College is a joke. The punchline is the fact that you get scammed out of time and money for an overvalued certification. Most fields are over-staffed and you shouldn't go into them. The fields that aren't overstaffed won't pay for the education you got. Even if you're lucky enough to get a full ride scholarship (or go on the taxpayer's dole), you will be losing plenty of time in the process for what might be very little reward.
You're not going to make money going to college
A lot of people go to college, Around 40% of young adults aged 18-25 go. A lot of people fail college, around 47 percent fail even when given 6 years of time. That's a concerningly high number. Especially given that around 40% of students going to public institutions get student loans. Student loans have to be repaid in the end, and it really doesn't look like they're going to be repaid if 41% of recent graduates and 33% of graduates generally as of 2022 are underemployed. Underemployment is when someone is working in a field they're not necessarily certified in; If a Psychology graduate is flipping burgers, she's underemployed. These statistics are for people generally, so your mileage may very depending on what field you go into. Don't worry though, the lowest rate of underemployment is 11.2% in Special Education, so, if you go with the best option of them all, you'll likely get a job with your degree. However, that job doesn't pay that much, especially not enough to pay off the average student loan debt with a bachelors from a public institution while being able to eat. Unless you have a full ride scholarship or are a leech on the taxpayer, you're not going to be able to pay for the whole ordeal. Because of that, the benefits compared to the costs are so low that you really should consider different avenues.
You're going to have to deal with bureaucracy in college
Bureaucracy is the name of the game in college. If you have an exceptional or extrodinary issue (such as a health requirement, financial requirements, or you’re trying to graduate early), you’re going to have to go through the meat grinder for months on end just to get something done due to the layers on layers of people you have to deal with. Colleges have no wiggle room for the exceptional. You are expected to see the system, and take it as is without bending it to your own needs.
This fact is no truer than for textbooks and class requirements. Textbooks, if you’re taking online classes, are likely distributed by utterly proprietary, copyright laided content management systems such as Cengage or Pearson. These corporate hacks take money to provide you with the license to temporarily see a textbook and to be able to do your work. The overpaid baby-sitter professors are more-than-likely going to just rely on the textbook’s questions, and thus the automated systems that come with them, to do work. So, you’re going to HAVE to buy a textbook to pass the class, no ifs, ands, or buts, thus subjecting you to the proprietary nature of these platforms and stripping you of rights in their terms of service. Have fun appealing that one, because it’s not going to happen.
Class requirements too are the worst. If you are a smartypants and come in with extra credtis from highschool or another institution, you will be at a massive disadvantage. The degree plans of these colleges are designed for a singular path: the four year degree assuming you come in with nothing (or very little). They have no wiggle room for the exceptionally talented. If you’re unlucky enough to be talented, you’ll have to carefully manuver around required classes and credits in such a way that you have enough (usually 15 credit hours) to maintain your scholarships. Otherwise, if you don’t keep that amount, you’re going to lose your ability to attend without going into debt. This doesn’t even factor in deadlines and getting credits from other institutions, because that too may be a horrible set of bureaucratic woes.
All this bureaucracy is bound to send anyone with their head on right into disarray. If you want to do exactly what the colleges want like a good little pawn, great, it’s only a big heatache to get everything in order to do it. If you want to do things your own way, like you should be doing, then be ready to experience infinite frustration and rage at the situation because the institutions are built in such a way to screw you, specifically you, over.
You're going to get screwed over intellectually in college
The college system screws over plenty of people constantly, but I'd like to break the screwery down into intellectual groups rather than groups of race and sex. Your status as a member of one of these groups will give you the most relevant approximation to how screwed over you will be in the college system.
Dimwits are not smart. It's in the name. They likely have middling to below average IQ, bad grades or test scores in high school (and thus few scholarships), low self discipline, and probably couldn't read this article. No one wants to claim to be a dimwit, but admitting to the truth is the first step to avoiding suffering. Dimwits will get fucked over by loans due to poor understanding of personal finances or a general disability to grasp complex, future consequences of taking on such a thing. Dimwits, as a group, are impulsive. That's how I'm defining them at least. Impulsiveness and a very "free" environment where you can take all the drugs, skip all the classes, bang all the bitches, and down all the beers is not conductive to being able to pass college. If you can't pass college, you're not going to get the few benefits in pay increase that college has to offer (if you picked a good major to begin with that is). Because of this, you'll be in debt, degreeless, and likely with a couple bad habits once you flunk out. To prevent this from happening, don't go to college.
