Phi Beta Cons

Saying No to College

The New York Times is getting in on the action.  

Over the weekend, the paper published an article featuring successful individuals who either bypassed or left the traditional college path. As more alternative forms of education like Udacity, Khan Academy, Coursera, and UnCollege arise, these stories will become as prevalent as the current talk of a bursting higher-education bubble.

However, at this moment, highlighting the outliers who left college to create a widely downloaded mobile app will barely make a dent in the higher-education edifice  I want to see a parade of stories showing average Joes living a middle-class lifestyle, minus the degree (and debt).  


Right now, such stories are held back by a supply-and-demand problem. Too many high-school graduates (and their parents) see college as the only path to a successful life. Too many businesses require degrees as a condition of employment, even for jobs in which the added value of the degree is questionable.


Determining the next move in this stalemate is somewhat like the “chicken or the egg” dilemma. Will prominent companies first announce that the college-degree emperor is naked, or will an alternative path to employability beat its drum so loudly that employers will be unable to look away?

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