10 Reasons Not Go to College or University

Attending university is a popular option among school-leavers today. College was the number one option among many of the homeschoolers I grew up with. 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 maybe it’s because they thought college would ultimately provide us with a valuable education to get a well-paid job. Either way, I’ve concluded that university is not where I want my children to attend. And for that reason, I’ve compiled a list of 10 reasons to not go to college:

Rebbecca Devitt

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you want to do my course on how to homeschool, click here.

These reasons are:

  1. You’ll waste many precious years that you could have used to get your finances in order
  2. College doesn’t make you think – it tells you what to think
  3. Entrepreneurial ventures are often better options
  4. They can use the time more wisely if they’re not at university as there’s lots of busywork
  5. Tradies get paid more
  6. Most colleges have very liberal and progressive ideologies
  7. Many graduates are left with useless courses they can’t get jobs in
  8. You often have to do another course because you’re not qualified enough with only one degree
  9. College delays family and responsibility in life
  10. There are advantages to using your hands for physical work

Let’s dive in and get started!

Ten 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, they regret encouraging my two brothers and me into college. Almost every time I meet him, my father says 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! Other than this, I’ve found many more reasons not to go to college and why it’s 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 not to go to college is that 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.

Your compound interest builds if you start earning money early and buy a house earlier. 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 your financial headstart is enormous if you start early!

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 after that, 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 vast sums of money after graduation, it’s very likely that you’ll be financially behind for the rest of your life.

Why wouldn't you want your child to attend #college? Today, there are more and more things I'm disvering about college that make me not want to encourage my child to go there! Find out 10 reasons I don't want my child going to college here. #homeschool #reasonscollege

2. Entrepreneurial ventures are fun, and kids have time to hone their business acumen

Another reason not to go to college is to become an entrepreneur instead. Entrepreneurship requires plenty of time and effort, and kids can have that at home – especially if they’re homeschooled.

Given that 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 dry niche that needs to be covered.

This is precisely 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 they’ll have time to overcome.

Entrepreneurship makes teens think and can be 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.

I think it’s unfortunate that so many students are forced to live so far away from home to get a degree.

Taking the entrepreneurship path means students don’t have to do this. They can stay with their 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 3rd 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 excellent 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.

What are some reasons for not going to college? Are there any arguments against college? In this article, we show you 10 reasons to not go to college and what to do instead. #college #homeschool #homeschoolhighschool #university

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 earn $50+ an hour or more while college graduates – who’ve studied for many more years – make 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 six years to become a post-graduate occupational therapist, gets paid a lot less than the electrician.

If a tradesperson 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

Another reason not to go to college is that colleges have a set worldview they teach to all students – and it smells a lot like brainwashing.

Unless you have a worldview that you’re confident about and have a good grounding in, that worldview can change quickly if you attend university.

For Christians, college is challenging as it is anti-Christian and progressive. From what I’ve heard, Christian parents often feel frustrated as their children’s minds slowly change 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 disagree with (as happens in many schools).

6. College doesn’t make you think – it tells you what to think

If you compare how colleges operate these days, they rarely make students think critically.

University seems to be a factory where they brainwash you into specific thoughts. But the university usually doesn’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 not to go to college is that you may be left with a degree but no position in the end.

Many graduates who did my course (Medical Science) or a course similar to mine 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 degree.

This was due to a job glut because the universities trained too many people in a particular field.

Even now, Australian university graduates who are pharmacists, physiotherapists, and engineers find it difficult to enter their field of work due to the vast number of graduates universities are pumping out.

Of course, the colleges don’t seem to care that they’re doing this as they are more interested in students’ money 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 quickly. In 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-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) work at Walmart as an overqualified shelf-stacker. They could have done this three years earlier and been financially better off.

Many people talk about the benefits of going to college. But, there's also a host of reasons why you shouldn't go to college. Find out our 10 reasons to not go to college by reading this article. #college #highschool

9. Delayed family

Another reason not to go to college is that you’ll have to delay your family to do so.

This was the case for my husband and me. 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 you’ll forego using your hands a lot unless you do a very manually intensive course.

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 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 having I never set foot in a university. Today, you can take many different pathways that 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 naïve students studying the wrong courses because 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 going to university is always wrong, but I’ve seen it frustrate, hurt, and delay the lives of many people I know – including my husband and me. Consider the choice carefully!

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Rebecca Devitt

Most adults don't particularly want to relive their schooling experience on a daily basis. They would gladly move on to a new life devoid of homework and teachers. Very, very few adults will passionately blog about their schooling some 15 years after graduating. This makes Rebecca Devitt somewhat unique. As it happens, she was homeschooled. And she loved it. Still does. And she wishes every kid could get a taste of homeschooling at its very best. Her website How Do I Homeschool, is a springboard for parents to see what a life of homeschooling could be for both them & their children. When she's not blogging Rebecca is still homeschooling her-adult-self by learning Latin, growing weird vegetables and most importantly looking after her two children Luke & Penny. She has a husband Tristan and is a participant at Wollongong Baptist Church. She's also written a book about why parents should homeschool called 'Why on Earth Homeschool'.

