Dear David Rose: Here’s 10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Stay in College

Today, I want to tell you one story.

It’s a story about figuring things out the hard way.

Truth be told; I have not graduated from college. I dropped out of the University of Central Florida, when I had two semesters of elective credits left unchecked on my degree audit.

So a while ago, I cut the formal education section from my resume and never pasted it back.

Why am I announcing this, again?

Because, last week, I met “one of the most active angel investors in the country,” “New York’s archangel” and the “patriarch of Silicon Valley” — David Rose.

When posed with a question from an audience member, Rose explained that while he thinks Peter Thiel is very smart, he disagrees with everything that comes out of his mouth.

“He pays people to drop out, and I don’t invest in anyone who drops out,” Rose casually said.

Faster than the words left his mouth, my body felt like someone set it on fire. Not because I want an investment, but because I am very passionate about the topic of higher education.

While Rose wouldn’t tell me why I should finish my degree, he did tell me to look up his answer to the question: Should I drop out? on Quora.

Today, I did. These are the 10 reasons why you shouldn’t drop out, according to Rose, and my rebuttals to each one.

1. It gives you a much larger picture of the world.

If you want a much larger picture of the world then read A LOT. Trust me, it’s a lot faster to connect the dots this way then sitting in a college classroom semester after semester.

2. It will expose you to opportunities and experiences.

Experiential learning, i.e. internships expose you to unique opportunities and experiences.

As a journalism student, I was required to undertake a journalism internship in a newsroom.

Yuck. I fibbed and took on a marketing internship in a newsroom. It’s how I discovered my passion and knack for content marketing.

3. It will give you at least a basic grounding in areas that are not necessarily comfortable to you.

Yes, college will force you to sit through pointless classes like astronomy, from which I took away absolutely nothing.

4. You will learn how to communicate effectively.

Here’s four statistics that debunk this myth.

  • Forty-one percent of employers say young graduates lack communication skills
  • Twenty-eight percent of employers surveyed by the American Association of Colleges and Universities said grads were well prepared in the area of oral communication
  • A survey by the Workforce Solutions Group at St. Louis Community College finds that more than 60 percent of employers say applicants lack “communication and interpersonal skills” — a jump of about 10 percentage points in just two years. A wide margin of managers also say today’s applicants can’t write well
  • Another employer survey, reported that 44 percent of employers cited soft skills, such as communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration, as the area with the biggest skills’ gap of recent grads

P.S. If you want to learn how to communicate effectively, start going to networking events, and read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

5. You will meet a broad array of diverse people.

“College admissions offices spend most of their time assembling a diverse class, you will find yourself, willingly or not, in a stew of people with different personalities, interests, religions, sexual and political orientations,” Rose said on Quora.

While I agree that universities spend a great deal of time trying to create diversity, I do not agree that this means students will experience diversity.

It’s something that has to be sought out. For instance, as a journalism student my school was on the complete opposite side of the entrepreneurship center and not very close to the beautiful computer lab, where the design students hung out.

Today, as a dropout, I’m good at design, entrepreneurship and writing because I sought these things out. I sought out a StartUp Weekend outside of school, which led me to get involved in UCF’s entrepreneurship program. I wanted to make a video for my startup after StartUp Weekend so I sought out help by going to the media lab and just so happened to learn design.

If I wasn’t inquisitive, and I didn’t seek stuff out, I would not have the diverse group of people in my life that I have today. And let’s be real, most college students don’t seek these things out.

You can’t force people to hang out with one another.

Research shows that “the bigger the pool of potential friends, the less likely they will be interracial. While it may be difficult on small campuses to find your ideal type of friend(s) — one that meets all of your criteria — on larger campuses, it is very easy to find a friend(s) who meet all of your criteria. (Probably as easy as joining Greek life.)

To further illustrate this myth, here’s some research I dug up.

According to Boston Globe, at Boston University, MIT, Northeastern, and Tufts, only three percent of students are black, while nationwide, 15 percent of college students are black.

6. College is a four-year commitment.

Point blank: Some commitments are meant to be broken.

