Can you maximize your earning potential by skipping college?

Can you maximize your earning potential by skipping college?

The topic of college attendance is one of the most debated and questioned issues facing millennials and those from Generation Z. There are extremists on both sides, and neither of these camps is right.

The question is complex, filled with lies, truths, and everything in between. The purpose is to look past the deceit or propaganda and just observe the reality. Even though their average college attendance was lower, those from older generations seem to be in love with the concept of going to college, while the youngest and skeptical.

The recent increase in people searching for an essay writing service shows that young people are getting overwhelmed by a combination of economic uncertainty, useless degrees, and pandemic-related anxiety.

For those who want an honest and short answer to the question: Yes, you will make more money if you are a college grad...on average.

That being said, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of going to college. Of course, our main filter and consideration will be represented by the financial aspect.

The Cons

College is the new high school

Twelve years of education is almost as stigmatized as being without education. This means that before we can start making a single dollar, we have to go through an education process that lasts for a quarter of our lives.

Only a rich society can afford such luxury. Imagine having most people draining resources and being unproductive until their mid-20s.

Not to mention the fact that when we enter the job market, we know next to nothing and most likely will have a low-paying job.

People who skip college will get their start earlier in life. They will mature faster and gain independence quicker, while their student counterparts will keep asking their parents for money.

Useless degrees

Don’t go to school just for the sake of going to school. Many students choose easy degrees, just so they can waste another 4 years extending their adolescence into their mid-20s. Who do you think makes more money, an IT specialist or someone who studies sociology?

Your degree should not be your small passion project. You can read about history, or painting, or sociology in your spare time. If you want to maximize your quality of life, go for practical STEM fields that teach you something useful.

Corporations encourage credentialism

Any business owner can tell you that running a business is quite hard, especially when it comes to finding solid recruits. You will waste a lot of time, attention, and money trying to advertise, interview, integrate, and train people.

From a corporate perspective, college is a pre-selection mechanism. You know that if the person went to college, at least he knows something. It spares you from conducting dozens, if not hundreds of fruitless interviews.

But this has a dark side. Nowadays, people jokingly remind each other that you need a diploma just to sweep the streets. That should not be the case. For example, you do not need 4 years of continuous learning to be a supermarket manager, or a call center coordinator. It’s overkill.

Most jobs are learned by doing

A vast majority of jobs in society are learned while you do them. As an example, even if you finish management school, you will know nothing about managing a company that you have never worked for. Sure, you have some tips and tricks, and a vague understanding of the process.

But a person who started from the bottom and knows every inch of that company will always be ahead.

College will rarely make you more competent. Its primary purpose is to act as a ticket for the upper-middle class. If you are a graduate, you get a shot, an opportunity to prove yourself.

It does not save you from having to learn on the fly.

The Pros

You will certainly make more money

It is not fair or reasonable to ask for a diploma on every occasion. Also, it is not fair to turn down intelligent people just because they didn’t go to college.

However, life is often not fair, and the truth is that going to college will make you richer. On average, college graduates earn 56% more than those who only finished high school. And this number is just for Bachelor’s degrees. Those with Masters degrees earn close to 100% more, and those with doctorates even more than that.

In essence, you only have one life, and you owe it to yourself to live it to its fullest. Sure, Steve Jobs dropped out of college, but he is an exception. Most people, most of the time will make more money by finishing college.

Respectable jobs are mostly for college graduates

Human beings crave respect and admiration. In fact, most people will go through anything, just for the approval of others. People starve themselves to look better, humiliate themselves on television just to be seen, and try to increase their social status via their careers. We want respect.

Of course, certain jobs are more respectable than others. There are those who made millions by collecting trash or cleaning septic tanks. Yet, nobody is rushing to praise them. Meanwhile, a doctor that earns a very low wage will be very respected.

My point is that most of the prestigious jobs in society require college degrees. Engineers, computer scientists, doctors, lawyers, and the often-cited rocket scientists all went to college.

There are some prestigious and heroic jobs that do not require higher education, such as police work, joining the military, or firefighting. But those are exceptions.

Still, an essential truth remains; the people who shape society and not college dropouts. Those who went to college make laws, print manuals, write news stories, and control every inch of society. They tell you what to do, how much your food will cost, and they sign your paychecks. This is a club that you definitely want to join.

Didactic material and lack thereof

You can teach yourself a lot of things. For example, smart people can teach themselves computer programming. You only need a computer and a cheap 100$ course.

The same goes for many occupations. But, how can you learn chemistry on your own? You will need a ton of materials and equipment that normal people cannot buy even if they have the money.

The same goes for medicine. You can dissect or acquire tissues outside of universities.

Some jobs imply some very exclusive and expensive didactic material. This guarantees that you cannot be a practitioner unless they certify you. Exclusivity guarantees that Universities will dominate certain fields of activity.


As previously mentioned, extremists are almost always wrong. Going to college isn’t useless, but at the same time, the system is corrupt and can waste your time and money. The truth is in the middle.

Fair or not, society rewards college graduates with money and respect. There are useless degrees, and you should stay away from them if your goal is to thrive. There is a hard, socio-economic line between graduates and non-graduates.

Make sure that your specialization teaches you skills that you can use in the real world.