us going for that at a later age or even over a part time evening basis. I have a auntie who gained her nursing degree in her 40s.

    I think Amit is just stating that we don’t all have to follow the same traditional socially conditioned route that the government, society and our families expect of us because their is definately more than one way to skin a cat. We are much more choices these days on how to go about doing things, and we should take advantage of those if it could benefit it us for the better.

    Also alot of people use University as just a way to party everyday for three years, so really are they serious about study and bettering themselves. Also the high tution fees are offputting, if a degree was so valuable for everyone then everyone who got one would be successful and not in debt for many years.

    I think like Amit said, sometimes life skills and life experience is more important. You might earn a degree, get a great paid career but just spend everything you earn. So like Amit said financial and money skills can be an important aspects to peoples lifes.

    Money is success because it gives you so many more options with what to do with your life and even other peoples lifes. Even thoughs that are filthy rich, many of those people give back to the community or people in need.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Natalie, I feel I a need to clarify to the readers that I didn’t coerce you to write that comment or pay you for it either! 🙂 LOL

      Thank you for your kind words and yes, I have to say, you’ve grasped exactly the concept that I’ve been talking about. There are more ways to skin a cat. We don’t all have to pursue the same route and university is not the only route open to us all.

  25. Monica says:

    Einstein dropped out as well 🙂 Well yeah sure, WE aren’t HIM but what i want to say is that school wont teach you how to make money! Am not saying studying is bad. On contrary – i believe that we should NEVER stop to learn, read, discover. But all this we can do out of school – doing money with our own business. Someone said that “there are 100’s of ways to turn your passion into money” hmm…ok…but what money ? Few bucks here and there ? If you can earn millions from your passion then fine! Most cant ! We must forget about “doing what we love” We must make money, and once we made enough of them THEN we can do what we love without stress.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Monica,

      I completely agree. I’m also not saying that studying is bad. But I’m just not sure whether University at the moment is good value for money.

      But as for turning passion into profits. I believe you can. I’m not an example of that yet, maybe I will be one day. But I do hope to proove the nay-sayers wrong.

      All the best,

      ~Amit

  26. Perkster says:

    So you’re telling me that you want your professionals, such as engineers and doctors, to be self-taught? I am a 4th year Mechanical Engineer undergrad, and I can personally guarantee that no one can teach themselves all the tools needed to be successful in ANY engineering field. There is a reason books are supplemental materials. You can look at a page of complete gibberish for months, yet it can be transformed into profound understanding in a single class with a good professor. If someone went to a university and can HONESTLY say that they got no useful skills out of it, they simply did not apply themselves or went to a bad university.

    Most of your post seems to be idealistic without any thought of HOW you will accomplish your recommendations.
    For example: “Start a business and don’t worry if it fails.”

    How, exactly, would someone do that? What investor would give their money to someone without any qualifications or experience?

    There are few REAL jobs that you don’t need some form of apprenticeship or higher learning to be good at. And if you go and spend your £35,000 on a degree that doesn’t interest you, you deserve to have wasted the money!

    • Amit Sodha says:

      “There are few REAL jobs that you don’t need some form of apprenticeship or higher learning to be good at. And if you go and spend your £35,000 on a degree that doesn’t interest you, you deserve to have wasted the money!” – well, I couldn’t quite go so far as to say they deserve it, what I’m trying to say to people, is think carefully before you choose and suffering the regret of that choice later.

      “Most of your post seems to be idealistic without any thought of HOW you will accomplish your recommendations.
      For example: “Start a business and don’t worry if it fails.”

      How, exactly, would someone do that? What investor would give their money to someone without any qualifications or experience?” – These days a business can be started with zero investment…with the exception of time. When I say don’t worry if it fails, I’m talking about learning from that experience being more important than the actual success of the business.

