Attending university is a popular option among school-leavers today. Among many of the homeschoolers I grew up with, college was the number one option. Perhaps this is because our parent’s generation didn’t always have the option of affordable lessons so they wanted to give that option to their children. Or perhaps it’s because they thought college would ultimately provide us with a valuable education to get a well-paid job. Either way, I’ve come to the conclusion that university is not a place I want my children attending. And for that reason, I’ve compiled a list of 10 reasons to not go to college:
These reasons are:
- You’ll waste many precious years that you could have used to get your finances in order
- College doesn’t make you think – it tells you what to think
- Entrepreneurial ventures are often better options
- They can use the time more wisely if they’re not at university as there’s lots of busywork
- Tradies get paid more
- Most colleges have very liberal and progressive ideologies
- Many graduates are left with useless courses they can’t get jobs in
- You often have to do another course because you’re not qualified enough with only one degree
- College delays family and responsibility in life
- There are advantages to using your hands for physical work
Let’s dive in and get started!
10 years ago, my parents sent me to college. To do this, they encouraged me not to buy a house I was looking at when I was 18-years-old. They thought I’d be better off if I studied college for a few years and got a really well-paid job. They did this, like most parents, with the best intentions in the world. However, when I now spend time with them I know that they regret encouraging me and my two brothers into college. My father says – almost every time I meet him – how much he wished he hadn’t sent us to university.
Having been through university (and not used my Medical Science degree at all), I can understand this and can see that I would have been much better off (physically and financially) having been content with my one-year nursing traineeship which gave me plenty of work. I didn’t use my bachelor’s degree at all. Sadly, my case isn’t atypical either! Other than this, I’ve found many more reasons why sending your kids to college is a bad deal for them…
1. You’ll waste many precious years that you could have used to get your finances in order
The first reason sending your kids to college is often a bad deal is because they’ll waste precious years that they could have spent setting up their finances.
While someone might say they can do that after graduation, they may not understand the power of compound interest. If you start earning money early and buy a house early, your compound interest builds. Essentially, when it gets to retirement, you’ve made so much money just because you started working and saving super early!
The Barefoot Investor explained it in his book. If you look at the chart in the Barefoot book, you can see that if you start early, you’re financial headstart is huge! For example, if you started putting $5,000 into savings from age 15 every year until you were 24-years-old and then discontinued putting in $5,000 thereafter, you would make $2.71 million by age 60. But, if your friend started putting in $5,000 from age 25 for the rest of his life, he would only make $1.61 million by age 60.
So, if you started saving at 15-years-old, you would be better off more than a million dollars by the time you turned 60. This means that you could technically work really hard until age 25, and then not have to work for the rest of your life. Conversely, university students have to work hard their whole lives for a shadier deal!
So, unless you do a course that pays you huge sums of money after graduation, it’s very likely that you’ll be financially behind the rest of your life.
2. Entrepreneurial ventures are fun and kids have time to hone their business acumen
Another reason I’m keen to steer my children away from college is so they can become entrepreneurs instead. Entrepreneurship is something that requires plenty of time and effort and kids can have that at home – especially if they’re homeschooled.
Given children are natural entrepreneurs, if we allow our kids to follow their interests, they can easily find a niche they’re interested in, and a niche that’s dry and needs to be covered. This is exactly what Seamus, a homeschool entrepreneur I interviewed, recommended and did. (You can read his interview here).
Also, kids will never again have free (or very cheap) rent and a low cost of living like they do at home. This means that they can develop their business ideas and get hit with mistakes which they’ll have time to overcome.
Entrepreneurship makes teens think and can be so much more rewarding financially than college. In addition, parents will have fun seeing their kids learn amazing things in front of them, instead of having to travel hours to see them in the nearest university.
Personally, I think it’s really sad that so many students are forced to live so far away from home just so they can get a degree. Taking the entrepreneurship path means you don’t have to do this. but can stay with parents so their cost of living isn’t as high as if they went to university.
3. They can use the time more wisely if they’re not at university as there’s lots of busywork
University courses have so much busywork. So many degrees are full of fluff! It’s akin to the delaying tactics a teacher in third Grade uses to keep you busy when she has to wait 30 minutes until the afternoon bell rings. But, we need to remember that we should be past that by the time we get to college. We should aim to make every hour designated for productivity productive.
Why is it necessary to take French 101 or French 102 if you’re studying how to be a medical scientist? Some might say it is great because it makes your learning more holistic, but I question whether this is university rhetoric to make you spend more money to do hugely expensive courses that you don’t need to do in the first place.
4. Tradesmen get paid more
Another disadvantage of college is that the jobs it qualifies you for often don’t pay as well as a tradesman’s job would. Many tradespeople are earning $50 an hour or more while college graduates – who’ve studied for many more years – earn less.