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  1. I don’t want mine to go either. Likewise, I went, and then spent 20 years working a job I hated, coincidentally Biomedical Science. I started on pathetic money but rose to the top, slowly, slowly. The money wasn’t great in exchange for such a huge chunk of my life. But my main reason for not pushing my boys into any exams at all, not just university – is what’s the point? Being self employed is so much better than working for someone else. So I’m equipping them rather, to do that. If a day comes where they decide they want to be a vet or a doctor or one of those professions where a degree in non negotiable, then yes, we can do that, at any age and I’ll fully support them as always, but my elder son at 14 is already tasting my work environment, he helps with the website and is coming with me on a very adventurous work assignment soon, as a working member tof the team ( I’m a travel blogger). So there are so many other possibilities. I don’t want him to follow the herd unless he truly wants to.

  2. I totally agree! I spent $50,000 on a nursing degree I’ll never be able to pay off due to high interest and low wages in the health care friend. My husband never attended college and makes double what I do. The system is flawed and corrupt. I hope my children choose a different pathway as well! Thank you for this article, it was very encouraging!

  3. I’m confused about this article. So if they don’t attend university, they need to be working at what kind of job, if they have no skills? What jobs are out there for a teenager who doesn’t go to university? There aren’t many high paying positions without experience, or skills with a degree.. please advise,
    Thank you

    • Hi Tracey, your question is so good and I didn’t want to give you a quick answer as there is so much involved and it’s important to realize this as it’s such a different pathway to traditional education. I made a long (2,300 word) reply in this article which I hope you’ll find helpful (it took me a couple of weeks to write as I’m first-trimester pregnancy exhausted atm!…sorry about the delay!). https://howdoihomeschool.com/2019/09/13/homeschool-entrepreneur/
      I personally became bewitched with the idea of homeschool entrepreneurship after I listened to a few entrepreneurs speak about this and how it so naturally followed a homeschool education. I also noticed how much more quickly they were able to build up good money compared to many people who went to college. All the best. Rebbeca

  4. I 100% agree with this. I am 17 and graduating high school this year. For years I have been told to go to college, go to college, go to college, but after actually looking at student loan debt stories and the amount of time and money it takes to get even a basic degree, I’ve realized that I hate the idea of going to college. I am so glad that I realized college was a scam to waste my time and money before I enrolled in it. Instead I am going to use my ability to code computers to be a software developer, might even go to trade school for it. I appreciate someone taking the time to actually discuss this from an informed perspective, since so often all I hear is “just do it or you’ll fail at life.”

  5. I completely disagree. As a child of an EDUCATED immigrant. I was always advised- they can burn your house down, take your clothes, etc… But they cannot take away what you have learned. My father was able to provide me with an upper-middle class upbringing. I have a Bachelor’ degree and followed him into Finance. I also paid for myself to go to massage school- so I have another degree and another skill set to fall back on. I disagree completely. Educated persons have less chances of being unemployed. College graduates have the opportunity to earn 1 million more than their uneducated counterparts. You are able to work and make Educated financial decisions even if you earned a liberal arts degree. .Y es owning your home provides with you equity, but can you replace the complete value of it if it burns down?, or affected by a disaster? If you are educated you can move anywhere and start again. Yes, I have a tradesman who travels to where the jobs are… A lot of the time, the job at times shuts down and he has to rely on unemployment. So many reasons to go get the old college degree even if you end up a plumber.

    • We’ll have to agree to disagree!

      Having done three university courses I’m now very well educated. But, I’m a stay at home mom with a huge college debt that’s dragging me down.

      In the past, I think you would have been right. But, now college is outdated except for some people who can get a practical job from it. But, they’ll have to factor in all the lost years of work they couldn’t earn money from and all the debt they’ll have to pay back.

      For me, my husband and many of my friends, this hasn’t been worth it.

      All the best with your own educational pursuits!

    • I also agree with your point, Rosa, although I completely understand some of the valid reasons for choosing another path besides college. My husband and I both went to university on full scholarships & never had any student debt, thankfully. He became unable to work due to health issues & I have been the only breadwinner in our home for several years. I’m a private music teacher and have made far more income because of my educational experience & training than I could have ever made without it. Education (including trade school) enriches your life & opens doors in the future. I have even taught subjects other than music in a private Christian school after my children finished their homeschooling years bc I have an education degree. I think the wisest advice is to pray fervently about what the Lord would have you pursue in life before you make choices. Human logic can never compare with finding the will of God and pleasing Him. He has good works prepared for each of His children, and His plans may include a variety of learning experiences to prepare us for the future only He can see. And I will always cherish the friendships I developed during my college years—I met my husband and my best girl friend during that time. The Lord has greatly blessed my life through those relationships to this day.

