Yup, College Is a Waste of Time and Money
| Last updated
Be glad you found this article. You see, college is a waste of time and money that has cost millions of people more than you can imagine. They've been fooled into believing they could actually become somebody, often by ex-hippies with kale-scented flatulence. Could anything be more humiliating?
Seriously. You can't walk into any coffee shop these days without hearing how some recent college grad is eager to start having a "real life" and a "real career." Whatev. If only they'd known sooner: College is a scam designed around the ridiculous goal of, like, helping people tap into their full potential and stuff. Who actually wants that? It's brainwashing, pure and simple. School is pointless.
Here's the reality: All the best things in life happen immediately when you want them to, without much effort. Nobody should have to wait any longer than two seconds—maybe 10 seconds max—to receive the gratification they're looking for. That's why college is a rip-off; it takes months or years to get a diploma, certificate, or degree. Then, it can take days or weeks or months (or even longer) to get a job that pays pretty well and utilizes your new skills. By then, you'll be ancient, without any energy to Netflix and chill.
You know it's true. You've probably heard stories about it. And literally everyone knows that anecdotal evidence is, like, super reliable. The smartest people in the world always base their most important decisions on the attitudes and experiences of just a few individuals, especially if they've never actually met them. After all, if somebody's second cousin says that eating pickled turnips makes him gassy, then—obviously—the same thing happens to everyone else who eats pickled turnips.
Yup, college is a joke. Do you really want to become the lame punchline? Here are even more reasons why college is a waste of time:
- Better health and longevity
- Higher earnings
- Lower unemployment and greater job availability
- More employee benefits
- More and better personal connections
- Access to exclusive services and facilities
- Greater freedom to take life-enhancing risks
- Rewards that can't be easily measured
1. Better Health and Longevity
Nobody in their right mind wants to live a long time or enjoy good health while they're still alive. Man, those things suck. But going to college is strongly linked with a longer life and better physical and mental well-being. A lot of research, like, backs that up.
In fact, on average, the life expectancy of a 25-year-old with at least some college education is about seven years longer than someone of the same age who's never been to college. And college graduates tend to have lower rates of disability and higher rates of good or excellent health.1 Scary, right?
One study has even compared the chance of death among people with low levels of education to that of current smokers. So it could be that the more education you have, the less likely you are to die prematurely. That's because having a higher level of education is associated with choosing healthier actions, following through with medical treatments, gaining higher social status, developing better cognitive abilities, and achieving better mental and emotional well-being.2
Talk about horrifying. College is overrated to the max.
2. Higher Earnings
Yeah, college is a waste of money. But nobody on this planet likes having money anyway. After all, it allows you to buy food and shelter and clothing. And those things are best kept to a minimum, lest you survive too long and start enjoying your life. Yet, getting a college education makes it much more likely that you'll earn a good income, especially as you get older. Just look at these disturbing facts:
- Over 40 years of full-time work, a four-year college graduate will, on average, earn about 65 percent more money than a high school grad who has no post-secondary education. That equates to extra lifetime earnings of between $550,000 and $600,000.3
- Income tends to get higher with each step up in education level. For example, in 2015, the median full-time income for people over the age of 25 who only a had high school diploma was $36,800. But for workers of the same age with college credentials, the earnings were a lot higher—$41,700 for those with an associate degree, $61,400 for those with a bachelor's degree, $75,200 for those with a master's degree, $100,100 for those with a doctoral degree, and $110,900 for those with a professional degree.4
- You're more likely to live in poverty if your highest credential is only a high school diploma. In 2015, about 13 percent of high school grads over the age of 25 lived in poverty. But only four percent of adults with bachelor's degrees were living in poverty.4
- As a financial investment, a four-year college degree is estimated to return about 15.2 percent per year, on average. That's a higher average rate of return than any other type of common investment. It's more than twice the average rate of return that people have gotten from the stock market since 1950. And it's over five times the average return on investments like home ownership, gold, and bonds.3
It gets worse. Even in occupations that don't require a college degree, having one can significantly boost your income potential. For example, the median yearly wages for a wholesale or manufacturing sales rep in 2015 were $50,000 if you had a high school diploma. But they were $84,200 if you had a bachelor's degree. And look at the median yearly wages for front-line supervisors in the following occupational areas (high school grads vs. four-year college grads):4
- Production and operations—$50,000 vs. $70,000
- Office and administrative support—$42,000 vs. $60,000
- Retail—$36,200 vs. $50,000
So, yeah, college is too expensive for some people. But maybe they should count their blessings. Why would they want to put themselves at greater risk of, like, making a good living? It's not as if money runs our world or anything.