But, let's say that a dimwit is virtuous. Maybe he has had strong discipline baked into him. Maybe he has religious convictions that would never allow degeneracy to take hold. Maybe he has a good support structure to thwart away any bad habits or bad choices. Whatever it may be, the Dimwit is still in a precarious position: The dimwit will struggle in classes normal and advanced people will do fine in. If this is a class of people who is incapable of doing well in high school, then this is a class of people who would suffer even more in college. Even if a dimwit gave it their all, they'll find themselves putting in too much work to be a healthy individual. This, while admirable, is not a necessary form of suffering. It's a form of suffering that could be avoided. Worse yet, some colleges, if you're unlucky enough, may require remedial courses to be taken for those with low scores on tests. This will cost more money, waste more time, and will elongate the suffering a dimwit would face even more. These people are better off in community colleges, trade schools, or working as farm hands simply for their own good.1
Big wits are the assholes who graduated high school early, likely do stupid nerd shit in their free time, are generally aware of their surroundings, and probably exist a couple deviations above average on IQ tests (or similar ACT/SAT tests). This group of people likely wants to go to college for its original purpose: to learn about the subject at hand they care about. Now, that's not something that's unique to smart people, plenty care about the subject they will go into, but these people exceptionally so. They have a genuine interest in furthering their studies of a subject. Sadly, this usually means they're going to be the ones going for degrees in interesting, but unemployable subjects like History, Language Arts, or Philosophy. Those fooled by the system or those going into harder subjects like medicine or math may end up spending years upon years pursuing a Doctorate as well. That's a lot of time to sink into a subject, and if we were still in the times of good universities, it'd be commendable. If you're unlucky enough to believe that the college sham is what it used to be: An area to pursue knowledge for the sake of knowledge, I'm sorry to tell you this, but it's no longer the case. 40% of Americans go to college, 40% of Americans cannot be the cutting edge of intellectualism. You will be isolated for most of your college time, and from what I've heard, things only get hostile when you move upwards into Masters or Doctorate's degrees.
But, maybe you're ahead of the curve, you happen to know that college is a scam. Maybe you think you can cheat the system back as revenge. Well, good luck because you're going to be bored out of your mind since you are mentally capable, but also overwhelmed in terms of workload. College is not about doing things that are hard or doing things that require stimulating effort in most classes. If you're smart, you can do it easily, the only problem is that most, if not all, classes are designed to overwhelm you with busywork that you must complete, draining you of energy, and more importantly, time. Worse yet, if you're a smarty pants, you're likely not going to make any worthwhile connections due to the sheer difference between you and the average person. Most people don't care about strange nerd shit like operating systems, CPU architecture, chemical reactions, Hegelian dialects, or other big brained subjects, so you will be isolated as a social creature and suffer because of it. There is so few reasons to go to college even if you got it paid off, that you're better off looking at different ways forward first.
This is most of the people alive. 100 IQ, Passed High school with Bs and Cs, probably decent at self control, but not perfect, probably has a couple skills you can claim expertise in, and just wants to get along in life. There's really no shame in being in the majority, you make up a bulk of society after all. However, you have the most hellish position if you go to college. College will be a time consuming struggle that overwhelms you while some of your peers laugh the work off and sleep in class and other's get drunk and stop caring. You will be faced with temptation, but will also be faced with the prospect of making it through at the same time. You're in a terrible situation where you have the active choice to screw up without the gift of infinite willpower and ability or ignorant carelessness and partying. You will likely not have the gift of good scholarships like smart people do, or the gift of ignorance like dumb people do. So you will probably unwillingly take on loans and face the anguish and horrors of financial struggle through very little fault of your own. You will likely get a degree that is in something ineffectual to society with a high underemployment rate. You won't make much money, you won't change the world, you will probably do little good to your community as your time is taken up by your job and paying for your debt, and you won't even have enough money by the end to raise a decently sized family in modest conditions. You are in the worst form of hell. College will provide this and more unseen consequences to you if you opt to go. So don't go. It's as simple as not doing it, look for alternatives. Trade school isn't that bad from what I've heard and Community colleges will probably get you on your feet. Anything to lose a financial and time burden in life is a good thing.
But I want to go to college!
While the arguments here might be compelling to some, there are other, more niche arguments that should be considered for those not yet convinced that college isn't worth your time. Some of these concerns are legitimate, so legitimate that I must acquiesce that college might have more pros than cons, but, that's rare. So let's address a few arguments first before saying, “yes, you should probably go”.
But I want to be a professor!
No you don't. Professorhood is a double-failure time sink. It requires more than a bachelors, meaning that most (around 60%), go into even more debt! Worse yet, your pay will depend on what you majored in. But, at least on average, ignoring adjunct status, ignoring location, and assuming indeed.com's methodology of gathering information on salaries is right, you'll be making 75 thousand dollars before taxes. You won't be able to pay off your debt and still eat. A master's degree is around 50 thousand dollars in debt and a doctorate is around 200 thousand dollars of debt. Most people aiming to be a professor are going to want a doctorate. You don't want to be a professor if you have any concept of personal finances. Don't waste your time and money for credentials that are useless when you could spend that time studying on your own to teach others!
But I have no other options!
You have many options, mostly in the form of associates degrees, community collages, and blue collar work. If none of those sound appealing, the military would be glad to have you. If that doesn't sound appealing, you could always attempt to live a more traditional, agrarian life. If you don't have property and don't feel like taking a risk squatting on something abandoned, then you may have a point. So either lower your expectations and take one of the aforementioned options or take a massive risk that's statistically stacked up against you because you're afraid of having an associates degree or growing crops.
But my career requires it!