  6. I 100% agree. I’m $40,000 in debt and a stay at home mom. I actually started in community college and went for free. After I was married I went back to finish my degree. Then we had babies. I had no idea how much I would want to be home with them until I had them. I wish I wouldn’t have spent the time and money to finish my degree. My husband makes way more than I could with my degree and he has only his GED. I’ll encourage my kids to work before they consider going to college. Unless they are set on something specific—doctor, lawyer, teacher etc,—where a degree is necessary I will encourage trades, entrepreneurship, going right to work, or ministry/missions.

    • So true.

      To make you feel better, Kelsey, my college debts are 42,000 after 2 years of pre-college, 3 years of college, and 1 year of post-grad medical school!

      All the best paying it off!

  7. I hope I could convince my parents that I want to dropout of college. I’m a 1st-year student currently struggling with my “inner” issues (anxiety, depression, mental burnout, etc…) and college only made it worse… I would sometimes snap for no reason at my family members and even our pets here at home due to overthinking a lot. I hate it when people, especially my loved ones and friends ask me “What college degree are you taking” or “What career will you pursue after college” instead of asking me whether I wanted to attend college or not in the very first place… UGHHH!! Years of expectations had been burdening me and no one seem to notice… I don’t know if you, the author, will still notice this but when you do, please HELP… I need a really good advice… ='(

    • Hi Nicole,
      That’s really tough. College is definitely not the right route for everyone. I enjoyed studying, but there were a lot of people around me whom it didn’t suit.
      Why don’t you study something more hands-on? Or drop out and start your own business?

  8. You didn’t provide any data to back up your claims. You just made wild accusations. Also, this is not my experience at all. In some cases, people may not want to go to college, but some may need to. You form connections and learn life skills. I do not know anyone that went to college and couldn’t find a job. What’s wrong with having an open mind and changing your worldview? Maybe your kids will learn a new perspective that they can teach you.

    • I respect your perspective (and it’s a common one I hear…hence I wrote this article), but I obviously disagree. I also don’t think everything I write needs to be backed up by a research study…that’s a very academic way of speaking…we’re not in university here. Life experience is enough sometimes. And in this case, it’s something I’m passionate about.
      Regarding life skills – I learned almost nothing from my university degree regarding life skills (some do…but my course was impractical). I consider it to have been an ill-spent time…and I’m sorry I had to pay for it too! You learn more life skills as a checkout worker…and they pay you for it.
      I’m sure all your friends have jobs…but I don’t know that they’re all using their degrees in their current jobs. If they are…well done to them. But, I have lots of friends who aren’t and are doing jobs they could have got without going into thousands of dollars worth of debt. (Of course, you’re also speaking to someone now who fits into this category…so you know someone now!)
      Regarding learning a new perspective…are you saying a new perspective is a positive thing? Was Martin Luther’s perspective positive? Trump? Pol Pot? My point is I think it’s worthwhile to choose who you listen to…it’s not necessarily better to be ‘open’.
      All the best, Ella, and I respect you.

  9. Please explain how you came up with this. Thank you. “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 after that, you would make $2.71 million by age 60.”

  10. Here’s the thing, It’s your kids choice of whether or not they will go to college, You don’t get a say in what they do with their lives. It’s their choice and their life.

    • Absolutely. And they can if they like. Almost every other voice (who get a cut in the money your kids give to university and which make your kids broke) will say they should go to college for XYZ reason. And I’m not saying they shouldn’t…even if they have a debt they need to repay for the next decade or two. But, I want to offer some solid reasons they shouldn’t. And I think this article does that well. Thanks for your comment.

  11. I agree that there are many good options besides traditional university, including learning various trades. But, I think you make some logical errors in your article, including 1) equating college/university education with debt. It is unwise to take out student loans, but that doesn’t make it unwise to get an education. One can definitely get a degree without debt (we did in our family) and 2) speaking of entrepreneurship without any real content. One needs a SKILL or a product to market as an entrepreneur. A kid fresh out of high school has no skills or products to market, unless they acquire those things somewhere (be it trade school, college, or apprenticeship). I do agree that college is not the route for everyone, but choosing a different path requires some serious planning.

  12. This article is spot on! As a a SAHM with a Masters in English Ed I question the practicality of sending my kids to college. You are exactly right; even many Christian colleges tell you exactly what to think instead of teaching you HOW to think! It’s much wiser to jump into a business idea if possible (I am understanding of occupations that legitimately require a degree).

    I wish I had started my blog 20 years ago instead of going to college!