3. Lower Unemployment and Greater Job Availability
Jobs, jobs, jobs. Blah, blah, blah. Who needs employment when you can take unlimited fish-face selfies and be annoying on Facebook to your heart's content—all for free? Modern humans don't require anything else. Jobs just get in the way of those meaningful activities. So, is college a waste of time? Damn straight! Why? Because it improves your odds of getting stable, full-time employment.
Spare yourself the misery. These nauseating facts should help convince you:
- The rate of unemployment among people 25 or older with a bachelor's degree tends to be roughly half the rate of unemployment among high school grads of the same age.4
- Since recovery from the Great Recession began in January 2010, about 99 percent of all job openings have gone to people with at least some post-secondary education. And people with at least a four-year college education have accounted for about 8.6 million of the 11.6 million jobs that have been added since then. In contrast, people with a high school diploma or less have seen few opportunities open up. Only about 80,000 jobs have gone to those workers as of 2016—a tiny fraction of the total.5
- Between 1989 and 2016, the number of jobs for people with at least some college education has grown by about 47 percent. And in 2016, the proportion of workers with at least a bachelor's degree was larger than the proportion of workers with a high school diploma or less—for the very first time.5
Clearly, college is not worth it if employers will be more likely to hire you. Ugh, can you picture it? Even underemployment (i.e., having a job that doesn't require your education) is usually temporary if you have a college degree. Most college grads eventually find good positions that utilize their qualifications.4 Double ugh.
Thankfully, a college degree still offers no guarantee of employment. Even so, the odds are terrifyingly high that it could lead to a good job, especially if you persist and apply yourself. But why would you? Before pursuing such a pathetic course of action, it might help to know that a lot of growing occupations are only available to people who have specific college or post-secondary credentials. For example, look how many jobs are expected to open up between 2014 and 2024 in the following occupations that generally require college or vocational training:6
- Registered nurses—1,088,400
- Software developers—345,900
- Licensed practical or vocational nurses—322,200
- Physicians and surgeons—145,100
- Health services managers—140,500
- Civil engineers—106,700
- Mechanical engineers—102,500
- Paralegals and legal assistants—82,700
- Pharmacy technicians—71,600
- Dental hygienists—70,300
- Medical laboratory technicians—68,100
- Physical therapist assistants—54,700
- Human resources managers—46,600
- Respiratory therapists—43,300
- Diagnostic medical sonographers—27,500
- Computer security analysts—25,500
- Surgical technologists—24,600
- Occupational therapy assistants—23,600
That's a lot of opportunity to try to avoid if you somehow get sucked into the college trap. The struggle is real, people. The struggle is real.
4. More Employee Benefits
That awkward moment when you realize you have employer-sponsored health insurance, paid vacation, paid sick days, and a retirement plan because you went to college, university, or trade school: Could you ever live it down? How embarrassing that would be.
It's an unsettling reality: Having a college degree makes it more likely that you'll receive good worker benefits. Check out these troubling facts from 2015 about workers over the age of 25:4
- Among full-time workers, about 66 percent of bachelor's degree holders and 61 percent of associate degree holders were covered by health insurance through their employers. But only 54 percent of high school graduates had the same benefit.
- When it came to part-time workers, 38% of those with bachelor's degrees and 33 percent of those with associate degrees had employer-provided health coverage. In contrast, just 26 percent of those with only a high school diploma had coverage.
- Within the private sector, 52 percent of bachelor's degree holders had employer-sponsored retirement plans compared to only 43 percent of high school grads.
Could it be any more obvious that college is a waste of effort? There isn't a person on Earth who would ever voluntarily choose to receive the extra financial security, freedom, flexibility, and peace of mind that employee benefits can provide. Those things are, like, totally unacceptable.
5. More and Better Personal Connections
Don't other people make your skin crawl? Of course they do. And relationships—both personal and professional—are for suckers, right? You could easily thrive on this planet all by your happily lonesome self. Ah yes, if only it were possible. All the more reason to avoid college since it's a magnet for all types of smart, creative, and fun people. Chalkboard, meet nails.
