Becoming a college dropout is cool again. Why else would there be so many stories about celebrities dropping out of college? Some are for really good reasons, like when you are young and realize that your passion in life is to start a tech company or movie studio instead of studying molecular biology.
But not everyone’s reason is as good as Mark Zuckerberg’s (he dropped out of Harvard to start Facebook). Some people drop out because they choose a major at random and realize it is not actually what they want to do. Others leave because the classes are too hard or don’t interest them and then there is that subset of people that just plain hate college. This last group is the one I am going to focus on in this article.
If you are thinking of dropping out, then you should know that it is not a bad decision in every case. In fact, there are some wonderful benefits to being a college dropout.
However, personally speaking, I don’t think most people have an idea of what it is like to be a college dropout. They know they are successful, but do not realize how difficult life can actually be outside the comforting confines of academia. It’s not all glamor and parties. There are some major challenges ahead of you if you choose to leave school before earning your degree. Here are my top 10 reasons for dropping out of college:
10. The Job Market Is Tougher for College Dropouts
This seems obvious, but then again if it were obvious to everyone we wouldn’t have over 5 million unemployed people in the U.S. right now. In a lot of fields there is no difference between having a degree or not and many employers require it. Even if they don’t require it, having the piece of paper is seen as an indication of excellence.
Realize that even if you are more intelligent than everyone else at your workplace, without a diploma people will still assume you are less capable than those who finished college. You can overcome this by working harder and becoming invaluable to the company, but that is no easy task.
9. You Can’t Get Loans or Aid Anymore
Dropping out is expensive. Maybe you didn’t finish your degree because you moved across the country to follow some girl who turned out to be a crazy stalker-ex with an anger management problem (true story). Now what? You can’t go back to school or do you? College dropouts cannot get federal aid and scholarships anymore. You will have to pay for your tuition all on your own dime. Ready for a Disney World vacation yet?
8. No One Will Hire You Without a Degree
Even if there is no law saying that you need a degree to get a job in a particular field, it does not matter. No one will hire you without one. Sure, there are exceptions to this “rule” and some employers might take a chance on you if you have extraordinary talent or skills. But the vast majority of companies out there will not give you a chance to prove your worth unless they can see that you have a degree.
7. You Will Have to Work for Less Money Than Your College-Grad Friends
Even if your only interest in college is the party scene, you still spent 4 years learning how to be a productive worker bee. College grads are more likely to get paid higher starting salaries because they have better skills and education than those who dropped out.
6. You Will Have to Work Harder than Your Peers to Prove You Are as Good as They Are
You will also have to work harder than your college-grad friends because they already have a good job and now you are desperate for anyone that is willing to give you a shot. Make no mistake: your college dropout friends are still your competition.
5. You Will Not Get Any Career Advancement for at Least 5 Years
Realize that most employees get their career advancement after they have worked for the same company for five years. If you just started working in an entry-level job, consider giving it at least 5 years before you worry about this issue.
4. Choosing the Wrong Career Field Will Haunt You for Many Years
It is very difficult to switch career paths after you already have some experience in that field, especially if you are making good money doing it (so far). After many years of work and sacrifice, changing your mind might not even be an option anymore. You have to be very careful when choosing your college major.
3. You Will Eventually Miss Out on the College Experience
Even if you are not an academic-type student, there are still many benefits associated with “college life.” There are shared experiences that only other students can understand. For example, no one in your workplace really understands what it is like to be in your shoes, unless they were also college dropouts. You will miss out on this if you disappear from college.
2. Life Experience Might Not Be Enough
Some employers value life experience over education when hiring new employees, but not all of them do this. College degrees are still the standard in most companies and life experience alone might not be enough to get you a foot in the door.
1. You Get Better Job Security with a College Degree
Unemployment rates are at an all-time high and many college graduates cannot find jobs either (although they tend to fare better than those who do not have degrees). Even if you can land a job, no one knows what the future holds for this economy. Having a college degree is the best insurance you can get to ensure your long-term employment prospects.