Self-made millionaire James Altucher says that going to college is a waste of time and money.
When his daughters told him they wanted to go to college he said, "No way!" He writes that "they've been brainwashed by society into thinking that college is a good thing for young, intelligent, ambitious young people." He even wrote a book, "40 Alternatives to College" which outlines potential career paths that do not include going to college.
"We're in an idea-based economy and a skill-based economy, not a certificate-based economy," he said in an episode of the podcast "So Money." "Ernst & Young, the top accounting firm in the country, said they're not even going to ask you anymore if you have a college degree. And Google no longer asks if you have a college degree."
This fall, Altucher dropped his daughter Josie off at college. "I didn't want her to go," he writes. In order to keep her from making what he believed to be a bad decision, he started to offer her alternatives.
Here are three things he offered to provide if she'd forego a degree:
A few weeks before Josie was set to go to college, Altucher offered his daughter cash a incentive for not attending, saying, "I will just give you the money I would have spent on your college."
Altucher is not the first person to consider paying kids not to go to college. Every year, billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel awards between 20 and 30 $100,000 fellowships to young adults who opt to drop out of or skip college. The fellows are expected to "build new things" during the two-year fellowship.
When cash did not persuade Josie to ditch the idea of college, he tried to appeal to her career aspirations. "Work a job, go on auditions, hang out with friends, heck, I'll even hire you to help me with my podcast," he said.
While it may have been tempting to take an interesting job when it is so plainly offered to you, Josie likely made the right choice. Today, college graduates are more likely to hold high-paying jobs than ever before, and a study from the Center on Education and the Workforce found 8.4 million of the 11.6 million jobs created after the Great Recession are held by workers with bachelor's degrees.
As a last resort, Altucher said that he would support his daughter if she wanted to take time off. He told her, "Spend four years figuring out what you want to do before you spend this kind of money. It's not mandatory to spend this money to determine what you want to do. And your interests will change anyway."
This argument might have been Altucher's most convincing. Taking a gap year can be a good way for students to learn more about themselves, become more confident, and discover their true interests.
Alas, Josie was not convinced.
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