It's an irritating truth: College is where you're likely to establish helpful, meaningful, and long-lasting connections with people who actually matter to you. In fact, college is usually an ideal environment for such things. So consider yourself warned. In college, you might:
- Make some of the best friends you'll ever have
- Get immersed in clubs or groups that enhance your confidence and social skills
- Find mentors who guide and inspire you
- Attend some of the most memorable parties of your life
- Participate in civilized discussions that help you empathize with other people
- Create a social network that will contribute to your success long after you graduate
That's not all. By going to college, you're more likely to get married and less likely to get divorced or separated.1 So you may want to, like, get your custom-tailored straightjacket ready.
6. Access to Exclusive Services and Facilities
Meh. Having support is seriously overrated. You don't really need extra help finding and preparing for good opportunities since your goal is to avoid those anyway. Your time would be better spent alone and unassisted. That way, you won't get sucked into the itchy vortex that brainwashed people call success.
After all, colleges, universities, and trade schools tend to offer a variety of student support services that can be hard to resist. For example, many of them provide exclusive access to tutoring, career guidance, job fairs, professional development workshops, and alumni networking events. Such services can help students and graduates find internships, discover volunteer opportunities, uncover job leads, draft effective resumes, prepare for interviews, and much more.
As if those things aren't revolting enough, many colleges also give their students access to well-equipped learning and recreational facilities beyond the classroom. That means you might be tempted to spend time applying what you learn in a laboratory or other type of hands-on practice setting. And you might get some exercise.
Yup, we know: You can't even...
7. Greater Freedom to Take Life-Enhancing Risks
The person you are today is exactly the person you will be many years from now. You will never change. And you will never want to. Life is about sticking to what's already comfortable. But going to college has a way of, like, making you see new possibilities. Then, you start taking chances and broadening your horizons. OMG!
Unfortunately, college often acts as a kind of safety net. Students feel free to experiment with their identities and reinvent who they are—in some cases, multiple times. They frequently discover new interests and passions. And many of them learn how to become self-sufficient, make important decisions, cope with failures, and bounce back from risks gone wrong. It can be a completely transformational experience.
What is this world coming to?
8. Rewards That Can't Be Easily Measured
Ick—time to eat your squishy-feely porridge. Look, if you can't touch or measure something, then it's not worth having. But a college education can generate all kinds of intangible benefits that make you want to hurl. For example, imagine graduating from college with off-putting qualities such as:
- Greater adaptability
- Heightened creativity
- The ability to think more critically
- Enhanced self-awareness
- Increased tenacity and perseverance
- Greater tolerance and respect for diverse people and ideas
- More open-mindedness
- Elevated motivation
- An expanded sense of self-worth
- The ability to listen with the intent to understand
- The ability to respond with humility and intelligence
Are those not the nastiest traits you've ever heard of? Plus, get this: The best employers already tend to prefer hiring people who have them. And the best job opportunities of the foreseeable future will likely require those uniquely human characteristics since machines can't easily replicate them (at least not yet).
Thank goodness you don't care about having a good job with a great employer.
To Sum Up: Is College a Waste of Time and Money? Like, Duh!
The evidence is overwhelming, people. By completing college, university, or vocational school, you'll stand a better chance of:
- Earning a good income
- Being employed
- Having health insurance
- Having a retirement plan
- Having good health
- Living a long life
- Being happily married
- Avoiding poverty
- Avoiding disability
- Knowing awesome people
- Becoming an awesome person yourself
But If You Still Insist...
Maybe you aren't convinced that college is a waste of time and money. Well, so be it. If you simply must go to college, that's your prerogative. Good luck to you.
The search tool below will help you quickly find career-oriented programs at colleges, universities, and trade schools in your region. Just enter your zip code to get started!
1 Lumina Foundation, It's Not Just the Money: The Benefits of College Education to Individuals and to Society, website last visited on May 10, 2017.
2 PLOS, Mortality Attributable to Low Levels of Education in the United States, website last visited on May 10, 2017.
3 The College Board, How College Shapes Lives: Understanding the Issues, website last visited on May 10, 2017.
4 The College Board, Education Pays 2016: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society, website last visited on May 10, 2017.
5 Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce, America's Divided Recovery: College Haves and Have-Nots 2016, website last visited on May 10, 2017.
6 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Projections, website last visited on May 10, 2017.