Position yourself for growth in 2017—join us live at the Entrepreneur 360™ Conference in Long Beach, Calif. on Nov. 16. Secure Your Seat »
One question many of us have sometimes when it comes to whether or not to go to college is, “Do we really need a college degree to be successful?” The answer to this question is really up to the person deciding on whether or not to pursue that pricey sheepskin.
Consider some of the biggest names in the computer and online worlds and what they have in common: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, for instance. All three are, or were, entrepreneurs who made it big. All three became really rich. And . . . all three dropped out of college to pursue their business dreams.
Is dropping out of college a part of entrepreneurial success?
One question to look at and answer is; “Is dropping out of college the normal thing to do for entrepreneurial success?” Think about some more big names whose businesses evolved from the internet. They include Paul Allen, Michael Dell and even the co-founders of Twitter, because they too dropped out of college and were and still are successful.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only about 57 percent of people who go to college actually get their degree within six years. Although not many of these college dropouts have become a huge success like the big names listed above, anyone can conclude that it really doesn’t take a college degree to become successful; success is still up to you.
Peter Thiel Scholarship for entrepreneurs
Back in 2011, Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal and an investor in Facebook, created and invested in what is called the Thiel Scholarship. It provides $100,000 to people under 22 to pursue entrepreneurship over college for two years, with Thiel providing oversight to them.
Although Thiel holds two degrees from Stanford University, he’s said he’s seen too much hype about people getting a college degree as a requirement in life. He believes that people don’t need a degree to find success in business and life.
The scholarship’s chosen 20 teams of 24 people all had to pick a trending business idea. They chose biotech, economics, career development, education, information technology, energy, mobility, robotics, and space for their trending business ideas.
Don’t give up the idea of college too fast.
If you still want to go to college, by all means, do so. Not everyone is as brilliant and resourceful as the internet superstars named here. But they have, and others after them, will still find success without a college degree if that’s what they choose.
If you think that college is too expensive, help is out there for a lucky few. There are full ride scholarships available to those in need of tuition and fees. These and lesser scholarships may even cover the cost of study abroad.
Of course, you could still try to do both college and entrepreneurship simultaneously, but this path could be very hard if you’re looking to get adequate sleep and have a personal life.
Would you rather attend school and learn new things? Or start your own business? Whatever your decision, don’t think that you will be disappointing your parents or associates by choose one over the other. Because it’s your life, not theirs.