If Steve Jobs never broke his commitment to college, he would have never dropped in on that calligraphy course that inspired the gorgeous typography for the Macintosh.

Are you going to keep paying for that software membership that you never use? No, because it’s providing no value to your life.

Are you going to stay with someone who cheats on you or abuses you because you made a commitment to them? No. And you know why, because they broke the commitment first and forced you to make this decision — the decision to value yourself first and foremost.

Here’s the dilemma the overwhelmingly majority of students must face, according to InternBridge.

Unfortunately, many students must make a choice: Accept an unpaid internship that will forward their career but cause financial stress, work a part-time job with little educational value, or attempt to do both (which almost always negatively impacts their studies). In fact, 64 percent of students report they would have to work a second job if they accepted an unpaid internship. While that may be possible in the summer, it’s difficult during the academic year. If you think mom and dad are helping, think again. Only 35 percent of students report that their parents would help to support them financially if they chose to take part in an internship.

Stupidly, the greater majority are opting to stay in school over gaining experience. I say stupidly because we all know how many grads have jobs that actually require a college degree.

7. College is a one-time investment in enhancing the entire rest of your career.

According to a survey by McKinsey, nearly half of all graduates from four-year colleges are working in jobs that don’t require a four-year degree. This survey is backed up by data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reported that 48 percent of employed U.S. college grads are in jobs that require less than a four-year degree.

Do you want more data to support my stance? Okay. You got it.

In 2011, 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent of college grads under age 25 were out of work or underemployed.

Additionally, according to a poll by Accenture, while 72 percent of 2011–12 grads completed internships, only 42 percent said the experiences led to jobs.

Oh, and here’s a real-time amount of the U.S. student loan debt, which will sober you right up.

A college degree is a “lifetime foundation” Rose said in his Quora post.

My question is: Does that mean grads can just sit on their laurels?

More sobering stories:

8. The credential has inherent value.

“In life and in business, there are some things that — for better or worse — simply require a college degree as a pre-requisite,” Rose said.

Two occupations come to mind immediately — lawyers and doctors. I am 150 percent positive I want to be neither.

P.S. did you hear? Law Students Can’t Get Jobs, and 71 percent of leaders say they would consider hiring someone without a degree or credential over someone with one.

9. Putting this investment into perspective and taking the long view of your life, is a sign of maturity.

“Going for the quick hit of dropping out because you are not willing to put into your academic career the amount of work it takes to ’do it right’ is a sign of immaturity,” Rose said, which sends me through the roof.

“Do it right?!”

Who is Rose to tell young people that college is the right thing to do?

Just as everyone does not learn the same, there is certainly no universal way to “do it right,” or live your life the “right way.”

10. Dropping out means you’re un-coachable.

”If you have discussed this with your parents, school advisors, or other mentors, the odds are very high that they strongly suggested you stay in school and finish your degree. If that is indeed the case, the fact that you are rejecting reasoned advice from mature, experienced people who know, trust and support you, would give me pause to consider whether you will turn out to be a the kind of person who simply won’t listen to advice from me either…” Rose said.

Many, many mature, experienced people have told me to go back to school, but they also do not have to live with the consequences of that decision. They do not have to pay for it, and they do not have to work it into their ridiculously busy schedule. I do.

I take advice from people smarter than me all damn day long. I’m shocked Neil Patel hasn’t filtered my emails to spam by now, or that my startup has an advisor as brilliant as Dan Schawbel.

Taking advice from people who are smarter than me is how I am where I am today. BUT just because I know someone is smarter than me does not mean I never disagree with them. Yes, it’s extremely rare, but it does happen occasionally. I don’t think this makes me un-coachable, but rather it means that I have a mind of my own and don’t just accept things at face value because “the patriarch of Silicon Valley” says so.

Rose ends his biased, unbacked-by-research, post by saying this: …and the fact is that I consider my advice to be an even bigger investment in you than the cash I bring to the table.

All I have left to say is I’m Team Thiel.

“Waiting for graduation is an expensive waste of time.”

o the issue and share it with everyone you know.


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