Furthering the point of the last section, this case may be true for some people. There is a strong amount of college fetishism among the older generations. A good portion of old people will push the institution despite having no knowledge at all of the problems with it. Due to overproduction of degrees, degrees are becoming less valuable, so the floor for hiring is getting higher and higher through time (if you opt to work for a big institution that is). More and more, more fields will likely require a 4-year degree instead of a 2-year one. If you are dead set on your field of choice, then you must bite the bullet and go to college. However, the value gained going into your field of choice is usually not worth the time and money sink. Swapping fields or specific jobs in the field to a less college-orientated version of your job is likely the better way to go. For instance, I was going to be a computer science major, but I opted for IT instead due to its lower barrier of entry for getting a job that pays a livable wage.
But I want "The college experience"!
The "college experience" is glamorized. These days, around 43% of full time students take up jobs while going to school. This statistic is even higher for part-time students. People serious about college don't have time to have the "college experience". This is especially true when you couple that statistic with studying. Even if you could get "the college experience", why would you want it? The glamorized version of "the college experience" is a lot of personal degeneracy that will end up having long term consequences. Booze, sex, and drugs aren't good for the body or mind, there is no reason to want that. If you have other ideas of what the "college experience" is, then go ahead and think about them, but you will likely be able to find similar experiences in clubs, churches, bars, or other socialization areas. If there is something intellectual there in college, you will likely not find it as the institution has been watered down. You’re best off pirating books and learning that way if you wish to become a savant.
But college is free!
If you live in a hellhole that spends taxpayer money on adult day-care or happen to make enough money in scholarship money to go, it may become tempting. Degrees are almost never a negative on a resume (although I believe they should be) and you maybe learn some dumb trivia you could have discovered on your own while spending someone else's money. In this case, really think about the fact that you're going to be losing 4 years of your life by going for a bachelors. Is it worth it to go into an institution just to come out underemployed? Maybe it's better to just go 2 years and spend the rest of that time working a job so you can get more experience. If you can get college free, maybe it's worth your time, maybe it's not, that's up to you. The biggest hurdle is out of your way, but the time lost and the degree you picked may not be worth it.
But I can graduate early!
No you can't. As tragic as that might be to hear, it is likely not possible you will attend college in an honest manner and graduate early. Taking on 18 or 21 credit hours a semester will make you pass faster, but you will likely end up cheating to get through. If you happen to come in with credits, strange class requirements and beurocratic rules will block you. Have fun trying to that "credit you just have to have!" from another institution while maintaining your scholarships. It's likely not possible in most scenarios to do such a thing while maintaining a sensible situation. For example, some scholarships might not recognize multi-institution credit as contributing to the minimum credit hours required to maintain your scholarship. Because of that, the scholarship won’t pay for your extra classes or even honor those classes as contributing to the requirements to keep the scholarship.
If you are blessed with perfect memory, deranged, or a cheater, then you could suffer through high the credit hours to get out early, but really it's not worth it for the toll it'll take on you. The only time I'd even advise this is if you're an unabashed cheater who is trying to game the system, but that's a risky move that I really do not suggest you bet on as the trick could easily fall through if you’re not a talented cheater.
But I'm getting paid to go!
If you are earning a profit from going, then this is one of the few times I'd say "yes, you should probably go". If you're going to get scholarship refund money that you get to pocket, you might just want to take it. However, you will have to ask the question of "am I making enough money here to burn 2 to 6 years of my life?". If you're able to play your cards right and can get through it quickly in 3 to 4 years, then sure, go ahead and take it. If you cannot get through it quickly, then maybe think if the money is worth your time. This is the position I'm in currently (as of 2022), I'm expected to get 9k in scholarship refund money for going to college. That might be bumped up to 20k if I can sweet talk my university into giving me more money due to some technicalities. I'm going into a highly employable STEM degree while making either a profit or a bigger profit. I will for sure stay if I get the bigger profit, and i’ll likely just exit with a 2 year degree if it’s the minor profit, it all depends on how the cards fall in the end. A mix of luck and talent got me to this position, you likely won't ever be in this position. If you are in a similar position, then do play your cards right and rob these people for as much as you can. Keep costs low, returns high, and grift the system as much as you can. Otherwise, don't waste your time and don’t go.
Fine, you should go to college
The only time I'd even suggest considering college is under the conditions that you have it fully paid for, and ideally are getting money back, your job absolutely requires it or would majorly benefit from it, you have no other options than that job, and you are of upper middle to high intelligence. If you do not fit a favorable mix of these conditions, do not go. I personally am going to college and am only considering sticking with it to the end because I fit the conditions (with the bonus of being paid). If you aren't, don't go. It's not worth your time, effort, and money.
I don’t hate dimwits. Dimwittedness is a natural phenomenon that seems to stay in line with the generally accepted fact that IQ is heritable. Not everyone is an intellectual winner. Not every family is going to be filled with intellectual winners. That is fine and simply is the nature of life. These people should find roles in society, in fact, I believe that it’s necessary to treat these people with more caution than your average person due to their lack of higher intelligence and reasoning skills. These groups of people aren’t meant for a highly intellectualized society. They haven’t been “Ashkenazized” so to speak. They’re a vulnerable class that should be kept out of life-destroying complications like college debt. ↩︎