Is A College Degree Worth It In 2020? Skills VS Degrees

1. WHAT IS THE REAL PURPOSE OF COLLEGE?

If your idea of college is going to parties, big sporting events, drinking lots of alcohol and then somehow still showing up for class the next day, then you are sadly mistaken. While partying and drinking can be a big party of some people’s college experience, it’s far from the true purpose of college. 

Going to college may seem like an obvious route. Something you just do after highschool because everyone else around you is doing it. But in order for you to make your own sound decision, it’s important to know:

What’s the real purpose of college? 

100-200 years ago, colleges only really taught a few subjects like medicine, law, agriculture and engineering. Back then, we needed people skilled in these trades so that new cities could be built, healthcare systems could be improved and businesses could grow. 

Before all of this, people learned things and built their careers the old fashion way, by learning from other people, family members, friends, and mentors. 

So WHY exactly were colleges built?

To put it simply, colleges were built to provide a place for people to gain specific SKILLS and EXPERIENCE to prepare them to enter the workforce. 

It’s important to note that colleges never used to be the way they are today. Most colleges nowadays days are money-making machines. They are designed to attract a high population of students, seeing students more as a number than a mind to shape. With luxurious amenities and sky-high tuition fees, and the ability to print out 10’s of thousands of degrees a year, colleges have created a system that benefits their for-profit business structure while leaving many students in debt for years. 

To give you an idea of how much has changed in the past 80 years… 

According to the US Census, in 1940, less than 5% of people had earned a 4 year bachelor’s degree or higher. While today, more than 33% of people above the age of 25 have a college degree or higher. 

So if the purpose of college is to gain SKILLS and EXPERIENCE that will allow you to contribute to society through a meaningful career…Do you need to go to college to gain these SKILLS and EXPERIENCE?

That leads me to my next point: 

2. We Live In a Skill-Based World Today

I want to tell you a quick story about a friend of mine, his name is Juan. 

Juan is 20 years old and he dropped out of high school when he was 18 to pursue a career in videography. I remember thinking, that’s a bold move when over 90% of the population today graduates from high school. But for some reason, he seemed confident enough to take the risk, he understood something that a lot of 18 year olds don’t. 

Not only does he have a passion for making videos, but he’s REALLY good at it. 

Juan is also self-taught. If you asked him, he will tell you he learned his videography skills by watching Youtube videos, going through a few online courses, and just practicing for hours and hours.  

Since Juan dropped out of high school, he’s had a lot of time to gain EXPERIENCE in the SKILL of videography. He started a video production company that is now well known in Miami. He is constantly making videos alongside a staff of videographers who work for him. He gets paid to research, shoot, direct, edit and even consult on video projects for all types of businesses, artists, and people. 

The reason I bring up Juan is not to suggest that anyone drop out of high school. And I’m also not saying that you shouldn’t go to college. I personally went to college and depending on your career choice, I think it can be a super beneficial experience. But it’s not the best path for everyone!

If you want to be a doctor or a lawyer, then yes, you need to go to college to get a degree in those particular fields. Have you heard of a Youtube self-taught doctor? Sure, they sell medical supplies on Amazon, but it doesn’t mean you should buy some and set up an office in your house and start seeing patients. A degree is needed for certain jobs and that’s just a fact.  

But my point here is this… 


In Juan’s situation, he found a SKILLSET that is very much in demand in society today. Videos have become increasingly popular in the business and marketing world and Juan was able to tap that market. 

There is a constant demand for what Juan does and he is never at a loss for finding work or making money. 

But wait, is Juan a millionaire? Not yet. But does he have to carry around the weight of student loans? No he doesn’t. 

Does he have a pretty awesome, free-wheeling lifestyle for a 20 year old? For sure. Juan has a lot of fun. He is constantly getting invited to parties, music video sets, corporate events, and even on mega yachts. And as a result, he’s become extremely well connected in Miami. 

Now tell me, if Juan finished highschool, if we he went to college and got a degree and then started a video production company, would he be where he is now? It’s possible. 

But would that have been the BEST path for him? 

It really depends. We’re going to use Juan as an example later on and go through what it would have cost him to go to college and whether it would have been a good investment for him. 

But before we do that, I think it’s super important that we talk about what I mentioned earlier: 

Some careers, yes they require that you have a degree. 

And I want to make this clear – I am not anti-college and am not suggesting that you either should or shouldn’t go to college. I’m just giving you some important information and the things you should consider when making the decision for yourself.

Say you want to be an engineer, a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, a scientist, or any other profession that requires a certification, license, or degree from a college or university – then college is likely the best move. 

If you’re still floating in the space between graduating highschool and your next big dive or you don’t know exactly what you want to do with your life at this point, then listen up because it’s time to run the numbers. 

ENGAGEMENT QUESTION/CTA:

BEFORE WE TALK ABOUT THAT, GO AHEAD AND COMMENT BELOW WITH EITHER ONE OF THE SKILLS OR A MAJOR YOU’RE CONSIDERING. 

3. Is The Investment in College Really Worth It? (START POWERPOINT / SCREENSHARE) 

Ok so I’m jumping on the computer and sharing my screen with you so we can run the numbers on going to college just like an investor would run their numbers on a potential investment. 

So, what do investors care the most about? 

  • Return on Investment

Essentially: If you spend the time and money going to college and getting a degree, what are you going to end up getting in return?  


Let’s start by using Juan as an example and assume that instead of dropping out of high school, he chose to graduate and then go to college to get a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Video Production. 

Remember that undergraduate tuition costs are usually based on credit hours and not so much based on the major you choose. So the numbers we’re about to go over are a pretty accurate example for anyone looking to get a 4 year bachelor’s degree from a public university in FL for example..