      “So you’re telling me that you want your professionals, such as engineers and doctors, to be self-taught? I am a 4th year Mechanical Engineer undergrad, and I can personally guarantee that no one can teach themselves all the tools needed to be successful in ANY engineering field. There is a reason books are supplemental materials. You can look at a page of complete gibberish for months, yet it can be transformed into profound understanding in a single class with a good professor. If someone went to a university and can HONESTLY say that they got no useful skills out of it, they simply did not apply themselves or went to a bad university.” – Let me ask you a very important question Perkster, the degree you are currently doing, before it existed, what did engineers do?

      • Perkster says:

        I completely agree, people need to think very hard before choosing which university to attend, and what degree to seek there. But all degree have overlapping core classes, so it isn’t very hard to try multiple things without wasting any money. You can bounce around as much as you want until you find the degree which suits your personal interests.

        I’m also still a little puzzled on this business that requires only time, no monetary investment. At the risk of sounding like a sarcastic jerk, what do you have in mind? If there is a business I can start without risking any money that will provide me with a guaranteed reasonable income, let me know!

        “The first universities with formally established guilds in Europe were the University of Bologna (1088), the University of Paris (c. 1150, later associated with the Sorbonne), the University of Oxford (1167), the University of Palencia (1208), the University of Cambridge (1209), …” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University)

        This was before Newton, before da Vinci, before calculus, and before electricity. No complex modern system existed. So before a university degree existed, engineers worked on basic irrigation canals, building construction, catapults, and other simple machines (they might not have been overly simple. I mean the Lever, Wheel and axle, Pulley, Inclined plane, Wedge, and Screw). The extent of the knowledge before the degree existed is currently taught in secondary school physics classrooms. To work with today’s tools, or even to understand how they work, is near impossible without formal instruction.

  27. inspired female says:

    wow what a thought provoking article. I definately agree with this as there are so many paths and opportunities one could follow in life and it doesnt have to be just via a degree route, this is the type of advice I would pass down to future generations as well, but building up on education is equally important to so that you have your foundational base set up in your basic skills: maths, english, science. I rekon if I knew this information growing up I would have definately explored more avenues, but I can definately relate to the family pressures part in wanting you to become some top professional person! and bring home a degree to make them proud of you! But personally for me I can say from experience after spending 4 years at university gaining both a degree and a masters, i have learnt more from working than the theory i learnt at uni! self discovery i think also is the best thing one can do for themselves as i think there is so much to explore and to do in life, you just never know which doors it can open up!!! :>) 🙂

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey R, hope you’re well. I agree there’s are so many different paths and when you look around you do see so many people who made their way without an education. I agree with what someone said before that you do need a very thorough education for certain professions but for others, there are many paths! 🙂

  28. HPJM says:

    Hi, I found this interesting read after searching for ‘university is pointless’ on google. I’ve just finished my first year, and lost interest in a subject I was once passionate about. Not sure whether to continue next year or not…

  29. Arash says:

    HI Guys
    in my opinion university is suitable for people that have Regret of degrees
    in fact , university courses can not help you in your real world , it’s a big waste of time .
    You can read your favorite article on the internet , Read Useful and Real and up to dated subjects and use it In your real world.

    YOU NEVER USE UNIVERSITY COURSES IN YOUR REAL LIFE.

  30. Christina says:

    I liked your post, but your style and meaning show why a university education *can* be beneficial.

    For example, it’s not until the end that you get to the crux of your argument. Burying it so deeply can cause you to lose the reader, and it’s something warned against at every level of university.

    Another is sentence structure and cohesion. Because there are essays to write in just about every class, writing usually tightens up after four years.

    Third, I saw in your writing uses of vague examples without any concrete data to back it up (e.g. “A large proportion of graduates that I’ve spoken to have a problem”- what’s a large proportion? How many people? Why don’t you say? What are you trying to hide? Is there actually a large proportion? Instead of outright stating a number, this vague expression obfuscates your argument. Another is “Most qualifications are created by ordinary people”. How does “most” qualify “qualifications? Is it 10? 20? 50? Half? All but one? Which qualifications? And what is meant by “ordinary” people? I would argue that the “ordinary people” who create “most qualifications” are actually very highly educated and have spent thousands of hours researching, studying and creating these qualifications, and they hold more value than not.

