Drop out of college if the right opportunity is at your doorstep, you won’t regret it.
Why dropping out of college is the best decision you could make when opportunity comes a knockin’ for your small business or startup.
If you run a small business or startup while working towards your degree in college, read this.
Alex Kern recently wrote an article named “Don’t Drop Out”, and although I respect his opinion and understand where he’s coming from: I couldn't disagree more with the message he’s sending to folks that need to make a decision.
Let me just start off with a little background on myself: I am a College dropout - I didn't even finish High School. But I'm also an Entrepreneur, and I made the decision to drop out when an opportunity knocked at my door to grow my software business. Much like Alex, I also had to make that decision that many entrepreneurial students find themselves in: Do I finish college? Or do I drop-out and pursue this opportunity? Luckily, I made the right choice, and I dropped out. Now I own and operate a small business named Campus Orb that powers technology for over 70+ institutions across the United States, High Schools, Elementary Schools, Colleges, you name it.
But it could have gone wrong. I could have failed. And that’s OKAY. Unlike what most people consider correct, entrepreneurship is not about succeeding, it’s about failing. Almost no successful entrepreneur out there hit the mark their first time. Need convincing? Give this a skim.
Alex is trying to convince you that missing out on college is a big deal, and that you don't just miss out on the education, or the safety net that comes with a degree, but you miss out on all of the wonderful social aspects that come along with it. I couldn't agree more. As a person who builds software for Student Leaders, Res Life, Rec Sports, and Student Life, I can attest that campus events, social communication & involvement, is possibly even more important than the education itself. So with all that said, you can trust me when I tell you in confidence, drop out, but only if a real opportunity is knocking at your door.
Alex was offered a an opportunity by a very large organization called Y Combinator to pursue his startup. He declined. And although he’s happy now, and the decision he made is his to make, he should have accepted.
Alex missed the mark in his story by the first paragraph:
“I wasn’t required to leave college for good, I just had to take a single semester off. But I knew myself. I wouldn’t be able to go back to the grind of classes after 8 months without them, regardless of the company’s success. A temporary departure would really be permanent.”
Although Alex makes great points for staying in college, his assumption is that you (person who needs to make that same decision) are as weak willed as himself. You are an ENTREPRENEUR. If you know with certainty that you couldn't “go back to the grind of classes” after leaving, I don't understand how you feel like you would have the willpower to run a startup, especially when it gets rough and everything is against you. Entrepreneurs face tough decisions and face an insane amount of work while carrying a huge amount of risk — every day. If you “know yourself”, and know that you wouldn’t have the willpower to go back to College after taking a break, you have no business running a startup.
There are two factors to consider with your choice, and the choice couldn’t be more obvious or easy for you to make when you look at it realistically:
- College will always be around. It’s not going anywhere. You're not going to pursue your opportunity/business, come back, and realize that all of the universities have been bulldozed down and that education has been permanently shut down and marked irrelevant. You CAN go back, at any time, at any age; they will welcome you. You don’t miss out on anything.
- Opportunities like the one Alex was presented, or the one you may have been presented, are not just available for you to pick and choose at a time that’s most convenient to you. “Y Combinator, remember that time you offered to help my startup about 4 years ago? Is that still available?”
What do you think they would answer with?
Yeah. I thought so too.
Alex — you make some wonderful points, and your heart is in the right place, but you assumed everyone could not “get back to the grind” if they took the opportunity and dropped out — and essentially told people to not pursue their dreams if opportunity came a’knockin. If you don't have the willpower to go back to college after a one semester break, how could you ever have the willpower to run a startup when things go rough? I wholeheartedly disagree that folks should go the same path that you did.
I wish everyone who’s facing the same decision that I had to make, or that Alex had to make, the best of luck. Don't make the decision in haste, and don't drop out for every opportunity, only the ones that come sparingly.
David Van Beveren