I’m going to use one of the big public universities in Florida as an example. You can look up these numbers for any university you’re considering going to. Let’s use University of Central Florida. Here on their website it says that the estimated cost of 1 year of tuition, room and board, and books is about $17,589 for a Florida resident. So lets multiple that by 4 years and we get $70,356. Lets use $70,000 as a round number to keep it simple. 

Now let’s say Juan doesn’t have $70,000 to pay for school so he decides to pay for his education with student loans. Good idea Juan. I did the same thing and for many of us, it’s the only option. 

Let’s use 5% as an average student loan interest rate and let’s say Juan agrees to pay it back over a period of 10 years after he graduates. 

Here’s pretty much what Juan would be looking at: 

http://www.finaid.org/calculators/scripts/loanpayments.cgi

His payment after graduating would be about $742 per month for 10 years or 120 months.  


That comes out to a total of $89,095 over the course of 10 years. So in addition to the $70,000 for tuition, he would pay an additional $19,095 in interest. 

NOW the question is, would this investment be worth it: 

So we know the

  • Cost of Tuition + Student Loan Interest is about $89,000
  • Cost of Time is 4 Years in College 

For the Return on Investment, I did a google search for “Bachelor’s in Video Production” average salary. After looking at a few reputable sites, I’m going to use $54,000 per year as a starting salary. 

You might look at that salary and say – that’s great! He spent $89,000 and 4 years and now he has the opportunity to make $54,000 per year. 

But let’s take a look at what this lifestyle actually looks like: 

$54,000 a year comes out to about $4500 a month. After taxes that’s about $3,300 cash in Juan’s bank account each month. Then after he pays his monthly student loan payment of $742, Juan’s going to have about $2558, let’s say $2,600 left to pay for his rent, car, gas, insurance, food, clothes, going out, saving for vacations, etc. 

So the real question here is this: Would this be the best option for Juan? And is this the best option for you? 

While there are many careers that DO require a college degree, there are also 1000s of careers and businesses that DO NOT. 

Can you achieve the same or a better result if you invested the same 4 years and $70,000 into something else like a mentor or skill-specific course?

Juan is a prime example here. Instead of making this investment and getting himself into $70,000+ in debt before entering the marketplace: he was producing videos, gaining skills, and making money his first year. 

The bottom line here is this: 

Financial Security comes from having specialized skills that are in demand in our world TODAY. These skills give you the ability to go into the marketplace, provide value, and get paid for it.  

In Juan’s case – he has these in demand skills and he developed them completely on his own. Now he can go into the marketplace everyday, earn money and provide valuable videos for people and businesses. All without a degree, all without spending $90,000 and 4 years of his life on college.

And of course, you can always go to a community college, online college, or less expensive university. I am just using University of Central Florida for an example here. 

If your career path requires a degree, then by all means go get your degree. Just remember, if you’re going to spend 4 or more years of your life somewhere, you want to make sure it’s worth it. Worth both your money and your time. If you do choose to go to college, I urge you to make sure you will be surrounded by the right kind of people there and that your goals will be supported by the right program and environment. 

4.. IF NOT COLLEGE, THEN WHAT?

Alright! So let’s say you’ve weighed your options, done the math, and decided you don’t need a college degree or you don’t think it’s the right choice for you. 

What should you do? 

Like most people, I’m sure you still want to build a career, make money, and contribute to society in a meaningful way. 

Well I’m here to tell you that it’s totally possible to find other ways to develop new SKILLS and EXPERIENCE without going to college.  

The BEST way to learn something new is to learn directly from a coach, mentor or someone who is an EXPERT and currently DOING what you would like to be doing. 

The second best way to learn is through EXPERIENCE, that means putting down the iPhone, closing down that Instagram feed, getting off the couch and actually getting out there, practicing and doing things. 

So as soon as you decide on career path, business, or skillset you’d like to learn and explore further, all you have to do is: 

1 – Find a mentor or coaching program either online or in person 

2 – or find a job in the field that you’re interested in and start gaining real world experience

There are some awesome websites out there that I’ve personally used like Udemy, SkillShare, and Masterclass where you can learn things like writing, sales, web design, coding and 100s of other skills directly from people who are experts in those fields. 

There are also tons of Youtubers who are actually highly accredited experts. On their websites you might find things such as courses, mentoring services and consultations. 

What I really want you to do is let go of the idea that you NEED college in order to be successful. Trust me, I thought that for many years, but quickly realized it isn’t the case. There are literally thousands of other skills you can learn outside of college that can set you up to make lots of money and contribute to society in a meaningful way. 

So focus on: learning new skills, gaining valuable experience, and finding ways to use those things to contribute to other people’s lives. 

ALRIGHT I HOPE THAT HELPS! NOW YOU KNOW THE REAL PURPOSE OF COLLEGE, YOU UNDERSTAND THAT WE LIVE IN A SKILL-BASED WORLD TODAY, AND THAT SOME CAREERS REQUIRE A DEGREE AND SOME DON’T. 

YOU ALSO LEARNED HOW TO EVALUATE COLLEGE AS AN INVESTMENT USING NUMBERS, AND NOW YOU HAVE A PLAN FOR  WHAT TO DO IF COLLEGE IS NOT THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOU. 

NOW LET’S JUST SAY YOU’VE DECIDED TO CURB COLLEGE AND YOU WANT TO START A BUSINESS RIGHT AWAY – WELL I JUST POSTED A VIDEO ABOUT HOW TO GET STARTED IN BUSINESS LAST WEEK. I’LL POST A LINK TO THAT VIDEO RIGHT HERE AND IN THE DESCRIPTION. 

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