Is college really necessary to succeed?

After high school, going to college is automatically seen as the next step in life. We have seen in so many movies where the child declares that he does not want to go to college and it seems like all hell has broken loose. This reaction and overreaction in a lot of cases have put an unspoken notion that the moment you decide not to go to college, you have also signed up for a lifetime subscription to an unsuccessful life. This puts a lot of pressure on young adults who just want to figure out life. While it cannot be disputed that education plays a big role in shaping and molding one’s life, the lack of a college education does not automatically equal failure. In this article we will get to know Is college really necessary to succeed?

Attending college does not always mean that you will be successful. Other factors come into play like hard work, determination, ambition, strengths, etc. The truth is that some people have more strengths in things that have no business with education, for instance, a mind for business, an entrepreneurial spirit, a mind for tech trends, and so on. 

These factors have nothing to do with college or education. Someone with these strengths may have a huge chance of becoming successful if they focus on honing these skills and using them to their advantage.

People who have successful businesses but did not attend college

The truth is that there have been a lot of people who have gone off to start successful businesses without even a bachelor’s degree but these people more often than not have these entrepreneurial skills mentioned above. 

  • Take a look at Bill Gates. He dropped out of Harvard and went on to start Microsoft.
  • Steve Jobs also did not go to college and started Apple from his garage.

What do these 2 have in common? They both did not go to college and started their own companies and ended up as some of the wealthiest people in the world. They had a mind for business and also had entrepreneurial spirits which led them to become their own boss.

Is college really necessary to succeed?

What is success?

A lot of people define this word differently. Some people equate success to having a lot of money. Some define it as influencing society as well as being respected by their peers. Some may even define success as simply having a loving supportive family. Success is subjective and so it is a bit biased to rate success on whether or not you go to college.

Success has different meanings to different people, therefore if one decides to be successful in the medical or legal field for example going to college, getting a bachelor’s degree and even a graduate degree plays a huge role. Statistics show that having a bachelor’s degree gives having a successful career more chances. Holders of a bachelor’s degree earn an average of 66% more than high school graduates.

Do some careers require a college degree?

A college degree is required in some careers and may even be helpful to better sharpen those non-education-related skills. It is therefore required that you decide on the kind of career you would like to have and then decide whether or not it will require a degree. 

Even though it does not require one now and later in the future a degree is needed to advance in the chosen career, it is still possible to apply to college and get the degree you require with age not being a barrier.

With everything being said, so much importance has been placed on going to college, however, with modern opportunities and technological advances, is a college degree still a necessary prerequisite to having a successful life? No. It is important to note that the decision to attend college should rest on an individual without pressure and whatever decision said individual settles with should be accepted. 

It is very possible to succeed without college it is however important to note that achieving the status of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs is just an exception and not the rule. Having a college degree does give you an advantage in having a truly successful career.

Factors to Consider to determine whether or not to attend College

As we have established earlier, success is subjective. What success means to X might not mean success to Y. it is therefore important to consider some factors when trying to determine whether attending college and getting a degree is pertinent to your success goals.

  1. The hiring manager: Some hiring managers in a bid to find the best applicant to fill a job role might look to filters like college to narrow down their decisions. Also companies these days have software that automatically discards resumes without degrees or the relevant experience required to fill that role effectively.
  2. Industry: Some careers require college degrees as we have established earlier. Industries like psychology, medicine, legal, and hard sciences require you to have a college degree. However, industries like marketing, design and content creation may not always require a college degree
  3. Definition of success: It is crucial to self-reflect and determine what success means to you personally. If success means starting a business and successfully running that business or you will always feel the need to graduate from college with a degree regardless of whatever career path you go down, then it is pertinent to know this before coming to a decision.

Advantages and disadvantages of attending College

There are a lot of benefits to having a college degree. Here are a few;

  • Increased access to job opportunities.
  • Increase in earning potential.
  • Personal growth and self-esteem.

Depending on your career of choice, it plays a role in the advancement in your field.

As much as having a college degree can be beneficial, on the flip side, there are some cons to it. Here are a few;

  • College does not teach you how to think.
  • Student loans and opportunity costs might sometimes outweigh the benefits.
  • Information is relatively inexpensive. You do not always have to go to college to receive certain information and education in some cases.
  • A college degree does not guarantee a job


College education and degree are no doubt important. However, education comes in different forms. There are trade schools where you can go to focus solely on your specific choice of career. There are also certifications you can get to better your skills, for instance, certifications in digital marketing, programming, business, and so on. These days people also learn from real-life experiences. Something a college can never give you.

It is also important to note that if you decide to have a successful career in paths that do for a fact require a degree, it will be beneficial to acquire one. The bottom line is, that the definition of success differs from person to person, it is, therefore, important to determine how you would like to be successful and follow the path you feel will lead to the success you desire.