For example, my electrician – who did a four-year partly-paid traineeship – gets paid $70 an hour and works around four hours a day. He surfs before work and takes the afternoon off. My friend, who studied for 6 years to become a post-graduate occupational therapist, gets paid a lot less than the electrician.
If a tradesman starts his apprenticeship at 15 (and many start around then) and begins saving early, you can see that he would be very far ahead.
So, if you aren’t keen on an entrepreneurial venture, I suggest you look into training to be a tradesman!
5. Most colleges have very liberal and progressive ideologies
Unless you have a worldview that you’re confident about and that you’ve got a good grounding in, that worldview can change easily if you attend university. For Christians, college is particularly difficult as it is so anti-Christian and so progressive. From what I’ve heard, Christian parents often feel frustrated as their children’s minds are slowly changed over 3-years of indoctrination in university.
This makes me think that the reason you would homeschool in high school is the same reason you would encourage your kids to avoid university – their minds are changed with an ideology you may not agree with (as happens in many schools).
6. College doesn’t make you think – it tells you what to think
If you compare the way college operates these days, it rarely makes students think critically. It seems to be a factory where they indoctrinate you in certain thoughts but don’t want you to challenge those ideas and weigh them up for yourself. If you do, your perspective often won’t be appreciated.
If you compare this way of learning to that which happened in Plato’s day or in old rabbinical schools, it’s a very anti-thinking and pro-fact-swallowing way of learning.
7. Many graduates are left with useless courses they can’t get jobs in
Another reason to not go to college is that you may be left with a degree but no job at the end. Many graduates who did my course (Medical Science) or a course similar to mine (Science degrees with various names) were left with no option but to do a post-graduate teaching degree or another course as they found there was no job for them in the end with just a basic science or Medical Science degree.
This was due to their being a job glut because the universities trained too many people in a particular field. Even now, Australian university graduates that are pharmacists, physiotherapists, and engineers find it difficult to enter their field of work due to the huge amount of graduates universities are pumping out.
Of course, the colleges don’t seem to care that they’re doing this as they are interested in the money they’re getting from students more than the students themselves. My husband and I know this very well. We regularly shake our heads at how useless our undergraduate courses were. We’ve often wished we could talk to our younger selves and say, ‘Don’t go to college! It’s a waste of time and money!’
8. You often have to do another course
Another reason to not go to college is that you might have to boost your qualifications and do another course after your undergraduate. As mentioned above, undergraduate courses often no longer qualify you enough to get a job easily at the end, many undergraduates find themselves having to spend a minimum of two more years at university as they do a post-graduate degree.
Some examples of this I saw frequently were:
- Science graduates need to do postgraduate medicine, pharmacy, and physiotherapy courses
- Nutrition graduates need to do post-graduate dietetic courses
- Arts students (or any other undergraduate) do teaching or nursing masters
This blows out to a five or six-year commitment instead of a three-year commitment (plus double the fees)! It’s also delaying your finances for many more years as we talked about in the Barefoot example in point 1.
Of course, many graduates give up and (like I also saw frequently) go to work at Walmart as an overqualified shelf-stacker. Needless to say, they could have done this three years earlier and been financially better off.
9. Delayed family
Another reason to not go to college is that you’ll have to delay your family in order to do so. This was the case for my husband and I. We wanted to have a family, but Tristan’s post-graduate physiotherapy course, which he did at age 28, was too stressful for a family. Consequently, we had children far later than we might have had if we hadn’t gone to university.
As a woman, the happiest day of my life was when my son was born. Since then I’ve realized what a joy it is to be a parent. In short, parenthood is another major benefit of not going to university that you may not have thought about.
10. There are advantages to using your hands for physical work
One of the other cons of going to college is that, unless you do a very manually intensive course, you’ll forego using your hands a lot. This is especially sad for young men who benefit so much from being outdoors and working manually with their hands. In particular, the benefits of manual work include:
- stress reduction as you release more endorphins which make you more relaxed
- help with sleep as you’re more physically tired at the end of the day
- improved learning as you use a different intelligences and
- help with obesity as you are physically fit from the hard manual work you’ve been doing.
College often makes you forego many of these benefits as you sit indoors and study for many hours a day. Of course, if you don’t study for many hours a day you get bad marks and do poorly on the course – an even worse outcome!
There are many disadvantages of going to college that I only saw once I exited the institution. I wished someone had outlined these reasons earlier and showed me how much better off I would have been had I never set foot in university. Today, there are so many different pathways you can take which promote critical thinking more and are less financially draining. Keep in mind that the institution is a business and it’s there to make a profit. Sadly, this profit is at the expense of many naive students who studying the wrong courses because that’s what everyone else does. But, I encourage you to look past that and see the cons of college for what they are. I’m not saying university is always wrong, but I’ve seen it frustrate, hurt and delay the lives of many people I know – including my husband and I. Consider the choice carefully!