    I’m not saying that university is for everyone, or that it holds as much weight as sometimes purported, but it does teach valuable lessons that may otherwise be harder to attain in real life.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Christina,

      Thank you so much for the comment, it’s always great to some critique and a different point of view.

      I wanted to answer each point of yours individually so my replies are below.

      I liked your post, but your style and meaning show why a university education *can* be beneficial.

      ~ Indeed, it can be. I wouldn’t say it’s the be-all and end-all. I think it needs more consideration. Why not give youngsters more time to experience life before they have to decide what they would like to study further? I know they have that choice already, but I feel that we could make them more aware of that choice.

      For example, it’s not until the end that you get to the crux of your argument. Burying it so deeply can cause you to lose the reader, and it’s something warned against at every level of university.

      ~ You make a very good point but it also leads nicely onto mine. Who says there’s only one way? I believe that are many ways and therein lies my problem. University may teach one method, and suggest that it is the best way, but I disagree. I’m not saying my way is better, but that there is always another way and we should open ourselves to trying multiple options.

      Another is sentence structure and cohesion. Because there are essays to write in just about every class, writing usually tightens up after four years.

      ~ Again, I agree, practice does help improve writing style, skill and help to refine it but, you can do that anywhere, not just in a university.

      Third, I saw in your writing uses of vague examples without any concrete data to back it up (e.g. “A large proportion of graduates that I’ve spoken to have a problem”- what’s a large proportion? How many people? Why don’t you say? What are you trying to hide? Is there actually a large proportion? Instead of outright stating a number, this vague expression obfuscates your argument. Another is “Most qualifications are created by ordinary people”. How does “most” qualify “qualifications? Is it 10? 20? 50? Half? All but one? Which qualifications? And what is meant by “ordinary” people? I would argue that the “ordinary people” who create “most qualifications” are actually very highly educated and have spent thousands of hours researching, studying and creating these qualifications, and they hold more value than not.

      ~ Lots of points to answer. Where are my figures? Well, I could’ve included more figures, but I’m not writing a thesis here, or a dissertation, just a simple opinionated article on a personal blog. It’s a valid point, and in the future, should I decide to write another article of this nature, I’ll take those notes into consideration.

      I’m not saying that university is for everyone, or that it holds as much weight as sometimes purported, but it does teach valuable lessons that may otherwise be harder to attain in real life.

      ~Let me flip your last point around to you? What valuable lessons? Harder to attain in real life? That’s your opinion, but not something that can be backed up by numbers or fact.

      I admit, my article – far from perfectly presented, and hardly ground-breaking, but in all my years in working with teenagers, comes from a place of experience.

      University has just become even more expensive, my brother in law has just begun his university life and will more than likely be around £50,000 in debt by the time he finishes.

      It’s more important now, than ever to choose wisely and genuinely ask if university will bring the same value as experience.

      Lastly, anyone has the option of doing a degree at any time in their life and it doesn’t just have to be at one time. I actually am considering doing a degree in the near future but not until I have the money to pay for it without it requiring me to enter debt – that in itself is a wonderful lesson not taken from university.

      All the best

      ~Amit

  31. I personally think that it really depends on the person if he/she would want to go to university. All that i know is that there are a lot of interesting people that will say that they’d rather gain experience working now and worry about studies later, and there are people who take studying seriously. It’s all in the matter of perspective and one’s determination if he/she really wants to pursue on getting a degree.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hi there,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree, it’s good for some people and not for others. I do believe that university isn’t great value for money in today’s economy, however, if taking that route, it should be chosen carefully and be a course that you truly feel passionate about.

      All the best,
      ~Amit

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